Ultimate Direction “Ultra Vesta” Hydration Pack – Review

Jannine Myers

Introducing the Ultra Vesta:

P1050469

P1050470

I was catching up on some posts recently – by some endurance athletes in one of the Facebook groups I belong to – and one particular post caught my eye. One of the female athletes had posted about a 50k race she had just completed, and underneath her comments was a picture of herself at the finish line. I couldn’t help noticing the hydration pack she was wearing, and I was keen to find out what it was and where she got it from.

A few weeks later I received the same hydration pack (the timing was perfect actually – right before my birthday so I dropped a subtle hint to my husband) – it’s the Ultra Vesta from Ultimate Direction, designed by Jenny Jurek and a team of helpers. There are so many things I love about this pack that I’m not sure where to begin!

For starters, it fits me so perfectly that it almost feels as if it was designed with exactly my body dimensions in mind (it comes in two sizes – XS/SM and MD/LG). And because it fits so snugly, in a non-constricting way, there’s no bothersome “bouncing.” The water in the reservoir does make a sloshing noise however, but after a while it’s no longer noticeable.

Besides the convenient ergonomical fit, I love that it has the capacity to hold up to 70 oz. of fluid in the back reservoir, and an additional 20 oz. of fluid in two 10 oz. bottles on the front side of the pack. I like to fill the reservoir with water, and the bottles with my choice of sports drink, Hammer Perpetuum.

Below the holsters, which hold the 10 oz. bottles, are pockets large enough to hold gels and other energy fuels, as well as a cellphone, ID, and car keys. In the back of the pack are bungee cords intended to stabilize the load, but they’re also useful for securing a windbreaker or raincoat. The back of the pack even has loops for an ice axe and two trekking poles!

This hydration pack is seriously the best I have ever tried, but to give a completely honest review I need to point out a few minor flaws:

  • The pack is sold without the 70 oz. reservoir; you need to purchase the reservoir separately, which makes for a fairly expensive piece of running gear by the time it’s all said and done with. Also, the reservoir wasn’t in stock when I tried to order it, so I ended up having to buy a Camelbak reservoir from the base exchange. I initially bought a Camelbak 70 oz. reservoir but it was too large and I had to exchange it for a 50 oz one – I can only assume that the 70 oz. reservoir sold by Ultimate Direction is a perfect fit for the Ultra Vesta.
  • The bungee cords can be a bit of a nightmare if you have long hair like I do. At least twice now, I’ve had to carefully untangle my hair from the bungee cords.
  • On my last run with the pack I ended up with chaffed shoulders. But since it didn’t happen on previous runs I’m pretty sure it can be fixed with a slight adjustment of the straps (or, I guess I could just wear a t-shirt).

P1050473P1050471

These tiny flaws aside, this pack is worth buying if you are a serious endurance runner. Check it out here, at Ultimate Direction!