The trail rolls deep into wilderness over pumpkin-sized granite blocks that choke the path. I notice that my 16oz pack — Ultimate Direction’s PB Adventure Vest 2.0 — remains glued to my back as I run along the North Fork of the Boise River carrying all the gear I need to fish.
I stop to transition from running to fishing and everything is readily accessible: fly box on the left side pocket, food on the right, line on the upper left lapel and iPhone on the upper right. There’s even a hidden stowaway pocket for my fishing and driver’s licenses.
Indeed, the pack is a stable beast of burden and a master of efficiency. I took it out on this fly-fishing, running trip to the North Fork of the Boise River for a test.
The Gear: Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 2.0 ($160)
Where To Test It: Trail running, adventure racing, all day epics with gear.
Who’s It For: Athletes looking to carry everything they need for a day
The Nitty Gritty: The 11 liter pack comes with two 20 oz bottles, but has space for an optional 70 oz reservoir. The PB weighs 16 oz (21.5 with the bottles) and measures 16” (H) x 9” (W) x 4.5” (D).
First Impressions: I’m a big fan of accessibility; having everything in its place means one less thing to think about when tired and spent. The PB Adventure Vest 2.0 delivers this in spades. I’m still finding new ways to creatively organize my gear.
At $160, the PB comes at a fairly steep price for a technical day vest. For those training on front-country trails, you can find less expensive options (but they won’t have the accoutrements of the PB). And if you have a barrel shaped chest or are considering winter adventures, you will want to size up or buy cautiously.
But if you spend your weekends stretching long runs into adventures, this might be your ticket out and back to the truck.
Who Should Buy It: Go-go gadget oriented athletes.
Important Specs: Light but tough translucent “Silnylon” is patchworked with a very stretchy Power Mesh on the ‘wings’ of the pack, the pockets, and back panel to accommodate a changing load.
“Hex Mesh” honeycomb creates a space for air circulation at contact points. It provides a bit of cushion and is very breathable.
Pockets: This thing is full of pockets for those that like everything in its place.
The back panel has two main compartments. A deep internal compartment can hang a 70oz reservoir and a second, smaller compartment holds a wind jacket, hat, gloves, sunglasses or other small items.
Over the hips are two side pockets that can hold three to four bars. A 24oz bottle can tuck in the ‘bellow’ pocket between the side pockets and the pack’s body.
Each shoulder strap has an additional pocket, large enough to store a smart phone.
Two water bottle holsters accommodate the two 20 oz water bottles (included). Each has two pockets to hold an energy gel, bar, folded map, etc.
Straps Under each side wing is a hidden compression strap that helps suck the pack to your back. The front of the vest is snapped over the chest by two horizontal straps that can slide vertically and compress horizontally.
Not enough space? The pack is wrapped in bungee cord to strap everything else.
An ice axe loop hangs off the bottom of the pack and a whistle hangs over the left front pocket
Made In: Philippines
Awesome! For those who like everything in its place, the PB will not disappoint. I was easily able eat, drink, get small supplies, get to my device … all without breaking stride. And it rides tight even when loaded down with 40 oz of fluid up front and 70 in back.
Flaw: The side zip pockets sit too far back on the waist, making it hard to access contents while on the go. The thin bungee could be prone to pulling out; I experienced this on one of the water bottle holsters. While the M/L pack fit me (and my 38” chest) with room to spare, there are numerous reports that it has a conservative fit. It would be prudent to try before you buy.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest
—Steve Graepel is a contributor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC