Just had the time of my life out in the hills this weekend, running with my new Ultimate Direction, Scott Jurek pack. Basically a fitted pack with front mounted bottles, much like the Salomon SLAB packs, but where they come with bladders – the Ultimate Direction come with bottles. I favour bottles, so woo hoo. I can still bladder it up if so desired, there are ports for the hose to emerge and fasten at the front. Freedom of choice ‘n’ all that.
I’ve finally been for a run in the Scott Jurek (ordered months ago, but a long time coming to us here in the UK), in the blistering heat as it turns out – and been able to take a swig when I need it, then return the bottle to its holster. Sounds simple, but believe me it isn’t. For all of 2012 I raced anything from 12 to 50 miles and a fair amount of training. So often I found myself wrestling with the pack as it swung about, pulling my shirt up my back and refusing to let me get the bottles back in after having a quick drink on the move.
Those days are GONE! What’s more, the fit is incredible. I felt like the bottles simply hung in the right place, suspended – ready for me to grab as and when required, but were hardly noticeable the rest of the time. This must be how Jedi run.
Like a buoyancy aid, the key is in fitting to your ribcage. The freedom of movement, versus a secure grip around you means that there’s no room for the pack to shift with every step you take. Nothing digging into soft tissue or putting pressure on your organs. I did 6miles Saturday, and another 19 on Sunday, with no sense of discomfort whatsoever. I had a drink whenever I felt like it, and simply dropped the bottle back into place when finished. Unlike optional bottle holders that have a tendency to bounce and sway, with these being integral to the straps – the Ultimate Direction bottles stay completely locked down.
The extra pockets dotted around the front bottle holders meant I could stow food in them and ‘graze’ my way through snacks and treats while still moving. Never once did I have to stop to take it off, or reposition it because clothes became ruffled or bunched up. If I do opt for the occasional trip using a bladder instead, just imagine the food I could fit into those pockets……….hmmmmmmmm.
I can hardly believe the difference. What’s more, I caught sight of myself in a car window, and I actually looked like I knew what I was doing!
I’ve still to load up with extra clothes or masses of food and tackle a real race day, so I’ll probably be back with an extensive write up on the pack’s many other advantages some time after the Long Tour of Bradwell. For now let’s say I’m deeply smitten.
So far – so good then.
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