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The S.A.S. 3-5 Salomon hydration vest

Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3 – 5 hydration vest review

10-Sep-15

By Steve Diederich

This is the second generation of Salomon’s bestselling hydration vest, released earlier this year, I thought we would leave the launch hype behind and see what it was like to live with the S.A.S 3-5, day to day.

The Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3 – 5 pack - Features

  • 2x 500ml soft bottles with valve tops
  • 2x Stretch mesh soft bottle hydration pockets
  • 1x Zipped pocket on front strap
  • 1x Stretch mesh pocket on other strap
  • 2x Secure mesh side pockets – great for gels and snacks
  • 2x Side Zipped Pockets great for phone and key
  • 1x Rear Double Access Stretch – great for lightweight top
  • 1x Rear Pocket
  • 1x Battery Pocket (on shoulder)
  • 1x Bladder compartment – you also get an insulation sleeve, but no bladder
  • Reflective 3M flashes
  • Whistle
  • Safety (space) blanket

The water pack.

PROS: What’s good about the Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3-5?

A lot actually, this is a fully featured bag that has had a huge amount of thought and design worked into it. Its main strength however is that it is really easy to live with. It comes in three sizes XS/S, M/L and XL –these sizes will fit a fairly large range of body shapes as the material they use is super stretchy in all directions. And whilst we are on the subject of choices – you also get a choice of four colours (am not sure why as two would have done).

The first thing you notice about the vest is its weight, or to be more accurate, its lack of weight, as it comes in at an incredibly svelte 225gms. This light weight does not come at the expense of durability as the vest is really tough – the mesh pockets expand really well and despite having carried odd shaped things (batteries and keys for example) there is no sign of any tear or mis-shaping on these. 

When on, you really have little sense of carrying anything, it forms really well to your body. I have run with a really light top on and with some more sturdy garments (with the back packed with goodies) and the fit is as good with both options and with no evident seams, I haven’t had any rubbing hot spots and importantly, there is absolutely no movement or bounce when running.

The vest is secured by two “V” Elasticated closures that allow for full breath expansion with no obvious tension, whilst holding everything in place. The closures do take a few uses to get used to as they clip onto a seam on their opposite side. When they bed in they are easier to close, but given that the day vest does not need to come off once you are underway, this is never really an issue.

Whilst it isn’t that hard to put lots of pockets into any day vest, it is a bit of an ask to make them all accessible without having to take your pack off. This is where the Salomon really scores well as you can pretty much get to all the storage pouches (see feature list) just by reaching to them. The location of them all is a bit of a learning curve as there are so many and when moving you don’t always get it right first time.  The most important access is to the two hydration pouches on the chest strap, these are well positioned to allow you to dip your head to the height of the bottle tops. The vest comes supplied with 2 x 500ml soft bottles that I really liked as these as they are really tough, don’t drip and are easy to fill and drink from.

The hydration option is extended as there is place for a 1.5 litre bladder pack in the rear pocket. Whilst the pack isn’t included, you do get an insulated pouch to slide it into. Upon initial inspection, I couldn’t work out how to route the hydration bladder tube, hopefully not an oversight from Salomon.

In terms of features there is little on which to fault Salomon with this day vest, with the exception of a dedicated phone pocket (see below). I can't think of anything that they have missed out; the nice touches of a whistle and emergency foil blanket seem to have covered all bases.

CONS: What’s not so good about the Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3-5?

There are a couple of minor niggles – with the soft flasks, the necks could be wider to allow you to get powders and tablets into easily if you are in a hurry at a hydration station. When the soft bottles collapse as they empty, they tend to sink down into the bottom of the mesh pocket which, whilst not critical – does made drinking the last sips from the flasks a little more challenging than they could be. I tried to get 500ml hard bottles into the pockets to see if they would work as a replacement and couldn’t get them to fit. A shame as this would have been a real feature for the S.A.S 3-5 to have the hard bottle option. 

I would also liked to have seen a waterproof pocket somewhere on the vest. Most people run with a phone and wrapping my phone in a plastic bag could be avoided with the inclusion of a waterproof hidey-hole.

Conclusion

All in all, this is a great bit of kit that oozes features and quality, not cheap – but there again, I can’t imagine it not lasting a really long time as it now accompanies me on every run and shows absolutely no sign of wear. It is ridiculously light, comfortable and versatile.

Scores  
Design 7/10
Features 8/10
Performance 9/10
Value 8/10
Total 8/10



Other vests you may want to consider:

Ultimate precision PB Adventure vest – RRP £135
Nathan HPL race vest – RRP £65
Ultrasphere Alpha 2.0 – RRP £79.99

Have you used the Salomon S-Lab Advance Skin 3-5? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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Review Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3 – 5 hydration vest review

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Comment Arrow

Spudgt2

08:34 29-12-15

Great pack for ultras. Tried with full back and bladder but three bladder out as was too bulky. 2x500ml flasks did me fine on ultra where water was available At CP