Fast forward 6 years and I was in the market for a running pack once more, this time to help me carry 7 days supplies across the Sahara Desert for the Marathon Des Sables Race. Thankfully the running pack market had already grown substantially, and you could now buy bags which utilised storage spaces on both the front and back of the packs, as well as multiple compartmented areas as opposed to one large cavity, and an increase in adjustable straps.
My now husband was also running the MDS, and had opted for an Aarn pack, a sturdy design which held tight across the chest. He swore by the bag, but once I tried it on, I instantly felt my breathing was restricted, and this would not be the bag for me. I opted for an OMM 20ltr, which sounds large for a running back, but served me well in carrying all my food and supplies, as well as sleeping mat and sleeping bag. As my food supplies decreased as the week went on, I simply allowed my sleeping bag to expand in the space available, so the bag never felt like it was rattling around.
Other tent mates of ours had opted for much smaller Raidlight packs, thinking that reduced capacity would mean a tighter hold and less bounce, but also meant each morning was a battle to get everything stowed away. In the event of a packing error, where a necessary item had in fact been packed away, their restrictive size meant that everything had to be unpacked to find said item, whereas I smugly could have a rummage around in my much larger bag.
Fast forward another 9 years and my pack requirements are typically for single day events now, but still with the capacity for kit to see me through consequential weather systems such that we see in the Alps. Both physical differences between individuals, and the different purposes the bag must serve are the starting points for any running pack buying guides, but here are a few things to think about: