Ultimate Direction was one of the first companies to offer running vests with an emphasis on the fit and features that long distance runners appreciate. The Peter Bakwin vest is part of their Signature Series line of vests and through all of its iterations has been their largest running vest, catering to runners who are doing long training runs, ultra distance races with minimal support, or any activities where carrying extra clothing, food, and gear becomes necessary. Although the vests have evolved from their first generation through the current gen 3 designs, the principles remain the same. Today, Marissa Diaz takes us through her impressions of the Peter Bakwin (PB) 3.0 vest.
A Quick Introduction
Jacob D is a regular running buddy of mine and one day he said “Hey, UD hooked me up with this nice vest, why don’t you take it, go run a bunch of miles with it, then give me a review for my blog?”. It seemed like a good deal, so that’s how I ended up here. I’m a newer ultra runner and prior to this I was using a Nathan hydration vest for running and cycling. I was already used to drinking from a hydration reservoir via the drink tube, so this vest with the single bottle up front and hydration bladder in back seemed like it would work really well for long training runs and such where I could keep electrolytes/carbs separate from my water in the reservoir. Before I get into the review, just a quick note – Jacob has reviewed the previous version of this vest here. Just a heads up. It’s a very different design, and it’s still available to purchase from UD.
Specs at a Glance
The PB is the largest of Ultimate Direction’s signature series of hydration vests, with a claimed total storage capacity of 16 liters. This seems to include all the pockets because the main compartment doesn’t feel quite that large compared to similar size backpacks. This is a lot of carry capacity. It’s more than I need for races, but it’s great to be able to carry a rain jacket, some light gloves, hat, sunglasses, snacks, etc… on the longer runs that we do. Maybe some day I’ll get into doing some self-supported adventure runs where a vest like this is an essential piece of gear.
- Carrying Capacity: 16 liters
- Fluid Carrying Capacity: 1x 17 oz bottle (included) up front, 1x 70 oz bladder in back (not included)
- Weight: 13.5 oz (vest only)
- MSRP: $169
- Options: 100 oz reservoir ($34.95), additional 17oz soft bottle ($22.95)
Overall, I think that this is a great pack for longer self supported runs. It’s super light and comfortable, with great cargo space for a longer day out on the trail. I like being able to keep my water and drink mix separated with the addition of the bottle up front. It’s a little odd that the front pocket design is not symmetrical, but a second bottle could be stowed in the zippered front pocket (the one some people call “the burrito pocket”).
The PB comes in three sizes: S, M and L. I’m wearing the Small size and it fits me well (I’m 5′-4 about 110 lbs) without too much adjustment needed. The pack does have a lot of ways to make minute adjustments to get the fit just right. The adjustment straps can be tucked away into pockets on the pack… which is both good and somewhat inconvenient. I liked this because the straps don’t fly around like other packs I’ve owned, but it is also more difficult to make quick adjustments on the fly. You really have to get dialed in before heading out and then leave the straps alone while on the move. The shoulder harness is fairly thick which I like since this distributes the weight well and feels very comfortable on the shoulders.
All of the materials used seem very high quality and make sense (mesh on the back and straps, solid material on pockets that should be more water resistant, stretch material on the back, side, and bottle pockets). All the zippers have held up and I haven’t had any issues with craftsmanship or durability of the vest.
This pack is very light and breathable for it’s size, so I almost forget that it’s on while I’m running! The cargo space is great for a longer day where you may want a variety of food, hydration, and gear options. There are many more pockets than other packs I’ve used, and most are accessible while running. The tiny pockets on the front are great for organizing small items like salt pills, sunblock, chapstick, etc… More room in the main back compartment means I can carry a change of outer wear and a variety of snacks with me, in addition to a hydration reservoir.
Although I generally prefer the tube for drinking on the go, I actually really like having multiple options with the smaller bottle on the front. With two separate sources of liquids, having both water and electrolytes is easy – and it’s perfect for a long run when you want choices. I thought that the soft bottle on the front was easy to drink from, and it actually didn’t bounce around like I thought it might (this was my first experience with a soft bottle). It doesn’t slosh either.
A quick run down on pockets… up front there are 2 main pockets, one is for a bottle, the other is zippered, but can hold a bottle. There are also 2 zippered shoulder pockets, and several other smaller pockets. There are 2 zippered side pockets. On back there’s the main compartment, a couple of external pockets, and another zippered pocket. Feature-wise, this pack has pretty much everything a runner needs to carry a ton of stuff and to be very compartmentalized. I don’t currently have the need to carry trekking poles, but it has loops for those as well.
My only issue with the pack would be the loops for the hydration pack tube. The way the tube fits in the loops feels a bit high on the chest. The tube seems to bounce around by my neck, so I still need to find a way to adjust this. Also, I don’t totally love how I have to pull it out of the loops if I want to take off the pack. My other pack has clips that the tube fits into, which is easier for accessing it. One other thought on the hydration on the back… since there is no insulation on the back of the vest, like with the Nathan, the water warms up from resting against my back.
Final Thoughts on the PB Adventure Vest
Overall, I think that this vest has been excellent to for my longer self-supported runs. It allows me to move very comfortably and stay out all day with everything I need! This vest definitely deserves more adventures, which I look forward to! Hike It. Like It.