Strava Update

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Raidlight Desert Pack 20+4 Review - First Impressions

Le Sac!
I took delivery of this little beauty just before christmas as mentioned in my last post, so I have been waiting for the festive period to return to normality so I could give it a little run out and see if all the shiny zips and abundance of pockets and other exciting bits and pieces really delivered what I was looking for in my pack for the MDS in a few months time.. It comes with the main ruck sack, front pack, 2 Raidlight bottles, and a "trail quiver"which is like a pouch that attaches diagonally over the sack.

A Bit About The Pack

So on to the technical info that the website gives.. To be fair there isnt alot of information about this pack and the details on the website are sketchy, so I bought this as a leap of faith really based on their great reputation for MDS kit..

The website states that with all the gear attached the weight is about 870g, frontpack being 100g and the sack on its own is 590g  and this is all I used this morning on my 15 mile trail run on the beautiful (if a little windy, muddy and wet!) cliff-paths of Jersey. Heres a bit more about whats included directly from the website:

Characteristics of Olmo Desert Pack 20+4
Straps Characteristics’
  • 2 strap’s bottle holders
  • 2 accessories holder ziped pockets on straps (gel, bar)
  • Mesh pocket on bottle holders (gel, bar..)
  • Comfortable chest strap

Front Pack Characteristics’
  • Large ziped pocket on one side
  • Mesh pocket on the other side
  • Compression System
  • Bottle Holder
  • Map holder
Back Characteristics
  • Large main compartment with mesh separate bladder’s compartment
  • Inside ziped pocket for documents or small accessories
  • Front mesh pocket with flap for easy acces
  • Side mesh elastic pocket for easy access
  • ziped pocket on the flap with key clip inside
  • 2 large mesh elastic pockets on the back
  • Compression system
Bottom Backpack Characteristic
  • 4 plastic buckle  to fix sleeping bag with 2 straps
Made for a bladder used
  • separate pocket for bladderwith bladder fixation
  • 2 tube exit (right and left)
  • NEW: Bladder compartment in the front pack. (in option)
Belt Caracteristic
  • Removable Front Belt
  • Belt included bib carrier and gel holder (can be used separatly)
Pole Holder / Flare Holder Caracteristics
      Trail Quiver included (can be used separatly)
  • Pole holder or flare holder  ( possibility of access without removing the backpack)

So lots of stuff going on on the pack and lots of storage and pockets. I am a bit of a Salomon Junkie as I think they just do running equipment so well, and in this pack Raidlight have really taken a leaf out of their book. This is the 3rd version of the Olmo just released in November so it appears they have put alot of thought into the details that people need on these types of races.

Initial Impressions

I was a bit concerned about it being white, as it ain't gonna stay clean with the trails here and the amount of falling over I seem to do! However I put it on this morning with about 2KG of weight in and put 2 bottles of water in the front bottle holders and was really pleasantly surprised at how stable it was, the bottles even when full stayed put and the pack felt nice on, lots of straps to adjust it to how I liked it and off we went!
Side View

Front View With Salomon Bottles

Rear View

Over the 15 miles the legs didn't feel so good, but the sack felt great to be honest, I didn't feel the sack got in the way and I didn't have to adjust it once I had found the sweet spot..
One thing I was a little concerned about was how waterproof the main compartment would be; However we got caught in a torrential hail storm for about 3 or 4 miles and the contents of the main compartment were relatively dry, which is encouraging, this bodes well for having gear in the bag and lugging it through sweaty days in the desert and it being dry ish at the end.. I did however have my Iphone stowed in one of the front pouches in aforementioned hail storm and this did not come out bone dry.. It is now drying out (fingers crossed its ok!)


I am pleased with the leap of faith I took, I know some people would say Raidlight can be flimsy and I can see this could be an issue with the pack, however weight is low on this and the pouches and pockets are great. I did try the front pack and it secure by 3 different points on each side and feels really stable, I haven't run with it yet but I think it will be fine..

The pack some might say is quite expensive, but to be fair with alot of the rucksacks you might consider for the MDS there are alot of add ons. Once you have purchased a front pack, bottle holders and bottles the price would be comparable I think. The Trail quiver is a nice touch for those who may use poles, I dont think I will use this myself however.. It is also mentioned that you are able to affix the sleeping bag to the bottom of the rucksack, I am struggling to see where, but I can be a bit dim sometimes so will keep persevering with that one..

I am also a little concerned by the size and how I will get a weeks worth of equipment and food in it.. I know that I will have to pack ruthlessly anyway, but now you actually see what 20 Litres looks like... Yikes!! But alot of people use the 20L and so I am sure I will be able to get beyond this..

As an aside I got a Raidlight Buff free with it, and also a really handy book on Multi Day stage racing which is written by two guys who have done the MDS and a few others and they provide some really useful tips and walk you through what to expect when taking on the MDS.

I would say if you haven't got your rucksack for the MDS yet it might be worth checking this out, I would like to say at this point that I purchased the rucksack myself and am in no way affiliated to Raidlight and my opinions are based purely on the testing I have done.


  1. Have you tried the evolution 2-pack? For the exception of a more modern look of the new olmo I can't find a reason for getting this one instead of the evolution-2. The evo-2 is the same size, lighter and cheaper.

    1. Hi Tomas
      I havent tried the Evolution 2 Pack. I had a look at it and they do indeed look similar. I got my Olmo for a similar price to the Evolution however and I think the additional poclets and pouches was a deciding factor.
      Good look with your choice and if you do get the Evolution let me know what you think of it

    2. Hello again,
      I couldn't help myself and pulled the trigger on a Olmo 20+4. Are you still satisifed with yours?

      Have you tried running with weigtht in the front-pack? The olmo 20+4 has a "bungie" waist strap instead of a tight one and on me atlest Im finding it hard to not getting the front pack to not bounce when I tested the bag. Besides that the bag is brilliant, the bottle-holders are the best I've tried.