Ultimate Direction Wasp Hydration Pack

Manufacturer Description

Are you seeking the perfect companion for long trail runs and adventure without submitting an online profile? We recommend the Wasp. It features our innovative SportVest shoulder harness system that fits like a garment and keeps the pack higher on the body. Two front mesh pockets offer quick access to gear or food, and stretch mesh allows the pocket to expand and compress.

Features

  • Storage Capacity – 6.9 L (390 cu. in.)
  • Fluid Capacity: 1.9 L (64 oz) Reservoir Included
  • Sizing: Adjustable
  • Material: 3D AirMesh, Nylon 210D Wide Dobby, Nylon Mesh
  • SportVest shoulder harness system
  • Separate top-loading reservoir pocket with reservoir hanger
  • Top pocket allows fast access to race passport – 14 cm Wide x 15 cm Tall (5.5 in x 5.9 in)
  • Easy access side zipping front pocket
  • Internal mesh pocket for ID, Phone – 8 cm Wide x 9 cm Tall (3.1 in x 3.5 in)
  • Two front multi-use mesh pockets attached to shoulder straps – 7 cm Wide x 10 cm Tall (2.8 in x 4 in)
  • Zippered pocket on lower right front strap – 10 cm Wide x 15 cm Tall x 4 cm Deep (4 in x 6 in x 1.6 in)
  • Multi-use pocket with bungee closure on lower left strap – 15 cm Wide x 10 cm Tall x 4 cm Deep (6 in x 4 in x 1.6 in)
  • Mesh storage pocket on back – 12 cm Wide x 21 cm Tall (4.7 in x 8.3 in)
  • 3D AirMesh back panel and shoulder straps for optimal ventilation
  • Tie loops on the top easily hold an extra pair of shoes or an ice axe and trekking poles
  • Updated Low mounted tow line attachment loop
  • Updated HyperFlow bite valve
  • 64oz. reservoir ensures continuous hydration for peak performance
  • Shingled exit port for tube routing
  • Adjustable reflective bungee system on back
  • Strap Secure webbing control
  • Reflective logo
  • Drain hole
  • Measured Weight – 583 g (20.5 oz)
  • Retail – $82

YMMV Review

The Ultimate Direction Wasp Hydration Pack is a race vest for running. Built to carry everything you need for a long training run or a race. Ultimate Direction has become a major player in this market.  Packs like this one are a definite reason why.

Design ★★★★☆

 

The design of the Wasp offers lots of features, just look at the list above.

Front of Pack

If you are preparing for a run and cannot find room for it in this pack, maybe it should not come along. The Wasp sports an impressive 6.9 liters of storage space. The pack is made out of a combination of mesh and 210 denier nylon for durability. Including the reservoir, the pack comes in at 583 grams (20.5 oz) which is not light or heavy for a running pack. There are a total of 9 pockets on the pack. Two smaller pockets on the upper part of the shoulder harness that have an elastic opening at the top. Good for small things or gels. There are two larger pockets lower on the shoulder harness. One is a cinch closure and the other is a zipper closure. Both are similar in size and have openings angled slightly outward. The main pocket is separated into a hydration sleeve with a hanger tab and the main pocket. There is also a small zipper pocket at the top of the pack for important small items. The side of the pack has a zipper access pocket as well, with two bungee loops to secure a pump or something similar and a small hidden pocket. There is one more pocket on the outside back that is made of mesh and open at the top. With all these pockets it is really easy to keep everything separated and organized for easy finding along the way.

Strap Pockets up Close

The harness system is built to be like a vest and ride high up on your torso. It can be adjusted by the two chest straps and by lower strap adjustments at the bottom of the shoulder straps. All excess webbing slack can be secured by a bungee strap. There are two Velcro loops on the pack to secure poles or an ice axe. The back of the pack also has an ice axe loop. In the back of the pack there is a built in reflective bungee cord system for securing things. The reservoir holds 1.9 liters (64 oz) and is made out of a really lightweight plastic. It has a cord for hanging it inside the pack and a long insulated tube that can be routed out of the pack and over either shoulder. The bite valve has a clip to secure it wherever you like. At the bottom of the pack there is also a drain hole for removing liquid inside the pack. Overall I liked the design of the pack. I like that there was a lot of room to store everything you needed on the run. The only thing I was not a fan of is the reservoir and bite valve. The reservoir actually worked well except when my first one failed. Fortunately I was back into town 20 into a 25 mile trail run and the glue where the hose connects to the pack failed. I can attest that the drain hole works because water definitely came out and down my legs. Once Ultimate Direction sent me a new one, I have had no issues since.

The bite valve itself worked well but I am not a fan of the clip system. It is hard to operate when on a run and especially when tired. I switched it out with an Osprey bite valve and magnet attachment which I do not have to think in order to operate. In future releases of this pack, I think this would be a good addition. It did not add any weight to the pack.

Added Magnet on Chest Strap

Fit ★★★★☆

The Wasp pack was my first foray into a running pack. I have had some hydration belts and handheld water bottles but this has to be by far the most comfortable. I am 5”10 ½” and 160 pounds and the harness was almost too big for me to use. I have the chest straps nearly all the way tightened. There is about 1 inch on each one. The other thing I noticed is that the lower outsides of the shoulder straps do not sit secure against my body. They kind of bow out slightly, this seemed like it does not fit as well but has not changed the overall comfort of the pack and did not seem to be an issue. Even after 25 mile runs, the pack rides great, does not chafe, and does not impede breathing. It sits nice and high and does not slosh or bounce around unless you are making big leaps off rocks or over streams. I am still working on a placement for the hydration hose. I have added a magnet to the top chest strap and higher on the shoulder so I can play with placement, this will be a preference thing.

Reservoir

Performance ★★★★½

The performance of the e Wasp pack has been great. As I have explained a bit above, it fits well and has lots of features. I have taken it on several long runs from 10 miles up to 25 miles and had no comfort issues. Apart from my dislike of the clip and reservoir problem, it has performed better than expected. There is ample room in the chest pockets to carry all the items you need along the way. I have found that there is more room than I need for the distances I have run so far. That might change when I get up to the longer Ultras. Even with the 4 pockets in the front, I have never felt like they were in the way. There is plenty of room for your arms to swing. The pack does indeed stay up high on the torso like Ultimate Direction claims. It does not impede breathing and or bounce around when the reservoir is full or empty. The reservoir uses a roll top closure which creates a good seal so it won’t leak. With a little practice it can be filled while still in the pack to save time. There is also a hanging loop at the top of the reservoir to keep it from sinking into the pack. It has stayed stable and in place the whole time I have used it.

View into Pockets from Above

One great feature of the pack is the insulated hydration tube. This is great for those hot days. Your first swig of liquid comes out cold instead of having to get through a warm swig first. I found that the mesh back did a good job of dissipating heat but inevitably I would get warm.  I already run on the warm side when I run and this pack definitely made me sweat when wearing it on warmer days. I do not think it has anything to do about the design. More the extra insulation on my back from wearing it. With 64 oz of liquid, I always had enough which is a good thing. I will speak to this in my long term check-in as the hot summer passes.

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall the Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack has been a welcome addition to my running arsenal. Once I figured out a solution to the clip I have been happy to ditch my waist packs in favor of this. It is much more comfortable and does not inhibit my breathing in any way. Plus I can carry all the gear I need for the really long trail runs. I must say that even though my reservoir did break, Ultimate Direction sent me a new one free of charge and even threw in an extra water bottle for good measure. I would not hesitate to recommend the Wasp pack to anyone needing a running hydration pack for the long haul. They even make a women’s model called the Wink that has a women’s specific fit. As always your mileage may vary.

Side of Pack w/ pocket

Pros

  • Good Fit
  • Lots of Pockets
  • Insulated Hydration Tube

Cons

  • Clip hard to use on the run

Adventures

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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