Inov-8 Adventure Lite 15 | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Inov-8 Adventure Lite 15 | Review

An ultra distance trail running pack that’s surprisingly versatile

Why We Chose The Inov-8 Adventure Lite 15: Stable carry, lightweight, versatile

15 – 20 litre backpack / trail vests hybrids are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. These packs are usually sporting a well thought-out harness system, ensuring the load is well distributed, complete with a simple and lightweight carrying section, allowing for multi-sport applications.

It’s no really surprise to see more and more of these packs, after the growth in the ‘fast and light’ trend in the hiking world, and of course the increasing popularity of ultra distance trail running.

One pack of note from this category was the OMM Phantom 20L – which featured in last year’s Outdoor 100 – and now another British trail running leader, Inov-8, has brought us this, the Adventure Lite 15. With a compartment large enough to carry a good amount of equipment for single or (extremely lightweight) multi-day trips and a stable carrying system, the Adventure Lite 15 is a great allrounder.

Who Is The Adventure Lite 15 For?

This pack is firstly going to appeal to ultra distance runners first of all. However, Inov-8 have designed (and marketed) the pack as “a versatile, lightweight and highly durable backpack designed for multi-sport adventures.” And we can get behind this quote. The pack has an impressive range of features that don’t just pigeonhole the pack into the fell running world, as you might’ve expected from Inov-8. So let’s dive into these features.


Given the fell running heritage, this pack is obviously sporting the standard hydration flask holders in both shoulder straps, which we’ve been stuffing with 500ml flasks with no issues at all. There are also ample stretched and zipped pockets on each shoulder to stash a few energy bars, and a zipped pocket to store your mobile phone – however, these can become tricky to access if you’ve got a filled hydration pack in each pocket.

Two zippers feature at the top of the pack. One opens up the main compartment, one large and the other accesses a smaller compartment which is ideal for a head torch, wallet and mobile.

The main compartment offers the majority of the 15 litres of storage on this pack, while also offering a sleeve designed to hold a hydration reservoir (Inov-8 state that it’s designed for their 2 litre Shapeshift reservoir, but you could fit any other brand’s 2 litre reservoir in there). The pack also has a small cutout at the top of the pack, allowing you to feed the hydration hose through to your shoulder for easy access.

The main compartment is large enough to carry a good amount of equipment for single or (extremely lightweight) multi day trips. Photo: Mike Brindley
You've also got a good amount of storage upfront. Photo: Mike Brindley
Inov-8's 'Zero Bounce Fit’ ensures the pack remains stable, no matter the activity. Photo: Mike Brindley

While most packs in this ‘ultralight’ category skimp off features on the outside of the pack in an effort to shave off the grams, this isn’t really the case here. Its features include a stash pocket that’ll offer easy access to a waterproof or lightweight insulator, two stretch pockets on either side of the pack for water bottles, poles or gloves and hats and then what looks to be two very simple and trekking pole holders.

Tying all of the back sections together are two thin compression straps which will allow you to adjust the size of the pack depending on the amount of kit you’re bringing along with you.

In another show of their trail running pedigree, Inov-8 have created a simple, yet extremely well ventilated back system. This consists of a webbed-mesh material with padded back panel underneath and then selected padding in specific areas of the shoulder straps – something you’re going to be thankful for when you’ve got this loaded up with 15 litres of equipment.

Stash pockets on the sides of the pack improve versatility. Photo: Mike Brindley


I a further effort to keep the weight down, Inov-8 have built the main compartment of the Adventure Lite 15 from a weather resistant 70D fabric that feels similar to that found on the OMM Phantom 20L. However, where the fabric on the Phantom 20 felt flimsy and weak, Inov-8 have added stretch panels made from a stretch ripstop nylon. It’s an addition that not only enhances the functionality of this pack, but that also helps to reinforce the lightweight fabric.

“The only area I’d hold any reservations about this pack is in the durability of the zips.”

The main guts of these hybrid trail vests and adventure packs is of course the carrying system. What good is bringing 15 litres worth of equipment with you, if the pack’s swinging from side to side with each stride? Fortunately, Inov-8 have addressed this issue with what they’ve branded ‘Zero Bounce Fit’. This is essentially a ‘V’ shaped shoulder adjustment strap, that allows for subtle movements of the pack, while keeping that load close to your back. With a little tightening and tweaking of these straps, this’ll give you a stable, swing-free fit.

Trail running along Sharp Edge, Blencathra, while testing the Adventure Lite 15. Photo: Holly Burns

Tester’s Verdict

Jordan Tiernan, Outdoors Magic Staff Writer

“This pack became my go-to pack for a five-day walking / trail running trip around the Lake District, from Blencathra, down to Stickle Tarn. It wasn’t my sole pack obviously – I had a larger 40 litre pack specifically for my camping equipment that stayed back at basecamp. 

“I’m always out with a drone (Mavic Air 2), mirrorless DSLR (Sony A6300) and a couple of action cameras when in the hills, so the 15-litre capacity was valued during this trip. I found it offered plenty of space to stash all of this kit, on top of the usual insulator, lightweight waterproof, enough food for the day and a couple of hydration flasks.

Scrambling up Jack’s Rake with the Adventure Lite 15. Photo: Holly Burns

“The pack carried exceptionally well after a bit of tweaking. I used the OMM Phantom 20L extensively last year and found that the Adventure Lite 15L carried similar to this (that’s to say impressively well). Even with all the camera gear stuffed inside, I didn’t notice any unwanted swaying of the pack, even when hopping over boulders or scrambling along ridgelines.

“The only area I’d hold any reservations about this pack is in the durability of the zips. Now, I’m aware that these packs are naturally less durable than heavier weight offerings, but I found that the zipper on the small top pocket started to fail with only a couple of days use. After another two days of use, the zipper was completely bust. I’d certainly expect better for a pack at this price – which is a shame, as the rest of the pack performed extremely well.”

Inov-8 Adventure Lite 15

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