The newest version of the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta is now available and includes 7.2L of volume capacity, more front storage, more fluid capacity, increased organization options in the back, and it weighs only 8.6 oz. (11.06 oz. with bottles)—less than the previous version. The sleek design is attractive, versatile, and fits extremely well, making it a perfect choice for both long and short runs.
The Ultra Vesta doesn’t let its light weight get in the way of being extremely functional. The vest accommodates two 500mL front “body bottles”—collapsible bottles that conform and ride snugly against the body. As an alternative, the vest can accommodate up to a 2 L bladder in the rear. Both options prove to be comfortable and secure, with no bouncing, sloshing, sagging, or constricting. A compression bungee at the rear keeps the load tight and close to the body. Also, the bladder sits high on the back in an optimal biomechanical position, without sagging down towards the waist as is common with a loaded Salomon Advanced Skin vest.
Part of the advantage the Ultra Vesta demonstrates over the competition includes that it is made from a ‘XXX Mesh’ fabric that is lightweight, wicking and soft but lacks the elasticity of the Salomon vests. This construction contributes to a more secure fit, and the fabric is also (fingers crossed) less likely to stretch out and need replacement as soon as the Skin.
The vest is highly adjustable with side straps and sliding rail sternum straps, to accommodate various body types. It comes in two sizes and the extra-small surprisingly conformed perfectly to my petite frame. With the back loaded with a bladder, it was easy to readjust the vest to a comfortable fit by loosening the sternum straps and cinching down the front pockets to carry a gel flask.
Another bonus is a variety of pockets built into the Ultra Vesta making it easy to keep things organized on the go. Two front pockets carry the body bottles and cinch easily with an elastic cord for a secure fit. An additional two lower front pockets (one zippered, one velcro) can carry quick access items like fuels or phone. In the back, two smaller zippered pockets carry loose items like keys, and a mesh sleeve is convenient storage for a jacket or other wet items.
There is no question why some of the best ultra and mountain runners in America are switching to the Ultra Vesta. If you are looking for great fit, function, and versatility in one vest, the Ultra Vesta is definitely the one to try.