After reviewing the Ultimate Direction AK Hydration Vest, I had an overwhelming number of requests to snag and review the Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Ultra Vest. Everyone seemed to agree that the SJ vest would exceed my expectations and solve the problems I had with the AK vest. Ultimate Direction heard my call and dropped one of the new 2.0 versions into my guantlet and here is the result.
While UD continues to excel with quality materials and durability of manufacturing, it seems there are a handful of issues that I continue to have with their signature series of vests.
The UD Scott Jurek Ultra Vest 2 is super light, weighing in around 11oz w/o bottles, despite having more pockets, more seams and more volume than the AK vest. It’s extremely durable and will last you a long time of hard wear through training and races. It also does a great job of locking in once you get the fitment straps dialed in. However, that doesn’t mean it’s all good.
My real problem with this vest – and the other signature series – is that while the vest can be locked down pretty good on your body by adjusting the straps correctly, it doesn’t have any flex or body conforming ability. My Salomon SLAB 5L Hydration pack has numerous points of flexion and stretch that not only open its fitment to all body shapes, but make it the most comfortable hydration pack I have ever worn and instantly highlights how other packs don’t compare.
In addition to fitment, the pockets still suffer from some design flaws (size, opening direction, location, etc) and I had problems from neck chaffeage despite the soft felt-like edge fabric.
That all being said, you won’t see another vest more prominently used by athletes in the ultrarunning community at the moment. If you show up to a race, you will lose count of how many of these are in the field. That alone should be testament to the pack’s ability to do the job at hand.
Let me know in the comments below: Have you used or worn the UD Scott Jurek Ultra Vest 2.0? What do you think?
Light – 16oz w/ empty bottles, 11oz w/o
Durable – no doubt materials rule
Storage – plenty of room to hold everything for ultras/adventures, 2 bottles & 70oz bladder
Secure – holds everything tight to body
- Comfort – nothing elastic, sternum straps, side straps (though sides are stretch)
- Accessibility – only access cockpit, nothing in back without removing
- Pockets – bottle pockets form, side bottle pockets limitations, under-bottle pockets inverted, cell pockets don’t fit a cell
- Neck fit – despite soft edge, still rubs