I recently took a trip to Colorado to bag 14,000ft peaks with two of my friends, Scott Wesemann and Pete Stoughton. For four days we ventured into the back country, often times out for 6+ hours. Having a vest that can carry the right amount of gear is critical. Ultimate Direction reached out to us about reviewing their entire vest line, so what better place to test them out than in some of the harshest and challenging terrain in the US.
While out in the San Juan mountains we hit peaks ranging from easy walk-ups to 4th class, exposed scrambling. There were a bunch of things we loved and a few that we struggled with. The new soft flasks are amazing! They are ergonomic, so they sit better in the vest. And if you didn’t know, the valve pops up and down (just pull with your teeth), making it so you can lock them and they won’t leak. ,The carrying capacity and versatility were incredible. Whether going out for an hour long run or 6 hours in the back country, even the larger vests worked well, thanks to the compression straps in the back. However, we struggled with how the poles are carried up front and the fact that the Small (a size I’ve always worn in the past) felt very small. Luckily, we figured out a hack for that. On the smaller vests, the clasp system is also different, with hooks that latch onto the other side. They were tough to latch on occasion and I think could be frustrating if you were racing and were in a hurry.
Overall, we were (and continue to be) very pleased with the vests. Definitely check out their website for more information.
Here is our review: