Ultimate Direction AK 3.0 Running Vest

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Isn’t it funny how fate can combine to set up your perfect scenario. I’d been talking with my ultra running friend Mark Greenfield about meeting him part way through his run and my new running vest arrived just in time.

Mark is in training for the South Downs Way 50 miler in two weeks time and I was looking to add a two hour run to the 13 miler I ran on Wednesday.

How excited was I to wear my running vest, well, on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d say 25. I’ve used a variety of packs and waste bags over the years but ultimately it’s all about having the tools for the trade !!

After researching numerous other vests I decided on the Ultimate Direction AK (Anton Krupicka) 3.0, large, red vest. The colours also compliment our Fareham Crusaders running club tops.

Firstly, the design of the pack means the wide side panels and shoulder straps really do make you feel like you’re wearing a waistcoat and that’s what makes it a vest rather than a rucksack. The vest can effectively be split into three categories.

  • Two 500ml soft flasks sit comfortably in their holsters. The holsters have draw strings to tighten the flasks and the bottles sit on your chest for easy access. The clear plastic also shows you how much you’ve drunk.
  • There are “numerous” pockets on the shoulder and side panels sections of the vest. The two main side panel pockets have zips and are vary spacious. The front zip pocket took my valuables and the side panels my gloves, snood and gels. I could have fit numerous other items in but it was only a two hour run.
  • The main storage bag on the rear again has a large capacity and I used it for my rain racket.

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The secure zipped pockets, the lightweight nature, the accessibility and the scope to adjust the fit with straps meant it was very practical and very comfortable. I’d say the storage on your back would be used for items you ought to take but wouldn’t be looking to use for some time. Not needing to struggle for nutrition and liquids takes all the hassle out of a long run. Not needing to stop as well as eating/drinking on the move means your run isn’t interrupted.

The whistle that’s attached to the vest was a great additional thought and I know feel like I’m properly prepared for whatever adventures I choose to take on.

Todays run included muddy trails, shingle and sand. A combination of all theses elements as well as my effort meant the pack had mud and sweat on it. A look warm, water rinse, soon resolved that and it dried out overnight too.

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Todays run started with a fairly uneventful 4.5 miles to get to the coast, however, it did mean I could entertain myself by using the bottles and pockets without necessarily actually eating and drinking each time.

The coastal trail that heads along the Meon shoreline added far more excitement. The map is from my strava account. I’m irunoffroad Roger and here’s the link for Todays Run

The coastal path was muddy and had huge puddles. I find that if you can avoid the deep puddles, that’s going to keep your socks drier but sometimes there’s more risk of slipping if you constantly try to avoid the water. Yes, sometimes its better just to plough on straight through them.

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As I made my way inland I met up with Mark who’d set off earlier and was running more miles. I turned around and ran with him from about mile 6.5 to 10. When I say ran with him, I meant “tried to keep up with”. We bumped into Emma Noyce that I’ve talked to on social media a lot, but never actually met. Well done on your coastal run too Emma.

We decided to run along the shoreline instead of the coastal path for more endurance training on the soft sand and shingle. I took this photo of Mark and even though it came out quite dark I think it shows a man in his element !!

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What the photo doesn’t show is that the sand became very soft in no time at all and we probably got just as wet as if we’d have run the path’s puddles, all of which added to the entertainment value !!

Next was Titchfield Haven, this is a nature reserve and the trails are well known for being muddy. The poor drainage means its a great training run for testing your agility and gaining confidence in running on slippy mud, which is inevitable at this time of the year.

By the time we reached the other side of Titchfield village I had run 10 miles and Mark 20. We shook hands and said we’d meet up soon. He asked me how I liked my vest and to be honest I’d almost forgotten I had it on !!

All that remained was a few more miles on bridle paths and then my last leg on the road down Gudge Heath Lane to home and 12.75 miles.

I did stop for a drink at 11 miles because I’d seen someone watching me approach. Can you spot him, I had to zoom in 🙂 He scampered through the trees and followed me for about 50 metres !!

DSC01192So, all in all it was great to catch up with Mark and I love my new running vest. A real investment for the future.

Happy trail running 🙂

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