I confess it took me a while to test this pack. In the first place, I needed to tear myself away from my favourite running pack, the Montane Women’s VIA Snap 4L Running Vest Pack. (I love the fit of it and the fact you can easily carry and have access to a large mobile phone.) I wasn’t sure about the design and fit of the Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 pack an, in particular, I didn’t think I’d get on with the chest straps. But while testing it on a long run, I discovered I actually do like the pack.
Let’s start with features:
- 15-litre capacity
- Average weight of pack: 320g
- Athletic Main Compartment (not sure what “athletic” means in this instance)
- External opened topped stash pocket
- Internal zipped waterproof pocket
- Pole fixation
- Speed pole fixation
- Compression strap
- Hip adjustment
- Reflective print
- Safety blanket (couldn’t find this)
- Soft flask pockets
- Wind shield
- Zipped side pocket
- Price: £120
- See: Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 and also Amazon. (I receive a small commission for sales through Amazon.)
“The compressible Ultra Running Backpack with 15L of volume is designed for long, challenging ultra runs.
“The shoulder straps are anatomically shaped to adapt to your back and shoulders.
“This pack can be taken on and off quickly thanks to its simple, time-tested buckle system – making it easy to fetch something you need during a run.
“An additional plus is the unique ‘insulation cape’ (windshield) that protects you when the weather suddenly changes.
“The hip belt is adjustable and thus can adapt to fit your body.”
My review: Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 running pack
In the interests of disclosure, I was sent this pack to try without charge. The review is entirely my opinion and not influenced by Dynafit.
For eco and ethical information about Dynafit see: Sustainability.
I have tested many different types of running pack over the years and I always return to the Montane Women’s VIA Snap 4L Running Vest Pack. I like the size and female fit. I also like the easy to use chest and sternum straps. However, there are times when I need a larger running pack so I can carry more items.
The Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 running pack is larger and therefore more useful for longer runs, such as when I did a 27km traverse of the Trotternish Ridge on the Isle of Skye.
I needed a pack large enough for: A spare insulated jacket, emergency bivvy bag, waterproof trousers, spare tights, spare gloves, waterproof over-mittens, food, snacks, water, map, compass and mobile phone.
I managed to get in all the items, although there wasn’t a lot of space left in the main compartment of the pack. I reserved the velco-closed stretchy outer pocket at the rear of the pack for a map and any items I might remove because it was too warm.
The pack fits like a vest, so it is higher on the back than a traditional rucksack. Most of the weight is taken on the shoulders, via the wide shoulder straps. I like this style of pack for running because it doesn’t bounce about.
The shoulder straps have extra pockets, including two long narrow sleeves for 500ml soft flask water bottles – these are well positioned so you can drink on the move – plus a couple of extra open-top sleeve style pockets for stashing another small water flask, energy gels or other snacks.
There are another two pockets at the side of the pack, located under one arm. One pocket is larger and zipped. I could fit in my large iPhone, although I didn’t find it easy to open and close the zip to remove and replace the phone while the pack was on. Maybe I lack flexibility, but it felt like a bit of a contortion to get into the pocket.
On top of this zipped pocket is a wide open-topped pocket. It is shaped like a mini cup. I wasn’t sure what this was for to start with, but I then discovered a velcro tab that when opened allows a longer, cone-shaped pocket to reveal itself. This is for carrying poles when not in use. You add the poles to the deep pocket and then secure them higher up the shoulder strap with an adjustable elastic loop,
Another place for stashing the poles is in a rear open topped pocket, between the main compartment and the velcro closed stretchy pocket.
I find it interesting that even though running packs have litre sizes they rarely seem to compare across brands. For example, I’ve managed to fit in running kit for a day’s outing in my VIA Snap 4l pack. It’s a tight fit but it is possible thanks to plenty of useful pockets and stretchy fabric.
The 15l Dynafit pack is a bit bigger but it doesn’t seem to more than three times larger. I think this is because there is less stretch in the fabric of the pack.
However, when smaller packs are full to capacity they can feel too tight across the shoulders and chest. In the end, it is better to have a bit more space than you need and a more comfortable fit.
The Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 pack sits reasonably neatly on the shoulders. This is a unisex pack and I have the S/M. I am a UK10 female so the shoulder straps felt quite wide at first. In the end, I didn’t notice the width of the pack and it actually proved to be very comfortable.
There is plenty of adjustment available to keep the pack in place. But it was the chest straps that were my main anxiety when I first set off.
The securing system is a length of elastic cord that affixes to either side of the pack on the shoulder straps. There are two hooks and a couple of loops. It creates a criss-cross look, but for women this means three narrow straps sitting right across the chest. I do not have a large chest so it was fairly comfortable, but I am not sure this pack would suit larger chested ladies.
I prefer a style where I can have sternum straps across the upper chest and below the chest.
The cord and hooks were also a bit of a faff. You need to look for each hook (the bottom hook tended to get caught up under the shoulders straps) and then detangle them and clip them into small fabric loops.
I think there needs to be more loops so it’s easier to move the hooks up and down the shoulder straps, plus I’d prefer larger hooks and loops. I don’t see too well at close distance so I wasted quite a bit of time sorting the chest straps each time I took it off and on. I did get faster at clipping in, but I do not agree with the “simple, time-tested buckle system” claim by Dynafit.
Thankfully, once “buckled” up, the pack stayed comfortably in place and there was no bounce.
There is an additional adjustor at the lower chest area and the base of the pack. You can pull further elastic straps to give a neater fit. Sadly, the first time I pulled the right hand adjustor, it came away. The end that was meant to stay secured to the pack broke off, which rendered it useless.
I didn’t feel I needed this adjustor anyway and I will probably aim to sew it back on, or request a fix from Dynafit.
Other features to like include the reflective details and the waterproof inner pocket.
The windshield is not a feature I can ever imagine using. Perhaps the designers are thinking of a more European market when runners will not be carrying a windproof layer or jacket. In Scotland, there is rarely a time when I would not be carrying or wearing a jacket so I am not sure when the windshield would be used. And it is only a large handkerchief size, so this means it will keep the wind from the front of your chest only. Sorry, Dynafit, but I find this a rather odd extra detail.
In addition, if you are a small sized female, the windshield doesn’t fit too well and mainly flaps about as you run. This is especially true in Scottish wind!
I’d rather swap this windshield for a large phone pocket with a zip and somewhere easier to get in and out of while the pack is on.
Overall, the Dynafit Ultra pro 15 running pack grew on me. I wasn’t sure I would like it due to the chest adjustor system and while it is a bit fiddly, it does actually work well.
The pack stayed in place and felt comfortable while out on the hills for more than six hours. There is enough of room for a summer’s day of running. I thought 15 litres would give me a lot more space than it did, but it was adequate.
I’d like to see a larger zipped pocket for a phone somewhere that is much easier to access. It’s not a cheap pack but has plenty of features.