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Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set Review

A storage-oriented hydration vest that wears like a silky-smooth second skin and packs all of the essentials with ease
Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set
Photo: Salomon
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $150 List | $123.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Incredibly comfortable, great pockets, breathable
Cons:  Strange hydration straws, average storage capacity
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 20, 2021
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 9
  • Comfort - 30% 9
  • Features - 25% 8
  • Hydration System - 15% 7
  • Volume to Weight Ratio - 15% 6
  • Pockets - 15% 8

Our Verdict

Upon being introduced to the Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set, we quickly realized that this is a hydration vest we would hate to be without. This vest our favorite pick for training. From its silky-smooth exterior to its well-designed pocket space, we think most people will find something to love about this female-specific running vest. It's sleek, well-fitted, and can accommodate up to 8L of gear, which includes 1L of water split between two soft flasks. There are accommodations for a hydration bladder, but it doesn't come included with your purchase. Ultimately, we think you'll love the customizable fit and second-skin-like feel of this durable hydration system.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $123.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$199.95 at BackcountryCheck Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
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Star Rating
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Pros Incredibly comfortable, great pockets, breathableComfortable, huge storage capacity, great pockets, lots of size options, durableUltra comfortable, stretchy, breathable, simple yet precise pocketsAffordable, ample water storage, user-friendly, durableRugged, affordable, comfortable, intelligent hydration system, solid pole holders
Cons Strange hydration straws, average storage capacityExpensiveNo trekking pole attachment, slight sloshing, priceyLess gear storage, less frillsPoor volume to weight ratio, less soft
Bottom Line A storage-oriented hydration vest that wears like a silky-smooth second skin and packs all of the essentials with easeThe most comfortable and spacious hydration pack that we have tested to dateA super comfortable and brilliantly designed hydration pack for long days on your feetThis is an affordable pack that offers ample storage with enough room for your trail running essentialsAn affordable running partner with a great design, built for the grittiest trails you can find
Rating Categories Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set Nathan Pinnacle 12L Nathan VaporHowe 2.... Nathan TrailMix 7L... Osprey Dyna 6 - Wom...
Comfort (30%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Features (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Hydration System (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Volume To Weight Ratio (15%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
3.0
Pockets (15%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set Nathan Pinnacle 12L Nathan VaporHowe 2.... Nathan TrailMix 7L... Osprey Dyna 6 - Wom...
Weight (without hydration system) 10.16 oz 7.20 oz 7.09 oz 7.13 oz 10.69 oz
Carrying Capacity (liters) 8L 12L 12L 7L 5L
Included Liquid Capacity (liters) 1L 1.6L 1.6L 2L 1.5L
OGL Volume to Weight Ratio (bigger is better!) 0.79 1.6 1.69 0.98 0.46
External Storage? Yes- many bungees and one kangaroo-esque pockey Yes- large rear kangaroo pocket, front nutrition or soft flask accomodations. Yes- Nutrition pouches on the front Yes- rear daisy chain, pole holder loops, and nutrition pockets. Yes- back flap pouch, front external pockets, zipper pulls are bungee loops, plus a bottom loop that runs horizontally
Type of Water Storage 2 soft 500mL bottles 1.6 liter hourglass, insulated reservoir 1.6 liter hourglass, insulated reservoir 2 liter reservoir 1.5 liter reservoir
Pole Holders? Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Despite weighing in in the middle of the pack, we never felt weighed down when out on the trails in the ADV Skin 8. This vest offers a surprising amount of accessible storage and fits diverse shapes and sizes with ease. If you're looking for a soft hydration system that allows easy access to water, this just might be the pack for you.

Performance Comparison


We love spending days deep in the forest with our supplies in the...
We love spending days deep in the forest with our supplies in the ADV Skin 8.
Photo: Ally Meller

Comfort


Upon first feel, this pack is impressive. The material is smooth to the touch and is practically begging to be worn while running long distances. Each and every time we strapped this hydration vest onto our bodies, we immediately felt comfortable.


The ADV Skin 8 fits like a favorite piece of clothing, so we never once chaffed or felt inclined to ditch this pack throughout our battery of extreme tests. In fact, it quickly became one of the vests we would reach for again and again.

Despite its less-than-ideal weight rating, we always feel like we...
Despite its less-than-ideal weight rating, we always feel like we can zip up hills in this hydration vest.
Photo: Ally Meller

Unlike many of its competitors, the ADV Skin 8 utilizes a hook and elastic band system for closure instead of the popular lightweight buckle option. This vest earned major points due to the versatility of this closure. To secure the pack in place, you simply loop the elastic around one hook and then the other. You can customize the fit by cinching the drawstring fastener tighter or looser, depending on your anatomy and how much gear you're hauling. The MotionFit system, in conjunction with the included soft flasks, decreases pressure on the breasts when compared to some unisex hydration systems. Furthermore, this respectful closure allows the lungs to expand to their full capacity when the going gets tough.

We love the highly-customizable cord closure of this pack.
We love the highly-customizable cord closure of this pack.
Photo: Ally Meller

Features


This vest comes equipped with multiple movable elastic loops and cords that can be used in a variety of different ways. One of the most useful ways, in our opinion, is to configure the loops to pack your trekking poles. We love how customizable this is.


Since we often run with a lot of gear in our front pockets, we found our favorite pole holding solution to be on the back. We changed and often reconfigured to provide accurate information, but we felt strong and balanced, although wide and maybe dangerous, with the poles attached horizontally on the back of the pack. Our larger-than-average trekking poles stayed well attached through our runs, though.

Horizontal trekking pole storage definitely decreases a slender...
Horizontal trekking pole storage definitely decreases a slender profile but this was a great solution we found for hauling our less-than-collapsible poles.
Photo: Ally Meller

The ADV Skin 8 is mainly comprised of polyester materials and can be washed in cold water in your sink or bathtub. The fabric doesn't allow odors to cling onto it, a gross but natural part of spending hours on the trails. We noticed minor snagging of the fabric across the large panels as we used this pack. However, the ADV Skin 8 is durably built, and just the surfaces ended up showing signs of use.

Why not rip up some PNW trails in our favorite hydration vest? Don't...
Why not rip up some PNW trails in our favorite hydration vest? Don't mind if we do...
Photo: Ally Meller

Hydration System


The ADV Skin 8 comes with two soft, 500mL flasks for quick and easy access to 1L of water while on the run. The soft water pouches are shaped in such a way that they contour to the fit of your body in an exceptionally comfortable way.


However, we find the straws to be unique and occasionally burdensome. They are so tall! Admittedly, our lead tester has small, narrow shoulders; the straws will be more proportional on taller ladies. We found it to be a bit jarring to be running along a technical part of trail, only to turn your head and be whacked in the chin by a straw.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The upside of this design is obvious. The straws are always at mouth height when you need some hydration. In addition to the flasks, the back pouch is insulated and large enough to fit a 2L bladder. There is a loop on the collar to secure a hose, but the standard upper shoulder loop for guiding the hose has not been included. We don't find this to be particularly problematic as there are two small daisy chains on each breast panel that get the job done.

This pack offers an insulated compartment for accommodating an...
This pack offers an insulated compartment for accommodating an additional hydration bladder.
Photo: Ally Meller

Volume to Weight Ratio


The ADV Skin 8 doesn't have the best volume to weight ratio amongst the packs we tested. But it doesn't have the worst either. Weighing in at 10.16 oz with a carrying capacity of 8L, including water, we deem the 0.8 ratio to be average.


In practice with this pack, we haven't found ourselves wanting more. The less-than-maximum storage capacity is why we deem this hydration pack our choice for training. We never feel the need to overload our packs when we are out for training runs, so an 8L capacity feels just right. The weight is excellently distributed, so we didn't feel like we are carrying extra weight when fully loaded. Furthermore, because we could comfortably carry 3L of water between the flasks and an additional bladder, we always felt perfectly prepared. Even when we load this pack up with water, there are still plenty of stealth pockets and loops to attach and stow other gear.

Without the soft bottles in the front pockets, you have easy access...
Without the soft bottles in the front pockets, you have easy access to all of the loops and cords at your fingertips.
Photo: Ally Meller

Pockets


The ADV Skin 8 has one large, zippered pocket on the back that has a diagonal-ish front entry. There is a second layer of pocket behind it that does not have a secure closure but does have a small mesh, fold-over pocket with a small carbineer for securely stashing your keyring. One layer deeper, closer to your back, is another chamber that is insulated and clearly meant to accommodate a hydration bladder, if you so choose.


Beneath your armpits, there are two bilateral double-layered pockets. The upper layer offers a light elastic closure, and the layer closest to your body has a zip closure and mesh interior. Our reviewers found these pockets to be great for a small first aid kit and pepper spray, items you may need quick access to but generally don't hope to use.

Hidden pockets are everywhere on the Skin 8!
Hidden pockets are everywhere on the Skin 8!
Photo: Lauren DeLaunay

Each front panel has two pockets, one on each side for a 500mL bottle and the other for small items you'll need to access quickly. The lower right pocket has a small pouch, presumably to secure items you'll want easy access to. While testing, we were able to carry both bottles, an iPhone, two energy gels, and a handkerchief all in the front pockets without feeling like our pack weight was out of balance.

Megan is digging into the deepest pocket for her secret trail snack:...
Megan is digging into the deepest pocket for her secret trail snack: gummy bears!
Photo: Ally Meller

Value


Hydration packs can be expensive; we've certainly bought enough of them to know. Salomon makes highly durable gear that is typically offered with a manageable price tag. We think this average pricing is super fair for the quality and comfort offered by the ADV Skin 8.

This hydration solution fits like a snug vest for a lower price than...
This hydration solution fits like a snug vest for a lower price than some of its competitors.
Photo: Ally Meller

Conclusion


We are pleased and delighted by the Salomon ADV Skin 8. The hydration system is versatile, optimally engineered, and comfortable. The polyester body is breathable enough to get you through hot summer days, and the sheer number of loops and cords make for a highly customizable pack. The pliable water bottles are easy to clean, reusable, and BPA-free. The 8L capacity and svelte fit make this our Top Pick for Training. We highly recommend adding this female-specific pack to your gear closet. We think you'll love it as much as we do.

Sunny Seattle days and the Salomon ADV Skin 8 make for happy gear...
Sunny Seattle days and the Salomon ADV Skin 8 make for happy gear testing.
Photo: Ally Meller

Ally Arcuri