Nathan Pinnacle 12L - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, huge storage capacity, great pockets, lots of size options, durable
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Nathan Pinnacle 12L - Women's
|Price||$199.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
$164.99 at Amazon
|$111.93 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
$99.90 at Amazon
|$81.93 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Comfortable, huge storage capacity, great pockets, lots of size options, durable||Ultra comfortable, stretchy, breathable, simple yet precise pockets||Incredibly comfortable, great pockets, breathable||Affordable, ample water storage, user-friendly, durable||Rugged, affordable, comfortable, intelligent hydration system, solid pole holders|
|Cons||Expensive||No trekking pole attachment, slight sloshing, pricey||Strange hydration straws, average storage capacity||Less gear storage, less frills||Poor volume to weight ratio, less soft|
|Bottom Line||The most comfortable and spacious hydration pack that we have tested to date||A super comfortable and brilliantly designed hydration pack for long days on your feet||A storage-oriented hydration vest that wears like a silky-smooth second skin and packs all of the essentials with ease||This is an affordable pack that offers ample storage with enough room for your trail running essentials||An affordable running partner with a great design, built for the grittiest trails you can find|
|Rating Categories||Nathan Pinnacle 12L||Nathan VaporHowe 2....||Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set||Nathan TrailMix 7L...||Osprey Dyna 6 - Wom...|
|Hydration System (15%)|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (15%)|
|Specs||Nathan Pinnacle 12L||Nathan VaporHowe 2....||Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set||Nathan TrailMix 7L...||Osprey Dyna 6 - Wom...|
|Weight (without hydration system)||7.20 oz||7.09 oz||10.16 oz||7.13 oz||10.69 oz|
|Carrying Capacity (liters)||12L||12L||8L||7L||5L|
|Included Liquid Capacity (liters)||1.6L||1.6L||1L||2L||1.5L|
|OGL Volume to Weight Ratio (bigger is better!)||1.6||1.69||0.79||0.98||0.46|
|External Storage||Large rear kangaroo pocket, front nutrition or soft flask accomodations||Nutrition pouches on the front||Many bungees and one kangaroo-esque pocket||Rear daisy chain, pole holder loops, and nutrition pockets||Back flap pouch, front external pockets, zipper pulls are bungee loops|
|Type of Water Storage||1.6 liter hourglass, insulated reservoir||1.6 liter hourglass, insulated reservoir||2 soft 500mL bottles||2L reservoir||1.5L reservoir|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nathan Pinnacle 12L is one of the most comfortable and spacious packs we've ever had the pleasure of testing. Its exceptional volume to weight ratio and high-tech hydration system make it a worthy investment.
When it comes to comfort, the Pinnacle truly shines. This vest is comprised of 85% polyester, 8% nylon, 4% spandex, and 2% rubber wire. This cocktail of textiles culminates in one of the softest and most breathable vests we've ever felt.
Nathan offers 6 size options, from XXS to XL, to help ensure a proper fit for all runners. Because this vest is frameless, it hugs the body in just the right way. We found this vest to run true to size, but we recommend reviewing Nathan's size chart before purchasing. Because the lower portion of the vest isn't adjustable, it's vital to ensure a proper fit. Otherwise, you might find yourself loaded with gear in an ill-fitted vest. Overall, with the proper fit, this vest is sure to offer you all of the storage you need for even the longest days on your feet.
We noticed that the Pinnacle provides a more dispersed weight distribution profile compared to other hydration vests. The ability to stuff your pack full and run with the weight equally distributed is one of the many reasons we love this vest. The clip closures on the front are adjustable to tighten it, and the clips can slide up and down the breast rail to place the pressure where it feels best on your body. In addition to a full hydration bladder, the rails offer just enough structure to keep the pack in place. Our only comfort complaint is that if the back upper portion isn't immaculately Velcro-ed together, we noticed our (admittedly long) hair getting caught up in it. This issue was solved by changing the configuration of our ponytails, so we don't think it detracts from the experience of wearing this vest as a whole.
The Pinnacle is stacked with features. From its stealth pole holders to its well-thought-out pocket placement to its ultra-breathable fabric, this is a vest done right. Nathan reconfigured the pack to be light while maintaining ample storage capacity.
The pack contains two easily accessed kangaroo pockets. These are in addition to the water-resistant breast panel pockets, both with zippered closures. The right breast panel pocket even has a small pill pocket with a safety whistle in case of emergencies.
The tech-savvy shape of the Pinnacle allows for a "chimney-wicking" effect and keeps the air flowing. We love that all of the pocket openings are big enough to pack and rearrange our gear easily. This hydration vest offers significantly fewer loops and cords than others, but we never found this feature to be lacking because of the exceptional pocket space. Nathan recommends storing your trekking poles in one of the zippered closure breast pockets, and this definitely works. We generally use our trekking poles sparingly, so we found that we preferred carrying them in the large back pocket. No matter your desired configuration, we think it's pretty notable that a 7.2 oz hydration pack has more than one option for trekking pole storage!
This pack comes equipped with an intelligently designed hourglass-shaped, 1.6L insulated hydration bladder. We love an insulated hydration bladder, especially one with ergonomics in mind, and this one is top tier. Because the Pinnacle offers so much space for gear, we think it's a great vest for super long days in the backcountry and, you guessed it, ultramarathoners.
With this in mind, we wish this vest came with a bit more water-storage capacity. We found ourselves crouching over alpine lakes to filter water and refill the bladder on our longest days. We also noticed some sloshing of the water when we ran without anything else in the back chambers of the pack. However, once we loaded up our gear, this issue was totally mitigated. The hydration system is clearly well-designed.
From the Velcro loop to secure the hose in place to the shoulder and breast panel loops to keep it going in the right direction, the mouthpiece will always be right where you need it to be. This is yet another Nathan hydration system with a long hose. There is even a movable magnet clip that comes on the hose. The opposite piece of the magnet can only be moved vertically, but this still gives a lot of variety when configuring its position.
The front pockets are deep enough to accommodate soft 500mL bottles, though those are not included. We did a few long runs with the bladder and our own soft flasks and still found the weight to be well-distributed. Ultimately, we are pretty satisfied with the hydration system.
Volume to Weight Ratio
Here we have another metric in which the Pinnacle shines. The total volume of this hydration pack is 12L, and it weighs in at 7.2 oz without the hydration bladder. This makes its volume-to-weight ratio one of the best out of the group of packs we tested.
Nathan thought of everything, it seems, when designing this pack. The low weight and abundant storage make it a winner in our books.
The Pinnacle has 15 external pockets — 15! Honestly, it's so many pockets that you might have a hard time navigating this pack on its maiden voyage — that was our experience anyway. We say that with love, of course, as we are obsessed with pockets.
Let's start with the back. The deepest pocket's backing is comprised of 3 panels, a nylon one in the center and a strong mesh-like panel on either side of that. This pocket is, naturally, for the hydration bladder. The next back pocket, moving away from the body, has a Velcro closure and is about 5-inches wide by 6-inches deep. We love the uniqueness of this pocket, as many packs do not offer this much variety. The most superficial pocket runs the entire length, but only half the width, and has a Velcro closure. This pocket is interesting because it also offers a unilateral entry point with a Velcro closure. This is an awesome kangaroo pocket for stashing a layer on those days when you aren't sure if you're too hot or too cold.
A diagonally placed zipper also runs the length of the pack and allows a wide access point to items stowed in the right half of the pack. We love how thoughtfully this pocket was designed; it has a stretchy bit of fabric adhered at the base to prevent items from tumbling out of your pack while on the trail.
Beneath each armpit, there is a small pouch with a light elastic top. These pockets aren't very big or secure, but they offer easy access to items you might not want to rummage through the larger pockets to find. We also like the symmetry of the front pocket placement. Each chest panel has a long pocket for water bottles with additional pockets on top of those. On dry days, we placed our smartphones and nutrition in these pockets. The scrunchy elastic closures kept our items safe and secure. Running parallel to each of the front railings is a zipper. Each zipper grants access to long, spacious front pockets. As previously mentioned, these pockets are water-resistant and can be a great home for your trekking poles. The small pill pocket inside the right breast pocket is great for stashing your keys, chapstick, or anything you want to keep super safe.
The Pinnacle is on the pricier side for sure. Because it offers so many bells and whistles (literally), we find the higher price to be well worth it. This pack is durable, smartly designed, and has an excellent storage capacity. While it isn't a budget buy by any means, it is versatile enough to suit all of your running needs.
Whether you're looking for a trail running sidekick, marathon mate, or a super smooth vest to bring with you on day hikes, the Nathan Pinnacle 12L is a great choice. The size options and soft body ensure a comfy fit, and the abundant pocket space is out of this world. If you don't mind shelling out a bit of extra cash in the name of comfort, we recommend the Pinnacle. With 15 easy-to-access pockets, an insulated hydration bladder, and surprisingly low weight, we think you'll love toting this pack on all of your adventures as much as we did.
— Ally Arcuri
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