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August 3, 2012 Comments (0) Gear Reviews

Ultimate Direction WASP Pack: Product Review

 To say I love this pack is an extreme understatement.  In fact, this product review is unfair to any other hydration packs because I love the UD WASP so much, I have never worn anything else! No, I am not being paid or compensated by Ultimate Direction for this post. But, if this finds its way to the good people at Ultimate Direction, I could definitely use a new pack guys!

Ultimate Direction WASP Pack: retail $89.95

I first bought the Ultimate Direction WASP pack about 5 years ago at the suggestion of several of my training partners. I found it online for about $90. On first introduction, I was not particularly keen to the fold-up style fluid bladder. The bladder has a very different design than those of Camelback, in that you have to roll up the plastic and secure it with a clip. This design allows for easier cleaning, however. There have been modifications in various fluid bladders over the last years, which allow for this same convenience in other brands.

I quickly found my preferred style of using the pack is to remove the bladder entirely. This allows for all the convenience of the pack’s design without the inadequacies of the bladder/tube.  To this day, I prefer handheld bottles to the fluid pack…for convenience and also the accurate assessment of how much fluid I am consuming. I carry electrolyte powder and food in the pack…and use a water filter for very long runs. Of course, several of my running buddies use the included bladder without any problems. I’m sure this is individual preference.

The pack itself is a bit different than others. It seems to be designed specifically for us ultrarunners. Those fine details include wide shoulder straps, front access pockets, and a higher-than-you’re-used-to placement in the upper back. The lower left front pocket is my “trash can”, which allows a place for me to discard gel packets or other waste in between aid stations.  The large rear compartments comfortably fit small jackets, socks, or large food items. On adventure runs without infrastructure, I use the large pocket to hold a camelback bladder and in-line ceramic water filter. I carry the filter/bladder empty and pull it out to filter lake, stream, or river water.  Lastly, the mesh open pocket in the rear is a great place to stash a handheld bottle or other item of that size.

I would estimate I’ve owned 5 of these UD WASP packs over the past years. Ultimate Direction has only slightly modified the original design, with improved fabrics and reflective color. They also developed a ‘women’s cut’ for you lady ultra-rockstars. Many of my training partners carry this pack and feel as strongly as I do about it.   Consider that I’ve been “testing” the Ultimate Direction WASP pack for the past 5 years. It has held up and been with me through countless ultra adventures. I highly recommend this pack if you are looking for a high quality, well-designed, hydration pack and/or equipment vest for long distance training.

Run Long and Prosper!




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