Sunday, May 16, 2021

Naked High Capacity HC Running Vest Review

Naked Running HC Vest ($150)

I have had the Naked HC (high capacity vest) for several months now. Previously I have gotten much use out of the original Naked Running Band but found the limited capacity original vest a bit of a miss. I have now used it to great effect as front carry of phone, gloves/hats, and water under a bigger hiking pack late this winter as shown at right above. I have since taken it both trail and road running.


  • Breathable and quick drying

  • Naked Exopower non-chafing, bounce resistant mesh

  • Lightweight (3.5oz / 99g - size 6)

  • Holds shape and compression when wet

  • Holds multiple brands and sizes of hydration flasks in 100% usable space

  • Comes with two 500 low profile Hydraflasks designed for the vest

  • Carry phone, energy gels, fuel bars, sunglasses, headlamp, clothing 

  • Nylon zipper with semi locking pull tab

  • Rear pocket security clip

  • Dedicated trekking pole carriers

  • Reflective safety elements 

  • Internal micro clip

  • Emergency whistle

  • Drink tube lock points

  • 3+ liters of capacity

  • Full gender specific range of 12 sizes 

  • Available in Women's sizes as well 

The HC is not a vest that is “clothing like” as for example as the Salomons are or a near pack with 3D mesh.  It is entirely made of thin stretch meshes that compress the load and hugs the body to the extent That it may even help with posture… but comfortably so! 

The HC’s zipper, the entire closure system (no straps, cords, etc..)  was hard to pull up when new, yet now it has stretched just enough so even with a full load I can grab the sides out a ways and zip it up. 

Think about that, no straps, cords or anything else to mess with on the go. Always a consistent secure fit that stretches just enough for whatever load you have. The bottom band is quite substantial in his hold although soft and with just enough stretch not to interfere with breathing. While you may think your vest  is too small when new given the initial closure difficulties and the snugness, stay with the sizing guidelines. It will stretch and adapt to a great final if snug fit. There are 12 available sizes including for women.

The HC has 2 front bottle drop in pockets and comes with 2 soft flasks. I found any size hydration flask even thicker fatter ones will fit . As shown above, just dip the head and sip. Water always there without reaching for anything if you use the yellow bungees to secure the cap, especially when water level is low. 

Below and on each side there are  2 stretch mesh pockets that easily and securely hold any phone. Behind those on either side two more smaller stretch pockets.  It is almost impossible to see there is a load but there is in the picture above including my iPhone 12, keys and more. That body conforming. 

Up high at the shoulders is a rear pouch with openings on either side (the yellow bindings)  which works very well as a place for a jacket which you can reach to retrieve or return although smaller items will be harder if not impossible to reach without taking off the vest. Behind it at the back,  is a deeper full length drop in pouch with top clip to hold it for say a small 1-1.5L hydration bladder or more clothing.  You will have to take the vest off to access this compartment unless you leave a “tail” hanging up top. Every compartment is stretch mesh so the entire vest will grow and shrink based on the load with never any strap to adjust. Neat!

There are trekking pole holders with a stretch loop down low with grippy backing and a bungie above. I usually carry poles when not using  them so haven’t tested but the positioning and hold seems good.  Note also the yellow webbing loops over  the front pockets. Handy to open the pockets but also great for clipping items to the front as needed.

As shown above and below I have loaded it with a full rain shell, wind vest, hat, gloves, phone, and 2 full flasks.

The fit is extremely secure and body conforming. While snug, I have yet to experience any chafing. Given the soft bindings and coverage here I am pretty sure you can wear it “ naked” no shirt but have yet to try that.   

Nothing moves including flasks, although once partially emptied you may not want to use the flask holding bungies as they do bounce unless stuffed down into the pocket or you may want to continue to use them as they hold the nozzle at the perfect height to sip without touching anything.

A different approach to a race vest, the Naked is maybe not the highest capacity vest out there at 3+L  but it is for sure at one with the body in motion and with any load given its all stretch mesh construction. It does fit more snugly than the usual vest. It performs very well for its most obvious use, running, but I also found it to be a great front carry (water, phone, snacks, hat, gloves when worn under a heavier pack and when at camp it can then serve as a light summit pack. All in all Naked has delivered a great run vest in the HC which improves on the capacity and utility of their prior vests and bands. 

The Naked HC Running Vest is available from Naked here and at Running Warehouse below.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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ChrisZ said...

Sam, any comparison to Salmon's vest?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Chris,
I have an S/Lab Sense 5L which i got in a small instead of medium for a snugger fit. While the Salomon has that a more clothing like lighter feel and better side/front pocket arrangements I prefer the much more secure bottle pockets of the Naked and no cords to fiddle with and the never bounce or motion feel. It really comes down to preferences.
Sam, Editor

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Matt Mueller said...

Sam - would you consider using this + the naked waist band instead of a more standard vest in a long ultra with several hours between aid stations? Something where you would need to carry 2-3 liters of liquid + a small amount of mandatory gear.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Matt,
I certainly would but more likely choose to pair the Naked belt with a more standard vest, maybe one that could accommodate a 2L hydration reservoir. The HC I don't think would hold more than a 1-15L reservoir comfortably

Sam, Editor

Unknown said...

Hey, anyone found out how to combine this vest with your HRM ? serious chaffing occurs when worn normally.