UltrAspire Alpha 3.0 Vest
Running enjoys its status as an enduringly popular physical pastime due to a surprising combination of conflicting factors. The first is that very little is required in order to start running; the lack of a need for special equipment or environment means that running can be done nearly anywhere by anyone with a functional pair of legs. The second factor is just how much is required in order to start running. Despite not needing much in the way of external apparatus, this surprisingly intense physical activity involves the entire body and provides heavy stimulation to the cardiovascular system.
The interesting synthesis of these two universal constants that come with the sport of running led inevitably to a variety of products being developed in order to mitigate common issues. For example, hydration is important when running but holding the proper amount of water while running can be inconvenient and hamper a runner’s workout. In order to address this and other concerns, UltrAspire designed the Alpha 3.0 Vest. Its unconventional design combines the best features of a backpack and running belt to create a highly functional running accessory. Individuals who want to address the physical demands of running while avoiding exacerbating them will appreciate the many features of this running vest’s design.
- Ample water storage
- Excellent durability
- Highly breathable
- Convenient pockets
- Comfortable weight
- Questionable fastening
- Limited style options
- High price
The result of this design is a very useful running accessory for multiple applications. For example, runners who don’t like carrying the water bottles with them on their run have the option to use a water reservoir instead, since the rear pouch can support CamelBak-style bladders easily. Furthermore, all of these pockets and pouches can be used to store valuables or hold a flashlight for low-visibility running sessions. The UltrAspire is essentially a stripped-down backpack, maintaining much of the storage capabilities while offering the style and feel of a more lightweight running belt.
Another way in which this running accessory ensures excellent airflow during a run is through the materials used in its manufacture. A mesh material comprises the entirety of this vest’s non-pocket construction. While still maintaining the level of durability to survive a rigorous trail run, this nearly transparent material allows air to move freely in and out, ensuring the wearer feels cool and dry. The heavier straps that often accompany large packs have been replaced with small elastic bands and a magnetic clasp; since this vest is much lighter than a common backpack, less intense materials are needed to secure it to a runner’s body. Speaking of weight, the Alpha 5.0 weighs about as much as a pair of standard trail running shoes, meaning that it doesn’t cause nearly as much accumulation of heat and sweat from strain compared to heavier accessories.
In addition to these features, further comfort is assured through the use of a less restrictive fastening mechanism. Instead of resorting to thick straps secured with ugly plastic buckles or noisy velcro, the Alpha 3.0 Vest uses much classier magnetic clasps and small elastic straps. It’s true that these methods won’t last as long as the bulkier methods mentioned previously but they do carry the benefit of being fixed or replaced easily. Even without an extended warranty for this product, shrewd customers can certainly jury-rig an easy replacement for a frayed cable or demagnetized strap. Additionally, these fasteners provide the positive benefits of decreased weight, decreased material covering skin, and a slightly nicer looking style.
As previously mentioned, the two UltraFlask 550 bottles can store 550 milliliters of water each. With both filled, enough water can be stored and carried by this vest to provide adequate hydration for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours of intense physical activity. This number may drop if the wearer is running in a much warmer climate. This is enough to handle most forms of low to mid-intensity running sessions and some light trail running sessions. For individuals looking to store enough water for much longer hikes and trail runs, the rear pouch can provide extra water storage as it can accommodate a supplementary water reservoir. With the ability to store a maximum of 2 liters in this pouch, runners can store enough water to accommodate two more hours of running, give or take. If this sounds like overkill, the rear pouch is large enough to store any valuables, snacks, or survival equipment.
Despite a combination of perceived and actual shortcomings present in the UltrAspire Alpha 3.0’s design, enough durability is present in its design to ensure competence in its intended purpose of hands-free water and valuable storage for runners. According to a testimonial left by one satisfied customer on Amazon, this running vest is fully capable of handling the hazards and demands of running sessions that extend over 20 miles. Despite the fact that this product has less stability in some aspects of its design, the lighter weight and quality of the materials used in its manufacture ensure that they fulfill their intended purpose and then some.
While these two bottles along set this product apart from many competing running vests, running belts, and running backpacks, what’s truly impressive about this UltrAspire accessory is how well it can accommodate other accessories. For starters, the rear pouch contains roughly 350 cubic inches of compartment space, perfect for stowing a plethora of valuables and tools. Alternatively, this storage space can be used to hold another form of hydration storage in the form of a water reservoir bladder, with an estimated potential capacity being around 2 liters. Finally, extra pockets near the front UltraFlask 550 pouches are magnetically sealed and perfect for storing additional items, such as a survival knife, electrolyte gels, and house keys.
Something that is immediately noticeable when looking at the Alpha 3.0 is the two large bottles housed in symmetrical pouches. This design was obviously intended to provide convenient access to these UltraFlasks for the wearer, but the aesthetic isn’t very appealing. Rather than looking like something a hardcore survivalist or marine bush-wacker might wear, this more closely resembles an accessory for holding baby bottles. The baby motif continues into the back portion, where the rear pouch is shaped in such a way that some observers might mistake it for a diaper bag. Finally, the lack of color options will disappoint the more fashion-oriented runners who will likely find the stark red and black models to be aesthetically unappealing.
It is possible to find a slight discount when searching through online retailers for one of these vests. However, even with the generous discounts found through a considerable amount of scrounging, this is still one of the most expensive running accessories of its kind. It absolutely blows the average price of any similar products by similar brands out of the water. This is going to be a turn-off for many runners on a budget who simply want a more lightweight alternative to a backpack that allows for quick access to a water bottle. The best way to justify the cost of the Alpha 3.0 Vest is to consider its value as a running belt, its value as a backpack, and the value of its two UltraFlask 550 water bottles included in the package. When comparing the average costs of all these separate products combined, it starts to appear more like a good deal.
Those exact individuals who will wear something, no matter how gaudy or bizarre it looks, for the sole purpose of improving their run are those who would benefit the most from owning an Alpha 3.0. Thanks to the numerous options for hydration included and supported, runners will be able to ensure they are supplied with the necessary amount of fluids to succeed in their run. Thanks to the lightweight and highly breathable facets of its design, runners will be provided with the comfort needed to prevent discouragement during physically demanding exercises. Because of these facts, the UltrAspire Alpha 3.0 Vest is a fantastic product that will provide real benefits to wearers.