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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ultimate Direction Signature Series Anton Krupicka Race Vest - Product Review

As advertised: 
Minimalism comes to the world of hydration with the AK Race Vest, designed by the apostle of the "less is more" philosophy, Anton Krupicka.  Weighing in at a feathery 6 ounces, the AK Race Vest is the world’s lightest hydration pack.  With all the features you need and none you don’t, the AK Race Vest offers twin bottle pockets, a main compartment for gear or a reservoir, and several smaller pockets easily accessed on the go.  The Power Net Mesh holds small items securely while expanding out to a full 4 liter capacity.

SPECS & DETAILS


Features (Front):
A Smart phone compatible pouches (2)                    
B Bottle holsters tighten to carry camera, ect.
C Hose loops for optional reservoir (3)
D Electrolyte or valuables pocket (2)
E Fully adjustable Sternum Straps (2)
F Super soft edge banding

Features (Back):
G Bungee Cord for extra capacity
H Secure Lat Pockets 
I Interior bungee to secure load or reservoir
J Hex Mesh for maximum breath-ability
K Side straps for size adjustment

Specs:
Volume Capacity: 23 in.3 / 4.5L
Fluid Capacity: 2 x 20 oz. bottles / 2 x 591 mL
Weight: 6 oz. (11.5 oz. with bottles) / 170 g (326 g with bottles)
Height: 12 in. / 30 cm
Width: 9 in. / 23 cm

Sizing At Chest (Unisex):
Use the average of your chest (at nipples) and natural waist (where you bend)
S/M: 23 - 34 in. / 58.4 - 86.4 cm
M/L: 27 - 39 in. / 68.6 - 99.1 cm

Materials/Design:
Vest Design: A wide range of loads is carried with comfort, stability, and ease of access
Hex Mesh: The structure of the vest is totally breathable, while also being extremely strong, lightweight, and will not absorb moisture

Power Mesh: All pockets and super stretchy, so small loads won't bounce and the vest expands as you need it to.


SPECS & DETAILS (MY REVIEW) 

Features (Front):
A Smart phone compatible pouches (2)   (You are not fitting a smart phone in these pouches. Holding capacity 1" thick / 4" tall / 2 1/3" wide. A small camera or 2 Gels.)                  
B Bottle holsters tighten to carry camera, ect.
C Hose loops for optional reservoir (3)
D Electrolyte or valuables pocket (2)  (Holding capacity 3" long / 2" tall with a little stretch)
E Fully adjustable Sternum Straps (2)
F Super soft edge banding

Features (Back):
G Bungee Cord for extra capacity
H Secure Lat Pockets (2) (Holding capacity 4 1/2" tall / 2 1/2" wide. (3 Gels.) with a little stretch)
I Interior bungee to secure load or reservoir (velcro loop) 














J Hex Mesh for maximum breath-ability
K Side straps for size adjustment




Main compartment holding capacity after adding a Reservoir - 4 1/2" thick / 6 1/2" wide 8 1/2" tall with a lot of stretch. 

I use a Camelbak 50oz reservoir and it fits very well. I am not a fan of how the UD reservoir opens. 

This is a really great compartment that can hold a lot of stuff if you need it to. It feels great on your back with or without anything in it. It sits up high so you don't have any problem with it rubbing your lower back and does not cause any chafing. The bungee allows you to tighten the gear inside down so it does not bounce around. When adding of removing gear or when the reservoir gets low you do need to loosen or tighten the bottom strap. 


The bottle holsters are well placed but the UD bottles do not feel comfortable and the "nipples" Ultimate Direction bottle kicker valves are a bit of a pain in the butt to use. I took my 20oz Amphipod bottles and used them and the curve that the 
Amphipod bottles have feel good and the holster tightening cords hold them in place just fine.

 

There is a sloshing sound that I have heard some people complain about but to tell the truth it is no loader than a water reservoir in the back or the sound of your handhelds in your hand. I have no problem talking to other runners and hearing them. It does take some getting used to (hearing it at your chest) but that's about it. 


Other than the bottles and reservoir (which have nothing to do with the vest) and the fact they promote a Smartphone being able to fit in the top pouch I really enjoy the vest. It is small and fits well. It did take about a week for me to tighten the vest down to where it felt good on my body. I have run all week in the vest without a shirt (log run being 4 hours) and have not had any chafing problems. My nipples bleed after 8 with a shirt so that’s saying a lot. I live in the south east with high humidity and heat. The vest does hold sweet around the edge banding on the bottom but nothing crazy and a lot less than any other system I have used in the past.


For you handhelds only runners. I myself only used a pack when I had no other choice but this is small and functional. I have been putting a camera in the upper left pouch but if you are going to do that you would need to pad it. I used a Sport Shield packet.  

If your a runner that does not need a lot most days but do go on those long "alone" runs this is the vest for you. It holds everything I need for race day and I can add the reservoir and put items into the back pouch for those long training runs. No more looping back to the car or carrying a big bulky pack for this runner. 

Some things I think would improve the vest. 

1. The top Sternum Strap has an elasticity to it. I think that would be great for the bottom one and the side straps. That way you could tighten the vest down tighter but still be able to breath with comfort and not have to make any adjustments when adding or removing gear from the back. 

2. I wish that the top pouches closed the same way the bottom ones do. 

Over all I think this is a great product for a "minimal' type runner that can do a verity of running task. 

 


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