Outdoor Retailer 2018 Summer Market Recap – Ultimate Direction Highlights

Outdoor Retailer is North America’s largest tradeshow for the outdoor industry. Split between an annual Summer Market show and an annual Winter Market show it is the conference where exhibitors, retail buyers, and the outdoor media come together to preview upcoming products. Brands previewed a ton of upcoming new products we should generally see in the next 3-9 months. In this article we’ll focus on what caught my eye from the brand’s booth.

Note: any specifications cited are pre-production numbers. As brands get closer to mass production and distribution we may occasionally see slight tweaks based on final wear testing and feedback.

Ultimate Direction

Ultimate Direction continues to expand their product line in a logical way. This spring we’ll see the introduction of the HydroLight series from Ultimate Direction that integrates hydration storage directly in to the pockets of running apparel. Additionally, we’ll see a new, lightweight vest called the Halo which looks very promising. Finally, their Adventure collection will see the inclusion of two women’s specific fastpacking vests along with a new, do everything kind of vest designed by Anton, and finally a FKT vest.

HydroLight Series

The HydroLight series will include (from left to right): men’s two-in-one short, men’s half-tight, men’s 3/4 tight, women’s tank, women’s two-in-one short, women’s two-in-one skirt, women’s half-tight, women’s 3/4 tight.

Some final tweaks will be made to the production versions but the initial impressions look positive. The bottles were specifically designed to work with this pocket setup and rest comfortably on the hips to minimize bounce.


The devil is in the details. Against the skin a compressive layer serves as the foundation. The inner layer works in combination with a belt located between the inner layer and outer layers to bear the load from the two 12oz water bottles.

Women will also get a great-looking top in the HydroLight tank.

Men’s and women’s 3/4 tights also include size-able side pockets for additional carry while on-the-move. (note: I believe UD said they are scrapping the yellow accents based on feedback)
The forthcoming Ultimate Direction Halo vest looks like a great option for race day. We’ll have to wait for final specs but it should be similar in storage to the Ultra Vest 4.0 but shed 1-2oz in weight.
Women-specific FASTPACKS arrive in the FASTPACKHER 20 and FASTPACKHER 30 (top row). Additionally, a new vest from Anton (bottom left) arrives aimed at all mountain pursuits. And last but not least we’ll see a new FKT vest (bottom right).


Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!

Meet Your Shoe & Gear Editor: Ben Zuehlsdorf

I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.

Disclaimer: All words and thoughts are my own and no compensation was offered nor received.

Please use real name. Anonymous comments will be deleted. Thanks.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.