Saturday, August 06, 2016

Outdoor Retailer 2016 Preview- Cotopaxi Veloz Cross Harness Running Packs and Veloz Belt

Article by Dominique Winebaum

Road Trail Run featured Utah based Cotopaxi, during the Outdoor Retailer Summer 2015 – for its philanthropic business model and socially conscious approach to manufacturing backpacks and apparel.

Back at the Cotopaxi booth this year, I did not pay much attention to the Inti 2 Tent System, which I later found out won an Outside “Gear of the Show: The Best of the Summer Outdoor Retailer 2016,” but definitely registered that the Cotopaxi booth was abuzz with excitement.

The focus of my attention was a mannequin in the corner of the booth outfitted in running trail clothing wearing a firmly fitted running pack via an innovative support system: a laminated harness.

CJ Whitaker, Co-Founder and VP of Product, designed Cotopaxi’s new line of running packs & belt - as well the Inti 2 Tent System - and took the time to explain the features of the Veloz packs and belt.  To be sure, it is a natural progression  for this Salt Lake based company where great running trails into the Wasatch are the very edge of the city.

The innovative feature of the Veloz running pack is its Cruz laminated harness, which promotes a full range of motion, prevents nipple chafing, eliminates the need for a waist belt, and comfortably distributes the weight of the pack.

A hydration reservoir is included (2L) along with many other features; such as an airmesh back panel, zippered main compartment(s), and 2 easy to reach deep, front zippered pockets on the harness.  The Veloz running pack comes in two sizes:  6L (weight: 13 oz) and 3L (weight: 11 oz), respective priced at $ 149, 95 and $ 129.95.

The Veloz Belt is designed for runners who require less storage capacity for nutrition and hydration.  It features dual zippered pockets, a 250 ml soft flask, mesh paneling to increase breathability, and is fully adjustable.  Weighs 5 oz. $ 49.95
What to wear under the new pack and belt? Cotopaxi's line of town to trail to town technical run clothing. The men's shorts had a breathable back waist band, 2 deep front pockets and a fake fly to make them look like hiking, leisure shorts, or work shorts.

As this article is being written (August 5th), Cotopaxi is opening its first flagship store on 74 S Main Street in Salt Lake City, only two + years after the Company was created, and this along with being the recipient of the prestigious Outside award at the Summer OR 2016.

According to CJ Whitetaker, the Veloz running packs and belt will be launched within a month through a crowd funding platform.

Editor's note: Are running packs moving away from the soft vest pack to new more harness like designs? Nike's Trail Kiger Vest, while not of a cross harness design does have a very snug form fitting harness like vest design. Our  Nike Trail Kiger review here.

Road Trail Run has tested and reviewed over 40 shoes in 2016 plus a lot of gear See our index page here

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1 comment:

timszy said...

I received my Veloz belt this past week as a result of backing the Kickstarter project. It pains me to say it, but this is my first "meh" experience with the llamas.

True to Cotopaxi fashion, the belt appears to be very well made. It has great looking seams, not a lot of straggler strings from construction, quality feeling materials, and visually appealing. All good stuff, which attracted me to the belt in the first place. (Side note: I have three other runner's belts besides this.) The pockets are roomy enough, the reflective tape is a nice touch, and the hydrapak bottle is nice...although I think they could have stretched that to 10 ounces.

Here's where things move me to the 'let down' category (not full-on disappointment, but certainly not recommend-to-friends either).
- The belt doesn't have an airmesh back panel like showing in all advertising and written on the hang-tag that came with my belt. The actual fabric creates a sticky-sweaty feeling. It's also more slippery which worries me about creating friction hot spots on me when I run. And I cringe to think of these guys BS-ing buyers.
- There's no nice way to say this next one...Velcro is poor man's engineering material and that is there product of choice on this. With all the possibilities out there, especially with technical stretch materials, the Velcro is a bummer. Not only because it makes the belt VERY stiff and unforgiving, especially when doubled over to fasten, but the 'hook' side of the Velcro materials always snags on clothing. Always. If I had Coto's expensive clothing they sell, I would be really irritated each time the Velcro grabbed my clothing and created a new snag. As it turns out, I don't have those, but it still irritates me when it snags on my various race shirts that I run in.
-And one more thing about the Velcro - why did they include a quick release buckle (weight/cost) if the true fastening mechanism is Velcro ??
- They really could have done without the zippered compartment where the Hydrapak fits. Just too much technology (and cost) in a small package. Very easily, a space similar to the key pouch could have been used for the hydration bottle. When I am running, I don't want to mess with zippers. Too easy for clothing to get caught up in them.
- I can't imagine this working for anyone with a waist bigger than 36". I am a 34, and there is not a lot of belt overlap when fastening.
- Because of the Velcro belt and buckle, when I center the pack on my back, the buckle is offset to the left of my stomach which is an uncomfortable spot if I cinch the belt down.

Cotopaxi stands for good things. But it feels like they really swung and missed on this. Would not recommend.