Pack used by Ultra Runner champ? One he designed himself

Pack used by Ultra Runner champ? One he designed himself

Filed under: Running 

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You know Scott Jurek from his victories in some of the world’s toughest ultra-running events. But did you know he dabbles in product design?

Last year, Jurek collaborated with Ultimate Direction to design a vest-pack for ultra runners. His signature SJ Ultra Vest is built to be minimal yet able to carry all you’ll need when pushing it “fast and light” on a run, climb, or even a hard day hike.

Jurek and the Ultimate Direction vest-pack he helped design

Made with runners first and foremost in mind, Jurek spent about a year of development time to help create the small pack. He took his knowledge from years of racing and put it toward the pack, from the placement of small food pockets to the special Cuben Fiber “bellows” and a stretchy mesh used on the pockets so small loads won’t bounce.

The result: The SJ Ultra Vest is stocked with pouches, holsters, pockets, and a main compartment. It weighs just 7.5 ounces empty yet can carry water bottles and enough gear for a fast day in the high country (9 liters of capacity).

SJ Ultra Vest

We have been testing Ultimate Direction’s vests this spring on long runs and so far are happy with the only-the-essentials approach. You can run and access water from the bottles, as well as grab food or gels from the up front pouches and pockets on the sides.

I caught up with Jurek last week to dissect the SJ Ultra Vest and get a scoop on the design, which he says makes the pack on a run “feel like it’s a part of my body.” —Amy Oberbroeckling

interview with Scott Jurek on next page. . .

Stephen Regenold
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.