My New Hydration Pack – Scott Jurek Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 Review

As I mentioned on Monday, I started using a new hydration pack for my long runs. As I’ve noticed that I struggle getting enough water in the Fitletic fuel belt I have been using on runs longer than 11 miles, I started researching other alternatives. That lead me to purchasing the Scott Jurek Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0. The review above talks to a lot of what I noticed using it on my 15 mile long run this past weekend. The negatives pointed out in the video are things I didn’t notice while using it.

Here are the specs according to the Ultimate Direction web site…

Features (Front):

  • Smart Phone compatible pouches (2)
  • Bottle holsters tighten to carry camera, etc.
  • Gel or bar pouches (4)
  • Electrolyte or valuables pockets (2)
  • Fully adjustable sternum straps (2)
  • Emergency whistle
  • Super soft VelvetexTM no-chafe binding
Features (Back):
 
  • Micro adjustment straps for better fit (2)
  • Quick reservoir access zipper
  • Internal bungee to secure gear or reservoir
  • Secure lat pockets, with stretch panel behind (2)
  • Two zippered compartments
  • Trekking pole (2) and Ice Axe (1) loops
  • Extra tall mesh pocket to keep items secure
  • Accommodates a 70 oz. reservoir (sold separately)
Sizing At Chest (Unisex):
 
  • SM: 23 – 33 in. / 58 – 84 cm
  • MD: 31 – 39 in. / 79 – 99 cm
  • LG: 36 – 44 in. / 91 – 112 cm
  • New adjustment straps fine tune the fit
  • Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear
  • A vest full of gear will fit smaller

Specs:


  • Volume Capacity: 427 in/ 7L
  • Fluid Capacity: 2 x 20 oz bottles / 2 x 591 mL (plus optional reservoir)
  • Weight: 11 oz. (16.5 oz. with bottles) / 310 g (468 g with bottles)
  • Height: 12 in. / 30 cm
  • Width: 9 in. / 23 cm
  • Depth: 2.5 in. / 6 cm

Materials/Design:

  • Silnylon 66: Impregnating nylon with Silicon and Polyurethane creates this permanently waterproof fabric, and also substantially increases its seam and tear strength.
  • Hex Mesh: The Hex Mesh vest structure is completely breathable, extremely strong, and lightweight. Its inability to absorb moisture results in a drier, more comfortable wear.
  • Power Mesh: All pockets are strong and stretchy, made with heavy duty 340gm Power Mesh stretch fabric so the vest expands as you need it to.

Here is the card that comes with the vest which shows all the storage possibilities.

image

In using this vest, I can tell you that it is very light. Unlike what the reviewer in the video says, I thought the vest conformed to my body pretty well. Yes, there was sloshing of water in the water bottles. However, I didn’t feel any movement of the vest itself.

IMG_4521

My only issue with this vest is the water bottles that came with them. When it came time for me to use the water bottles, I struggled with getting water out of the top. It was a little frustrating. After a few tires, I just unscrewed the tops to get water. I’m sure that I can learn how to get water out and that will eliminate the one negative for me. Of course, I could always switch out the bottles as well.

image

Let’s look at this vest more closely. First, you’ve got pockets on both sides of each water bottle which to store Gu pretty well. It might be hard to store other forms of electrolytes in these side pockets.

image

Over the tops of the water bottles are some pockets. They are billed for storage of smart phones. However, I wouldn’t store a smart phone in these pockets because they are simply too small. If you use an iPod shuffle, that would work with the size of the pockets. I used these pockets to store my Cliff Shot Bloks. You could easily get your Bloks out of this pocket area.

image

Below each bottle is also another small pocket. Ultimate Direction says they are great for electrolytes or other valuables. I would say that you shouldn’t have more than a couple keys stored in any of these pockets. I stored a couple of paper towels in them for wiping away sweat that might get in my eyes. I totally get why the reviewer in the video didn’t like where the pockets open. They would have been better with openings facing the inside.

image

The side pockets are where I would store a smart phone, keys, or other valuables. The size is perfect. However, these pouches are not ideally suited for being accessible during a run.

image

If you pull open the pocket, you’ll find another adjustable strap. I didn’t need to make any adjustments to this area. However, I would see this as a plus.

image

The back pocket opens on the side which would be perfect for a bladder, lightweight jacket, compression sleeves, etc.

image

Next to this side pocket is another one. As you can see inside are some chords to act as a separation.

image

On the other side is another pocket. I’d store more fuel in this pocket if needed.

As mentioned in the video, if you need to get at anything in the back pockets you will need to take the vest off or have someone get those items for you. So, keep that in mind with what you plan to store in the back.

IMG_4498

For my needs, this pack is perfect. It was so nice to finish 15 miles and still have water left in the bottles! The large bottles gave me complete peace of mind that I wouldn’t run out. As the distances increase, I may look into the bladder as well. The one things that kept from getting a vest was chaffing possibilities. I’m happy to report that there was no chaffing after 15 miles! I give this vest two thumbs up!

 

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Posted in Running Gear
2 comments on “My New Hydration Pack – Scott Jurek Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 Review
  1. Nice review! I currently have a Flitletic with three water bottles and with my long runs training for the marathon, I have found the best thing for me to do is split up my runs into shorter runs so that I can refill everything at my car. If I ever do another marathon, I’ll have to look into a vest like that.

    • gloucks7 says:

      Last year, I tried using 4 water bottles on my Fitletic belt. It didn’t work out very well. I spent the first couple miles holding the belt up. Then, I gave in and carried the extra 2 bottles until they were empty. What’s interesting to me is that I sort of prefer the vest to the belt. It was a little more comfortable. Although, I wonder how it would do in warmer temps. Time will tell.

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