The quest for the perfect hydration solution in running is something I’ve been struggling with since my first marathon in 2006. I’ve tried countless handhelds and waist packs, and at least a half dozen vests. Each has it’s benefits as well as it’s drawbacks, and it all really comes down to personal preference and what you can live with while you’re out there running, whether it’s for an hour or 16 hours.
USWE (pronounced “you-swii”) is an award-winning company that makes backpacks made for action. They have vests available for biking, skiing, motosport, hiking, and of course, running. I’d never heard of them before Run Oregon afforded me the chance to review the PACE™ 2 running vest, but I’m so glad I know about them now.
The USWE team was born in the Swedish countryside back in 2007 with a sole purpose of finding something that would be comfortable to wear and with ample storage for long rides. Their mission was to “build Action Packs capable of withstanding the harshest conditions without feeling like you are wearing one.” Their core philosophy is that a pack should be worn, not carried, and that it stays fixed and balanced throughout your journey.
USWE has several running options available, including both hydration backpacks and vests, depending on what you need with you out on the trails. The PACE 2 vest is very lightweight and compact, perfect for a couple hours out there. I was a little hesitant at first because this particular style only has the option to use flasks in pockets on the chest rather than a bladder for the back. I have preferred having a bladder in my other vests to balance the weight distribution of my chest a little more evenly. For long runs, flasks often cause my shoulders to begin aching after an hour or so on hilly trails. I’ve also been having some low back and hip pain recently, and I didn’t want to aggravate that more than necessary on my long run day.
However, the beauty of writing for a running blog is trying new things, so I took the PACE 2 on a 10 miler in Forest Park as soon as it arrived. The two running flasks, which came with the vest, each hold 500ml of water, which is the perfect amount for me for a couple of hours. I like the option of having two flasks so I can fill one with an electrolyte drink if needed. You can’t do both with a bladder and the flasks are small and flexible. They fit easily in the front pockets and have long straws so you don’t have to take them out when you want a sip.
Best of all is the No Dancing Monkey technology, which means no bounce while you’re running. Not only did the vest stay in place for the entire run, I heard no sloshing of water in the bottles, which is a sound I often can’t get away from with a bladder, even when I “burp” it. The vest itself is very lightweight and honestly it was easy to forget I was wearing it. While there is zippered storage on the lower portion on the back of the vest, the top has mesh venting which helps with that heavy section that gave me those back and shoulder aches previously.
The side panels have elastic for a nice ergonomic fit and the front pockets are at a 45” angle. There’s front pole attachment access, quick stash pockets, and there’s room up on the shoulder panels to stash a couple of energy pouches. I had no trouble fitting my huge phone in it’s Otterbox inside one of the pockets for easy access and there were little loopholes on the lip of the pocket separation that I attached a key fob onto. I could tuck the key attached to the loophole inside the pocket.
The award winning Polygiene Stays Fresh treatment is a great benefit as well, as it keeps the vest permanently odor free. I really hate stinking up the joint with my running gear, especially when I get it home. The lightweight design dried really fast when I finished my run as well, and it was truly no fuss.
The PACE 2 vest comes in three sizes. There’s a S-M which covers a span of 80-92cm across the chest, a M-L which is a 86-98 cm size, and a L-XL which is 92-104 cm. The vests are unisex, and I wore the S-M which fit perfectly.
I can happily say I’m a side flask convert now. I love this new vest that feels like a second skin. My husband is jealous and wants one for his summer motorcycle trips, and Father’s Day is coming. USWE, we will be back for more!!
Check out all of their products for your active outdoor needs!!
Products & Price:
- PACE 2 ($139.95)
Specs (from website):
- Polygiene™ Stays Fresh treatment. Keeps the vest fresh and permanent odour free. It’s durable and gives the vest a longer lifespan, which is reducing the environmental footprint.
- Bounce free No Dancing Monkey™ Vest system and elastic side panels that expands along with the chest during physical exertion, allowing a constant tight and compliant fit.
- 2x 500ml Ultraflasks in a 45” angle front pockets for an outstanding comfort.
- Front pole attachment
- 2x Quick stash front pockets
- 2x Energy/food shoulder pockets
- 2x zippered stash back pockets
- High-ventilated mesh back panel
- Reflective points for night visibility
More about USWE:
USWE makes bounce free action backpacks that provide the perfect fit on individual level. All our backpacks and hydration packs use our patented harness design, making our packs 100% bounce free. The unique shape and suspension allow you to snug the packs really tight to the body, without affecting your breathing capacity or body movement. Our mission is to design backpacks and hydration packs that you can wear in action, with a super race-fit so it’s like wearing nothing at all. Besides making Backpacks and Hydration Backpacks, USWE also makes Hydration Hip Belts / Hip Bags / Hip Pouches, Protector Backpacks and Commuter Backpacks. Of course we also make Accessories for your pack – including Phone Pockets, Hydration Bladders / Hydration Reservoirs, Bite valves, Tool Pouches, Dry Sacks and more. We have developed special Packs Series for different sport activities, such as Bike, Mountainbike, MTB, Motosports, Enduro, Running, Trail Running and Backpacks for Wintersports such as Cross-country Skiing / XC Skiing and Downhill Skiing.
Thank you to USWE for providing us with a sample pack. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.