TSL Finisher 12L Hydration Pack Review

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Running long-distance races, particularly ultramarathons, demands mental toughness and a well-thought-out plan tailored to individual needs. Over the past 10 years since my first ultramarathon, I have refined my strategy and preparation as I gained more insight into my own requirements. Adequate hydration, electrolytes, salt, and calories have become crucial factors for me. After trying various methods, I have settled on a hydration pack filled with Tailwind, a calorie/electrolyte hydration mix that has proven effective. Recently, I decided to experiment with the TSL Finisher 12L hydration pack during my training for three upcoming ultramarathons. In this review, I’ll share my thoughts on the pack, its design, functions, fit, and overall performance.

About TSL

TSL is a brand that was new to me when I first received their hydration pack. Originating from the passion of a man who introduced snowshoeing to France in the early 80s, TSL has since grown to become a leading European provider of high-quality and innovative outdoor products. From pioneering snowshoeing to introducing Nordic walking and other outdoor activities, TSL has built a reputation for reliability and authenticity, ensuring its products are developed with care in the French Alps.

Description

This technical trail running backpack is lightweight, comfortable and cleverly designed. The main zipped pocket has a water bag compartment and an inside pocket with a flap. Featuring nothing but the essentials, the Finisher 12L is unrivalled when it comes to long-distance endurance races.

  • Inner breathable mesh vest
  • 1 Main water bag compartment + 2 straw conduits
  • 1 zipped inside pocket with flap
  • 2 pockets on the front for collapsible water bottles (500 ml)
  • 4 pockets on the front for bars, gels and other essentials
  • 2 zipped front pockets for phones, etc. 1 easy-to-access elasticated rear pocket
  • 4 pole carrying options
  • 2 chest straps
  • Whistle + reflective strips on the front and back
  • Material: PA Polyester
  • + 2 COLLAPSIBLE 500 ML BOTTLE
  • Weight : 0.47 lbs. (S)
  • Volume : 2.64 Gal
  • Bag dimensions : 15 x 13 x 6″ (S)

Design and Functions of TSL Finisher 12L Hydration Pack

I recently had the opportunity to try out the TSL Finisher 12L Hydration Pack during my training sessions. This technical trail running backpack impressed me with its thoughtful design and multiple functions tailored to the needs of long-distance runners.

Front View
Back View

The first thing that caught my attention was its lightweight construction, making it easy to wear for extended periods without feeling burdened. The main zipped pocket of the pack was cleverly designed, featuring a dedicated water bag compartment. This compartment allows the ability to add a water bladder in addition to having two collapsible bottles on the front.

One of the most significant advantages of the TSL Finisher 12L over my previous packs, was its multiple of front pockets. These compartments were designed to accommodate collapsible water bottles, energy bars, gels, and other essential race supplies. The stack and stagger arrangement of the pockets allowed for organized storage, ensuring quick and convenient access to my necessities without having to rummage through the pack.

Front View
Back View
Front Pockets

As an ultramarathon runner, I always carry my smartphone for navigation, communication, and emergency purposes. The additional zipped pockets on the front of the pack were a welcome feature, providing a secure spot to store my phone while keeping it easily accessible.

Another notable feature was the option to carry trekking poles on the sides of the pack. The elastic loops provided a secure and convenient solution for holding my Leki poles, ensuring that they were easily accessible when needed during challenging terrain.

Regarding fit and adjustability, the TSL Finisher 12L hydration pack offered flexibility. The pack came in different sizes based on body dimensions, and I chose the size that provided a comfortable and snug fit. The chest straps and adjustable straps allowed me to fine-tune the fit, ensuring that the pack stayed in place during my runs without feeling overly tight or restrictive.

Adjustable Front Straps

Initial Thoughts and Experience with the TSL Finisher 12L Hydration Pack

As I eagerly unpacked the TSL Finisher 12L hydration pack, I was immediately struck by its lightweight construction. Without the water bladder filled, the pack felt almost weightless on my back, a refreshing change from some of my previous hydration packs. The collapsible water bottles provided with the pack were a unique feature that caught my attention. They offered a practical solution to the issue I faced with bladder systems – warm water from body heat. With these bottles, I could now enjoy refreshing cold water throughout the race, making hydration more enjoyable and efficient.

Upon inspecting the pack’s size, I initially wondered if it might be too large for my liking. However, as I began to load it with my essential gear, first aid supplies, and nutrition, I realized that the generous storage capacity was a significant advantage. Everything fit perfectly, and the well-designed pockets made accessing items on-the-go a breeze. I was able to organize my supplies effectively, ensuring that I could quickly access what I needed during the race without any hassle.

During my first few training runs with the TSL Finisher 12L pack, I was impressed with its ventilation system. Unlike hydration packs equipped with bladders that tended to trap heat on my back, this pack’s design allowed for better airflow. As a result, I experienced reduced heat buildup during runs, leading to a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. The pack’s breathable mesh vest and well-placed ventilation points contributed to this cooling effect, especially during strenuous workouts.

As with any new piece of gear, there was a brief adjustment period. Carrying water bottles on the front was a change from my previous hydration pack, and at first, it felt somewhat foreign. However, I quickly adapted to this new method, and the benefits of temperature control and improved hydration outweighed any initial discomfort. In fact, having easy access to the water bottles without having to remove the pack was a welcome convenience during long training sessions.

Overall, my initial thoughts and experiences with the TSL Finisher 12L hydration pack have been positive. Its lightweight design, efficient storage, and excellent ventilation make it an ideal companion for my long-distance training and upcoming ultramarathons. I look forward to further testing it during my races, and based on my early impressions, I am confident that this hydration pack will prove to be a valuable addition to my gear collection.

Conclusion

The TSL Finisher 12L Hydration Pack, available at the affordable price of $120.00 and offered in sizes XS to L, has proved to be a valuable addition to my ultramarathon gear collection. Its comfortable fit, ingenious design, and ample storage capacity make it an ideal companion for long-distance races. The option to use collapsible water bottles or a bladder, along with numerous pockets for easy access to essentials, provides versatility and convenience during races. Despite some initial adjustment to carrying water on the front, the benefits of temperature control and improved hydration outweigh this minor learning curve. With TSL’s dedication to quality and innovative products, I am confident that the TSL Finisher 12L pack will be a reliable partner in my upcoming Marquette 50M and Woodstock 100M races. To learn more about the TSL Finisher 12L Hydration Pack or to purchase, visit their website at tsloutdoorna.com.

Nazar Kluchkovskiy: Nazar is an avid ultra trail runner who has been competing in challenging races since his teenage years. When he's not pushing himself to the limit on the trails, he enjoys spending quality time with his family in the great outdoors. Camping, mountain biking, hiking, and exploring new trails are some of his favorite activities. He finds being surrounded by the beauty of nature invigorating and is constantly on the lookout for new adventures and breathtaking landscapes to explore.
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