I’d been coveting an Ultimate Direction (hereafter referred to as UD) vest for quite some time because of one particular design feature –
the on-the-go trekking pole holders
The UD pole holders allow you to carry trekking poles up front making them so much easier to access while out on the trail than other packs on the market. This single feature (for me) is invaluable as although I find that poles are great “knee saving” aids on steep descents (or stairs) I don’t need them the rest of the time in fact, I generally only carry them because my knee likes to have a hissy fit when I’m least prepared for it ..
Prior to purchasing this pack, if I thought I may need poles out on the trail, I would carry them in hand for the entire duration because it was such a hassle to stop and get them out of the pack when needed and then stop again to stow them especially when I was alone (which is the majority of the time) because I’d need to take take off the vest to gain access to the storage area.
Originally I had planned on purchasing one of the UD mens hydration packs as I’d seen photos of the original vests in UD Jenny collection (UD’s womens specific range) and I hated them. They had a weird cut at the front which was super unflattering if you have more than a handful of boobage – which I do, whereas the lead UD designer Jenny Jurek does not have to worry about such things.
While I was “taking my time” tossing up between the PB Adventure Vest and the AK Mountain Vest (I was leaning towards the former) I watched a video on the newest addition to the Jenny Collection – The Adventure Vesta.
I’m so glad I did because this vest is very similar to the mens versions but is still ergonomically shaped for the female form and although it’s a pretty bland combination of greys (yes I would prefer the more traditional girley colors, such as pink) it’s still nicer (in my opinion) than the stark blue/black and white of the mens designs.
I ordered mine from Fuel Me after receiving a discount code – I took it as a sign from God .. (only half joking) and I received it a couple of days after ordering. The first thing I did when I took the vest out of it’s packaging was to try out the on-the-go trekking pole holders and it was SUPER easy! At first it feels like you have to run like you are carrying rolls of carpet under your arms, but you quickly get used to having the poles in place and revert to running like a normal person. 😉
Unless you are planning on fast packing vast distances I think this is truly the only vest you would ever need as it can be set up for both short bursts or long runs. There’s tonnes of storage (more than I’ve used to date) and your fluid can be carried up front in the soft water bottles that come with the vest, in a bladder on your back or if it’s a really long run both.
Although the Adventure Vesta does not come with a bladder, most will fit. When I carry a bladder I use the one that came in my Nathan VaporShadow because as I mentioned in an earlier post I think the Camelbak bladders are shite! I will say that the hose management system on the UD Adventure Vesta isn’t as good as either the Nathan or the Camelbak, perhaps this has something to do with the pack not coming with a bladder as standard. There are however, enough elasticated loops placed along the vest to hook the nozzle into to keep it out of the way while you run.
To keep the “review” posts uniform I’ll go through the pros and cons ..
- Without a doubt the best feature are the on-the-go trekking pole holders
- You can fit two bottles in the front pockets so you don’t need the water bladder if you’re just going out for a short time.
- The side hook and loop adjustments made adjusting the fit quick and easy to do whilst still on the move (when you put things into your pack (or take them out) the pack tends to fit differently).
- It’s light at 336 grams including the 2 bottles (which is only 26 grams more than the Camelbak).
- It’s longer length is extremely flattering.
- It does not come with a bladder (which is an additional expense if you do not already have one).
- The bladder compartment is not insulated.
- The hose management system is a bit meh.
- The whistle jingles around when you run and cant be tucked out of the way.
- It doesn’t come in pink .. 😉
Most of the cons revolve around the fact that UD do not provide a hydration bladder (instead opting for water bottles) which I guess some people prefer. I find (because I have boobies) that carrying two soft bottles up front makes me feel particularly busty. Also the sloshing water is far more noticeable than when you are carrying a bladder which took some getting used too, but in saying that I’ve only opted to used a bladder once instead carrying a single water bottle for short distances (popping my phone in the other now empty water bottle compartment for super easy access – snapchat anyone?) or I’ll carry two water bottles when I’m going to be out for a longer period of time.
I should mention, that as the bottles empty they jump around in the water bottle compartment as they take up less space – I push them down to the bottom and pull the top closed, but you then have to try and dig around to get them when you next want a drink. No biggie but still worth noting.
If you’ve been keeping count, then you will know that this is the third hydration pack that I’ve reviewed and it is by far and away my favorite. I won’t be reviewing a fourth unless I win one, get given one or replace this one when Jenny Jurek decides to produce the next version in pink. 😉
Till next time