Inov8 Ultra 1

Bumbags, waist packs, call them what you will, have a strange existence in the UK. Our perceptions are of people stood in fields at car boot sales and pensioners on coach trips. However, they have long been the weapon of choice for storage for fell runners and those travelling fast and light.

Inov8’s Race Ultra™ 1 takes minimalism to a new level.

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Zips, secure pockets, exterior bungees and all things organisational are gone. This isn’t a waist pack for loading with kit for a winter race.

The weight is barely noticeable. 86g without bottles. Effectively the Ultra™ 1 is 86 grams of stretch mesh, buckles and straps.

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With around a kilo added when both 500ml bottles are brimmed, the weight distribution on the hips is precise. This is aided via V-compression straps on the front, which allow adjustments from both sides, providing a custom fit. Between the bottles and compressions straps, there is thin piece of foam on either side, adding comfort and stability. Much like the move to racing vests over traditional rucksacks, this follows the philosophy of creating storage that fits like clothing.

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Storage is provided by three pockets. 2 bottle pockets, with bungee loops for holding the bottles under the caps and a long narrow pocket on the back.

The long pocket sculpts to the body, with a close fit. There is no pocket closure, however this is not an issue given the stretch mesh will fight to return to its normal size. For those looking for something more secure, there is a key loop to attach your metal music makers (I hate running with keys!)

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The bottle pockets are snug with bottles, but these can also be used for gear storage. I’ve fitted in one side pocket 1 pair of Inov8 Racelite gloves, headband and windproof vest with room to spare. You could easily fit a Pertex rain jacket in on top of that.

In use, I often found I only take one 500ml bottle and combine this with a windproof, extremity cover and nutrition in the rear pocket. However, when racing, given many will list 1 litre of water as mandatory kit, this provides an alternate option to carrying bottles on your pack straps.

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The bottles, well there are plenty out there. From traditional cycle style to the ever more popular soft flask. The Inov8 bottles are relatively flat and curved to allow easier fitment on the hips. They work, nice in the hand, have a textured finish to aid grip and you never notice them when on the move.

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And that’s it really.

It’s a minimal piece of kit for those looking to go fast and light, or in conjunction with race vests such as Inov8’s Race Ultra™ 5, 10 or Vest.

I can see more brands adopting a stripped back version to their waist pack collections. Many have more substantial options, but I have yet to find alternatives to better it. Some may argue it needs more security, but Invo8 have an other ranges to suit.

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