Run to work, or run an ultra: pick your poison, because you can.

Ok guys, the Run to Work Backpack.

Those of you who know me: are you sick of hearing me rave about this pack? ‘Cause I’m not! 🙂

Either way you want to swing it, this fantastic piece of Lululemon gear is quite possibly my favorite pack on the planet. Let’s face it: most running packs are heavy, generically built, and (regardless of how non-serious runner I sound, I’m going to say it) just downright fugly. Not to mention, some like to eat away at our armpits or waistbands, and ruin our favorite fancy workout clothes in the process. My dad always told me that races weren’t a fashion show, and while I understand and appreciate his sentiment, in this day and age, it totally is. Thanks Instagram.

I had been looking for the right backpack for my first ultra marathon back in 2013, and couldn’t find one that 1: wouldn’t bounce everywhere, 2: wasn’t heavy and awkward as hell to wear, and most importantly, 3: didn’t rip my Lululemon Swiftly LS to shreds. Especially not my favorite ones, silk screened with the Lululemon San Francisco Run Club logo, which I love to wear for out of the city races.

It came as no surprise that when Lululemon released a running backpack, I was ON THAT.. It looked actually functional from the pictures, and let’s face it, it was cute as hell. Pastels? On a backpack? Yes please.

However… I’m not going to lie, I was slightly skeptical, as most of the “gear” (non-clothing) released by Lululemon isn’t always a hit in terms of functionality. Especially when it comes to the race water bottles and other items one would want to carry on race day. I had that god-awful pod water bottle belt, which was one of the first race related pieces of gear that Lululemon produced. It was beyond terrible. I spent more time adjusting that thing mid-race than focusing on my race strategy. Infuriating.

I ordered the pack as soon as it was uploaded on the website, and the rest is history. Match made in runner girl heaven. Here’s a couple of shots of me wearing it during the American River 50 miler last year. Swiftly LS and pack still intact!

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Mile 30, no bouncing or chafing, and all smiles!

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Mile 49, and not a chafe or abrasion anywhere on my gear!

The pack weighs less than a pound and is made out of the softest stuff ever. Gone are the days of dealing with scratchy Camelbak bags, or the super stiff and heavy Salomon packs and uncomfortable vests. Or even worse, those abysmal fanny packs that hold cycling water bottles that my dad faithfully uses. Worst. Things. EVER. My lower back hurts just thinking about that thing. Water would leak from the bouncing, causing chafing between my waist and my top. Nightmares of being forced to wear that thing on high school cross country training runs on the Folsom Lake trails flash through my mind.

I’ll break this review down through pictures, as words simply don’t do this bag justice:

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The satiny material and green Luxtreme side pockets are heavenly to the touch, and wash super easy! I had a few mud stains from my 50 miler that washed out without a problem.

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The left pastel pack was the first release by Lululemon in 2013. I bought my second pack in black this year. There isn’t much of a change, other than the addition of a small reflective piece on the should straps. This year, they also offer a reflective version of the pack as well, for you night road runners out there!

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There are 5 separate pockets inside the pack, one of which has a leash for keys (I use it for hairties), as well as a spot for your phone so it’s not bouncing around! One of these pockets on the backside is a spot for you to put in the bladder of your choice for a water source! I love this, since I am picky about my gear.

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The inside of the main pack is really large, given its arc’ed shape. I was able to fit everything I needed for my ultra food-wise, as well as an extra pair of socks, windbreaker, and hat in case the elements changed. It also is able to act as my purse when I need to head straight from the gym to dinner or happy hour. Perfect size!

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The back portion is designed to be somewhat ventilated, which is great for long hot runs. I also used the small green Luxtreme pouches to store a gel packet , and also stow it back until I was able to throw it away at an aid station or the finish. It also works well for holding salt tablets so I didn’t have to slow down or stop to take them every 30 minutes while running.

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Waist straps are another great feature that help with bouncing. I used them for my ultra, but not on my training runs. It’s a great option to have!

Another great plus: this strap doesn’t snag Swiftlies, or cause abrasions on my tanks!

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The outside pouch comes with an open space as well as another zippered pocket. I love to use these when I use my road bike to commute around the city, in order to have my keys in easy access range, so I’m not digging around once I decide to stop and lock up my bike.

If you haven’t bought this pack, you are missing out on a stress free running experience! It has really solved all my logistical issues on race day, and I am now a full time pack wearer for races of all distances! I love it!

Hey Lululemon, PLEASE keep this as a staple piece, it is truly one of the best pieces of gear I have used, and trust me, I have tried them all!

5 comments

  1. Awsome, thanks for writing this! I bought this pack for running home from work (3-5 mile runs), and it’s been great. But I’ve been wondering if I should add the camelbak bladder and try it out on my marathon training runs (i’m a waist belt girl) … and sounds like the answer is YES I SHOULD!!!!!

    1. If you are waist belt gal, this will change your life! This bag works with literally any water bladder for the most part unless you have a super high capacity one. I’ve had no trouble using a Camelbak or Novara one, and even the one from my old Salomon vest.

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