UltrAspire made a splash in 2013 with the award winning Alpha hydration vest. If you’re a fan of the Alpha you are going to love the Zygos, which hits the shelves in 2015. The Zygos has the same template and shape as the Alpha, but has added capacity for longer adventures. With a 14L carrying capacity I initially thought this would be a vest that I would only use on really long adventure runs, but ever since my first test run I have found myself using it more frequently because it rides so well, is very comfortable and provides easy access to all of my essentials. It has quickly become my go to vest for almost all of my intermediate and longer runs.
- Patent-pending Max O2 Sternum attachment system
- 2X zippered wrap-around side pockets for on the go access
- Internal small zippered pocket for keys, lip balm and other essentials
- Adjustable compression straps to hold a fully-outfitted pack stable and secure
- Lighter weight front pocket mesh fabric
- Includes a 2L bladder
- 14L of gear carrying capacity
- Electrolyte pill pocket
- Hook and strap for ice axe
- Two draw-string mesh pockets on each chest strap (Can hold water bottles)
Our male and female testers put the Zygos through a wide range of conditions and terrain to get the best possible test results. It was used on multiple 10-20 mile runs including one tester that used it on a 27 hour self-supported ultra adventure that covered 20+ rugged peaks in the Wasatch Mountains.
Fit & Comfort- 4.0
The new Max O2 sternum attachment system is designed to allow uninhibited breathing. Unlike most current hydration vests that use straps that will not expand, the new Max O2 system expands and contracts with your lungs, but still keeps the pack tight to your body without moving around. It is very comfortable and seems to work very well as designed, however one of our testers had issues keeping the cords from getting loose.
Another tester however, really liked the new system:
The overall fit and comfort of the pack is excellent. The materials are light, soft and it remains comfortable even after hours of running. UltrAspire nailed it with the weight distribution. Even when the pack was fully loaded it did not bounce around and held snug, while still staying comfortable – pretty incredible given the storage capacity of the vest.
Storage Capacity- 5.0
The storage capacity is what our testers loved most about this vest. There are several spacious compartments and the storage space allows you to carry just about anything that you will need for long adventure runs.
The storage capacity of the vest approaches that of a lot of fast packs, but the remarkable thing is it still feels and rides like a much smaller pack.
Ease of Access- 5.0
It was obvious to our testers that the vest was very well designed from an access perspective. The large mesh pockets in front allow you to hold gels, cell phones and extra water bottles. There is also an electrolyte pill pocket and a zipper elastic mesh pocket for storing smaller items like lip balm or sunscreen.
The vest also features large side pockets on both sides that wrap around the vest and can easily be accessed without taking off the vest. These pockets are large enough to store extra food, gels, wallets, headlamps or cell phones.
Overall the compartments are very easy to access even on the run. All of the testers were very satisfied and felt that the vest was very well designed.
Reservoir and Valves- 4.0
The pack comes standard with a 2L bladder with the UltrAspire infusion valve, optimized for high flow rate drinking and a large diameter hose that delivers more water to the valve. There is an isolated pocket for the bladder on the back of the pack. The pack also has two mesh pockets in the front of the vest that can be used to carry a water bottle. The one complaint that we heard from our testers was the bite valve was hard to get open.
Most of the pack is made with a very light water-proof nylon. The shoulder straps on the front of the pack are mesh with larger openings than previous UltrAspire packs. After a month of testing in very rugged terrain the pack still looks brand new other than a very small tear in the main compartment on the back which was easily repaired.
Overall our testers were very pleased with this pack in terms of capacity and comfort. It has the ride and feel of a pack with a much smaller capacity, while at the same time providing a snug fit. The pack is also very versatile. It can be used for shorter runs as well as long ultra adventure runs.