It’s a good day for all the adventurers out there. You’re probably wondering why that is. It’s because we have found the perfect running vest for all kinds of activities. Whether it’s trail running or alpine climbing or scrambling, you need a running vest that will not only feel comfortable around you but also get the job done properly. Therefore, we decided to move forward with this in-depth Black Diamond Distance 15 review.
Black Diamond is pretty renowned for its skiing and climbing equipment. However, they decided to move forward towards manufacturing running vests. This brings us to the Distance series – a series of perfectly balanced running vests with a perfect mixture of versatility and comfort. Without further ado, let’s dive into the details and learn about the amazing features Distance 15 offers.
Our Black Diamond Distance 15 Review – The Running Vest for All Kinds of Activities
We spent a considerable amount of time with the distance 15 and we realized that the versatility it offers alone makes it a steal. In general, most running vests are very running specific. If you wanted to add a small hiking session at the end of your run, generic running packs would most likely end up being an obstacle.
That’s where the BD Distance 15 stands out. You can use it for generic running, it’s perfect for a 1-2 days hike, and you can even use it for day to day events. (Someone, not mentioning who, once used this pack for a sleepover!). In addition, you know the distance 15 is the real deal when trail legend Joe Grant himself collaborated with the BD team in order to mix a subtle touch of perfection in the project.
We decided to divide our review into very specific sections so you can learn about the ins and outs of this running vest before deciding to purchase for yourself.
Design & Materials
One of the most impressive things about the Black Diamond distance 15 is its amazing design. BD decided to take a hybrid approach so it would consist of the lightweight feel of a running pack but have the functionality of doing much more. The design was inspired by the blitz packs from Black Diamond but instead of the typical shoulder straps, running strap were used to provide comfort as well as better stability. The Distance 15 comes in two color variants – bluebird and alloy. While both versions look great, we are very much in love with the Alloy one. The textured front along with the drawstrings make it look magnificent. Moving on to materials, the backpack is a result of the fusion between climbing and skiing equipment from Black Diamond. The body fabric is made of Dynex (Nylon 100d + PE 200d to be exact) which comes with Dynex Ripstop yarns as well. According to BD, Dynex yarns are 10 times stronger than steel per weight.
On the back, there is a ventilated panel from BD dry for moisture protection. For those of you who don’t know, BD Dry is the in-house technology from Black Diamond to keep both your bodies and your valuables inside the pack dry. The breathable mesh lets your sweat out without affecting the pack contents.
Moreover, the main compartment of the pack is fully water-resistant in order to keep your stuff dry and keep you running through all seasons as well as high altitudes.
Storage Capacity – General & Hydration
The Black Diamond Distance 15 has been created for all kinds of body builds. Therefore, you can choose between small, medium, and large. For your convenience, we would like to mention that the medium size fits perfectly on a person with 6 feet height and average build.
The pack itself weighs approx. 394 grams or 14 oz. There are two zipper pockets on the symmetrical sturdy shoulder straps where you can store protein bars or even your iPhones. However, if you have a bigger phone, it will be a bit of a struggle to fit that inside the pockets.
There are 4 more sizeable pockets on the shoulder straps (just below the zipper ones – two on each side) that are perfect for storing any essential items or even 500 ml flexible water bottles as well. The pockets also come with drawstrings to secure your content or bottle.
Trust me, you don’t want to ruin your flow in the middle of a hike/run just because your water bottle popped out of the pocket and went who knows where! If by chance you’re wondering whether you can take a sip of water from the shoulder pockets without taking out the bottles, you can’t. In fact, there’s probably not a single running vest out there that will provide this type of advantage.
Besides two 500 ml bottles, there’s a reservoir inside the main compartment that has a capacity of 2/3 liters. In addition, it’s also divided with a stretch mesh wall from the main compartment. The main compartment is pretty spacious, more than it seems. You can perfectly fit in your essentials not only for a long day hike but also for multiple-day hikes. The interior security pocket with zip lock is very effective for storing your wallet, keys, etc.
The Distance 15 also has dual quiver sleeves on the outside that are very convenient for easily carrying trekking poles. We have used BD trekking poles and they fit in perfectly. Just because we can, we also tested it with a medium-sized umbrella – got the same result!
Comfort & Ease of Use
The soft yet sturdy material of the shoulder straps makes the Distance 15 both comfortable and sturdy for all kinds of terrains. Black Diamond went an extra mile into making the shoulder strap in such a way that it properly distributes the weight between your shoulders and chest. The dual side compressions with drawstrings make it very easy to adjust the vest accordingly. As for the main compartment, it has a quick blitz style opening system before you can access your things.
Another amazing feature of distance 15 is the Ice axe holder that even comes with a metal dogbone that provides more security.
Black Diamond Distance 15 Review – Comparing the Savviness and Shortcomings
Although Distance 15 excels in so many aspects, it has some minor flaws as well. That’s why we sat down and made a list of the things we loved about it as well the things we wish it improved on.
Things We Loved
- Suitable for different kinds of terrains
- The level of comfort remains indifferent for all types of adventures
- Ample storage space with specified sections
- Versatility on point
Issues We Found
- Trekking poles are hard to put back in without taking the pack off.
- The drawstrings used to compress the back sometimes doesn’t work properly if the storage isn’t full
In order to make our Black Diamond Distance 15 review thorough, we spent a significant amount of time with it. The more we spent time with it, the more we realized how amazingly functional the Distance 15 was. If we had to describe it in one sentence, it would be this – The Black Diamond Distance 15 is an all-in-one Backpack. Doesn’t matter if you just want to run a mile or climb the Nolan’s 14, this should definitely be your companion.