Raidlight Responsiv Race Vest Review by Dick Jones
Our ambassador Dick Jones has been testing one of the packs in the 'Responsiv' range of race vests from Raidlight
So, I was given a Raidlight Lazerdry Responsiv 3L Race Vest by Chris Jakeman (UK Sales rep) to trial and write a report on, here goes:
This limited edition version is handmade in Chartreuse, developed by Raidlights' Pro Athlete Team and signed by Antoine Guillon, Oh La-Lah!! . The vest weighs in at a mere 160 grams and benefits from flat-heat sealed seams, which provides minimal irritation.
The 3D Ripstop fabric cells appear closer formed than some other race packs that I've used which gives it a robust feel almost like neoprene. It sat quite high up on my back/shoulders, which hugged me like Christopher Dean's bolero, this felt very comfortable and didn't bounce about like a baby carrier.
Now then, the pack is only 3L so limited storage configuring as follows:
1 main 3L drop pocket, which can hold a 1.5L hydration pack.
4 front drop pockets on the straps, which are compatible with Raidlights' Eazyflask "Press to drink" bottles.
1 internal zipped waterproof pocket.
The main drop pocket has a central Raidlight band attached to the top of the vest, which provides an element of security, and for those of you who are double jointed, dual access to this pouch whilst on the go. Personally, with my dodgy shoulder and the close fit that this vest offers, I'd opt for releasing the chest straps to access this pocket.
Underneath the central band is a Velcro hanging fastener to hold a 1.5L bladder in place if you prefer this method of hydration. Inside the drop pouch is a small zipped waterproof pocket sewn into the bottom. Here's a good time to mention waterproofing, this pack doesn't offer any! Any items that you require to stay dry, if they don't fit in the small internal pocket will get wet. The solution: Use a clipped drybag, roll the top down and loop-fasten it around the central band, TahhDahhhh!!
The 4 x front drop pockets offer two vertical positions and two angled. All four are made of super-stretchy material so you can pack loads into them. I prefer my hydration up front so here it became a bit tricky for me. I was given the vest but not the flasks so I utilised my own flasks. It kinda worked but this vest is definitely designed to be used with Raidlights' own flasks.
My soft flasks fitted in all four pockets but were a bit fiddly to get in, this was no drama but if you're a front runner then every second counts and if fingers aren't working properly due to temperature then this could pose a problem. With my flasks in the top pockets the drink valves felt very close to my face, whilst some would suggest my hiding behind two flasks isn't a bad thing, it could become annoying for me on long duration races. My hard flasks struggled to fit in the top pockets, other dimension flasks may but here's the thing for me, the vest is such a good fit it drove my hard flasks into my rib cage so the pressure would be uncomfortable for me after a short period. This may suit individuals by adjusting the side boa fasteners and loosening the chest straps.
Solution: Use Raidlight's flexi flasks!! This is what the vest was designed to do so don't improvise- if it's not broke-don't fix it!!.
3L is quite a limited pack so think about what kind of racing you intend to use it for, ask yourself will you get the required mandatory kit in it and will it be ok for the conditions in which you intend to use it. The white one I'm trialling may not be best choice for typically wet, grumpy winter Welsh weather when I'm wallowing in mud but would be great for summer single day races with my sunglasses on trying to look cool, emphasising 'trying'.
Side adjusters: The pack has has two micrometric adjustment system on either side for extra comfort, this can pull the front pockets/flasks etc across the chest which will synchronise with the elasticated chest straps.
To operate the boa style adjuster you simply twist the dial and it tightens, twist back to release. Shouldn't be too difficult to figure out even for a thick South Wales Neanderthal like me!
Webbing: All elasticated webbing appears a little oversized compared to other manufacturers, this is not a criticism, it doesn't add to the weight and offers good strength/limited bounce when securing items. The front chest strap has an integrated whistle attached like most manufacturers these days. I've heard reports of race organisers challenging the decibels from such items, Hmmmm, Raidlights' whistle would appear to provide a satisfactory level of warning however if you intend to warn passing ships in the channel or intend to send Ronaldo off for a foul tackle then you may wish to explore this a little further.
Chris Jakeman provides a youtube video (https://youtu.be/kYQYU6ll-cA) report on this product, which, along with Raidlights' marketing advertising, places a strong focus on Run-pole stowage. This pack undoubtedly has thought of this in its design offering 2 pole holder attachments front and rear- great news if you use poles!
Specs; (Source, Raidlight UK)
70 % Polyester
25 % Polyamide
5 % Elastane
Wash at 30°C maximum (Inside out to protect transfers).
Do not use Fabric Softener
Do not Iron.
SUPPLIED WITH 350ML EAZYFLASKS
If product rips or tears, Raidlight will repair your product for free. NICE!!!!
3L so very limited storage when considering mandatory kit.
Good small versatile day race vest, very light and comfortable siting high on the back and eliminating any kit bounce. I particularly like the stretchy front pockets and elasticated webbing. I wouldn't necessarily use poles for single day races so the holders probably wouldn't get used.
The pack offers very limited waterproofing so kit will have to be wrapped if weather closes in.
Only one zip pocket so if temperatures drop and dexterity is lost there's less fiddling and time wastage. Pockets are either vertical or angled for security despite no zip or faster.
I would use this for shorter training runs of 20miles when the weather is nice/dry/warm.
Bit pricey for a 3Ltr
more positives than negatives.