Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Ultimate Direction AK 2.0 Race Vest - Running Hydration Pack
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Size: Medium/Large|Color: Gunmetal|Change
Price:$99.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on May 15, 2015
**Sizing**
I am 5'11", 160 lbs, and I'd hazard to say that I have more shoulders than the average distance runner. I bought the medium/large size, and it fits well. I think I could have also gone with the small/medium size and been perfectly fine. You other aggressively average-sized dudes know the feeling. It's kind of like how we can never find those damn 31"-32" pants...

**Storage capacity: solids**
2 small pockets under the bottles and 2 small pockets above them, plus the mesh pocket in the back. The small pockets in the front are each about large enough for a gel or 2, OR a bar-type item. Definitely enough room for snacks without having to reload annoyingly frequently.

The big pocket in the back is great. Enough room to comfortably store a jacket, extra water, first aid supplies and maybe even some extra snacks. I've carried groceries across town in it too! Nothing says "I'm ready to party" like showing up to your friend's house sweaty and with a backpack full of okra and cream cheese.

**Storage capacity: liquids**
Plenty! 2x 20-oz bottles in front, plus room for a giant bladder in back. Or a smaller bladder and jacket/other running accouterments. Either way, far more than the 25-oz belt I was using before.

**Comfort**
Very. From the images I saw online before buying this, people wear it many different ways. Only a few adjustments were needed to get the vest to fit well and not be annoying. I have not yet worn it shirtless, but I'll update the review when I do.

And for whatever it's worth, having this vest on with the water bottles hanging there like pistols makes me feel like a badass gunslinger. So there's that.
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on May 30, 2014
I might buy the bigger model (Jurek Vest) for super long runs, but this one has done the trick for up to 50k runs. Non-ultra peeps on the trail always comment on it or ask about it.

PROS:
- It's very easy to grab the bottles while on the go and stuff it back in the front pockets.
- Multiple small pockets on the front come in very handy for gels and alike
- The mesh in the back is light, durable, and flexible. I fit lots in there: at times, I stuff in there an additinal bottle (24oz.), a hat, food, and even an extra shirt
- If you like to go shirt-less as I do sometimes, the anti-chaffing fabric will NOT rub your skin as the product intends

CONS:
I wish the nipples on the bottles had a way to regulate the flow. Not enough water pours out. In the summer months, I want a bigger stream and can't have that. If I need a big drink, I have to stop, untwist the top and take a gulp. I live in the desert, so maybe other people do not have the need for big drinks. On the plus: most other brands fit in the pockets no problem. I have stuffed a Camelback brand bottle on the front because I like the nipple flow better. Although the 22-24oz. Camelback bottles are bigger, they don`t seem to stretch the pocket out of its form. So, that's an easy fix!

Before I made the purchase, I read reviews with complaints about soreness at the ribs from the hard bottles pressing against the body. I didn't experience any of that (nothing worth mentioning anyway).

I have read complains about sound from water sloshing. My very first time wearing the vest was during a 50k race and noticed the sound only for the first minute. It didn't bug me. I later learned that Ultimate direction also sells soft flasks that may take care of soreness and a slushing sound but I have not had the need for that.

I sure hope that if my vest ever goes out, Ultimate Direction keeps making them because it has become a must-have item for me.
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on May 3, 2015
I got this for ultra running, mostly road training with trail and road 50 to 100-mile runs.
I use the vest with the 3-liter bladder and two 20oz. camel back-hand held bottles in the front. I run in Florida which tends to get hot.
I am 6foot 4inch 180 pounds and the large fits just fine. I have to wear at least a short sleeve running shirt to avoid arm burns from the skin wrinkle formed by the straps. The wrinkles are small but when running for 20 plus miles the friction adds up. No big deal.
I did get the Ultimate Direction bladder also. Works great together and fits nicely. I usually fill the bladder with ice and water.
The vest is not warm and has good air flow.
I sometimes get slight tenderness in the right shoulder from the vest. I think it is bad form. It forces me to run with better posture to make the pain go away.
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on February 24, 2016
Sorry my husband could not write review for himself, he is always running. If your married to a runner, you understand. My husband said that it works better than the belt...whatever that means...you runners should know.
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on August 18, 2014
Used it for a 100 mile race with good results. Only chafed spot was on the side of my neck where the felt-like edge rubbed. . Otherwise, it stayed in place and did a fine job. I had only done one 12 mile run in this vest prior to the race I found the storage was adequate, I put gels in the two lower pockets and had to fold the tops of gels down on the upper pockets so that they didn't rub me. I kept dry socks in a Ziploc bag in the rear pouch and had no issues with access or with my back getting any hotter than the rest of my body. I should note that I replaced the hard UD bottles with soft 17 ounce flasks from Salomon because the hard bottles press into your chest and make sloshing sounds while running. Hopefully, in the future, this vest comes with UD body bottles. Also, the top pockets that are advertised as smart phone pockets do not fit an iphone 5s.
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on October 9, 2015
I purchased the small/medium. Love it. 5'0" & 155lbs, wearing a 32FF Panache Sport under a tanktop. I'm not running long yet, so no bladder and I took the water bottles out & stuck my phone & ipod touch in the front pockets, w/switch-out shoes under the bungee cord. It's snug, doesn't rub and feels great on. I like it much better than a waist pouch.
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on January 5, 2016
Where to start with this running vest? It is lightweight, breathable, highly adjustable, and indispensable on long solo trail runs. As many reviewers have pointed out, the hard bottles that come with the vest are very uncomfortable and caused bruises on both sides. I replaced them with Hydrapak Softflask 500, which I found to be the perfect size to fit in the pockets. The 750 would be too large (and frankly heavier than I would care to carry. (http://www.amazon.com/Hydrapak-SF500-SoftFlask-Smoke-500ml/dp/B00GPSPKSI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452050952&sr=8-1&keywords=hydrapak+soft+flask) Being a trail runner in hot and muggy Florida, the biggest problem I've found with other hydration packs is breathability and temperature. This pack is very cool and breathes well, dries quickly, and is very comfortable with the soft bottles. There is plenty of storage in the back compartment for longer solo runs and actually helps to balance the pack out; the downside to that is losing the breathability. It still covers a small area and is adequately cool. There is the potential for chafing in particular at the neck, but the lining does an adequate job of preventing more than minor irritation. The bottom line is, if you're looking for a light pack for medium-distance runs (up to perhaps a 50k), the Ultimate Direction AK pack is a great one, particularly if heat is an issue.
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on August 24, 2014
Since I bought the AK vest, I've not use my other hydration systems for my long runs. I do a fair share of road and trail running and the AK vest is very handy. It's not perfect, but I love it.

Here's my list of its negatives:
- none of pockets fits the iPhone. Instead, I drop the phone (with nutritions) in the back where the reservoir sits when I don't have a bladder in it. Or, I place the phone in one of the bottle pocket when I'm not using 2 bottles.
- wish they kept the 2 pockets in the back
- direction of the opening of the under-pockets is facing the "wrong" direction
- it doesn't come with a bladder. I use my own Camelbak 70oz. bladder, which fits just right. But for the price, wish it had its own bladder.

Overall, I love the vest. When I have both bottles and a bladder filled, the weight is very well distributed. I did wonder at times how the fit would be like if I have the smaller version. Have had a bit of time to play with the straps to get the 'perfect' fit so that the bottles don't slosh around.
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on December 27, 2015
Am I the only person who absolutely hates this vest? I really wanted to like this vest, given the reviews and the fact that it was supposedly designed by runners for runners. I bought it to use on my longer training runs and upcoming ultras. But after two long-ish runs (8 miles and 12), I have no choice but to send it back. The vest did not fit properly, even after the straps were adjusted snuggly, and the water bottles felt like they were constantly "punching" me in the ribs. The vest itself also caused some nasty chafing on the back of my neck.
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on February 18, 2016
I read the answers below and changed my purchase to the small/medium and should've went with the large/xl. I'm not a very big guy at all, at 5'9" 160lbs with a 40" chest I assumed the s/m would be fine, but it is a bit snug even with the straps extended. The cut of the neckline is a bit narrow. I'm using it this weekend anyway for a 50 miler in Antelope Canyon (too late to return), AZ and we'll see!
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