uswe pace packs
AccessoriesGear Reviews

USWE Pace Hydration Vests Review

What You Need To Know

  • Sweden-based pack company with a mission to end bounce
  • All packs utilize USWE’s harness suspension system (think race car seatbelt) to eliminate bounce, and it works exceptionally well
  • Exceptional storage space featuring two shoulder flasks`
  • Lightweight, breathable design

ALEX: The USWE Pace 2 vest is my first experience with this Swedish brand, and it’s safe to say I’m impressed. It features the brand’s patented “No Dancing Monkey” suspension harness system for more natural movement and a comfortable fit. The idea being that most packs feel like you have a dancing monkey on your back, but with USWE, when it comes to fit – it’s on like Donkey Kong. Enough with the specs, let’s get into the details.  

ROBBE: Like Alex, this is also my first experience with USWE. We’ve tested a lot of hydration vests and packs, and I can almost always find something annoying or wrong with them. Usually it has to do with the fit and bounce, other times it’s the pocket layout. I tested the USWE Pace

The Good

ALEX: The Pace 2 delivers on its no-bounce guarantee. It fits well, and I really appreciate the side adjustment. Many hydration vests out there only tighten across the chest and can feel restrictive. With the Pace 2, it’s quick and easy to secure the right fit. The ventilated mesh body provides airflow on both the front and back of the vest making this a great option for the heatwave currently consuming the midwest. 

The overall design of the vest is clean and simple. I’m usually skeptical of white on the trails, but the materials are surprisingly easy to keep clean. The Polygience Stay Fresh treatment keeps the vest feeling fresh and odor-free while giving the product a longer lifespan, which reduces its carbon footprint. 

I absolutely love the front closure. Unclipping and reclipping with one hand is a breeze and a nice change from the comparatively clumsy buckles and clips on other vests. The single attachment point is also perfectly adequate to keep the vest feeling secure. 

Finally, the Pace 2 is well-balanced when it comes to pocket placement with two easy-access front stretch pockets, a large zippered stash back pocket big enough to stash full rain gear, two 500 ml soft flask pockets, and energy/food shoulder pockets.

ROBBE: I’m typically skeptical of most claims from hydration vest companies because rarely do they pull through. My mind has been changed. I love this vest. The harness suspension system is everything I’ve always wanted from the fit of a pack. It really does feel like you’re locking yourself into a race car with the center chest buckle. Essentially it forms a 4-point suspension so the energy is distributed evenly between points, whereas other packs still put a lot of weight on the shoulders.

And let me tell ya – the fit is perfect. They weren’t kidding when they said there wasn’t any bounce. I wore this on runs ranging from 6 miles to 22 miles (in July Maryland weather) and enjoyed every moment with this pack. I also appreciated the pocket locations, something that bothers me about a lot of vests. There are two quick-access pockets (four if you use a hydration pack instead of soft flasks) on the front, so I was easily able to store my phone, GoPro, nutrition, and more in different spaces but still access all of them with equal ease. The pack also features quick-access shoulder pockets for nutrition, which is pretty cool.

At 8 liters, this pack has plenty of storage for most excursions. There’s an Inner No Bounce Compression Compartment with pull-straps to cinch down a hydration pack (not included). I used my Camelbak 64 oz. bladder and it fit just perfectly with no room to spare. The outer space has ample storage for a jacket/change of clothes. It also has two zippered side pockets on the back.

I didn’t use them but the front of the pack also has trekking pole loops for storage on the run, which is interesting, because most packs have them on the back. Not sure if that would be cumbersome or not.

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pace-2-back

The Bad

ALEX: The pack comes with and is designed to hold straw bottles. I’m not a huge fan of straws because they tend to bounce and require a bit more upkeep than normal bottles. Not a huge issue, but kind of annoying. 

The trekking pole carry system on the front doesn’t feel that great, either. The attached poles are angled over the front of the vest and across the water bottles, making the Pace 2 feel a little front-heavy at times and restricting bottle access.

ROBBE: So, my pack didn’t come with any bottles. I’m assuming cause it was a sample and they just forgot. But I’m also not a fan of straw bottles, and I have some Salomon and Camelbak soft flasks that worked fine. Other than that, I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t have any issues with this pack and kept coming back to it for all my trail and long run adventures.

I didn’t use the shoulder pockets, but I’ve read in other reviews that they don’t hold Maurtens or larger gels (or secure gels properly). So that’s not cool. There also isn’t a proper closure for the water flask pockets (I’m assuming they assume you’ll use the straw flasks?), so that could end poorly.

Lastly, the safety whistle is on a little loop right beside the plastic harness buckle, so when you’re running it clicks against it constantly and is incredibly annoying. You can stash it in the flask pocket, but it eventually comes out and keeps clicking away. PLEASE FIX THIS.

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uswe pace 8 pack

USWE Pace Vests Conclusion

ALEX: USWE’s Pace 2 hydration vest features a minimal, clean design that’s ideal for moving fast. There’s plenty of storage for all of your running needs in a well-ventilated package that keeps miles light and airy. 

ROBBE: I love a lot of things about this pack. Their suspension system has to be one of the best in the game and I loved the way this vest felt on the run – literally like having a second skin. There are some misses that you may want to keep in mind when considering a pack, but if you’re most concerned about fit, then you can’t do better than USWE. It’s a bit pricier than most running vests, but it’s worth it in spades for the quality you get in return.

You can pick up the USWE Pace 2 for $140 and the Pace 8 for $160 by using the shop link below.

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uswe pace 8 baltimore

Alex is an ultra runner who lives for the long, cold Minnesota winters. She works in public health and enjoys applying creative problem solving to emerging health and environmental issues faced by local communities.

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