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To begin, I loved the first ADV Skin 5 that I bought in 2019 (review here) so much that when it began to wear out (zippers not working properly, holes forming in seams), I knew that I would replace it with another ADV Skin 5. When the new one arrived in Feb. 2023, I immediately noticed the upgrade of the fabric. The new version has a light, mesh fabric, very similar to my unisex Salomon ADV Skin 12 (used for hiking and mountain biking) The new ADV Skin 5 fabric is not as thick as the old one, so I am excited to take it out in the hot summer temperatures. Already I have noticed that it manages heat and sweat better. The improved fabric alone allows me to overlook two other differences that I am still questioning.
For one, two of the front pockets open into the side pockets, whereas on the older model they were sewn up the sides. I have found that if I store my phone in those front pockets, which is where I prefer to put it, it will slide into the side pocket and be half sticking out, threatening to plop on the ground. In trail running, where I am moving up and down, side-to-side, hopping over rocks and ledges, there's a good chance anything stored in that pocket will escape. It hasn't happened yet, but I am careful about what I put in there.
The second change is that the large back pocket, where I like to store my small first aid kit and in the winter emergency essentials like a vest and extra gloves. The new version is open at the top, which has me stuffing things in it, whereas the old version was a zip-up. The zip-up was better in that I didn't have to remove everything to access what's at the bottom, while the new non-zipper stuff-style is better for when my fingers are cold and not able to pinch a zipper. Even more, I don't have to worry about that zipper wearing out or breaking. All in all, I would call it an improvement.
The open side pockets fit all of my fuel and then some, just like the old model, which I wore for 50k trail races, never having to rely on aid stations besides filling up flasks because I had all I needed on me. They are easily accessible, and it's where I stow a windbreaker if removed mid-run, a hat, gloves, headphones, all the things.
So far I have run up to 16 miles on trail in the new model, and an average of 30 to 40 miles per week. I look forward to running 20 miles and more in it, up to ultra distances like the 50k, as I'm sure it'll manage those distances equally as well as the old model did.
I highly recommend this vest for female runners. The women-specific design keeps the vest high, not putting pressure on the chest area.
Sizing: With a 34 inch bust area and 27-28 inch waist, I wear a size small. When wearing just a t-shirt or sports bra, I have the front cords cinched until they are about an inch apart.
There are toggles on the bottom of the pack to attach poles across the low back, but I simply stuff them in the front pockets. As you can see, both Leki tri-fold poles (review here) can fit in one pocket. I like to have them right up front where I can whip them out as needed and put them away ASAP.
The flasks are formed to fit the pockets, and I like the small opening, which don't press into the chest like some other flasks with wider mouths. At first I didn't know that you could cut the straws down, and they were hitting me in the ears. To cut them, I measured their length against the straws from the same flasks from my old ADV 5. It takes very sharp scissors to cut effectively through the thick plastic and is well worth the customized fit.
All in all, I will continue to buy this vest as needed and hope that Salomon makes the ADV Skin 5 for Women forever!
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