Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0
|Price:||$75.19 - $255.95|
|Sale:||Lower price available on select options|
- Sliding rail sternum straps
- Bottle holsters tighten to carry phone or camera
- iPhone compatible pocket
- Unique, on-the-go trekking pole holders
- Double ice axe loops
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FEATURES of the Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0 Sliding rail sternum straps Bottle holsters tighten to carry phone or camera iPhone compatible pocket Unique, on-the-go trekking pole holders Double ice axe loops Soft and flexible 150g mono-mesh External stretch pocket for organization Secure lateral pockets
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- Comfortable and adjustable
- Lightweight but good capacity
- Lots of storage but not too much
- Well-placed and designed features
- Side pockets inaccessible for me while running
- Fit could be finicky for in-between sizes or bulky runners
- Bladder capable, 2-liter recommended
- No bounce or chafing for me (minor irritation with shirt off for multiple hours)
- Perfect for long unsupported runs or excursions in the mountains (or similar time on-trail and mileage)
- Not tested with poles yet
- Long dry or desert runs: perfect pack, just add additional water via bladder or handhelds
- Long mountain runs: excellent at providing capacity for mountain challenges and could probably go 50-miles unsupported just fine assuming water filter or water refill options
- Challenging mountain excursions: holds lightweight or short rope, minimalist harness, light waterproof jacket, food, etc.
- Shorter ultras: overkill since aid stations frequent, but useful for certain races
- Longer ultras: super nice capacity for supplies, plus poles
My favorite use for this pack is fast and light excursions that combine running with peak summiting and ridge traverses. Although, overall I simply love this pack for half-day or longer runs when you can't risk leaving layers or a little extra gear behind. Honestly, if I am not in need of a jacket/light layer, extra food, or things like headlamps, then I would still much rather run with a handheld bottle(s), ultralight windbreaker on the waist, and a small running waistbelt or tiny waist pack for food, etc. So even though I think this pack is great and useful, I will always try and go out on longer runs with simply a small waist pack and handheld bottles if possible.
Although some people have experienced issues with the sizing of this pack, I have had no real issues. I have a 38-ish inch chest and 31-inch waist and ordered a small. I appreciate the extensive fine tuning of general fit I can accomplish through the upper and lower straps on the chest. During runs, I do make adjustments depending on how I feel, climbing or descending, and overall comfort from hour to hour. I can see how it is possible for the fit of this small to be awkward for some torsos, but a medium "might" be a little too large. Try on if worried!
I love the capacity of this pack and the way it is so light and non-existent when I don't max out the capacity. When full, the pack rides fine, but I don't pack lots of weight or carry water on my back. Generally, I use all pockets for something and spread the weight out. Since I do a lot of long runs in the Sierra Nevada range, I carry a small water filter in one pocket and adjust the filter's hard contact points to not push into my torso while running. No complaints about pocket sizing, capacity, or location - except the side pockets. While running I cannot effectively access the side pockets (maybe my shoulder muscles are tight!), but I still use them with things I need to access less frequently or don't mind taking an extra moment to access.
This pack comes on and off quickly, so no problems taking a moment to access the back pouch and bungee, or remove it for a minute while filtering water or whatever else you might do. Bungees are effective for layers or wet/damp stuff. Back pocket is deep enough for tiny first aid kit, extra food, layer, jacket, and miscellaneous items (e.g. headlamp). Bungee allows for extra pouch space if used for strapped clothing items instead of stuffed.
Bladder fits in back pouch, but you must choose the right size and dimensions 2-2.5 liter medium squat size works okay. I avoid this for all runs except the longer or dryer ones, since I don't like water on my back and prefer handhelds and creek refills if an option.
It's easy to drink directly from the water bottles without taking them out. Replace them with a model that has a smaller cap if the cap size pushes on your skin. I simply adjust the bottle cap while running to angle it just right. Great the way they just shrivel up as you drink.
Great pack - just try on first if worried about fit. At the time of purchase, I paid $116, which seems like a good price on the current market for what this pack offers. (Sale - can't remember?)