Gear

Trail Tested: UltrAspire Momentum Hydration Vest

Trail Runner’s comprehensive review of choice running gear by our professional testers.

UltrAspire Momentum Hydration Vest

Weight: 7.2 oz

Price: $79.95

First Impressions:

Upon receiving the UltrAspire Momentum Hydration Vest, my first thought was, “Woah—this is light and has very little structure.” To give an idea of the size and structure, this entire vest folds down to the size of a 350ml soft bottle.

It is a small lightweight race vest (7.2oz) that still has enough storage options to carry trekking poles, variable weather gear (gloves, hat, buff and light rain shell all fit comfortably), food, liquids and a cell phone. I see this vest being great for a technical mountain marathon or 50K effort.

Put to the Test:

Once loaded and on my back, the bottles and gear provided additional structure to the vest. The vest clips together with elastic straps and metal hooks. This design was easy to use but I can see it being tricky with cold fingers. Despite not having cinch straps to hold water bottles in, the mesh webbing in the front pockets keeps bottles in securely.

I like the smaller front pockets above the bottle sleeves—one has an easy pull-tab zipper that I used for storing trash and the other has a magnetic close that I see as being very helpful for quick access.

The side pockets fit gels, solid food, a wallet or phone nicely. These pockets are challenging to access because of the size of the vest—it takes a real chicken wing maneuver to access the pocket with the arm on that side.

The rear mesh pockets can store additional hydration or nutrition—I used them to store my hat, buff and gloves while climbing. Neither of the rear mesh pockets have a cinch strap, but again, with the minimalist design, everything stayed in place well. The main rear pocket has an easy-pull zipper tab that made pulling out my rain layer manageable while running. The entire vest is designed to be low-profile so the Houdini jacket I had easily fit over the pack.

The trekking pole carry is the only area of the pack that could be improved. While accessing the lightweight poles and cinching the poles back to the pack while running was manageable, running with the poles on the pack was uncomfortable. The poles attach by two cinch straps and sit just below the pack against the lower back. The straps have to be tightened to prevent the poles from moving and then the tails of the straps swing and tap against the poles. After 60 minutes of running with the poles on the pack, I chose to carry them in my hands to feel the pack without the poles: an overall improvement.

Overall:

This is a great lightweight pack. Be sure to size appropriately; I am in between a small and a medium and I think the medium would have been a better fit. The design is well thought out and works. If you do intend to use this pack with trekking poles, play around with the straps to limit loose straps flapping about.

Jeff Colt, an avid mountain runner, lives in Carbondale, Colorado. He seeks trails, tele turns, freshly baked bread and high mountain huts. 

Reviewer Jeff Colt
Reviewer Jeff Colt