Ultimate Direction Ultravesta Review

Rockin' the Ultra Vesta
The one piece of gear I was really hoping to dial in this year was a pack or a vest. I've been using a Nathan hydration pack, but was never able to get it adjusted right. After a couple miles my shoulders would hurt so bad I would never want to wear it. It got to the point where I would do whatever I could to avoid wearing a pack. The reality is if I'm going to run long I need to find a system to carry more water. I live in Colorado not the land of lakes so often times you can go for hours without seeing any water to filter. This winter I heard about the women's specific Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta and I decided I needed to at least give it a try.

I was still a bit unsure about how I would feel about wearing bottles in the front of the vest. Each of the bottles is 10 oz. After a couple runs in the vest I didn't even notice the bottles. Only being able to carry 20 oz if not using a bladder is a bit of a downside; however if the bottles were any bigger they would be too big and cumbersome. I have found my form is significantly better when I wear the vest versus hand helds. With hand helds I tend to tighten my arm and run with my hand to high. I've had to get used to forcing myself to drink more though. When I have a bottle in my hand it's a constant reminder to keep drinking. This definitely took some getting used to, but I think I have my routine down now. 

Beneath each of the bottles are pockets. One is a zipper pocket that is large enough to hold a gel flask which is a huge bonus. The other pocket is velcro and tightly fits my iPhone. I wish this pocket were a slight bit deeper so my phone would fit a bit better, but it works. I really like having the pockets with the quick access to the essentials. 

The pack itself is pretty small, but I've never had so much gear that it hasn't all fit. That said I don't tend to carry large amounts of gear. There are sections on both sides which is nice so you don't have gear in the same section as the bladder, if you're using one. The material is really lightweight and breathable so you can barely feel it. It also fits perfectly on my back so even if I have the straps relatively lose the pack isn't bouncing around. I've worn the vest in sub-zero temps with multiple layers of clothes as well as pretty hot days and everything in between. On none of these occasions did the pack rub my skin raw or pull up my shirt. A problem I have had with every other pack I've tried. 

The shoulder straps fit my shoulders perfectly and don't slide all over the place. My shoulders have gotten a slight bit sore, but it's only happened after about 5 hours. I wore the Ultra Vesta for all of Quad Rock and was comfortable enough to wear it for the entire race. Overall I'd have to say this is one of the best pieces of gear I now own. Finally someone listened to the women runners out there and designed a vest for us, not just a smaller version of the men's vest.

This was supposed to be a recovery week so I'm not sure how I let Dan talk me into the Trifecta on Friday! Three times up Mt Falcon, thankfully on the third trip some strong storms moved in so we had to cut it a bit short, but 20 miles and 3 big climbs was maybe not what my legs needed after Quad Rock. 

I was a bit flat all week which was probably good considering the near 3 feet of snow that fell Sunday into Monday. It was my only chance to get in another long run before Dirty 30 though so I was glad Dan convinced me to get some quality miles in this week. We capped off the week with a family run at Bear Creek which I always enjoy!

James has been getting feisty lately! He is full of 2 year old personality and is not afraid to show it. I guess I'm glad he's hit this milestone, but if he pulls out any more hair I'm going to be bald pretty soon! But then he just gives you that smile and it's so hard to be mad. His communication is finally taking some big strides. Every week he learns more signs. One of my favorites is he started signing "outside" this week. Every time you ask him if he wants to play outside he just starts furiously signing outside. A kid after my own heart! Oh and of course his other favorite "cheese". Yep he's got some good ol' Wisconsin blood in him. He even scoffed at the local cheddar and threw it on the floor. 

Week May 12 - 18

Miles Running: 45.3
Hours Hiking and Running: 9


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