USWE PACE 12 Review

The Pace 12 marked USWE‘s entry in the trail and ultra running category. For years they have been a leader in the Moto X and mtb pack market, with their patented No Dancing Monkey harness system. Late last year as a follow up, the launched the smaller capacity Pace Pro.

This isn’t the first time the Pace 12 has graced this website. Back in 2018 when I was an ambassador for the brand, I put a first look video up, when I had a prototype version with me in Chamonix. I then went on to run the Ring of Steall Skyrace wearing the production model.

A year and a bit onwards, what are my thoughts?

Firstly let me clarify me connection to the brand. During the development of the Pace 12 I was using a prototype and provided USWE feedback. During that period I also stopped reviewing other brands packs. Early in 2019 I ceased being an ambassador for USWE. These thoughts are my own and not anything I have been asked to say.

USWE Pace 12 2020 010*If you’d like to skip to the video – scroll to the bottom*

The Pace 12 has been developed with trail and ultra running in mind. A new harness system was developed, that uses one contact point and the emphasis is to keep moving over varied terrain. It is the second largest pack on the group test, and I used this both racing, on local trails and a week in Chamonix clocking my first 100 mile running week.

The Pace 12 is held in place by a single sliding buckle, with large unlocking button. Its the simplest fastener I’ve used on a pack and though looking wildly out of place, in a product category synonymous with 2 or 3 different tensioners, it works.  Easy to do up with gloves, secure and great for easing off tension or unclipping on a climb. It’s the key to the pack.

Up front are two 500ml soft flasks with straws. The flasks are places lower down your rib cage, reducing the amount the water volume wishes to bounce around, without impeding free swinging of your arms. There are two material garages you can tuck the bite valves into, but when racing I soon accepted I would see the valves in my peripheral vision. An easier choice than constantly faffing with the material will charging down a descent. Two garages can also store a gel or easy to hand item if you so wish. There’s a substantial whistle for if you get into trouble on the mountain side and mesh pockets surrounding the flasks.USWE Pace 12 2020 004These pockets in practice can store gels/bars, hat and gloves. I would have preferred them to have greater volume, as found on other packs, as I tend to load them up with more gear. But, nothing ever spilled out and the mesh never lost its elasticity in the time ive run with the pack.

On the left strap is a zippered pocket, great for a phone or anything you want that extra bit of security holding onto.USWE Pace 12 2020 003USWE Pace 12 2020 009USWE Pace 12 2020 008The back is one large packet that can take a serious amount of kit. A jacket, trousers, safety kit, food, spares. It swallows them with ease. External compression straps allow to cinch is down regardless of whether it is empty or 3/8ths full, and double up for storing wet layers if you come out the other side of a storm. Two quick mesh stash pockets add some extra flexibility, especially if running with a buddy. Zippered access keeps you safe in the knowledge you’re not leaving your belongings behind you on the trail.USWE Pace 12 2020 005USWE Pace 12 2020 007The lower light loop can accommodate a small red LED, but provides reflectively, as does the strips found holding the flasks on the front.USWE Pace 12 2020 001Cheat sticks, sorry, poles, are handled on the front of the pack in a diagonal fashion. Easy to put into practice, they stay close to hand and out of the way. With two full flasks and packed pockets, it can be a tricky balance to get it correct, but much easier than placing them not the back.USWE Pace 12 2020 002Of course, this will carry depending on which pole system you use.

So what are my thoughts not USWE’s Pace 12?

As I said earlier, I had a hand in the development and saw it evolve. What it may lack in lightness it comes back at you with durability, it’s substantial rather than wafer thin and that means it will be with you for years to come and survive the occasional tumble on the trail. It is well thought out, well balanced and has real convenience when putting it on/off.

Would I alter anything?

Yes. I’d prefer greater capacity in the front pockets and add side pockets to enable greater on the go capacity. But that would be it. I’ve used the Pace 12 in anger and it delivered.


To find out more about USWE’s Pace 12 – CLICK HERE