We are so pumped to introduce our latest review by ambassador Julie Blanda on Ultimate Direction’s newest women’s pack: The Jenny Adventure Vesta.
Here is what she had to say:
- First, I LOVE the color! One of my fave things about the Jenny series is the gorgeous purple color! The next thing I noticed about this vest was ALL of the pockets and zippers! Oh wow, was I in Love!
- To start, the AV has a capacity of over 11 liters! This means there is room for everything you could possibly need on a self-supported long distance run and for races that may have an extensive required gear list. There are three large compartments that run the entire length of the pack (13.6 in.). The exterior of the pack is made of a breathable stretchy mesh, and is divided into three compartments. There is an open, easy access exterior pocket that is surrounded by a good length of bungee cord. The cord adjusts easily to tighten or loosen as needed, and features an attachment clip to hold it in place to the top of the front compartment. There are two smaller storage pockets located on the exterior as well, located between a larger mesh pocket and the middle zippered section. These pockets are about 5 x 6 in. each and easily hold food, gels, wipes, whatever you might need easy access to for refilling your front pockets or for buffs or a headlamp.
2. The second compartment features a L zipper opening with TWO zippers! This allows the ability to pack easily as you are able to access any area of this compartment as needed. This feature is really great as you can pack for comfort and you don’t have to shift the contents of the inside of the pack on the go. This is an awesome improvement especially on runs where the weather can change quickly, and you can grab what you need without a lot of hassle!
The material between the middle and back compartments is a lightweight, water resistant material.
3. The third area, the very back of the pack, is a traditional hydration compartment. It features a velcro hook at the top to hold your hydration bladder. The capacity of this storage would easily accommodate a 3L bladder, if you would require that much! One great feature of this vest is the adjustments below the chest area; they are velcro-on-felt, and actually attach to the pack inside the bottom of the hydration compartment without interfering with the bladder at all.
Special Notes: I have now had the chance to wear this vest on two longer runs, under two different conditions. The first time was at the Georgia Death Race, sweeping what was to be a 25 mile section from sunset into the very early morning hours. Due to poor planning on my part (see From Road to Trail: Adventures in Being an Aid Station Captain – an upcoming blog post), that run was only 12 miles, but I still packed for 25 dark, cold miles. In my Adventure Vesta for GDR were two full body bottles, the 14.2 ounce soft flask that comes with the AV (for a total of 28.4 ounces of Skratch-my go-to electrolyte!), several gels, Honey Stinger waffles, a container of lube, wipes, a tube of chapstick, my Dirtbag Runners buff, and my phone! This was just in three of the front pockets!!! A very cool and interesting feature on the front pockets is that the small zippered pockets each hide a velcro pocket that can hold another body bottle or additional gels!
In my pack I also carried my headlamp, jacket, a long sleeve full-zip, another long sleeve wicking shirt, a rain jacket, and a plethora of additional calories and little layers like gloves, fleece cap, and extra buffs!! All of this in an organized and comfortable fashion. Nothing was packed in too tight, and with all the pockets, I was able to organize everything very easily!! We would be the last ones through the aid stations, so we would have access to water, but there was still plenty of space for me to accommodate a full bladder, if needed.
All of this, plus my rain jacket and windbreaker were in the pack for my (attempted) 25 mile GDR sweep!
Since this would be my first time wearing this pack, I was pretty nervous about how it would feel and if I would experience chafing. These fears were soon put to rest. The pack fit snug in all the right places with no bouncing or movement on fast, steep descents. The ability to pack for comfort meant I was not carrying too much weight in any one area of the pack, lessening any chance of chafing (I experienced none), and at the same time allowing full range of movement of my arms. Note: this pack has hooks and bungees for poles, which were not tested for this review.
As the night went on and the layers increased, the pack adjustments were quick and easy, and everything stayed where it was supposed to! My only complaint was with so many pockets, I couldn’t remember which pocket my different foods were in, ha! All in all, the first outing of the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta was a huge success! It fit great, I had no rubbing or chafing, no heaviness, and the fit (XS/SM) was perfect even for a busty girl like me!
The second adventure in this vest was 11 miles in the rain and humidity. This time I was in a tank top most of the run, with wet arms and pack, and again experienced no chafing or irritation. The pack was much lighter this time around and was a little more loose than I would like, but I learned that I will use the AV vest for my longer treks, and not for heavily supported races or runs requiring less hydration and/or gear.
On a scale of 5, I give the Adventure Vesta a 5. I look forward to many long treks with this vest, giving credence to its name: I can’t wait for adventure!!
Follow Julie’s adventures on her Instagram: @julierunstrails
Buy your Jenny Adventure Vesta pack on Amazon!