Salomon ADV 12 Skin Set Hydration Vest

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The Salomon ADV Skin Set is a minimalist hydration vest with a bungee closure system in front that makes it adjustable for nearly anyone. It’s a welcome change from the straps you usually find on hydration vests. The straps are tight enough, and won’t chafe, but they can be hard to adjust on the fly. The Skin Set has solved that problem, and reviewers praise the product for it and other reasons we will get into.

Though it’s minimalist, the ADV Skin Set isn’t lacking in features. The two water bottles ride on either side of your chest, directly under your shoulders. It’s a great way to distribute the weight. Other vests we looked at centered the bottles closer to the pecs. Having them wider apart keeps the pressure from getting centralizes. It also makes it easier to reach for a bottle and take a drink without breaking stride.

There’s also plenty of storage, including a zippered pouch big enough to cover the entire back of the vest. Read on to find out more.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Sleeves in the fabric to hold trekking/adventure poles

Fit is true to size, won't move around or chafe but isn't restrictive

Pockets are strategically placed to be easily reached

Minimal bouncing or shaking, including holding gear still inside the pockets

Lightweight, high liquid capacity

Fabric lets air circulate so you don't overheat and vest doesn't stink after a run

Water storage pockets are insulated, helping water stay cool longer

Cons

Have to buy bladder separately

Chest straps take a learning curve at first, but once in place you can adjust while moving

Company Background

Company Background

Salomon may be the most versatile outdoor gear seller you haven't heard of before. They make clothing, everything from jackets to pants to their own line of shoes and boots. They also make bags and packs for running and for travel. Back braces, helmets, and goggles are all part of Salomon's catalog. You can even buy alpine climbing gear from them, and more. It's all backed by helpful customer service and product warranties.

Salomon began in the Alps in 1947, when their patriarch and founder opened a shop making skis and ski equipment. The pride of craftsmanship and the family's passion for outdoor activities has informed company culture and decision making ever since. Simplicity and utility are mainstays; fewer parts mean fewer opportunities for equipment failure when you are outdoors and away from support. That foundational value is evident in the ADV Skin 12, which looks thinner and scrappier than competitor products. That also means less weight, less chance of bounce, and a long life with little maintenance besides cleaning and disinfecting. The synthetic fabric is more or less waterproof, too.

True to their products, Salomon stands by them. They offer a two-year warranty on everything except shoes, and the return policy is repeated on every product page so there's never any confusion.
Who Needs It

Who Needs It

Hydration packs are for a certain type of outdoor athlete. If you play team sports, chances are wearing a vest like this will only slow you down. And hydration packs have almost no application for indoor activities.

You need a hydration pack when you decide to walk, run, or cycle for more than an hour and a half or so without stopping to rest. Hot weather makes hydration more urgent. With a hydration pack, you can keep water supplies on you at all times. You do not have to carry something in your hand, and you don't have to toss a large plastic water bottle into your backpack. Backpacks are fine, but they really can't hold a bottle upright and your stuff tends to scatter. If you put your phone, protein gels, snacks, emergency supplies, and other gear in a backpack, it is possible to lose valuable time fishing around for something.

With the Salomon, everything can be in its own little tight pocket. A vest like this is no good if it lacks padding and can't keep your stuff still. Ever had to run with a mobile phone in the pocket of a hoodie? No matter how high end and insulative that hoodie is, the phone is going to jump around, annoy you, and possibly fall out of the pocket at the worst time. The constant shaking and bumping may even slow you down.

And although they are still popular in many places, mobile device armbands can be just as cumbersome if they don't hold tight or if you can't operate the phone through the clear screen.

All these pesky problems are a thing of the past with the Salomon vest. It really does feel like a second skin, with the bonus of evenly distributed pockets that are just the right size for your pocket-sized things.
Materials

Materials

Construction of the vest is actually pretty complicated. Salomon breaks it all down on the product page of their website, though, which makes your editors quite happy. Here is a summary, with some explanation because the materials won't all be familiar to readers.

The body, the part you see and that touches your skin or undershirt, is made of polyamide and elastane. Elastane is another term for Spandex or Lycra. It gives the shell its form-fitting snugness and prevents anything from being too tight. Polyamide is a word for any of several types of protein-joined materials like silk or wool. The polyamide materials in the vest are synthetic, so they last longer and will resist tearing. The insert inside the shell is also made from elastane and polyamide. The insert is what gives the vest its shape. It can be removed for cleaning. The inner lining is made of pure polyamide foam.

The back of the vest, including the giant pocket, is made from polyester. Combining it with the polyamide of the front part gives the vest its perfectly weight-balanced construction. Having supplies in the back, even extra shoes, won't weigh you down and cause back pain as quickly as a regular backpack will. The material and design both give you more effective weight distribution.

The materials, design, strap system, and weight distribution all combine to create a product that doesn't chafe even if you wear it for several days during an extended hike.

Features

Features

Ample storage and lightweight are the big draws of this vest. It weighs 227 grams when empty, or 335 grams when the water bottles are filled. That's 8 ounces and about 12 ounces respectively. Though not by much, that's lighter than any other hydration vest we have written up so far. You also get 12 liters of liquid storage (with both the bottles and add-on bladder in use).

For add-ons, you can get a 1.5-liter bladder or a 2 liter one. Having those options is nice, even if half a liter doesn't sound like much. You can also purchase a speed straw. It screws into one of the chest bottles for instant hydration, as fast and convenient as an actual bladder with a bite valve.

The flasks are soft and squeezy, though you don't have to squeeze them to get water out. They have hand-friendly grip surfaces which make them easy to hold onto. Plastic is BPA-free, non-toxic, FDA approved and recyclable.

The balanced fir we talked about, which Salomon calls Sensifit, means the vest fits you snugly throughout activity without compromising freedom of movement. There is a quick link strap, located on your sternum, which is super easy to adjust during a run or hike if you start to get uncomfortable. There are compression laces on the side, too, to tighten or loosen the fit as much as you please. 2 zippered front pockets and an insulated flask holder on each side round out the helpful features.

A word of caution here: Salomon is very detailed about how to clean their vest. It can't be dry cleaned or even machine cleaned. Instead, you have to hand wash the vest after each use in cold water. Inserts come out to facilitate drying. You will need to air dry because the vest can't go in a drier either. The vest is built for tough outdoor use but isn't impervious to harsh detergents, bleach, or excessively hot water.
Ease Of Use

Ease Of Use

The vest appears very easy to don and adjust, and reviews we looked at were in agreement. The pocket placement is intuitive, so you do not have to look for things for a long time. The one-of-a-kind strap system ensures a perfect fit, but you can tighten or loosen as needed to keep yourself comfortable over the long haul.
The Final Word

The Final Word

The Salomon Adv Skin 12 set is the best hydration vest we have looked at so far, in terms of comfort, ease of use, water delivery, storage, and materials. It has a minimal look to it but manages to provide room for everything you need without any jarring or shaking even when you run. If you are an endurance athlete, or if you just enjoy day hiking, we think you will like this vest so much that you don't want to go on long jaunts without it.