Brand: Utimate Direction
Model: Signature Series Adventure Vest 5.0
Our take Ideal for trail runners and dawn-to-dusk dayhikers, the Adventure Vest 5.0 is one of the most modular, fully-featured packs we’ve seen in this size. Tiny clips on the back and sides let you reconfigure the bungee lacing as either lashing for extra layers or as compression straps for smaller loads. The pack comes with a removable PLB pocket, and the integrated rain cover does double-duty: The waterproof flap tucks down behind the mesh backpanel when not in use to keep sweat out of your gear. (And we never got too drippy while using it for that purpose.)
The details The Adventure Vest is reservoir-compatible, but, again, you have options: One of the six chest pockets fits a 17-ounce bottle (included), and the main packbag can hold a Nalgene, plus snacks and layers for the day. The pack moved with us on scrambles and steeps, and soft mesh on the shoulder straps and backpanel kept air flowing on hot days. “Even with a 10-pound load, it sat snug against my back without jostling,” one tester said after a fourth-class scramble in Boulder, Colorado’s Flatirons.
$180; 9.5 oz. (m’s M); m’s S-L, w’s S-L