It is nice to get new gear to help us streamline our training and, perhaps, improve our performance. What about a spot where you can keep your keys, phone, and other valuables all in one place? A freetrain vest, perhaps?
What is a Freetrain vest? It is a product meant to carry essential items like keys, phones, and cards for runners, cyclists, and gym visitors. But instead of placing it in your arms or belly, the Freetrain will be strapped around your chest.
The manufacturer claims that this is the product you do not realize you need until you have it. I concur. Now that this has piqued our interests, time to give it a shot.
Today, we’re in the midst of the second running boom. This recorded increase in running participation parallels a similar trend that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. The key motivator for people to begin and continue running was the same in both cases: health.
For most runners, improving or maintaining their health is both a starter and a sustainer. Sure, you may be jogging for a competitive advantage, but according to a study, the top reasons runners continue to run are:
- Running may cut the risk of dying from cancer by 30–50%.
- Running may lower your chance of dying from respiratory illnesses and neurological diseases.
- Regular jogging can reduce the risk of mortality from any cause by roughly 29%. The risk of death from cardiovascular disease also decreases by 50%.
- Jogging may enhance overall life spans by 6.2 and 5.6 years, respectively.
- Running at least three times a week may be linked to the lowest risk of mortality.
- For many adults, running for an hour can result in a 7-hour increase in life span.
- Running for 30 minutes at a moderate level each morning for three weeks may enhance sleep patterns and psychological performance.
Global research has overwhelmingly approved regular aerobic activity, such as running, as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. It indicates that if you are a runner, you are well on your way to achieving those objectives. Regular jogging has the potential to alter a wide range of functions in your various organs.
Furthermore, going for a run is no longer as simple as putting on your sneakers, walking out the door, and running. We listen to music or podcasts while walking, taking photos, and taking a selfie at the end.
How would everyone know we went for a run if we did not take a selfie and post it on social media? Keys, gels, Kleenex, and bank cards are all must-haves these days, with the latter for emergencies or a post-race coffee/cake.
We need a place to put them all, which is not easy. Armbands, waist belts, and jacket pockets have all been employed. However, the problem is that we typically need more than one to carry everything. And this can be awkward and bounce as we move.
Let the Freetrain Vest take the lead. It has multiple pockets so that everything is spread out rather than crammed into a single pouch. It also includes adjustable straps that anyone can adjust to fit any frame.
It reminds me of the data-gathering vests that professional footballers wear beneath their tops while playing. I am uncertain if this is a coincidence or if this product was created along similar lines.
Design And Fit
First and foremost, the Freetrain Vest seems like a jogging vest, and it has the typical over-the-shoulder and front-fastening style of most running vests.
The most noticeable distinction is that the storage area is on your front instead of being on your back like a traditional vest. While the phone and card pockets are in the center of the front side, the key and snack pockets are over your shoulders.
Drop Down Pocket
The front phone pocket is the focal point of the design, and it is a separate pocket that is joined to the main body at the base. It also has a safe and robust popper button.
The thick neoprene fabric that makes up the body of the vest protects the phone from the elements. Inside, the pocket is lined with a thick translucent plastic that allows you to see the phone’s display.
Despite its thickness, the plastic is sensitive enough to allow you to interact with your phone. Hence, you can receive notifications, skip music, and check routes. The main pocket is divided into two portions, with a small compartment for cards towards the back.
Key & Small Snack Pockets
It has two more pockets in front of the shoulders. The left pocket is neoprene and is roughly 4.5″ x 2″ with a 4″ zip to open and close. This space should be enough for a key and a snack.
The right pocket is lined with a piece of stretchy tech fabric and secured with a velcro square. It is a comparable size, but it only opens at the top. As a result, retrieving stuff might be tricky.
It is made of a thick neoprene-like fabric that is soft and malleable against your body as you move. Plus, it is waterproof, and it is critical if you carry your phone with you at all times.
It means the vest is highly customizable. The waistbands are thick elastic and may be adjusted with buckles to make them looser or tighter.
And because of the elastic material, it fits tightly without moving when running. Additionally, because there is no friction, there is no risk of chafing.
The Freetrain Vest is only available in one color, black, which has the advantage of matching any gear you choose. However, it can be a disadvantage if you jog at night, in the dark evenings, or the mornings.
The gear does, however, have numerous highly reflective elements that help with visibility on dark evenings. The logo, lettering, and a strip are on the front pocket, and the back pocket features a chevron and the logo in big letters.
How Well Does The Freetrain Vest Work?
The concept is that you put your phone in the front pouch, which protects it from the weather while still allowing you to use it as you do. To some extent, this works.
To begin with, many customers found it unexpectedly difficult to get their phones into the system. The creators claim that the pouch would fit 99 percent of modern phones.
However, even after removing the silicone case from an iPhone 12 Pro, it was tight. As a result, most people doubt that a 12 Pro Max or one of the larger Android phones will fit inside.
If your device is on the large side, we recommend contacting the firm to inquire about it. For smaller devices, there is an insert.
The bottom of the pouch is stitched to the harness, and the top is linked with a popper. The pouch lays flat against your chest when the popper is attached, and the phone is hidden from view.
When the popper is removed, the pouch swings downwards. It allows you to access the screen via a transparent plastic sheet on the inside.
The sheets are functional, and you should not have any problems utilizing your phone’s touchscreen. The hardware buttons, oddly enough, were a worse problem.
Why? Because the black-and-grey bag surround hides them and makes it impossible to get tactile feedback.
Increasing the volume on a podcast was significantly more difficult than usual (we recommend doing this with an Apple Watch or equivalent if possible). And you might get confused and accidentally push the power button so many times. Some people reported accidentally contacting emergency services.
That did not, however, happen to all users. This part was most likely a blunder on the part of the user.
You may have to curve your neck and gaze very sharply downwards to manage the phone while jogging. It would make sense to at least slow down slightly when selecting your next podcast to avoid crashing into someone or something.
Some users thought that using a popper was a bad idea. It requires a lot of force to pry it loose, and it can be hard to close it up again.
Perhaps velcro, which is used in other portions of the Freetrain Vest (including the pouch opening), would have been more convenient. However, it may not be able to withstand the weight of the phone.
Price And Where To Buy
The Freetrain Vest costs £29.99 at the time of writing. Some fitness and running aficionados say that the price is unreasonable. It is, however, a well-designed gadget, and it provides a practical option for anyone who wants to take their phone with them on a run or workout.
You may also purchase other Freetrain equipment aside from the Freetrain Vest on the Freetrain website.
Furthermore, Freetrain claims on their website that the pouch will fit 99% of contemporary phones. They also include a phone adaptor to keep your phone safe and secure while you are out running.
Advantages Of A Freetrain Vest
The star is the clever chest-mounted flip-down phone case. It is simple to glance at your phone to check your route, listen to music, or see if you have received a text message.
We cannot emphasize how much better this is than the typical arm and waistbands, and it is the most compelling argument to purchase the Freetrain Vest.
This Freetrain Vest is one of the lightest you will find on the market. You can effortlessly carry your phone and the Freetrain Vest itself due to the way you wear it.
This running equipment is exceptionally light, weighing only 6 ounces. For comparison, any iPhone 11 model is lighter.
It is perfect for sports. While running a marathon, this is the only phone holder that you can completely forget about on the track. It quickly gets out of the way and allows you to get on with your game.
This particular vest is best for playing basketball, soccer, rowing, disc golf, or any other sport.
The VR Vest with a 360° 3M is also available from Freetrain. However, the Freetrain VR Vest is currently unavailable due to high demand.
The 3M hits on the front and rear of the Freetrain Vest are excellent for night-running visibility, and it appears to be ideal for multi-day relay races such as Ragnar or Hood to Coast.
You can store keys and energy gel on the vertical zipper pocket on the left shoulder. It appears small at first, but once you stuff your belongings inside, it will not move.
The entire vest is made of a neoprene-like material that dries quickly. If you run or work out regularly, this is a must.
Cable management is last but not least. We do not encourage running with cabled headphones (Bluetooth earbuds are 100x better). However, the Freetrain Vest does offer several hidden slots to keep your cables hidden.
Disadvantages Of A Freetrain Vest
Many users have reported accidentally pressing buttons. You may have to endure unexpected pauses in your podcast. Your phone may be locked due to too many login attempts to snap some pictures and videos after removing the phone mid-run.
We are almost sure it is because of the phone removal that allowed water to enter the sleeve. We are sure many individuals will do something similar at some point during their training.
If it is freezing outside, you should not have any problems. However, be prepared if you do it during hot summer runs.
Next up, take photos and videos with your phone. Removing the phone in the middle of a race has ramifications. And, according to several V1 reviews, removing your phone with a thick case is tricky.
As a result, photographing and filming during a run or training session is challenging.
It will not bother you if you do not take a lot of images or films while training. But for those that do, we hope the future vests of Freetrain include a smartphone camera that can snap photos while remaining encased.
It appears to be something that will soon be required when marketing to current photo-sharing, social media savvy athletes.
Let us talk about the chest accentuation. The vest’s design can make your chest look odd depending on your body type and the shirts you wear. Manboobs are the result for certain males.
Some ladies experience strange cleavage when they do not wear an extraordinarily tight or supportive sports bra underneath.
Much of this is influenced by your height and chest size. It is tough to say whether or not you will have a problem, and be aware that it is a possibility.
Is the sizing perfect? You will find out.
Taller persons find themselves wishing the vest was a little longer. The lower elastic straps hug my chest instead of my rib cage. Although you will not be in any pain, the vest may not fit right.
Freetrain is still a young firm, so we expect them to expand their fit possibilities in the future. We believe the vest will fit anyone between the heights of 5’0″ and 6’6″ with varying degrees of comfort.
That is hard to do with just one piece of gear, so we have to applaud Freetrain for its adaptability.
Now onto the pocket with Velcro closure. The right shoulder pocket is not functional, and it has a small aperture since it is too far up the shoulder strap – where it becomes thin.
It is difficult to cram anything in there. This pocket has to be rethought by Freetrain.
Another disadvantage is its storage. The vest was kept to a bare minimum by Freetrain. You get a phone pocket and one zip pocket that can be used. It is ideal for field or court training, but road and trail runners will want more.
Most runners require space for their phone, two gels, keys, a few cards, and water. Freetrain should make a deluxe vest for long-distance and trail runners, in my opinion.
Also, you have to handwash the vest. We considered this as a disadvantage because we know it irritates people.
We suggest that you hand wash the vest with warm water and a light detergent. It is best if you would be able to wash the vest and air dry it, but that is impossible with these materials. Handwashing is not a significant disadvantage, in our opinion, but yours may differ.
Is Freetrain Over-Engineered?
The Freetrain vests are well-designed running gear. Nothing wobbles around as it may in a running backpack or gilet/waistcoat with a less laser-focused focus.
The provocative look of the item may seem overkill if your workout is restricted to regular 5K runs around your local park. Those who go for mid-length runs, however, will love it the most.
Not too short, not too long to necessitate the use of a hydration pack or knapsack.
The Freetrain Vest is one of the best solutions to carrying your items during a run. This Freetrain Vest is best if you do not enjoy carrying your phone on your arm, in a waistband, or your pocket.
It may have problems, but it is light and offers the best phone access. It is roughly the same price as most armbands and waistbands.