Montane Gecko VP 12+ Pack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Montane Gecko VP 12+ Pack | Review

Like a running pack with loads of handy pockets? You’ll love the Montane Gecko VP 12+ then

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+.

Photo: Chris Johnson

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. 

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

On the harness there’s a host of stretchy pockets, include two dump pockets up on the shoulders that will hold your water bottles and two zipped ones below these that are also big enough for 500ml bottles – they even have little holes in the top to thread a straw through. 

There are four stretch mesh pockets too (one on either side of the base of the harness and one under each arm pit). These are all big enough to hold, say, a big bag of Wine Gums, a cap, gloves or even a lightweight waterproof jacket. 

“It feels like your very own Batman utility belt designed for the mountains.”

As well as the big Velcro strap there are also two sternum straps. These are hooked onto daisy chain loops on either side, allowing you to quickly and easily alter their height. There are also multiple options for attaching trekking poles, including at the base of the front of the pack or either side of the harness. 


The back of the pack and the harness are both lined with a breathable Air Mesh designed to prevent sweat build up. Handily, this comes with Polygiene odour control, a permanent antimicrobial treatment that kills off smelly bacteria. Watch this video to see our editor Will run through all the benefits of this stuff.

Bear in mind that this pack is available in a Small, Medium or Large with details on sizing all provided on the Montane website.

Tester’s Verdict

James Forrest, outdoors writer and gear expert

“I’ve taken this running vest on a few trail runs in the Lake District and Snowdonia – and it really hits the spot. It is so fully-featured, with a huge array of different types of pockets, it feels like your very own Batman utility belt designed for the mountains. Whatever you need space for, and however you want to structure and organise your pack, there’s a way to do it.”

James testing the Gecko VP in Snowdonia on the Outdoor 100 Team Test weekend. Photo: Jamie Barnes

“My favourite features are: the large zippered mesh pocket on the right shoulder strap which fits my Samsung S9 phone really well; the twin pockets for squeezy water bottles; the flat back stretch sleeve pocket for a lightweight waterproof; and the integrated bungees at the rear.

“I like the 12L volume, which gives you more space for snacks and a warm layer than more minimalist packs – and makes this vest feasible for fast-hikes as well as runs. The figure-hugging design with a sturdy Velcro waist strap is top-notch too.”

Photo: Chris Johnson

Montane Gecko VP 12+ Pack

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