Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest- a female perspective

I did it, I broke down and got one; the Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest.  I have been using the Nathan Intensity for long trail runs, but really wanted a way to carry more food and gear without a bladder. It seems that Ultimate Direction had that in mind with the Anton Krupicka vest, but also made something for everyone with the Scott Jurek and Peter Bakwin vests as well. They seem to be selling quite a lot of them over a pretty short amount of time. I got an email that they were back in stock and jumped at the chance to have one show up on my doorstep. I am very curious as to the feel and feel on the run for the lady bits. So here goes nothing.

Initial Reaction:    

   Holy crap is this thing light! Ultimate Direction nails it on the head with material choices. It was lighter than I expected, even with the bottles filled.  Tossing in the bottles (which is very easy), tightening up the straps, and running around my apartment, I have to say this thing doesn't move; there really is no bounce, and that, my friends, is coming from a C-cup lady (I ordered the s/m by the way). I found the vest easy to tighten and get snug and comfortable with very little effort.  None of the straps loosened at all during my initial wearing.  I was curious how it would fit, and how the placement of the bottles would work for a female runner.  To be honest it was a great fit.  There did not seem to be any excess movement.  The bottles only sit slightly to the side of my chest, but don't interfere with arm movement, as I was worried about  This will definitely be a focus point as run distance increases.

  After exploring the pockets, I will say the "smartphone" pocket located above the water bottles is made for smaller phones.  I have an Android and  it does not fit in the pocket without taking off the case (oh the woes ofsmartphones).   I read a few other reviews with issues with the two zipper pockets on the back.  To be honest I had no problem.  I was able to reach my right hand back and unzip and zip up the right pocket without an issue.  What I found instead is that since there is tension in the vest across your back and the lightweight mesh stretches, gels would be the easiest thing to retrieve while on the go from these two pockets.  Since none of the pockets are waterproof, definitely have little baggies for electrolytes, ibuprofen  tums, perpetuem tabs, or anything else you don't want getting wet during the run or race.

   Overall it seems like a very well put together piece, not only in design, but in construction as well.  There are no missed stitches, no threads hanging or sticking out, and the materials feel light yet extremely durable.  I am more than excited to get this baby out for some long days and see how it handles in the long run. I will certainly be updating as I use it more and more.  Sadly, my sickness pervades, but I did get out the door for a quick slow hike today.  I was just too antsy and missed the trail.


  1. This just makes me want to get one even more!

  2. Thank you for doing a female perspective on this pack! Can you update us on what you are thinking now that you probably have done some runs in it?? I am so ready to pull the trigger but would love to hear your thoughts:)

  3. Hey Leah!
    Sorry for the delay, I have been running in it quite a bit, and still love it. I decided to wear it during the West Rim Trail run a friend and I did, and after 30 miles, it still felt as good as the first few times I wore it. I have tested out both bottles in the front pockets as well as them packed full of gels, and it works well for both. I am planning on trying it out during a 50 with a reservoir and getting a feel with weight in the front and back. I will be sure to update after!! (The race is August 10)

  4. There was one more thing I wanted to add before I forgot....the one thing that I wish had some adjustment is the shoulders. For being shorter ( about 5'3'') I wish I could tighten the shoulders just a bit as the vest rides lower on my ribs than I see it on most men. I am currently also using the Mountain Hardwear fluid vest so I will get a post up soon!!