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The Ginger Runner | Review: Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest

Review: Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest

12 Sep Review: Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest

The Ultimate Direction Anton Krupicka Race Vest is one of my top choices for minimal hydration solutions. When I heard UD was coming out with a signature series of packs and had worked closely with the likes of Anton Krupicka & Scott Jurek, I knew I’d have to try them out and put them through the Ginger Runner gauntlet. After seeing a number of runners in various races sport the pack, I visited my friends at The San Francisco Run Company and purchased one in my size (S/M) immediately. While I do have some pretty big gripes with the pack, it’s still proven to be one of my favorite pieces of gear.

My main gripes are with the pockets that the pack has built in. The two lower pockets open the wrong way, the two upper pockets aren’t quite big enough for a smartphone or camera, and the two side back pockets are completely unreachable unless you take the entire pack off. The only other issue I have is with the lack of stretch in the straps – which I think is crucial to get a hydration pack to fit correctly and comfortably (look at the Salomon sternum straps for example). Despite the dislikes, the weight, the materials, the flexibility of set-up, and overall quality move this piece of gear up on my list.

I’ve also gotten the comment that how I’m wearing the pack in the video is, “wrong” and that the bottles need to be more upright. Well, I’ve found that having the bottles angled slightly has decreased water sloshing considerably, as well as reduced the amount the sternum straps slid vertically by tightening the side straps over time. Trust me, I almost have to readjust the pack each time I put it on, so I’ve come to master the fine art of fit.


  • Light (6oz)
  • Materials
  • Minimal
  • Adaptive


  • Fit
  • Under-pocket direction
  • Back-pocket location
  • Top-pocket size

PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 15/20

Watch the video above for my full review. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube.com channel HERE!  I purchased the UD AK Race Vest myself. All opinions are my own.

The Ginger
  • Arun
    Posted at 23:07h, 10 October

    Ethan, I am so glad you reviewed this. I have been thinking about getting either the AK vest or the Scot Jurek vest. But based on your review, I will NOT buy this because I am a bigger guy and I guess it would not fit right. BTW based on your explanation of the comfort and ergonomics, I think you were way too generous with a 3/5 score. 3 points would seem like it’s decently comfy, but you make it seem like it really isn’t.

  • Tony
    Posted at 14:54h, 22 December

    The Jurek vest addresses some of the issues you mention but also less flexible in fitting. It’s still tiny though. It’s crazy how small all three are but how much you can actually stash in them.

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