Review: Nathan’s RunAway Marathon Travel Pack Is Perfect for the Active City Dweller

Nathan's latest backpack offers subtle style and a list of nearly secret features

August 9, 2021 12:44 pm
The Nathan RunAway Ultimate Marathon Pack
The Nathan RunAway Ultimate Marathon Pack

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Ask me what my favorite mode of transportation is and I’ll reply by pointing to my feet. Sure, trains and cars have their advantages, but there’s something to be said about moving through life one step at a time. Even after relocating to the number one-ranked city for public transportation only months ago, I still go about my day mostly on foot. But that preference came to a halt when an unexpected element of my life began to slow me down: my backpack.

At the time, I was using a classic pack from a major outdoor brand. It was spacious and durable, not to mention reliable given its presence in my life for the better part of two years. But it was also cumbersome and cramped when I needed a pack that could organize a day’s worth of essentials from the office to the climbing gym. It had to have room for another set of shoes and clothes, pockets to organize essentials, a laptop sleeve and a design that embraced lightweight travel. The order was tall, but weeks of testing allowed me to identify an unlikely winner — the Nathan RunAway Ultimate Marathon Travel Pack.

Nathan is well-known for its lightweight hydration packs but the RunAway is billed as a do-it-all marathon bag. It’s spacious with 30 liters of storage yet the sleek profile embraces characteristics of Nathan’s more streamlined packs. It’s comfy thanks to ample padding along the back and straps, and blue accents give it a touch of subtle style. But what really sets this pack apart is the number of clever, hidden features that make it perfect for life on the go.

A large underside pocket stores an extra set of shoes or dirty clothes while bungees along the back secure a yoga mat or foam roller. There’s also a padded laptop sleeve at the front and another sleeve inside for a water bladder or tablet. It uses a tiered internal storage system that employs zippered pockets to keep everything secure and water bottle pockets adorn each side. Nathan added a small chest and hip belt to reduce bounce if you decide to run across town or head out for a hike. And just the other day, after weeks of use, I discovered a hidden pocket that contains soft fabric for a phone or sunglasses.

If I really wanted to alter this bag, I’d replace the hook-and-loop straps for traditional buckles and enlarge the water bottle pockets. Potential improvements aside, the RunAway has quickly become my go-to pack whether I’m commuting to the office, heading to the gym or hanging out with friends at the park. Its designated spaces for shoes, tech and other essentials helps me stay organized throughout the day, not to mention it offers endless comfort for hours at a time. And best of all, the RunAway Collection features many more bags to choose from.

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