Why We Chose It: Great pocket capacity, elasticated build, additional flasks
This new pack from County Durham-based brand Montane is designed for mountain missions at pace; those runs that are long enough and wild enough that you need to carry kit and food and drink with you. From what we can see, it’s an evolution of their Montane Via range, which, as it goes, we really liked here at Outdoors Magic.
There are a bunch of options in the Gecko collection, with a 20L capacity pack right through to the super stripped back Gecko Ultra X+ which is better described as an item of clothing than as a pack.
The product in focus here is their 12-litre Gecko VP 12+.
Who Is The Montane Gecko VP 12+ For?
We can see this as being an excellent pack for competitive ultra running; the kind of events where there’s a mandatory kit list so you’ll need to have things like an emergency warm layer, a waterproof jacket, first aid kit and food and drink.
It would also suit anyone taking on a running round, like the Bob Graham or Paddy Buckley, or even having a crack at setting an FKT.
It’ll be too small to carry equipment for a camp out (though extremely dedicated/maniacal ultralighters might be able to find a way to make it work). Our advice would be to go for the 20 if you’re looking for something for minimalist fastpacking.
You’ve got all you need from a running pack here: plenty of pockets, on-the-fly adjustment potential, volume control and it even comes with two 500ml squidgy flasks as well.
“An excellent pack for competitive ultra running.”
Like the previous Via series from Montane, the fit is very body hugging, conforming very closely to your contours. Our gear testers loved the way it’s designed to move with the rising and falling of your chest as you breathe – that’s mainly thanks to the big elasticated Velcro strap. In terms of storage, the Gecko VP 12+ has one zipped compartment on its front that’s easily big enough for a down jacket, OS map, your sandwiches and more.
There’s actually an even bigger compartment right against your back which is an ideal space for a bladder and/or a warm layer. This can’t be fully sealed but there is a little tab/toggle that prevents it from gaping open. You’ll find a handy little clip for keeping your keys safe in here too, plus a removable whistle. Elsewhere on the front of the pack there’s a bungee cord which can be used either for volume adjustment or for fastening extra kit – a waterproof jacket fits perfectly here.