Trail running in warm temps requires ample water along the way. But, not everyone is keen on running with a hydration pack. And, waist belt bottles or handheld bottles aren’t always convenient, so Patagonia’s Slope Runner Endurance Vest is a good alternative with front flask carry and a little bit of storage for a few necessities.

Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest Features:

  • Low-profile design fits more like a vest than a pack
  • Secure, zippered back pocket that doubles as a stuff sack
  • Adjustable sternum straps for quick fit adjustments
  • Pass-thru stuff sleeve for jackets or other packables
  • Includes two 500mL HydraPak® flasks
  • MSRP: $149.00
Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest Review - Front

Stretchy materials throughout with adjustments galore.

Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest Review - Back

The back features a zippered pocket, hydration sleeve and a pass-thru pocket.

Stay hydrated (way) out there

Patagonia’s trail running athletes don’t mess around. The innovations and advancements that come from their testing benefits both recreational and aggressive runners alike. With that, heading out for a long trail run requires a little more planning and preparation. And, for me, hydration is always at the top of that list. For quick runs of an hour or less, I’m good with my handheld 21 oz. bottle, but for longer runs of 1+ hours, the Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest affords more latitude in storing layers, hydration and nutrition.

As a Boy Scout, I was taught to Be Prepared. And, no matter how long or short my adventures are, that preparation always drives what I bring along. No, that doesn’t mean that I haul a bulky first aid kit and emergency shelter with me on every trail run, but I do like having the ability to bring along the necessities (extra layers, water, a phone and water). Carrying all of that needn’t be uncomfortable and that’s where the Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest comes into play.

Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest Testing

Out on a morning trail run.

This slim-fitting vest is made to sit close to your body and it does so quite well. With a multiplicity of drawcord adjustments, the vest remains comfortable — even as its contents vary. For example, at the beginning of a run, the two sternum straps can be set wide, but as the water disappears, it’s easy to snug things up. I typically tightened the lower strap more than the upper strap because, for me, it stayed in place but didn’t inhibit deep breaths. The simple hook stays put (once attached). I say that because hooking it onto the little loops is oftentimes more challenging than it should be. I’d like to see the Patagonia give the hook loops a touch bigger gap for easier attachment.

With all the adjustments, it’s easy to keep the bottles steady and any contents comfortable. As I said, the sternum straps are easily-adjusted and I end up adjusting them regularly. When things are too loose, the bottles do bounce a little, but quick adjustments to the side and sternum straps minimize that. Over time, I started using the two side toggles to pull the bottles backwards slightly, which has proven to be an even better strategy. Should more water be necessary, a small bladder can be carried in the back sleeve.

Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest Review - Flasks

The flask nozzles tend to go wherever they want.

The two HydraPak flasks are of decent size and the location is mostly convenient. As the water disappears, the nozzles do tend to move inward or outward, thus making access a little bit variable. Speaking of that, be aware that the first drink from the flasks will usually contain a puff of air. After that, it’s nothing but water. Having two separate flasks does allow you to share a bottle, if needed. I did that on a family hike and was the “hydration hero.”

As mentioned previously, using the side toggles to pull the bottles rearward is the best strategy for bottle stability. Consequently, it also makes it easier to use your hand and forearm to squeeze the bottle while taking a drink. It’s a pretty natural movement and works well. Further bottle height adjustments can be made using the shoulder toggles.

With the single, zippered rear pocket, it’s easy to stash a phone, keys and some nutrition. But, things can tend to bounce around — particularly keys. Its placement is such that I can reach into the pocket to retrieve items on-the-fly. All stash pockets remain reachable at any time without vest removal (awesome). On either side of the front, you’ll find stretchy sleeve pockets. They can be used for a phone or nutrition as well, but their placement does interfere with squeezing the flasks. In addition, there is a pass-thru pocket for stashing layers, like a jacket or vest.

Even on the longest runs, I haven’t noticed any chafing issues. Everything really does carry well and breathes  admirably too — thanks to the mesh base material on the vest. I have noticed that if I’m not careful, one side of the vest can get twisted on itself when putting it on. I have to be extra mindful to keep that from happening.

Note: I’m 5’11” and 170 lbs. I wear size medium tops in all things Patagonia and the size medium Slope Runner Endurance Vest fits like a glove.

The Good

  • Carries items well
  • Love the close, garment-style fit
  • All pockets (front/rear) are accessible on-the-fly
  • Easy adjustments to keep things snug
  • Once you figure out bottle placement, drinking is straightforward
  • Nice having your hands free
  • Key clip is always a nice feature to have

The Bad

  • Nozzles can be awkward to reach sometimes for on-the-fly drinking
  • Flasks can bounce unless you adjust tightness regularly
  • It’s easy to get one side twisted on itself while putting on the vest

The Bottom Line: Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest

The Slope Runner Endurance Vest offers ample water carrying and cargo capacity for 2-3 hour adventures and can last longer with an optional bladder. Pockets are easily-used and provide ample utility along the way. And, comfort level is top-notch with this one — it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a backpack.

Buy Now: Available from Patagonia

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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