Gear Review: Salomon S/LAB SENSE ULTRA 5 SET Running Vest

FasterSkierDecember 5, 2019
Jesse Knori somewhere near her hometown hills outside Jackson, Wyoming.


If you are still running with a traditional drink belt strapped to your waist — listen here: It’s time to give up the drink belt for running excursions. The fight is over and the running vest is miles ahead of you, already sipping a refreshing recovery drink at the parking lot––heck they might have even swapped their cold, sweaty top layer for a warm, dry one by now. Instead of spending time catering to your bruised hips and a sore back from the bumpy ride of the drink belt; swap it out and enjoy more storage, convenient water access and a “barely there” feel.

From the dawn of the CamelBak, which might date some readers, to the svelt body-hugging running vest of today, it’s a buyers market when it comes to options including fit, color, and the ad-nauseam accessories. One brand that was an early entrant into the more tech featured running vest niche was Salomon. Many of their running vests share the most basic of templates: a wrap-around vest made with breathable and stretchy fabric and plenty of pockets. 

For the past several months, I’ve been testing the Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra 5 Set, which includes two soft flasks. The “5” in the name represents the volume of the vests carrying capacity for extra gear. There’s a back pocket/sleeve Salomon wisely calls a “kangaroo” pocket. That rear pocket is perfect for stashing a windbreaker, or a light extra layer you might want to haul on your run.

The vest comes with 2 zippered side pockets(you can stuff a light windbreaker there too), and several pockets for nutrition, gloves, and a hat. It’s a fast feeling and looking pack. For those with an average ape-index, you can reach all your gear mid-stride, including items in the kangaroo pocket.

Perfect Distance: <4 hours

Temperature: Reasonably Sustained (not a ton of layer swapping)

Storage: 5L

Liquid Capacity: 1L

User Pros: 

  1. Lightweight
  2. Comfortable
  3. Plenty of secure storage space
  4. Customizable front adjustments for fit 
  5. All pockets reachable while on the move 
  6. No chaffing in even the hottest of conditions

User Cons:

  1. Perhaps too many storage pockets for the length of time the vest supports
  2. Takes some finessing to get the water jugs to sit still on fast terrain
  3. No space for extra water (However, if you are looking for water bladder storage upgrade to the Salomon ADV Skin 12)

Bottom Line: This vest performs with ease as you jump from rock to rock, downhill to pavement, and everything in between. A great running race vest for any distance (especially when refueling stations are an option). 

Like many Solomon products, you pay a premium for the refined design and premium fabrics. The vest retails for $155.00. (If you do your homework, it’s possible to find the vest on  sale.) And for those with fashion sense, it comes in several color options: black, blue, and red — with sizes ranging from XS, S, M, L, and XL. Here’s a link to Salomon’s running vest size chart.


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