Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 4.0 Review
Ultimate Direction is known for creating high-quality apparel and equipment for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Their hydration vests have garnered a great deal of attention in particular, and this is especially the case for their Ultra Vest 4.0. In fact, Ultra Runner Magazine has even awarded it the best in its category for its lightweight yet highly efficient design.
Two of the brand’s Body Bottle 500s are readily stored in the middle front pouches, letting buyers know that they will have easy access to water. Several other storage pouches are also included in the front for everything from snacks and supplements to trekking poles when they’re not in use. And a large back zippered compartment provides enough room for either a change of clothes or even a drinking reservoir if the buyer prefers.
This vest is made up of four different fabrics for lightweight wear that’s equal parts breathable, weather-resistant, and durable. All of these features combined make hiking, trailing, and even mountain biking a lot easier.
-Plenty of storage
-Three different sizes
-Not for certain body types
-Some pockets are hard to reach
According to the Ultimate Direction website, this vest is constructed from four primary fabrics that ensure lightness, breathable comfort, and long-lasting durability. The 4-way stretch woven mesh also enables greater storage, while the nylon ripstop and two different types of mono mesh allow the vest to be truly weather resistant. All of them are aided even further by sturdy zippered compartments and the brand’s comfort-cinch technology.
Reviewers state that they have worn this vest multiple times while hiking, biking, or training for races across mountainous terrains and through forest trails. They are able to stay reasonably comfortable and prepared whether they run through the hot sun or heavy rain or snowstorms. And while some wish that they could adjust it to be more form-fitting, others appreciate the fact that they can have layers under it whenever they’re moving through cooler temperatures.
It’s the two different types of mono mesh that really seem to make the most difference when it comes to this vest’s overall wear. Micromono mesh constructs the sides and uses a monofilament for ventilation without absorbing any moisture, and 150G Flex mono mesh makes up the front and back and features a knit structure for a sense of softness. Furthermore, the 4-way stretch woven mesh ensures that breathability is uninterrupted even where storage pockets are placed and filled.
Buyers appreciate that they can comfortably wear this vest during warmer weather and intense outdoor activities, as they’re still being afforded the proper amount of airflow. And added properties such as the monofilament along most of the vest and the polyurethane coating at the back mean that the also won’t have to worry about sweaty garments or water-damaged equipment.
Whether the buyer is wearing this vest in hot temperatures or heavy storms, they’ll continue to feel reasonably comfortable. And all of the lightweight fabrics also prevent possible fatigue or aches as they wear this vest during long-distance trail runs or hiking treks. Its average weight range is listed at 10.72 oz. to 7.27 oz., depending on whether or not they include the body bottles, which is no different than that of a regular running shoe.
However, buyers have very mixed opinions when it comes to this vest’s overall fit. The comfort cinch technology definitely helps out a lot, but some wish that it was more adjustable and could be more form-fitting. On the other hand, some like the extra room as it means that they can layer underneath it during the colder months.
This vest can easily hold just over ten liters, and it weighs 10.72 oz. with the two-body bottles and 7.27 oz. without them. Either way, it stays within the same range as an average running shoe so that buyers can move around freely without it feeling too cumbersome. And no matter which sizing they choose, they’re still guaranteed plenty of storage for their outdoor necessities.
Even though most reviewers seem to be happy with this feature, there are some who are on the smaller side that has complained about its overall fit. Even when it’s cinched in all the way, they feel that it could be taken in just a little bit more. This, in turn, results in the vest feeling too bouncy as they move around.
All of this is especially apparent with the vest’s front pockets, which are made from 4-way stretch woven mesh. This not only enables better weight distribution but also provides a greater stretch for more efficient storage that won’t cause damage. In addition, its back compartment makes use of both a rip-stop pattern and a polyurethane coating for even greater sturdiness and weather resistance.
As a result of its overall construction, this vest is able to withstand a fair amount of equipment and necessities packed into it. It also stays perfectly sturdy against frequent wear and uses in rough and rugged terrains, and its water resistance means that both it and the buyer’s possessions won’t sustain any type of water damage.
Several other storage pouches are fixed at the front for easy access to anything else that they will need during a run or hike. Smaller compartments at the top can carry supplements, and another is in the middle for snacks. A larger zippered pouch is at the bottom right side for a phone or camera, and a trekking pole holder is on either side for quick storage when they don’t have to be used.
The back storage compartment is large enough that buyers could remove the body bottles and use either a 50 oz. or 70 oz. reservoir, both of which are sold separately on the Ultimate Direction website. It also features comfort cinch technology, which starts off at the middle of the back, works its way inside, and can be adjusted by pulling the cord from both sides at the bottom.
The comfort cinch technology is clearly showcased across the large zippered back compartment, as is the brand’s name in white and blue lettering. This design allows the buyer to include a drinking reservoir if they prefer, which makes things more convenient while cycling. Two Body Bottle 500s are pre-placed into the middle front pouches, which also showcase the brand logo, on either side of the chest.
While some hydration packs and vests come in several different color options, this one is only available in Ultimate Direction’s Signature Blue. Buyers don’t seem to mind this though, at least according to the reviews, as it’s not only a very appealing color but it also doesn’t take away from the vest’s overall performance.
Given how well this vest has been received, based on its reviews and ratings, it’s clear that most buyers are getting their money’s worth every time they use it. It provides breathable comfort, surprisingly lightweight wear, and plenty of storage that allows the wearer to take water, snacks, supplements, and any tools or gadgets that they would need during a long trail run.
There are some buyers who wished that it included more storage or felt that other designs were simply at a better value, yet this seems to be more of a matter of personal preference than overall performance.
-Comfort cinch technology
-Mesh and nylon fabrics
-Extensive front storage
-Trekking pole holder
-Two Body Bottle 500s
-Only in Signature Blue
-$130 price tag
It comes readily equipped with two refillable bottles that are stored in the front. Multiple storage pouches are included for snacks, supplements, mobile devices, hiking equipment, and even a drinking reservoir if the buyer prefers to use it. Best of all, its various lightweight fabrics are able to provide equal parts breathability, durability, and water resistance.
Of course, as with any product on the market, there are still some drawbacks that buyers should consider before making a purchase. Its fit might not be right for everyone, and some storage pouches can be difficult to reach. Even so, neither of these have stopped this vest from earning the praise that it's been given across the board, from the average buyer to the critics at UltraRunning Magazine.