When you’re running, you sometimes need more than the clothes on your back and the tunes on your mp3 player.
With trail running becoming more popular, where days are spent exploring and running across terrain, the need for Running Bags that can hold food, extra layers and equipment has increased. Obviously, you don’t want to be laden down so you need a bag that fits tight and doesn’t bounce as you run.
Running bags typically feature ‘Load-stabilizing compression straps’. These allow your weight to be equally distributed providing you with better balance as your run. As running bags need to sit close to your back for the maximum amounts of support, and least 'bounce', they are also created with ventilated back panels. These are excellent at letting hot air and sweat escape. Bags with ventilated back panelling areas are suspended via a lightweight frame away from your back so moisture can be vented out and cool air can circulate.
Padded straps are commonly used in the shoulders and on the hip or waistbelt. These areas of padding add comfort, making your bag even comfier on long runs.
Hipbelts are common in running bags for the extra support they offer. These fit as they suggest, on the hips and add in extra torsional control.
Openings can be paneled, with a main zip opening, or a duffle style bag with a drawstring, known as a top loading bag.
Panelled day bags can be opened with ease and make packing easy, whereas duffle style top loader bags are harder to gain access too, but can take extra items due to their extended height.
Your running bag needs to be both comfortable and supportive. Straps with layers of padding allow your running bag to sit comfortably on your shoulders without digging in. You may also benefit from an additional waist strap on your running bag.
This makes sure the bag sits neatly on your stomach and distributes the weight so the burden is not all on your shoulders, providing excellent torsional support.
In terms of fabric and general construction, look for bags that have ripstop construction or are abrasion resistant as these can withstand rough terrains, slips and falls.
Nylon and polyester are often used separately or are blended in a diagonal weave to create a ‘ripstop’ fabric that is sturdy enough for multiple trips. Ripstop nylon is constructed to prevent tears progressing along the material and is important in abrasive environments.
Coated, Breathable Nylons can be used in a bag to make it waterproof by spreading a thin layer of resin directly onto the inside face of the fabric called a hydrophilic coating.
Water repellency can be added to your bag at the final stage of manufacturing, whereby a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) is applied to the bag’s fabric to help it repel water. However, to make a bag full waterproof it would need sealed seams, as well as a PTFE membrane, which most bags do not use because of the excess expense.
The best way to add water repellency to your bag is to use a rain cover, or to keep your belongings within a stuff sack or dry bag, which can keep them protected. To read more on waterproofing, see our Guide To Waterproofing.