It’s designed for both extreme
hiking and running. It can be cinched down with the bungee system in the rear allowing the vest
to be more streamline, or it can be expanded to include more gear.
The Mono Mesh fabric is soft
and highly breathable. This allows the vest to ventilate and wick away moisture. The main rear compartment is waterproof which is great for keeping clothing or other items dry, but if wet clothes are stored inside, the vest will hold onto the moisture and the clothes cannot dry properly.
Instead of the standard waist fastener, this vest includes two sliding rail sternum fasteners for improved comfort. This allows a more fitted feel and reduces bounce. The material shapes well to the upper body and its edges are lined with a microfiber piping along the inside and outside of the vest. The vest doesn’t stretch due to moisture which can be a typical problem among running vests. There was a review complaining that the water bottles can dig in if wearing a light running top as well as the vest rubbing against the back of necks, but these were far and few between. More reviews praised the extreme comfort and fit that the vest affords. One review specifically cited that the fabric breathes
well and the vest moves with the body which avoids chafing and hot spots.
It holds 11.5L and weighs 11.55oz (14oz with bottles). This holds 33 percent more than the 2.0 version of the same vest. The bottles are 500ml UD soft flasks. The main compartment can hold approximately 10.5L and is large enough for a 2L bladder. Height: 15.7 inches; Width: 11.4 inches; Depth: 7.5 inches. Based on Ultimate Direction sizing guides which instructions wearers to measure at the base of their ribs: Small: 24 to 33 inches; Medium: 31 to 40 inches; Large: 36 to 46 inches. There have been reports that the vest can either run large or small, but be aware that the sizing is different from the 2.0 version. The vest
comes in Graphite Blue and Canyon Red.
includes two 500ml UD soft flasks and a whistle on the front. The pack
doesn’t include a water bladder and must be purchased separately.
The front has some pockets for easy storage. The left top pocket is made from waterproof material so that you can store items you wish to keep dry, such as headphones, salt tablets or any other small items. Below that, there is one bungee-stretch bottle holder pocket, followed by two stretch mesh pockets. The right side has a small stretch pocket at the top with an elastic seam, secured with Velcro. Below that, there is a bungee-stretch bottle holder pocket, followed by one stretch
mesh pocket and one zipper pocket. The center pockets on each side are great for gloves, gels and any other small items. The lower pockets on each side are great for nutrition bars, phones
and other larger items you may need for quick access. The front right side also includes trekking pole attachments so that they can be more easily available, rather than storing them in the rear as we usually see.
The rear has great storage features
, too. The main compartment has dual zippers so that you can access this section from the top or the bottom. The water bladder hose can be directed either to the left or the right side. Exterior storage on the main compartment can hold extra layers or wet clothes. The bungee mesh section can be used for additional exterior storage or can be used to compress the vest
if not fully in use. There are also inner hooks you can loop the bungee cord through to reduce the volume of the vest if you’re not planning on carrying a lot. There are two waterproof pockets on the rear sides to keep extra layers dry. At the base
of the vest are two zipped, lateral pockets which house tightening straps, if needed. They’re also great for additional storage. They allow you to tighten the vest closer to your rib base which can help improve comfort and fit. The base also has double ice-axe loops for higher-elevation hiking.
It may be on the higher end of running and hiking vests, but being that a famous ultra-runner partially designed it, you can rest assured you’re getting your money’s worth. The vest moves all of the necessities forward which helps ensure a more streamlined, easier time on the trails so you can focus on your workout and not your vest.
The Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0 is designed by a true ultra-runner with other intense athletes in mind
. While the price might be a little high, those who need a vest that can truly deliver will consider this a great buy. There have been a couple reports of issues regarding size and comfort, but overall reviews find the fit to be extremely comfortable once the right size is determined. The lightweight and forward design make this a great buy and a reliable vest for intense use that will last.