Raidlight Revolutiv 3L V2 Review
Cons: Soft flasks bounce around, no pole carry
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Raidlight Revolutiv 3L V2
|Price||$120 List||$159.95 at Backcountry|
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|$149.95 at Backcountry||$89.95 at REI||$23.98 at Amazon|
|Pros||Lightweight, easily accessible pockets, great fit||Comfortable, great fit, tons of easily reachable pockets, versatile||Highly versatile, comfortable, durable, waterproof||Ample storage, simple and successful design, approachable price||Affordable, carries water and gear well, simple design|
|Cons||Soft flasks bounce around, no pole carry||Expensive, must buy hydration bladder separately||Hard to insert soft flasks, limited accessible pockets, no hydration system included||Lower quality bladder, minor pain points over longer distances||Lower chest strap isn't placed well, no front pockets, hard to secure properly|
|Bottom Line||There's room for layers, ample food, water, your phone, and then some in this featherweight vest||A top-notch running pack, with excellent pockets and a comfortable fit||Built for any rugged activity in the mountains but the hydration system needs some work||An entry-level hydration pack for trail running with a great price and ample storage||A versatile pack for lower intensity activities at a solid price point but lacking front access pockets|
|Rating Categories||Raidlight Revolutiv...||Salomon ADV Skin 12...||Black Diamond Dista...||REI Swiftland Hydro||Vibrelli 2L Backpack|
|Hydration System (15%)|
|Volume To Weight Ratio (15%)|
|Specs||Raidlight Revolutiv...||Salomon ADV Skin 12...||Black Diamond Dista...||REI Swiftland Hydro||Vibrelli 2L Backpack|
|Weight (with included hydration vessels)||6.6 oz||13.4 oz||14.2 oz (pack only, no bottles/bladder included)||13.7 oz||14.5 oz|
|Included Liquid Capacity||2L||1L||1L||1.5L||2L|
|OGL Volume to Weight Ratio (bigger is better!)||0.45||0.90||1.06||0.37||0.14|
|External Storage?||Not included||Yes, kangaroo pockets||Yes, paracord||Yes||Yes, mesh storage pockets, bungee|
|Type of Water Storage||Two 600mL soft flasks||Two 500 mL soft flasks (included), plus reservoir sleeve (reservoir not included)||Not included||1.5L reservoir||2L reservoir|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Whether you are trying to set a new FKT on a local loop, toeing the line for a fast 50k, or just need slightly more carrying capacity than a waist belt can offer, the Raidlight Revolutiv V2 is a svelte and appropriate choice. We loved this vest for mountain missions because its low profile is easy to fit beneath an ultralight pullover rain shell. Warning: having a very light vest may lead to the purchase of other very tiny lightweight gear to fit in your new petite vest.
Laser-cut fabric and taped seams contribute to both the comfort and airy weight of this vest. Initially, the thin shoulder straps and concentrated carrying weight along the bottom gave us some pause and hesitation. No need though, the medium Revolutiv fits a 5'10", 155-pound torso seamlessly, with plenty of adjustment in the elastic chest straps. Additionally, the shoulder straps weren't noticeably cutting; they remained flat and comfortable.
The balance from the low set pockets on the Revolutiv is amazing until the hydration flasks are emptied a bit. This is our main gripe with this pack, and we'll talk about it in a few different places. Having a failing hydration system that dramatically impacts the fit and comfort is no good, and it's what kept this pack from being a top performer.
Another small complaint that we have is the pole carry system — or lack thereof. The previous version of this vest had a pole carry solution across the chest that was removed from this design.
There is ample storage in the Revolutiv considering its petite size with three zippered pockets and two oversized hydration sleeves. The material itself is a great feature, with top-notch breathability and visibility of each pocket's contents. Additionally, an emergency whistle is positioned on the top adjustment strap.
The Revolutiv V2 is not compatible with a hydration bladder but comes with two 600mL soft flasks equipped with extension straws that place your bite valves a turn of the head away. All of this sounds great in writing, but there are some hiccups. For one, the elastic loops that are meant to secure around the neck of the bottles and support the soft flasks within the sleeves are loose. And, once the flasks are partially emptied, they bounce around and out of the support loops.
A snugger-fitting hydration sleeve pocket for the soft flask could prevent this, but we like the additional room in the chest pockets for storing random gear. A more durable tighter support loop is needed to help with managing the flasks. We also found that the straw that extends into the soft flask from the top makes it dramatically more challenging to drink from the bottles. We can suck pretty hard, but our cheek muscles tired out trying to drink from these without actually squeezing the bottle.
Volume to Weight Ratio
We gave the Revolutiv a marginally higher score than the ratio delivered, in part because we could fit so much in the 3L of storage and because there is a noble design element to making the lightest race vest on the market.
This vest is trimmed down for racing at 6.6 ounces (with the soft flasks), but we found it to be in a league of its own. It is closer in weight to many hip belts but can carry nearly as much as a proper hydration vest meant for ultras. What's more, the positioning of the gear is excellent. Unlike hip belts that can mess with the interface of your shorts and shirt and bounce with every stride, the positioning of the gear in this vest is right at the taper of the ribcage, keeping everything snug.
While there is no external storage pocket, we managed with the two side zippered pockets and larger back zippered pocket quite well. Accessing a phone was more difficult in the back pocket, not because of location, but because without external storage, there was also a rain jacket and a first aid kit in there.
The confidence we got from taking this pack on a 20 mile, high alpine epic of 10+ hours changed our thinking about whether or not the Raidlight Revolutiv V2 is suitable for ultras. Our conclusion is that we would use this pack for distances of 100k and under. It doesn't quite have the storage to easily manage gear for a 100-mile race, but can adequately carry two layers, food, water, and other gear.
A small zippered pocket on the chest for storing food, trash, or car keys would make a big difference in this space-conscious design. On the whole, we found every pocket to be accessible while running fast, something no other vest could deliver.
If the above description makes you giddy for this vest, then yes, there is value. We will reach for this vest instead of a waist belt going forward because it changed how we think about accessibility and the distances that qualify for bringing along a vest. The Raidlight Revolutiv has a niche, and it outperforms lightweight vests and higher volume waist belts. While we didn't recognize this hydration pack with any award, for the right runner, this is the choice vest in our review.
Lightweight, highly breathable, ample storage, comfortable, and no issues accessing any of the pockets while running at a fast clip. This vest is almost perfect in some regards, but take note: there is a learning curve to using it and making it work with the loose support straps for the hydration flasks. We will certainly be keeping our eyes out for a V3 that addresses the loose soft flasks because, with that fixed, the Revolutiv is a top contender.
— Jeff Colt