I have always wanted to try an UltrAspire pack for my training runs and now that I had the opportunity, I was thrilled to bring it along on my runs. It took me a while to get accustomed to the fit as the front is designed differently than most that I had tried in the past.
Let me begin with the curved harness which allows the chest to remain free from any pockets or straps sitting or crossing over the chest. It felt weird at first during my runs. My initial impression was that the straps were not going to stay in place due to wide opening in the chest area but surprisingly it worked out great. Sometimes during runs, I had to readjust my left shoulder strap as it slid off quite of a bit, but I found that the only thing that I had to do was to readjust the adjustable side straps which connect the back part of the pack with the front and the set of the elastic straps in the front which it helps secure the pack very well. The two front pockets were designed with a lot of room, both are made out a mesh/stretchy material. One of them it has an opening which fits an 18oz bottle or a soft flask. I could fit a 22oz ergonomic hand-held bottle of water that I used for my electrolytes.
The other was a zipper pocket big enough to pack enough snacks, an iPhone-6, gels, keys, trail mix, gum and just about anything for a quick grab and go, and don’t let me forget to mention that it has a built-in pocket, lots of room in just those two pockets. The straps in the front have one small zippered pocket (water resistant) which I like to use it for my car key or maybe some salt capsules or anything small. On the other side, there is another small pocket that has a small magnet that works as a lock, efficiently built to quickly grab something out of it and it will snap closed. The shoulder straps are made from this micro fiber material, breathable and the best part was that I did not have any problem with chafing over my shoulders despite the long hours I spent on the trails. The straps have two loop holes on top of shoulders where the bladder hose can be run through on either side, two tube loops per strap allow to run the reservoir tube, there is a magnetic removable tube clip which attaches to the tube loop and allows you to adjusted as needed.
The back compartments of the Ultra Aspire Astral 2.0L consist of 3 compartments, one is for the 2.0L bladder (which is included with purchase). Water Reservoir specs are listed below. The main compartment which is very reasonable in size, lots of room for storage, I could fit in plenty of food, (sandwiches, dried fruit, trail mixes and extra electrolyte bottle) and more room to store extra layers or gloves, buffs for those chilly night runs. Aside from the bladder compartment, let me say that the main compartment is made from a water-resistant material, I did not have an issue while running in the rain. My personal belongings were kept dried even after running last eight miles in the pouring rain.
The last compartment which is made from a mesh/stretchy material allows packing extra gear if needed. There is a single loop elastic cord on the back to allow you to hold an additional jacket or any clothing item of choice. There are three adjustable straps from top to the bottom of the pack, they might be used to strap down trekking poles, which I have not done but rather I have used to strapped my rain jacket which it worked out great. It is unbelievable how much stuff, I could pack in the Astral pack, it is compact but versatile, it was designed to help you carry essentials and more for long unsupported runs/hikes. I love the bright blue/gray color combo chosen for this pack, the details throughout the pack do not go overseen. The microfiber polyester fabric edges of the straps are non-abrasive with the Ultra-Aspire logo printed across, a cute added detail. I have done multiple runs with this pack, varying in weather conditions, despite the several uses, it has minimal wear and tear such as the reflective lettering peeling off. I’d like to add that it would have been a nice touch to have a whistle as some other packs have added that feature.
335.6 cu in
· Reservoir Included
10 x 1.5 x 17 in
· Claimed Weight
· Manufacturer Warranty
· Fits all UlrAspire vests designed for 2L (70 fl oz) reservoirs; fits most packs from other manufacturers designed for 2L reservoirs
· Top-fill Slide Seal allows for easy filling and cleaning
· Unique push/pull Infusion valve opens and closes easily; provides high flow rate of liquid and seals with audible Surelock feature “click”
· 3 O-ring valve design prevents air from entering hose while open; provides secure seal in closed position
· Plug-N-Play button for quick disconnect of tube from bladder; periodically lubricate O-ring and mechanism with olive oil to ensure proper function
· Constructed of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) for strength and durability
· Bladder resists tainting water taste
· Durable, 5/16″ diameter kink resistant drink tube
· Fill scale helps you monitor fluid volume
· Tube can be cut to the desired length; simply remove hose connector piece, cut with sharp scissors and replace hose connector
· Anti-Microbial additive keeps the bladder clean
· Dishwasher safe on top rack