Thursday, September 16, 2021

Deckers X Lab NVRSTP 19-25 Review: Run Race Vest? Very Large Day Pack? Ideal Active Travel Companion? All!

Article by Sam Winebaum

Deckers X Lab NVRSTP 19-25 Pack ($275)

Deckers Lab is the skunk works and innovation lab for Hoka, Sanuk, Teva, and UGG all Deckers brands.  Directed by the founder of Hoka Jean Luc Diard, and we may remember what he up ended in run shoes with Hoka maximal in a time of minimal in the late 2000’s. Deckers X Lab can be counted on to stretch the envelope with wild concepts with more recently the “Hubble Geometry” broad hiker and shoe heels, the more moderate “swallowtail” heels no making their way into the mainline Hoka such as the Mach 4 and Zinal. They sell "concept" shoes and sandals as a lifestyle brand play.

Now it is clear Jean Luc, a long time and accomplished ultra runner are tackling run and other carry solutions with the NVRSTP vest/pack. 

It has a total of 19 pockets (9 on the front, 10 on the back) with expandable capacity from 25L to up to 40L through a top roll top pocket. Those familiar with typical “run race vests” will know they generally have between 5L and 10L of capacity so this thing has far more capacity.  Made of ultra light materials, the NVRSTP is over the top in storage capabilities and versatility.. and price at $275.

I am a huge fan of “day pack” capacity with front pockets with the recent Camelbak Octane 25L. It is my all time favorite do it all from run to hike to travel to work/laptop pack.  Will the Deckers replace it?

The Deckers takes a different approach moving away from day pack with front pockets and a waist belt to a giant capacity, high sitting race vest. 

I tested it on our hike up rugged Mount Carrigan in New Hampshire and it passed with flying colors but some idiosyncrasies. I loaded it with way more than I needed to see how it performed; namely, a full 1.5L bladder, two full 500 ML flasks, a puffy, an insulated vest, a mountain type shell, phone, wallet, keys, battery, first aid kit and snacks. I had no sense i was carrying anything at all. I appreciated all 19 pockets, loading almost all of them but I think the 19th, the removable one is not necessary. 

The fit can be thought of as high and essentially wrapping each side of the body with the load. The top roll top, unlike in most such pack designs, is separated from the lower pack completely while integral so a good place for layers, wet clothes, etc… 

The “pouch” resulting flops over the back of the pack and is not aesthetically very pleasing and slightly bouncy even though it is secured by two straps to the side.  I think the ability to optionally open the bottom of the pouch would allow a more vertical carry of big loads. At the full 40L I could well imagine using this ultralight pack for trekking.

The other pockets proved super convenient but at one point I forgot the 2 top zipper pockets, of 4 zip pockets on the front plus 4 drop in and couldn’t find some items. They are literally behind the bottles in the picture above. Those top two pockets are best for things such as car keys and wallet and not quick access items. All the lower ones in addition to bottles are great for phone, snacks etc.. and very easily accessible on the go.

There are many yellow bungees, pulls and straps and the pack is bit busy in appearance. 

The two securing the front water bottle drop in pockets came untied at one end after I gave them a solid pull to secure an emptying flask. I was able to retie them to their internal webbing loops but notice others are tied too "short and neat" so knots are prone to slipping. Retying a bit longer solved the issues. I think the front pocket mesh could be a bit more compressive to reduce the need to adjust the straps.

The 2 front drop in pockets were easily secured for 2 different size soft flasks full and then empitier.  

My 1.5L Camelbak hydration bladder slips into a zip compartment closest to the back with dual layered zip pockets and inside organizers further back. I recommend inserting the reservoir before fully loading the vest.

The fit and security are near perfect for hiking. No motion whatsoever side to side or up and down with the 3 laddered straps securing this “hump” of a pack just right. There is no waist belt and none is needed. Given the flexible back contouring back panel which proved well ventilated I am not sure yet it is laptop carry suitable but will update when I test for that.    

I also tested on a road run with 2 full Salomon flasks and my phone so a light load.  It was a warm day and my back was a bit overheated but otherwise there is no question the NVSTP is suitable for those days when you need to carry just a few things on the go.  

I found the skinny Salomon soft flasks bounced a bit more in the very top two pockets (where they are sip-able without removing)  than in the lower ones.  Recall, you have 4 such bottle pockets on the front.  I think the front bottle pockets could be a touch more compressive/lower in volume with tauter mesh stretch.


Deckers X Lab set out to create a highly versatile carry system for very small loads up to near 40L by building a race vest type pack where pockets (19 of them) organize and distribute any size load front and back for easy access/organization and weight distribution. 

While unusual in appearance due to all the pockets and high fit it works!  One can go for an easy run with a couple flasks of water, a day about town with a few layers and snacks all the way to over 3L of water plus multiple layers as I did on a hike.  

While I have not tested with a several day hut trekking load or fast packing load, I think it maybe an option there too if you keep the full load "light".  It for sure is a good option for longer winter/fall trail runs where carrying layers and safety equipment is essential. 

Finally, as a do anything take along for travel (run, hike, sight see, picnic) as it is so light it is about as ideal a solution as I have seen to date likely replacing my trusty (if heavier) Camelbak Octane 25L (RTR Review) for most run/hike purposes. That said for commuting and trade shows. I think the Camelbak's big single back compartment, stouter back panel (laptop fine) and many larger outer mesh stuff pockets is more practical for those two uses. 

The pricing at $275 gives pause that is for sure. Yet given the light weight,  capabilities and versatility there is good value here and the pack is for now a limited run "concept" product.  

I would like to see Deckers X Lab simplify the design (mainly all the bungees), streamline the back zip roll top pouch so it fits flatter/neater over the back of the pack while also adding a bottom zip/velcro pass through to make the whole rear optionally usable as a single compartment as a full roll top pack, make the front mesh pockets tauter and rework the bungees,  and get the pricing down in a next take on this exciting and innovative approach to "carry in motion".

Deckers X Lab NVRSTP 19-25 Available Now from Deckers X Lab HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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1 comment:

Boyan said...

The design greatly resembles Instinct Trail XX 18-24L backpack. Maybe some sort of custom version or collaboration.