Review: Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 15

We each have our own little tricks for getting our clothes to the office in the best condition possible.  Considering all the jostling your pack can do while run commuting, what goes in looking nice one minute, can come out looking terrible the next.

Kyle is a an iron-and-roller.  Hall rolls-and-stows.  I am an iron-and-folder.  All those techniques work for us in our respective jobs, but sometimes, no matter how well they’re packed, your clothes might come out a little wrinkly, wonky, or looking like you just pulled them out of the dirty clothes pile before you put them on.

Enter the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 15

Packit - Main pic

Closed and empty.

Eagle Creek makes fantastic travel gear. They have a unique four-step system that shows how best to pack for a trip and, of course, which of their products will be most useful for each step. The Pack-It Folder is part of their “packing solutions” category, and most useful to us as run commuters.

Construction is simple, consisting of 300-D poly weave materials, velcro closures, mesh, and a handle. There are five color options available, from black to red to zebra print.

Packit - Open

When open. Hmm. Looks familiar…

I knew I'd seen this somewhere before!

I knew I’d seen it somewhere before!

This is a very simple and reasonable solution to keep your clothes wrinkle-free while transporting them in your pack (the Pack-It 15 – not the manta…)

Packit - Instructions

That plastic card that you see inside the Pack-It doubles as folding instructions and a bag/clothing stiffener.  The easy-to-follow guide makes your clothes look like they just came off the shelf at the Gap.

Saturday Night Live – when it was good. (David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley as SNL’s “Gap Girls”)

You fold your shirt(s), fold your pants, add your underthings and socks, and then compress it altogether into a neat, little package that’s ready to slip into your run commuting pack. If you want to take two days worth of clothing, the Pack-It Folder 15 can handle that, too (holds up to 7 items).

A one-day supply of clothing: Pants, dress shirt, undershirt, underthings, and socks.

A one-day supply of clothing: Pants, dress shirt, undershirt, underthings, and socks.

The Pack-It folder 15 inside the Osprey Manta 20.

The Pack-It folder 15 inside the Osprey Manta 20.

It worked amazingly well!  My clothes were ready to go when I arrived and looked like they just came off the shelf.

The only thing I would have done differently is used a larger pack, like the Osprey Manta 25.  It was a bit tough to fit my lunch inside on top of the Folder, but I do make a big lunch, so maybe it’s just me.

Thankfully, I keep my shoes at work, so those didn’t have to go in my pack on top of everything else (but a coworker recently saw my shoe collection, which I keep on a bookshelf, and stared at it admiringly?, saying she was going to come back and take a picture.  Is there an office equivalent of a cat lady?  That’s probably me.)

Recommended for run commuting?

Hell, yes.


Sizes:  15, 18, and 20



  • Lifetime – Defects in workmanship and materials.

  • 5-Year – Functional damage.


  • Aqua/Lime

  • Black

  • Pacific Blue

  • Torch Red

  • Zambia

Special thanks to Patrick H. and Soog for suggesting these cool pieces of gear!

Note: This gear was purchased for use by the author.

By |2016-10-22T20:26:45-04:00April 25th, 2013|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Gray: a collegian run commuter

“I am out of shape,” he huffed, though he seemed anything but.

Gray, repping Atlanta with a Coca-Cola t-shirt.

Gray, repping Atlanta with a Coca-Cola t-shirt.

I encountered Gray on my run commute home Wednesday, at the corner of Piedmont and MLK, in the gold-domed glare of the Capitol. Weekly I see new run commuters, but often they are blocks away or my camera is at home; so it was with surprise and delight, and entirely without elegance, that I crowed, “Run commuter! You, too?!”

Gray told me he was running something over two miles, from Georgia State University, where he is a student, to Grant Park, due south. The campus is so close, he said, that he figured he could just run the distance. And it makes good sense: Georgia State University, one of Georgia’s four research institutions, is surrounded by a confusing network of four-lane one-way streets, viaducts, and turn-only/no-turn lanes that is as sensible navigable as an M.C. Escher drawing. Driving’s difficulty is compounded by jockeying for parking in stories-tall decks; rising transit fares are not always a student’s budgetary ally; but bicycling certain routes, and running any of them, is wonderfully easy, and often quicker than muddling through traffic.

Standard Victorinox backpack, 20-25 pounds with textbooks and a laptop. A hip belt of some kind would both mitigate its pendulous action and prevent that from drawing his shirt's back up.

Standard Victorinox backpack, 20-25 pounds with textbooks and a laptop. A hip belt of some kind would both mitigate its pendulous action and prevent that from drawing his shirt’s back up.

Gray stated he was out of shape, hence the huffing and puffing as we spoke; however, I must disagree: he seemed fit, and Gray had just run up a rather steep, lengthy hill of Piedmont Avenue, carrying 20-25 pounds on his back (textbooks, laptop, and sundry). Tell me you would have your wind, having done the same. And I had just run two level blocks with maybe 10 pounds, and was huffing as much (see my greeting above).

Great job, Gray! Run hard, study harder.

By |2016-10-22T20:26:46-04:00April 18th, 2013|Categories: General|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Run to Work Day 2013!

What are you doing on Friday, April 26th?  Hopefully running to or from work along with thousands of people around the globe!

The fantastic folks over at Run to Work Day are promoting this year’s global day of run commuting by asking those that participate to donate the money they would have spent on vehicle/transit travel to a wonderful organization that works with children facing adversity – Right to Play.

You can register (free) for the event through the link on their homepage and by doing so, you’ll become eligible for rewards and incentives (RunRelay magazine digital download).  You will even be able to upload/register your miles and/or route through the site, so that a worldwide total can be calculated.

From the site:

Unlike other running events there is no fixed or minimum distance to cover. You can pick your own route, distance and time of day plus decide if you want to run solo or with a colleague. If you have a long work commute perhaps you could plan to run just part of your travel distance by committing to get off the bus, train or underground a stop or two earlier than usual.

RUN TO WORK DAY in not just an opportunity for runners around the world to ‘run for good’ it is also a chance for employers to encourage colleagues to create a healthy and active workplace. Further, we anticipate that many firms will agree to match-fund their employees’ charitable donations.

Here are some promotional flyers to print out and hang at your office or local running store/club:

If you need any tips on running to work, be sure to check out our FAQ’s.

We hope to see you out there!

Noisy Backpacks

Do you mind the sound of keys jingling?  No?  I bet you would after you heard them make that noise over 5,000 times in 45 minutes.  That’s how many times the loose keys in your backpack could make noise on a 45-minute run to work.  How’s that for some early morning ear candy?

Well, fellow run commuters, we’re going to show you how to silence your commute.  No more key jingle.  No more water sloshing.  No more tink-tink-tink sounds from your zippers – just a nice, quiet pack for your run to work.  Let’s tackle them in the order of annoyance:

Top Noise Makers

  1. Keys
  2. Belt Buckles
  3. Zippers
  4. Hydration Bladder/Liquid
  5. Loose Items/Food



1.  Keys

I have a lot of locks to open, so I have a lot of keys on my key ring.  And, key ring cards.  And, doodads.  All of those together make for a baseball-sized bundle of noise.  I’ve found that there are two ways to effectively silence keys.

Camera Case

I had one of these lying around unused, so I tried it out one day and found it worked very well.  As a bonus, it has a small zippered pouch that my metal watch fits into nicely.  You can easily find one that will fit your keys, no matter what size they may be. Simply go to a camera case display at any store and try it out with your own keys to find the best fit.

Key SilencerRubber Band

For the especially frugal or minimalist run commuter, you can use a rubber band.  The one pictured here was holding some store-bought vegetables together (either asparagus or broccoli).  It’s wide, short and durable, making it an ideal combination to bind your keys together.


Belt Buckle Silencer2.  Belt Buckles

There is one particular type of buckle that will annoy the crap out of you when you’re running – the web belt buckle.  There is a little metal bar inside the metal buckle that will bounce around clanging and jingling, almost like the sound coins in a cup make.  For this solution, we turn to our old friend rubber band.

Once again, it does the trick.  Just be certain to pin the metal bar down under the rubber band or it won’t work.  You can also secure the entire belt by wrapping part of the rubber band around the coiled belt and buckle.

3.  Zippers

These pics should be self-explanatory.  There are probably a few more techniques I missed, but these are the main ones (and pretty simple and low-cost.)


Add a Zipper Pull

Use Some String/Cord

String Monkey Fist

Tie whatever works – just remember to burn the ends of the string so the ends don’t come unraveled.

Wrap Them With Tape

Tape Zipper

I used easy-to-remove painter’s tape here, because, hey – you might want to hear that noise again and don’t want to hassle with a difficult removal. (Note: the blue tape was used for the pic – choice tape is electrical or the king of tapes…DUCT TAPE.)

4.  Hydration Bladders

This one is pretty simple.  Turn the bladder upside down and suck out all of the air.

5.  Loose Food/Items

This one is sort of simple, too.  The key is to eliminate the empty space.

Loose Food

Loose Items

The first thing you can do is to ensure that the items in your pack are arranged properly.  One of our favorite companies, Osprey, created a handy graphic that shows you how to pack items based on weight.

Osprey Packs - "How to Pack Your Pack"

Osprey Packs – “How to Pack Your Pack”

When run commuting, however, we don’t always run with a full load.  So no matter how well you arrange things inside, there may still be plenty of empty space for things to bounce around.  That’s why we recommend a pack with compression straps:

Stratos Compression Straps

Top and Bottom Compression Straps

Compression straps allow you to change the size of your pack by squeezing the outside layer of material closer to your back, which in turn pulls items inside together tightly.  No more bounce!


Hopefully you found some of these tips useful.  If you have any other suggestions, let us know!

Book Report: Eat & Run by Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek and Arnulfo Quimare

Scott Jurek and Arnulfo Quimare

I’ve been following Scott Jurek’s progress on the ultra racing scene for the past few years with great interest.   I first learned of him – as did many, many others – while reading Chris McDougal’s bestselling book, Born to Run.

Jurek took the ultramarathon scene by storm, winning race after race, breaking records, and continuing to push himself harder and faster with each new year.  Eat & Run fills in the backstory of this legendary runner, his transition to veganism and ultramarathons, his early years at home in rural Minnesota, and his recent successes in racing. More importantly, and of great relevance to us here, Jurek used to run to work – 6 miles each way – to his job in Seattle!

Eat and Run, Jurek

Eat & Run by Scott Jurek

I had a similar upbringing as Scott.  We’re about the same age, we grew up in the Midwest hunting and fishing, tried track in high school without much success, and then began running long and far while making the transition to veganism (not to mention, we’re both Polacks).  But at one point in our lives, we diverged.  He ran mountains, killed the ultra scene, and made healthy, competitive running his profession.  I ran short, local races, had (and continue to have) great running adventures, and I’m more than happy just to finish a 50K.

It’s hard not to over-promote yourself as a professional runner.  Your whole career revolves around running, winning, looking good, and marketing yourself.  Do you know who Dean Karnazes is?  If you even follow running just a little bit, you probably do.  He is the king of self-promotion.  But that’s his job, and he does it well.

Similarly, Jurek spends most of the book talking about himself – not only filling in the history of his running career, but also about how awesome he is.  Don’t get me wrong – I think Jurek is an amazing ultra runner and his race times and records are phenomenal.  But, the book reads more like a curriculum vitae with recipes, than a story about the connection between food and running.

I was expecting to hear more about being vegan and why people choose to become one – not just “I ate vegan and felt better,” and “Is being vegan going to hurt my running?”  The book is called Eat & Run after all.  Sure he talks a bit here and there about Hippie Dan and others who gradually changed his mind about eating meat, but I was hoping to see something beyond,

“What we eat is a matter of life and death.  Food is who we are.”

Scott Jurek, Eat & Run, pg. 57

That line in particular, could have been expanded into an ongoing lesson, interspersed throughout the book, about the animals themselves and the short, torturous lives they live before a piece of them finds their way to our plates.

Instead, Jurek says that the “…healthier he

[I] had eaten, the faster and stronger he [I] had become.”  Sure, but what about the other part of that seemingly simple equation?  He had been running and training his ass off for a long time!  Dude, I’m vegan, too.  And yes – I feel better since becoming one, but I can’t discount the effect that solid training has had in making me a better runner overall.  It cheapens training by saying otherwise.

Aside from that, there is the big unanswered question:  What the hell really happened between Jurek and Dusty?  Friends don’t text you out of the blue after a couple of years, saying, “You fucking loser” (pg. 204).   They were close.  And then – suddenly – they weren’t.

There’s more to that story, dammit.  Hopefully, Dusty will write a book about it someday.  If so, you’ll hear all about it here.

By |2016-10-22T20:26:46-04:00February 19th, 2013|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Are you a minimal or barefoot run commuter?

We’re interested in finding out if any of you have ever run commuted barefoot.  We’re also wondering what impact the minimal shoe craze of the past few years has had on you as a runner.  Help us find out by taking a quick poll and then check out the infographic from Altra Zero Drop Footwear explaining the importance of foot strike and minimal running.

If you have run to work barefoot, send us a message, tell us about it, and we’ll feature you in a future post.



By |2016-10-22T20:26:46-04:00February 14th, 2013|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

FAQs, an infographic, AND a contest

We just finished the run commuting FAQs page, so stop by and check it out.  If you have a question you want answered, use the “Submit a Question” form on that page.  We’ll include your first name and location for any questions you submit, along with the answer.

Contest Details:  

Here’s a chance to win a pair of Mizuno Wave Enigma 2’s for you and your partner from our friends at

Who’s your running Valentine? Tell us why you love him or her!

Let your running valentine be anyone special to you—a husband, a mother, a best friend—someone who brings joy and color into your world; the person who makes you smile on a rainy day. Share your story about them, gain some good vibes, and potentially pick up some free Mizuno shoes. Sounds like a win-win to us!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be announced on Friday, Feb. 15. 

And finally, check out the change in race distance popularity over the last 10 years.  Crazy!




By |2016-10-22T20:26:46-04:00February 3rd, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Review: LatLock E70 Running Backpack


Make: LatLock
Model: E70
Available Colors: Black/Yellow, Black/Blue, Black/Pink, Black/Green
Sizes: One size fits all
Volume: 1428 cu. in.
Maximum Load: 40 pounds
Year Manufactured: 2011
MSRP: $62.95

1 – Shoulder Straps. 2 – LatLock Strap. 3 – Upper Chest Strap.

While similar to the old version of the U.S. Army’s Assault Pack, the LatLock has a very unique set of straps that do a great job of keeping your load from bouncing. First, lets look at the shoulder straps.

Unlike shoulder straps on most backpacks, the LatLock’s straps are short, with the bottom of the strap attached higher up than usual.  This, by itself, considerably minimizes the amount of vertical movement that occurs while running.  The strap wraps around the shoulder under the armpit and can be cinched down tightly on even the skinniest runner.

The second strap is the LatLock strap.  This strap secures the pack firmly to your back and reduces side-to-side movement.  Where traditional packs have a waist strap, that buckles and cinch just below your bellybutton, the LatLock’s padded strap tightens around the upper torso.


The LatLock on the Official Run Commuter Headless Mannequin, Josh

The third strap is the Upper Chest Strap and is used to completely meld the LatLock to your body.  It tends to ride up a bit high; sometimes making contact with your neck.  I normally run without using this strap at all.  However, if carrying larger loads, it would probably help take some strain off your shoulders.

The bag’s square construction allows for a varied arrangements of typical, or atypical, items to carry: shoes; slacks; lunches; tomahawks; video games; bags of lettuce; or whatever. You are able to place them where you want, how you want, rather than work within the tapered confines of other packs suitable to run commuting or fastpacking.

The multi-directional compression straps on the outside of the pack are a nice touch. Kind of like making a hobo bindle: arrange your things how you want, tighten it up, make everything nice and snug from the sides and above, and it will stay put.

Running Feel

The pack runs fairly well.  Overall body movement is less constricted than running with frame packs like the Osprey Stratos 24, therefore allowing you to run faster with the same amount of payload.  It keeps gear high on your back, while nearly eliminating all bouncing.  Items packed inside the bag are very secure.

The tightness of the straps tends to push ones arms out to the sides more than normal, giving you a similar style of running to downhill trails, where your arms are more outstretched to maintain balance.  On two of our reviewers, the shoulder straps chafed enough for them to stop using it within a mile or so.


  • No bouncing.

  • No waist strap = no lower back or hip chafing.

  • Compression straps do an excellent job of securing gear inside pack.

  • Padded laptop sleeve.


  • Underarm chafing.  All three reviewers had issues with underarm chafing.

  • Zippers will open if zipped close at the top of the pack (we recommend zipping both down one side).  Also, adding pulls would help with access.


Yes and No.  One reviewer thought this was an amazing pack while the others did not like it.  It has to be adjusted just right in order to prevent a chafe-free run and it does take some getting used to.  To adjust it properly, follow the instructions listed on LatLock’s website.

Changes in the next generation pack (available soon)

  1. Front pockets or holders for cell phone, wallet, keys, ipod, MP3 player, water bottles.

  2. Bigger, more rugged zipper.

  3. Zipper Design Change, Easier to get into pack and not have to completely un-zip to get to contents in the lowest area of the Pack.

  4. Added External Sleeve for hydration bladder.

  5. Added Internal Sleeve for papers, so you can place loose paper in the bag and not crumple it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received a LatLock E70  for free from LatLock, LLC in consideration for review publication.

By |2018-02-27T15:01:11-04:00December 12th, 2012|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

Review: REI Stoke 19 Backpack


The transition from runner to run commuter mandates a method of transport, and so, a bag of some kind becomes necessary, be it a cloth drawstring bag the likes of which are given out at job fairs and to elementary schoolers; your mom’s old fanny pack or your dad’s new fanny pack; or, for me, the REI Stoke 19. In my two years with the Stoke 19, I have used it on a near-daily basis, and battered it with various injuries, including rain, sleet, hail, dark of night, sweat and its corrosive salt, the stink of unwashed wool, and hemorrhaging strawberries. It has withstood and served, and continues to endure, under all stresses, remains comfortable, and retains the quality with which it was originally imbued.

The Stoke 19 is a frameless daypack made of ripstop nylon, prices around $80, weighs in at a meager 1 lb. 4 oz., and has a 19-liter cargo capacity. Mine is the 2010 model. As such, I have two years’ perspective on it; however, I have inspected the 2012 models and they are compatible, with a few minor upgrades to the latter. The panel-loading pack features one main interior pocket, with two internal sleeves along the sides; a rear mesh pocket; a rear zippered pocket, with two interior mesh sleeves and a key clip; two exterior mesh pockets along the pack’s sides; and two zippered waist strap pockets. Consequently, I never want to type the word “pocket” again, yet I will sally forth for you, as there is one more: a zippered compartment on the pack’s backing, which accommodates a 70-ounce hydration bladder.
The Stoke 19 has a soft, waffled backing, which rests comfortably on the back, but also prohibits two things: air flow, and sweat drainage. Often in my endeavors, I have bagged my interior goods because I know that the bag will soak a great deal of sweat on my commute, particularly in summer. This, for me, is inevitable, as I am a profuse sweater. Yet I am able to say the ripstop nylon dries quickly: after running to work, it is dry within a few hours, and quicker still if I have my fan trained on it. Still, some might favor a pack with an airflow system, like the comparable Osprey Talon. The Stoke 19’s shoulder and waist straps are ventilated and padded, respectively, and several inches wide. I have yet to experience any chafing, pinching, or cutting.

The Stoke 19 sits high and tight on my back, its bottom nesting near the small of my back: I like this. It keeps my center of gravity from dropping too low, particularly when running with a full sack. It features two horizontal straps: a chest strap (with safety whistle, help, help!) with a minor elastic band, to accommodate jouncing on runs and hikes; and a thicker, middle-buckling waist strap. The chest strap is adjustable, sliding vertically on a six-inch curve. I prefer mine toward the middle of that curve, but I find my left slider has difficulty staying put. It often slides up, requiring frequent adjustment on the go. The waist strap’s pockets have come in handy for carting gels, Clif bars, keys, ID, pepper spray, a fistful of pecans found during a run, and other sundry flotsam; however, I find I need to cinch them very tightly.

The Stoke 19 might fit a bit loosely for thin folks. At 6’4″ and 170 pounds, I need to pull the chest strap fully tight, and the hip straps nearly so, otherwise it fits loosely and bounces around, a sensation I detest. This fit improves with the amount of cargo you stuff in the bag, as the ends of the shoulder straps pull not from the rear, but the front. This is important, as it helps compress your cargo and secure it.
I might carry on a typical day: my lunch box; pants; socks; underpants; undershirt; work shirt; belt; wallet; small notebook; phone; keys; and perhaps a Clif bar. But most days also see the inclusion of any of these things: a book, parcels of mail, a sweet potato, a second pair of shoes; yet I have also transported: a tomahawk; a Kindle; a stack of CDs; a thermos of coffee; and a four-pound flat of strawberries. This last was more good intent than good idea, as the motion of my running mashed the strawberries and bled them into the bag’s bottom. (Side note on DURABILITY: it washes clean of strawberry muck, and the stink of salt and wool.) I have been surprised by how much I am able to fit inside this bag, and have only once been unable to accommodate all my items (on that occasion, I ran with another bundle tucked under my arm).

The Stoke 19 has more than amply met my needs for running to work; long training runs; trail runs; hiking; and cycling. It does not look large — in fact, smaller than most school kids’ backpacks — yet its capacity has surprised me, as has its durability. It washes clean of grime, sweat, and salt (and fruit) stains without problems. It sits tight and high, though this negates air flow, resulting in a snug, albeit sweaty, fit. As a bonus: REI Members are able to exchange it if not completely satisfied. If they endeavor to abuse REI’s extremely liberal returns policy, it’s probably possible to exchange it after two years’ use.

Note: This backpack was purchased for use by the author.

By |2016-10-22T20:26:47-04:00November 30th, 2012|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

Review: New Balance 730 Shoes

I have been using New Balance MR10’s over the last year and love them.  However, there is one thing I don’t like about them – how fast the sole wears out.  A New Balance employee at my local store told me that they should be replaced after 250 miles.  I was already at 450, the heels and soles were worn down, and my toes and feet were starting to really feel the ground.  250 sounds like the right replacement mileage, but running 1000+ miles a year would require me to buy 4 or more pairs of these per year at $100 a pop.  So, I was excited to hear about the thicker sole and similar style of the New Balance 730’s  and ordered a pair from Running Warehouse to try out.

The New Balance 730’s are the perfect mix of minimal shoe:  They’re light, breathable, roomy, durable, inexpensive, have more cushioning than a traditional minimal, and have a small heel-toe drop.  Here’s how they ran:

Initial Run (4.75 miles)

– Firm, stiff soles.  They became comfortably flexible after 2 miles into my run.

– Lightweight.  7.3 oz.

– Breathable.  I could feel wind blowing through the shoe.

– Ample toebox.  I could easily splay my toes and still not touch either side.

– My calves were sore after the initial run.  With just a slight change in heel-toe drop – from 4mm in the New Balance MR10’s to the 3mm drop of the 730’s – I could feel the difference afterwards.  That’s why we recommend a slow transition from traditional to minimal shoes.  No one wants to suffer an unnecessary injury that will keep you from running…

Adjustment Phase (2 Days)

Due to the calf stiffness I was experiencing, I decided to wear the shoes around for a couple of days so my legs could get used to them while walking.  This worked surprisingly well and I was soon ready to crank out some more running miles.

Additional Mileage (16.25 miles)

– Soles are solid (though flexible) – not a lot of shock absorption.

– Tongue drifts to the sides under the laces.  There is no lace guide on the tongue, which would help to hold it in place.

– A lot of ground feel.  I tried them out on some small-medium gravel and you can definitely feel it on your feet.  I was also surprised I could feel the smooth, rounded edges of paver stones on the sidewalk.

No lace guide on tongue…

…leads to some drifting after a few miles

So, should you buy them?

Yes – but only if you are already comfortable with a minimal heel-toe drop, or you have some time to get used to them in training.  They’re ridiculously inexpensive compared to similar shoes of it’s kind (as low as $50 a pair!) and you’ll get a fair amount more mileage out of them, too.

Note: These shoes were purchased for use by the author.


By |2018-02-27T15:01:11-04:00November 30th, 2012|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments