Monday, December 9, 2013

AK Ultra Vest A Review

Ultimate Direction Ultra Running Vest - AK Race Vest

The first time I ran with my AK Race Vest I left all the pockets and bottles empty.  You can read about that test drive and my initial impressions below.

For my second test drive, I decided to fill both bottles with 20 oz of water, to get used to carrying the load.  The only other item I had in the vest was my car keys.

After filling the bottles I decided to try and take a few draws of water out of the UD style Kicker Valve. AND I really don't like the "nipples" compared to my pull top bottles. (I guess that is what you call the traditional style bottles) 


(The winner)

I attempted to draw water out of the UD bottles a few times in the kitchen and just could not get it done right.  I figured if I was not comfortable performing this "simple" task standing in my kitchen while not moving, my chances of success while running were near zero.

Other then that I like this vest. With the full bottles in the Vest my first thought was "wow, that's heavy."  Up to this point I have never ran with anything strapped to my back.  The bottles fit nice and were easy to secure, I ran 15.5 miles with it and was surprised I hardly noticed the extra weight and the vest did not move at all.  I was not used to the water sloshing around in the bottles but within the first mile I hardly noticed it.

After two test drives, I'm glad I invested in this vest. 

With a date with the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run on the horizon, I have some long training runs including running the Graveyard 100k in March unsupported, on my calender.  With this I figured I needed to invest in and get used to running in a vest to help carry some hydration and fuel to keep me going.

Honestly, I never thought I would wear a vest, I've carried my hand held water bottles since I began marathon training 12 years ago and they work just fine.  But seeing that I was going to be running 62 miles, mostly during night time hours with limited support, I needed to embrace a Ultra vest.  Being that I wanted something light and non-intrusive...I decided to trust the GREAT mountain ultra runner Anton Krupicka, "the apostle of the "less is more" philosophy."  

I chose the Ultimate Direction Signature Series AK vest.

If your interested in the specs on this vest you can click here and visit the UD web site, I'm going to give you a new users perspective.

When the package arrived the first thing I noticed was how light the box was...if I had opened up the shipping box and it was empty I would not have been surprised.  This vest is light...  This vest is also made of some soft yet very supportive materials.  In my hands, I thought for sure I was holding something off the drawing boards of a NASA designer.
I'm 5' 7" 152 to 155 pounds in racing trim...I ordered the small/medium vest and truth be told it fits very snuggly, which I like.  It should be noted that I'm at the max size adjustments.

Seeing that I have never run with a vest, I wanted to introduce it into my running arsenal slowly.

My first test drive with the AK vest I went for a 15 mile trail run, with nothing in the vest.  I fit the vest to my size, snapped it up, and took off.  And truth be told...I had no issues running with it at all.  The snug fit resulted in zero movement with no interference with my running motion or any issues with chaffing, pinching or fit issues.  The snug fit almost made me feel secure wearing it and the slight compression seamed to help me with my exhaling.  I swear I was breathing deeper.  

After my first test drive....I LOVE this vest.

The only thing I don't like about it are the bottles...I plan to swap out the 20oz bottles for more traditional 12oz bottles.  I also don't plan to use both front pockets for hydration.  I'll hand carry one bottle, have one in the vest and use the second front pocket for fuel

A good technical review for this vest can be found here, the Ginger runner had some issues with flap placement and I can understand that.

Next time out I'll fill up the water bottles...and give you my second impressions.

Oh, what other long training runs do I have in store before Umstead?

Dec, SeaShore 50K
Jan, 50 miles at Noland Trail
Feb, 50 Miles TBD
Mar, Graveyard 100k
Apr, Umstead 100 Miles    

No comments:

Post a Comment