Instinct makes some of the best minimalist vests out there for distance running, allowing you to carry all the refreshments you need along with some essentials, so you don’t have to carry a full-sized bag when you’re training. Their newest model, the Instinct X, offers the best balance of size and capacity, staying minimalist with its body-hugging vest form factor while giving you a handy compartment for carrying any gear you need.
Billed as an “intuitive trail running vest,” the accessory boasts a generous 10-liters of storage capacity, which should be enough to pack a change of clothes, your phone, and a few other training essentials, along with all the refreshments you need to sustain your pace on the trail. Even better, it does that while holding flush to your body, so none of your gear goes bouncing, shifting, and moving around while you pound the dirt with all your might.
The Instinct X is a technical and lightweight vest that’s been built for trail running from the ground up, with a design that sits high on the torso to put any weight it’s carrying on the chest and shoulders, while using a combination of straps and compression cords to keep it stable while you run, jump, and occasionally fall over. Specifically, it uses adjustable chest straps with 20 cm sliders that let you customize the fit both vertically and horizontally, as well as two elastic cross-lacing with auto-locks for side adjustments on the fly at any time.
Its primary use, of course, is keeping you hydrated, so it gets two elastic pockets out in front to accommodate your choice of water bottles, bladders, or soft flasks. Both pockets sit high up in the vest to make it easy to grab a bottle, get a sip, and stash it back while on the move, while elastic auto-locking compression cords keep in place the whole time.
The Instinct X also gets a host of other pockets out front. There are two feed storage pockets below the bottle slots, for instance, which will be great for power bars and other small snacks, as well as two zippered pockets large enough to hold smartphones, wallets, and similar essentials (like more snacks). On the shoulder sits a zippered pocket for other stuff you want to access quickly, with an integrated whistle attached to the inside using a cord ring, just in case you need to call out for help really quickly.
Out back, it gets an auto-locking horizontal pocket on top that you can reach without removing the bag, which they recommend using for stashing rain gear, so you can cover up in case it suddenly starts raining while you’re in the middle of your training. The main compartment, though, is a U-shaped zippered pocket that you can use to carry larger items. It also gets two bottom horizontal pockets, one side-access pocket, one vertical top-access pocket with a buckle-and-Velcro closure, and three mounting options for poles, in case you’re spending the night in the backcountry.
The Instinct X is available now, priced at €160.