Having easy access to storage and hydration is essential whether you’re running or cycling. The Ultimate Direction Highland Vest we have for this review is one of their latest form fitting hydration vests and is designed to move with you. Retailing for $149.95 the Highland Vest is marketed as the perfect vest for ultra running but is also a great option for cycling or hiking. The vest has a plush next-to-body design with Ultimate Direction’s Comfort Glide fit system. In terms of storage, the Highland vest offers multiple front pockets, side stash pockets and a large magnetic rear pouch for secure storage. Ultimate Direction even includes a 1.5L reservoir that sits in a dedicated rear pocket with an easy to access lockable bite valve.
The Ultimate Direction Highland vest is a lightweight and comfortable hydration vest designed to move with you.
|Measured Weight (in g)||231|
|Likes||+ Lightweight design|
+ Snug fit with easy adjustments
+ 1.5L reservoir is included with the pack
|Dislikes||– Premium price|
– No way to hold or clip extra strap length
|Where to Buy (US)||Ultimate Direction|
The Ultimate Direction Highland hydration pack comes in a simple plastic bag to keep it clean during shipping with cardboard backings for displaying the vest in stores. Included with the best is a 1.5L reservoir that is already stored in the rear pocket and should be removed and cleaned before using it.
FIT & FINISH
Visually, the Ultimate Direction Highland has a tailored body-contouring design that is designed to move with you. It’s a one piece design with adjustable front straps and side straps to adjust the fit. The Highland has large cutouts around the shoulders and a fairly narrow rear design to keep it centered on your back. Ultimate Direction currently offers the Highland in three colors options: Onyx (black with white accents), UD Blue (sky blue with gray accents) and Verdant which we have in this review. The Verdant combines different shades of gray and green with a leaf graphical pattern. The edges of the vest have a gray finish while the bungee cords are a bright yellow accent color.
The Comfort Glide fit system features four straps to adjust the vest. There are two side straps that connect the front and rear of the vest and an additional two straps on the front. While they are easy to adjust, there is no way to store the extra strap lengths so they end up just hanging downward. What’s particularly impressive about the vest is the amount of storage. There are multiple front and rear pockets including a zippered pocket, elastic pockets, and even open mesh pockets. They can accommodate everything from large cell phones, water bottles to smaller items like credit cards or keys. The included 1.5L hydration pack also works well with a long hose and bite valve that clips into a plastic tab on the front of the vest. It’s a lot more convenient than a separate bottle and easier to carry as the weight is centered on your back.
ON THE ROAD
Ultimate Direction offers the Highland vest in two unisex sizes: XS/S and M/L. The key difference between the sizing is length of the straps which accommodate an overlapping range of chest diameters. In hindsight, we should have chosen the small size as our M/L version had quite a bit of excess strap length. Aside from that minor annoyance, the Highland vest is very easy to adjust with the two side straps and two front straps. We use it for running, hiking and even cycling when we want extra storage and water without the inconvenience of a backpack. We also found the front and side stash pockets to be particularly handy for small items or cell phones as they are within easy reach. The contoured design and lightweight design allows it to move with you.
Overall, we found the Ultimate Direction Highland vest to be a well constructed and comfortable hydration vest. The next-to-body tailored fit allows the vest to move with you whether you’re doing a long run or ride. We were impressed with the ample storage and the included 1.5L reservoir. We found it easy to adjust the fit using the two side straps and front straps and didn’t experience any pressure points or discomfort. Aside from the premium price, the only thing we’d recommend for improvement is to find a better way to clip the excess strap length. That said, if you’re looking for a lightweight vest to carry extra food, water, or gear on a run or ride, the Ultimate Direction Highland vest is a great option.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Ultimate Direction. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.