Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 3.0
Think PB stands for ‘Personal Best’? Sorry, you’re wrong! The Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 3.0 is named for ultra-runner Peter Baldwin. The well-known trail runner has numerous ultra finishes under his belt and is a speed record holder. The vest is a piece of equipment well suited to those types of adventures. The high-capacity hydration vest offers up plenty of room for long and short excursions of all kinds. Looking for a hydration option that’s lightweight but roomy? The UD Adventure Vest is an excellent choice. Below, we go into detail to give you an idea of the vest’s features, and we cover the pros and cons of this piece of gear.
- Tons of storage
- Great fit
- Fits any kind of load with minimal bounce
- Plenty of space for accessories (e.g., trekking poles)
- Pockets are easy to access
- Extremely lightweight
- Getting the right fit requires trial and error
- The back portion of the vest isn’t as breathable as it should be
- Not waterproof
The vest is nearly a pack, but it’s lightweight enough that it can be called a vest and feel like one. There’s so much storage space that pack rats might find themselves losing their stuff inside one of the many pockets.
At the front, there are two main pockets. One is designed expressly for the included soft flask bottle, but it has a cinch mechanism so you can easily put other junk in there too and make sure it’s secure. There’s another pocket adjacent to the bottle pouch, but oddly it doesn’t come with a second flask. The pocket is also slightly different. It zips, instead of having a cinch cord. You could technically fit a flask in it if you wanted to, it’s just strange that UD has chosen only to include a single bottle. The main bottle pocket is compatible with most UD bottles and soft flasks. The pack comes with one 500 mL soft flask. There’s a compartment for a hydration bladder, but the vest doesn’t come with one. If you want to purchase one, it can fit one of up to 2L.
The pack also features a pocket designed for your smartphone. The compartment is large enough to accommodate large phone models. For accessory storage, there’s a spot for trekking poles, and loops that hold an ice axe if you plan to bring one along on your short trip. The vest also comes with a safety whistle, a nice bonus accessory.
At the back of the pack, there are mesh pockets big enough to stuff a jacket. The spot is also perfect for storing wet items. The side pockets are nice and stretchy. You could definitely fit a big iPhone in these. Having space for phone storage is essential, especially if you’re heading off on a multi-day adventure.
Storage spots around the vest are thoughtfully placed and easy to access on the go. There’s lots of room for all the gear you’d need for most activities. A total of 16 pockets dot the vest.
The Ultimate Direction Adventure Vest is made of several materials that are lightweight, promote ventilation, and are durable enough to handle whatever occurs on the trails and on the go.
The vest is made of Knit Mono Mesh, a material that ensures proper air circulation. It’s also constructed out of Darlington Power Mesh, a lightweight but super-strong material that ensures you can load your pack while keeping everything secure. SilNylon/66 is also used in the vest’s design. It’s an ultra-sturdy nylon fabric that’s both waterproof and tear resistant. Overall, the PB vest is very breathable and doesn’t cause overheating, according to reviewers.
One thing to note is that the central storage area is made of a water-resistant material, it’s not entirely waterproof. Reviewers who weren’t aware of this ended up with some nasty surprises. It’s important to pack delicate items thoughtfully. If you want to keep specific items dry (like an extra set of clothes), you’ll need to pack them in a plastic bag or another waterproof container. Sweat crosses the barrier, so since the main compartment is positioned where your back is, items are likely to get somewhat damp, even if you’re not out on a rainy day.
Some reviewers did say that they felt the back area could be a tad more breathable with more mesh. But otherwise, the design does circulate air quite well.
Adjusting the straps is easy and getting the right fit that’s secure and comfortable isn’t hard. The straps aren’t made of stretchy elastic, though, so there’s a fair amount of tension, and you’ll need to adjust accordingly for a fit that’s comfortable and tolerable. Once you find the correct adjustment, it’s smooth sailing from there. The sternum straps work well to keep everything in place. Reviewers didn’t run into issues with chafing, at least, nothing worth mentioning it seems. A few reviewers said that they would have liked a greater use of stretchy materials for a more streamlined fit. Others liked the unique fit of the UD vest.
The vest also features clever soft edging which is gentle on the body and clothing. It helps prevent wear and tear on your clothes and reduces the chances of chafing and sore spots developing.
In terms of sizing, the vest fits relatively true to size, and there are enough straps to fine-tune the fit. The sternum straps can be adjusted vertically, and the main compartment is roomy and readily expands.
The issue with fit? The vest is not necessarily designed for a woman’s body. Curvier ladies might have trouble finding the right fit, and the vest does not come in women’s specific sizes.
According to user reviews, it seems this piece of equipment can get snagged on branches or dropped on the ground and still remains in one piece. A nice bonus is that the colorways don’t show dirt easily and the material is pretty easy to clean.
Total of 16 pockets
Dedicated phone pocket (fits iPhone)
Adjustable bottle pockets
Trekking pole storage
Ice Axe storage
Durable, breathable materials include mono-mesh, reinforced nylon, and sturdy power mesh
Total capacity 16L
Fits 2L bladder and two 500mL flasks
Comes with one 500mL bottle
Weighs 14.42 oz