#Review – Kalenji Trail Bag 9-14Litre #decathlon #running


There are people who read my ramblings and would consider me something of kit hoarder but nearly everything I buy has seen race time and all of it has seen significant training time. In the last week however I’ve added two new hydration packs to my rotation. The first is the Oxsitis Hydragon 17litre which I shall be reviewing once I’ve given it a proper shakedown test and the second was a curious one from Decathlon, the men’s trail bag.

Now the first thing I asked myself was ‘do I need two new hydration packs?’ The answer was no, I already own the Ultimate Directions PB vest, OMM 15l and 25l packs, Camelbak XCT, Decathlon trail vest and a variety of others. But, at least in terms of the Kalenji vest, it was such a great price you couldn’t really say no, just £25.99 – a bargain I hear you cry.

The Pack
Let’s see if that was £25.99 well spent though. The first thing you notice is that the aesthetics are a closer to the Salomon race vest series than should perhaps be allowable but there is no doubt that this would qualify as it’s slightly tattier brother that’s hitched it’s way in to your cool party rather than being invited.

It has double front pouches to accommodate two bottles and on each of them it has a small side pocket for gels or small foods.

As we roll round the bag there are two generous zipped side pockets that lie nicely flush to the user and could easily hold all manner of items. I’ve been storing external battery, cables, keys, buff and gloves in them and there is still a bit of space free.

In the rear it’s all pretty simple, there is a large pouch – split into two (one section for the supplied bladder and one for gear) there is a small pocket at the top of the main section to keep valuables such as your phone or wallet and this seals shut using the Velcro fastenings. There is no zip access for this vest, it’s all done through the top of the bag which does take a little getting used to but once you’re there it’s actually pretty easy.


On the back of the pack is a fine mesh stuff area should you wish to carry a jacket or small waterproof and this I’ve found is a little more resilient to the elements than even my Ultimate Directions PB pack.

You’d think that would be quite enough really for the money but the pack continues giving. On the back of the pack is a zip that runs the entire of the pack. Unzipping this adds an additional 5 litres of available space and as it’s controlled with pull cords you can still keep the pack tight. These draw cords could be used to attach additional jackets or poles to if you so desired but I doubt it was the primary reason they are there. Also enclosed are a whistle and a variety of loops and hoops that all will give you, as runner of hiker, every confidence that this pack has your back.

I’m currently 176cm and about 75kg and this is a nice fit but would be perfectly suited to small or slightly larger gents (there is a ladies fit version that I didn’t buy for obvious reasons). The front section is comfortable and well ventilated across the shoulders, the hook closing method is a nice touch and I find very useable. With most manufacturers preferring the clip this is a welcome change. It’s perhaps not as easily adaptable as the Ultimate Direction or Salomon but once it’s fit, it fits.

An area of concern with all of these close fitting packs is the issue of sweat and hotspots but actually this does remarkably well. Sweat is no more a concern with the Decathlon pack than it is with it’s much pricier cousins.


I bought this as a bit of a commuting bag and if you were thinking the same then you’ll need to know what I managed to squeeze into it.

1 x full size towel
1 x 100ml shower gel
1 x standard office type trousers
1 x standard (size medium) TShirt
1 x pair of socks
1 x pair of thundercrackers
1 x OMM windproof jacket
1 x Apple earphones
1 x iPhone 5s and power cable
1 x external power supply
1 x wallet

Yes it was full when I did this, probably a little over full but not by much (and there was no room for water in the pack) but it did handle all this stuff admirably.

For the money you’d be hard pressed to find any. I did have some discomfort at the shoulders but I simply moved the ties a bit and then it was fine. I really am struggling to find negatives about this bag. I’ve been using this daily whether I’ve been cycling, running or walking and for a kit hoarder like me that’s impressive.

So it’s not Salomon or Ultimate Direction but for £25.99 would you expect to see a fully featured single day ultra adventure pack? It is loaded with good stuff and will be popular in the ultra community. Obviously I’d suggest you try before you buy if you can’t I’m sure you can send it back! Don’t delay, go try this.


  1. Hello, my pack arrived today. I’m happy with it but was wondering if you had any tips on the fit? I’ve found that with two bottles up front, the side straps start to loosen after a mile or so, and the pack rocks from side to side. Is this normal for these type of packs, or do you have any tips?



  2. Hello, my pack arrived today. I’m happy with it but was wondering if you had any tips on the fit? I’ve found that with two bottles up front, the side straps start to loosen after a mile or so, and the pack rocks from side to side. Is this normal for these type of packs, or do you have any tips?



    • ultraboycreates said:

      I tend to use a bladder, your two bottles up front might be a weight or depth issue. Have you considered the soft bottles you can buy? Salomon and others make them. Additionally I tend to loop over the spare straps to make like a triangle of fabric if i think tightness might be an issue. I have had this pack work loose (and heard of others with a similar concern) but nothing too serious and I find it easy enough to adjust on the move. Hope that helps

      • Hi, thanks for replying!

        Yeah, it was actually with the soft bottles I noticed this (haven’t tried with normal bottles – I assume the mass is the issue). I will try with the bladder this weekend.

        I thought about looping the fabric too – I could actually use duck tape to hold the excess in place. Though that would stop me making adjustments on the fly. Race day is in 4 weeks so I’ve some time to play around with it.


      • ultraboycreates said:

        I love that you thought of taking them down but I’m not sure this is right thing to do, you really want to be able to adjust on the move. I think you’ll find it easier with the bladder in this particular bag, I know it’s a faff to refill any bladder but if you’ve bought it for ultra running you probably aren’t sprinting so you won’t be in a rush to refill anyway 🙂 which event is it you’re doing?

      • It’s only a 20k, this one:


        I’ve got the pack to carry a jacket and some stuff for the weather, and a little bit of water. First time running with a pack, so thanks for the tip.

        I’ve had a few really bad years with injuries so just looking to build up to half marathons this year and then go from there. I read your blog and empathised :/ Are you feeling more upbeat since Monday?

      • ultraboycreates said:

        Sadly there is no upbeat at the moment, however, hearing from someone who is well on the road to recovery gives me hope 🙂 good luck at the race, make sure you give it some welly!

      • Thanks; I’m just trying to remain patient at the moment – focus on the process, not the outcome, and all that. It’s difficult though, with every positive comes a nagging doubt. So, I empathise. I hope things improve and your recovery can get back on track ASAP!

  3. So I did a 10 miler at the weekend with the pack, with the bladder instead of bottles, and you were right – hardly any movement or adjustment required. Thanks for the advice!

    • ultraboycreates said:

      Excellent. You’ve got a bargain piece of kit there – I have the Salomon one that it is based on too and actually I prefer the decathlon pack – especially for shorter trail running. Have fun with it!

  4. Yaniv said:

    hei, do you know wether the 2L bladder is BPA free?

    • ultraboycreates said:

      I’m afraid I don’t – I replaced the bladder with a salomon 1.5litre as that’s my standard these days

      • Yaniv said:

        thanks… do you bother drying it out after each run?

      • ultraboycreates said:

        Yes, I clean it out, wash it with clean water (no soap) and then air dry it by leaving it open and upside down – I also clean mouthpiece and pipe by blowing water through them just to keep it fresh and odour free. I also never put anything other than plain wAter in it. If I want electrolytes I use a soft bottle

  5. Yaniv said:

    thanks again for a thorough answer. Just purchased that Kalenji bag and looking forward for using it..

  6. Nice review as I’m looking at getting a hydration vest – but don’t want to spend a fortune! thanks!

    • Down side is…… Kalenji are out of stock… unless you know any secrets?

      • ultraboycreates said:

        Sadly I don’t – as I say they might be about to launch an update or something on the decathlon website

    • ultraboycreates said:

      I’d always suggest trying it (everyone fits and feels different depending on who you are) and since this was written they may have updated it – but the decathlon kit is very good quality generally at decent prices. If you live near one then I’d suggest dropping in. What I will say is that lots of the French and Spanish ultra runners turn up to races in these vests and never have any problems!

  7. Many thanks…. I’ll contact them!
    Take care – keep running!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

really (not) a runner

rambling about my running journey

Adventures With My Shoes

Random write-ups of races and adventures

Trot Thoughts

What to do if you see a naked man, and other mildly helpful tips for runners.

Pyllon - ultra runner

Seeking asylum in the hills & transcendence on the trails



The Runtron Diaries

Running. Cake. Random.

Gabrielle Outdoors

Journeys of a varying kind


An introduction to ultra running

Running on Full

Random thoughts, used to be about running


Rule 11: When the job's done, walk away

Bearded bimbler

A runner, a hiker and a bearded man

Inadvertent Mooning

Observations from the Grumpy side of UltraRunning

The Unprofessional Ultra Runner

My attempt to crack some serious challenges in an unserious manner


“Life Is An Endurance Event”

rara's rules for living

Swim, bike, run, fun!

An academic in (running) tights

Blogs on education and running: My two passions

"Keep Running Mummy!"

Motherhood, marathons and more

Val's running blog

The trials and tribulations of a Jolly Jogger

be back in a bit, have biscuits ready

I like running, and feel the need to write about it

%d bloggers like this: