Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest - Product Review

Well I hope to cover some points not mentioned in UD's product websites - pointers which I only learnt after buying & trying it out for myself (so far 2 runs with this vest). And just quick cross-checks against what the product description promises..  HERE WE GO:


Sizing is important & tricky in a way. Website says to measure your chest size with clothes you intend to wear - but of course, you don't always wear the same clothes (eg. summer vs winter). I have chosen a M/L pack & it is kinda borderline for me in terms of fit when I strip down to just a running t-shirt & compression gear underneath (I'm 96cm chest size with just a tee on) - with my chest size, it should rightfully be a straightforward decision of choosing the M/L following the website's instructions.

As it is now, when I wear the UD with min top on, the UD's upper strap is over my chest & pulled to near maximum; while the lower strap is just over the bottom of my rib cage & pulled to around half way. I wear it like this not only becoz it fits best this way but also to have the UD bottles closer together & nearer to my body central core (minimize bounce & sway etc). When I have my jacket on - esp the thicker ones - the fit becomes better. Here are some pics:

UD PB with tee & compression.. the upper chest strap is yanked to max.
UD PB worn with jacket.. fits better. 
So it is my opinion that if I was 91.4cm in chest size (if you follow website instructions) - the M/L might be bit too big unless you have extra layers on. Or if you anticipate you would wear the chest straps lower.

UD Bottles

The bottles are 591ml bottles each. Quality makes. The "kicker-valves" snaps up/down & it is great if you use electrolyte tabs that's effervescent with water - because you can pop the tabs in as you run, leave the valve snapped up to allow the released air to escape (instead of building up pressure). The valves won't leak either so no worries there. Drinking - you do have to semi-squeeze & semi-suck on the valve in order to drink.

One of my bottles was not as well made & leaked whenever I squeezed it slightly (without biting the valve). Had to resort to plumbing teflon tape to solve the issue, so bit of my useful tip for you in case you're unlucky:

Hydration Bladder

OK.. it is to my greatest horror that UD is now offering this pack WITH a 70oz reservoir.. (I have just checked their website) HORROR HORROR HORROR. I clearly bought mine earlier & it came without.. WTF. I'll share some pics here anyway on how the bladder/reservoir would fit:

Green circles - hydration tube exits the main compartment via the side &
loops down & can be held in place via these little elastic loops.

Other Bits

The elastic cord that holds the bottles in place - there are two:

Top cord - loops round the bottle. If you have used other bottles (as I have) & ended up stretching the cord a bit too much in order to hold that other bottle in place - the cord WILL lengthen over time (as shown in far right pic) and lose its elasticity. So just bear in mind. Good thing there is the bottle pouch cord that is a draw-string mechanism that should function independent of cord's elasticity.

Who is Peter Bakwin?

  • Winner of the Tuscarora Trail 6-day, 250-mile race (2003)
  • First person to run the 223 mile John Muir trail in less than 4 days, 94h04m (2003)
  • Current speed record holder for the 141 mile Kokopelli Trail, 32h47m (2004)
  • Cascades Trifecta:  Rainier, Hood & Adams in 28 hours (2005)
  • Double Hardrock Hundred, 200 miles with 68,000 feet of climbing, in 90h50m (2006)
  • Current record holder on the 100 mile White Rim Trail, 18h43m (2006)
  • Current record holder on Gannett Peak, the highest summit in Wyoming (2009)
  • Mosquito-Tenmile Traverse:  The longest ridge traverse entirely above 13,000 feet (28 miles) in the contiguous USA (2011)
Pretty famous guy then.

Overall Impression?

Love it. Does everything it says it does on the label. Those contemplating should get it, especially now they're offering with 70 oz reservoir.. SIGH.  

Fav bits? Cuben fiber keeping my stuff dry inside the main compartment. Elastic & breathable side pockets - while not exactly easiest to reach, it is ideal place for my car key + mobile phone. The elastic mesh held up my sandwich lunch pretty well too! 

Semi-full pack: bottles, hydration bladder, jacket, sandwich lunch (it was not squashed!)

UD PB website:

Hope this review has been helpful! Enjoy your UD vest!


  1. Hi,
    thanks for the review.
    am contemplating getting this or the Salomon Pro Skin ...
    i am leaning more towards UD ... and this and other reviews is helping me make up my mind.

    a few Qs :
    1) where did you get this from ? is bottle covered under warranty policy ? might have to pay for shipping thou ...
    2) where did you find those details about Peter ... i googled and found none ... thanks :)

    LAST BUT NOT LEAST, think it might make u feel better to know that (i stand corrected) ... it doesn't come with the 70oz bladder ! the site says it can accommodate one, only comes with the 2 kicker valve bottles lol
    the bladder is actually from Hydrapak ... goes for anything btwn US$29-31 ...

    cheers, and thanks for a great writeup :)

    1. hello Jason! .. I suppose both Salomon & UD are the best for running vests so u won't go wrong either way! thks for the great news it doesn't come with bladder haha..

      anyway got mine from - they have 14days return policy but yea, will have to pay for shipping.. anyway the bottles are working great now pretty sure you'll like them. glad u found the writeup useful! :)