Are you ready for a big day in the mountains? If so the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta 4.0 might be right for you. With a customized design and fit for women, multiple front and side pockets, and huge carrying capacity, this is a definite must to add to your vest collection (or to start your vest collection). A lightweight vest with thoughtful attention to detail, will delight runners of all types.
Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta 4.0 (Women’s)
- Volume Capacity: 757 in3 / 12.4 L
- Weight With Bottles: 12.59 oz/ 357 g
- Weight Without Bottles: 9.14 oz / 259 g
- Materials: 150g Flex Mono Mesh, Micro Mono Mesh (does not absorb moisture; increases breathability), 30D Coated Nylon Ripstop, 4-way stretch Woven Mesh
- Size options (measure at bottom of ribs):
- XS/SM: 26–38 in. / 66–97 cm
- MD/LG: 32–41 in. / 81–104 cm
- Sizing note: I measure at a 32 and went with the MD/LG which was the wrong choice. I would have had a better fit in the XS/SM. For 32–34 inch I would recommend going with the XS/SM, and for 36–38 I’d recommend going with the MD/LG.
- Sliding rail sternum straps
- 1 front bottle pocket (1 body bottle 500 included)
- 1 large front burrito pocket (can accommodate a plus size phone)
- 1 small front zippered storage pocket
- 1 small front stash pocket
- 2 side zippered pockets
- Large back compartment that can hold a 2 liter bladder
- 2 small back zippered pocket
- Shock cord on back compartment
- Trekking pole holders
- Comfort Cinch technology for easy adjustment
Differences between the Men’s Adventure Vesta and Women’s Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta
- 2 upper “shoulder” pockets (not present on the vesta)
- 1 zippered front pocket instead of 2
- Back stash pocket is smaller; 1 small zip pocket on the back instead of 2
- No stash pockets on the front of the bottle pocket
- Different configuration for pole attachment
- Based on photos, I think the men’s version also has ice axe loops.
With their newly designed Signature Series 4.0, UD has given women 3 new options in the pack market: the Race Vesta (smallest and lightest), the Ultra Vesta (medium sized offering with more space in the back panel), and the Adventure Vesta (the largest of the bunch, designed for a full day outing). The designers did not take a “shrink it and pink it” approach as they tackled these vests. The Adventure Vesta 4.0 is designed specifically for women, not only with women’s different anatomy in mind, but with thought to how we like to carry our gear when we run. Super stretchy fabric molds to the body, and the new Comfort Cinch adjustment system allows the user to really customize the fit.
Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to six areas:
What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the pack.
The first time I loaded up this vest, put it on, and tightened it down I described it as feeling like a nice hug. Two months of testing in and I would still describe it that way. The way the design wraps your body just works and the comfort can’t be beat.
The Adventure Vesta 4.0 gives you several options for carrying fluids. You can carry a 2L bladder (included) in the back, the 500ml soft flask in the front (included), or both. The back has a special compartment for the bladder with a secure snap closure that attaches to the top of the bladder to hold it in place as it shrinks while you drink. You can run the hydration tube over either shoulder through an opening in the top of the fabric that extends down to several secure loops.
The bottle pocket is well situation for a women’s anatomy and rides comfortably when full. You can drink off the bottle while on the move, although I did find this to be much easier while walking than running. The pocket and bottle were well-designed so that a full bottle can easily slide in and out of the stretchy pocket (a big improvement over some other packs).
This zippered pocket is huge! You can fit a plus size phone, some gels, full size bars, or even a full size handheld GPS unit. I love having a large zip pocket for added security for my phone.
This vest has plenty of zip pockets (apparently research indicates that women really like zip pockets). You have two each on the front, sides, and back. Not only does this allow you to get your organization super dialed, it also provides you with peace of mind for your most important gear. The side zip pockets are bigger than you think, and I regularly shove my overly large wallet into one of them. The zippered back pockets are also a nice touch for gear that you don’t need to access quite as regularly, but still want secured.
The Comfort Cinch technology consists of several pieces of plastic and shock cord that lives in the back panel of the vest. By pulling on the two pieces of cord that dangle from the back of the pack you can pull the side panels of the pack closer to the back panel, thereby “cinching” the pack and achieving a tighter fit. This adjustment gives the runner the ability to customize the fit while on the go, without adding much weight to the pack.
Sliding Rail Sternum Straps
In my opinion this is a BIG improvement over the Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 4.0. The two front straps are on sliders so you can easily adjust them on the fly. I think the t-hooks are the way of the future though, as that was the style I saw on the new packs for 2019 at the summer Outdoor Retailer Show.
What could be improved on the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the pack better.
Front Zippered Pockets
A minor quibble, but I felt it was a little bit difficult to get my hands in these pockets while on the go when I am utilizing the upper pockets. You have to reach around and below the upper pocket to get to the bottom pocket. Just a bit more space between those two levels of pockets would solve that problem.
Just like on the Race Vesta, I found the pole attachments to be a little bit fussy. It definitely works, but the snaps are rather difficult to open. I do worry about the longevity of the fabric the snaps are attached to if used often. If you plan to regularly stash your poles I would recommend practicing with the attachment system before you hit the trail.
I absolutely love the lightness of the vest, but I do have a few concerns about the long term durability of the fabric. After a a few runs I noticed I already had a few snags in one of the side pockets from my keys rubbing against the fabric while on the move. Since then I have taken care with any items that I would perceive as being slightly sharp (I hadn’t really thought of keys as being sharp), but this really isn’t something I want to worry about when I’m out on a run.
When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta excels.
The Adventure Vesta 4.0 is designed for short to ultra long days and everything between. The lightweight fabric and glove-like feel will have you reaching for this vest for runs of all distances without worrying about being weighed down. The ability to cinch down the back panel when you aren’t carrying much with you, adds to the versatility of the pack. Take this vest for your biggest mountain days when you need to load it to the hilt or short road runs when you just need to carry a bottle of water and your phone.
How it compares: my current go-to pack and how this pack compares.
The packs and vests I have been running with lately include the RaidLight Responsiv 10L and Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L. The Adventure Vesta’s featherlight feel is very similar to that of the RaidLight, but with less stretchiness to the front and rear pockets. The Adventure Vesta opts for a mesh like back panel instead of a fabric panel. This can feel ever so slightly scratchy when it rubs against bare skin, but it has the advantage of not holding much in the way of smell like an absorbent fabric. The size rivals the Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L, but the women’s specific fit gives the UD Adventure Vesta a bit of an edge.
Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this pack or not.
The UD Adventure Vesta is a well designed, versatile, and extremely comfortable vest for women who are racing or adventure running. The vest’s unique bungee tightening system on the back allows you to tighten it down when your needs are minimal or increase the volume when you need to carry everything but the kitchen sink. The Adventure Vesta’s versatility makes it a solid choice as an addition to your vest/pack closet or as a one and only vest. It’s in the middle of the price range of comparable vests at $159.95.
If you are interested in purchasing this pack, first see my notes about the sizing in the specs section above, then check out your local, independently-owned running specialty store to check them out. Click here to go straight to go to the Adventure Vesta 4.0 on Ultimate Direction’s website.
If you’d like to purchase the pack while helping drop a few bucks into the URP coffers, use this Amazon affiliate link. They’re fast and have a superb return policy. Thanks!
Your Reviewer: Sarah Bradham
I started my love of gear as a climber and as I turned my attention to running I shifted from carabiners, ice tools, and crampons to hydration packs, midsole foam types, compression clothing, and everything in between. After several years of foot injuries, I’m enjoying getting back to my beloved muddy and rocky trails near my home in Portland, Ore. In my work life, I enjoy coordinating an annual Mountain and Ultra Running Camp at the base of Mt. Hood with Yassine Diboun, Amy Sproston, Joelle Vaught, Krissy Moehl and Jeff “Bronco Billy” Browning.
This product was provided to URP/me for review purposes. Compensation was neither offered nor requested and all words and thoughts are 100% my own.