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For those who are experienced in the trail running world will tell you, behind a good pair of shoes, the hydration vest is the next most important piece of equipment.

As the sport grows in popularity, more and more brands, both old and new, are releasing more specialised trail running gear.

For the past couple of weeks I have been trying out The North Face’s new Flight Race Day Vest 8.

As a middle to ultra distance trail runner, the ability to carry important nutrition in a pack that sits comfortably over long distances is of paramount importance to me when looking for a new hydration vest.

Out of the box you can see the vest is up there with the best on the market at 124 grams. Technically and aesthetically, it has all the attributes that you would associate with a premium hydration vest. With a slightly higher price tag than most hydration vests on the market at R3299, The North Face have gone all out to justify the price.

The Flight Race Day Vest 8 managed to wrap snugly around my chest, shoulders and back. The technical stretch and breathable fabric made for a comfortable and cool running experience. The clips around the front are both horizontally and vertically adjustable to give the ultimate custom fit around your chest. Given my rather small chest size this feature helped me out a lot and if you are of a leaner build I would recommend going down a size. The North Face team has also added 360 degree reflectivity for safety when running at night.

In terms of volume for storing all the necessary nutrition, the vest supplies a total of 8l of space which is more than enough to get you through a long training run or race that has regular aid stations. It would not be suitable for self-supported ultra distance adventure races. The vest hosts a number of layered pockets down the front for nutrition storage as well as space for a water bladder on the back.

2x 500ml retractable water flasks come with the vest and one of the coolest additions is the leash system that is attached to the bottles. These allow you to easily remove the bottles from the pockets but at the same time makes it effortless to return. A smart design upgrade from the North Face Flight trail vest and personally, a real highlight for me.

The North Face has even included a zipped pocket on the left hand side front for your cell phone for when that all important trail-selfie needs to happen as well as a minimalist whistle to meet race regulations.

The North Face Flight Race Vest 8 ticks all the important boxes for me, comfortability, storage space and done so in an easy to use/practical way. It does look cool too!

Their first shipment sold out in no time at all but when the next shipment drops, check it out for yourself at

- Jono, photos by Christy Richards


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