Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

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For distance runners, finding the right kind of backpack for long runs can be difficult. There are many factors to consider. After my cheap Jansport fell apart last month I started looking for a replacement. I need something that I can run/joggle with that doesn’t shake too much, or stick out too much. It’s also very important that the shoulder strap feels comfortable, almost like it’s not there. And, obviously, allows full freedom of movement for my arms. After a lot of searching, I decided to get the Black Diamond Bullet, which is great for day-trips, hiking, and based on my experience, running/joggling. I tried it out at the store first before ordering it online. It was cheaper buying it online, though I still think it costs a little more than it should. Hopefully it will prove it’s worth. If it lasts me many years then I will consider the price justified.

I rarely need to run with a backpack. I only bring one with me for long runs that require energy bars, water, and sometimes lunch. However, I always bring a backpack with my on hikes. Though I just got it, the Black Diamond Bullet seems to be near perfect for long runs. It’s pretty compact, low-profile(doesn’t stick out too much) and besides the main, roomy compartment, has only one outside pocket. I don’t need so many small pockets like you see on other backpacks. This backpack is great for carrying a change of clothes, along with shoes, juice, and energy bars. The product dimensions are 6 x 16 x 9 inches ; 13 ounces. It’s volume is 16 litters, and it is made of “Tough” 420d nylon and 1260d Ballistic nylon. It has both a chest and waist strap to improve stability while running or rock-scrambling. So far, I’ve only had to use the chest strap.

Although I’ve already used it for short hikes and runs, I finally decided to test it out on a moderately long run. Yesterday, I ran 13.1 miles(a half-marathon) with it through Central Park, one of the busiest parks in New York City. I had a half full water bottle and 3 Cliff Bars in the backpack while running, and I used the chest strap. It was a pleasant day, with temperatures going from the upper 60s to low 70s while I ran. It was mostly cloudy, but dry.

As I am sure most of you know, I am a joggler, so I am even more particular when it comes to choosing the right kind of backpack for running. I need to be able to move my arms without any interference from the shoulder or chest straps.

I am happy to report that this backpack allowed total freedom of movement of my arms. So much so, that I joggled the entire 13.1 miles without dropping the balls even once(and I didn’t get mugged either!). I admit I did stop juggling a few times, like when I had to cross some busy paths, or when it got very crowded, but these stops were very brief. I still do drop often enough that this surprised even me. Sometimes it felt like the backpack wasn’t even there.

It is very more surprising that I didn’t drop considering all the tricks I was doing, like high throws, “tennis”, spins, and even backwards joggling, without any problems. Though I mostly stayed on the main running path, I sometimes did run on some dirt trails and up and down hills. This bag has many straps, which I thought might interfere with my joggling, but I tucked the longish waist straps which I didn’t use into my running belt.

I will definitely use this if I do any ultra-runs(it is hydration compatible, but I don’t think I’ll be using this feature). I am mindful that just because something feels comfortable at 13 miles doesn’t mean it will still feel comfortable by mile 40 or 50. I realize there are backpacks specifically for ultra-runners, but they are either too expensive, or they have some features I don’t care for. Besides this, I don’t think they are really necessary.

I will let everyone know how it goes if I should do an ultra-run. Be aware that this backpack has no padding for your back, so be careful what you put in it so it doesn’t nudge you. Even though I had a water bottle in the pack, my back didn’t feel it. I hope it lasts a lot longer than the Jansport. The more I think about it, the more joggling seems like an ideal way to test out backpacks and how much freedom of movement they allow.

Overall, it was a lot of fun testing this backpack out in Central Park, the heart of Manhattan. I even had my vegan T-shirt on; some people were intrigued by the fact that the man joggling around the park is a vegan. It’s great that what I do gets people thinking! Overall, the people in the park loved my joggling, especially the tourists and children. I was hoping to run into some fellow jogglers down there, but I didn’t see any unfortunately. However, there are always a lot of street acrobats and other amazing performers in Central Park who are very entertaining. Be sure to check them out if you’re ever in the city.

Map of my run

Map of my run

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4 responses to “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

  1. Nice running map. I hope to run into you one fine day when I’m in New York.

  2. Awesome Chris, it’s great that this pack is working so well for you. I personally found it fiendlishly difficult to find a suitable back/hydration pack for running long distances. As you can probably guess, I’m using it a lot at the moment and will need to carry it in my upcoming races, so finding something suitable was quite important. I’ve found that most backpacks are essentially build for the male anatomy: with longer backs and wider necklines. There are only a few female specific ones, and it does make a big difference, especially over longer distances. After struggling with Camelbak and Solomon for a while, I decided to try a female specific Osprey Verve pack, and couldn’t be happier. It’s strictly speaking for mountain biking, but the only thing that really makes it so is a little clip to hold the helmet. It’s great for running. I’ll have to see if it’s any good for joggling though! 😉

    • I’m glad you also found a bag that works for you. Does the cameback-hydration feature taste like plastic? Many people have problems with this because of the taste or concern for toxins in the plastic. Take care and good luck with the Big Race!

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