Wednesday, 09 November 2016 21:12

Raidlight Ultra Raid 30 Pack: Tested & Reviewed

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Raidlight designed the Ultra Raid 30 pack for adventure racing, storage of enough gear and being as light as possible with enough storage options to get through your adventure. It is part of the Ultralight Olmo range

Raidlight are a French company founded in 1999 by Benoit Laval, avid runner who ran up over 100 Trails on all continents. They specialise in light weight trail and adventure racing. They offer a full range of products that for the various distance and terrain options trail running presents.

The specification and feature list on this pack is huge, the list on the product page on Raidlight’s website doesn’t do it justice.

The pack sits high on the body like a running vest, wrapping around the middle of the torso. The waistbelt pockets are easily accessible, good for carrying snacks and gels. There is also a slim pocket on the left side that will take a mobile or mp3 player, the pack is supplied with an extension cable for earphones which pops out behind your head.

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For such a minimal pack the padding in the shoulder straps and the contact areas on the back and around the side of the body add a lot of comfort whilst moving. The padding is zoned to allow some air movement, in real time use the benefit isn’t that noticeable but without it may coused my back temperature to raise further.

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The fabric over the padding caused a little bit of wear on a lightweight polyester windshirt, leaving some bobbling on the back of the shoulders and around the sides where the waist pockets are. I don’t think the fabric on the pack is too abrasive, but with the combination of both materials I would think it would be common for any polyester shirt to do it. Something to consider when choosing kit to go with it.

The pack has a teardrop shape which is really noticeable when you are packing kit into it. The bottom swallowed a whole load of gear which was a nice surprise as I was concerned about how I was going to everything in it.

The flap opens up to the main section and gives easy access to the contents. Inside you can clearly see all the storage pockets to separate and organise your kit.

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There are options for hydration. A bladder can go inside the main compartment and feed through the hole on the top. There is a minimal layer of padding which has a reflective layer to prevent heat transfer to the bladder

Or it can be secured in a specifically designed compartment in the main compartment flap and again feed out.

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I didn’t use a bladder when I used it. I went for the 2 bottle in the shoulder strap approach. Without the bottles in their holsters it makes the sternum strap a bit more difficult to get right. Definitely using just one puts the front section of kilter. The bottle come separately, as it’s integral to the security of the front section it’s my opinion they should come with it. Another advantage is it balances out the weight of the pack better.

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The bottle holders have slots, pockets and loops to accommodate gels etc. I used one side for my compass on the OMM.

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They also have patented front carry system for poles. I only did this again with the bottles in place. It is handy when you need to get rid of poles if the ground becomes too steep.

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There is also a diagonal system on the back for a more permanent pole storage.

The elastic netted pockets on the sides are huge. I used mine to stiff my waterproof in. I think I could have got it in there another twice over. There is also a cord volume reducing system that will draw the pack in from 30 litres to as little as 10. This was a bonus when the food supplies depleted.

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The base of the pack has a flat pocket which can be accessed from a zip on one side. I didn’t use this either but I think I might be able to fold my inflatable mat to fit in there. Surrounding it are 4 loops, which could accommodate an underslung tent. With the height of the pack on the back anything fixed there wouldn’t hang low on at all.

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With all these pockets and storage options separating gear into areas of the Ultra Raid 30 allows kit to be in the right place when you need it. You just need to remember where you put it!

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The Ultra Raid 30 did great job through my trail running training and the big event. Did I mention I did the OMM this year?!? It was comfortable, swallowed up all the kit I needed and some I didn’t. There was no sign of it becoming unbalanced and was secure to body throughout. I was glad not to be distracted by what can be an awkward lump on my back. It is a great balance between lightweight and comfort. I’ll be happy to use it for non-running days out. I have become accustomed to having my water strapped to my front in easy reach.

We hope to get some more of Raidlights kit in for our Trail Running Team to show you.