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The best-selling running vest in the world just got better, with more accessible storage, and almost half the weight. Scott tested out prototypes of the Scott Jurek Ultra Vest 3.0 while on his 43 day record setting Appalachian Trial run and modifications were made per his suggestions and experience with the vest.
NOTE: 3.0 vests fit differently than the previous versions; please check the Sizing Chart below.
I bought this pack to solve a few problems I'd been experiencing in other packs:
- having a single reservoir limited my ability to carry both pure water and a caloric beverage;
- keeping all the weight on my back pitted my hydration against running form;
- many pockets were either an inconvenient shape or in an inconvenient place;
The SJ Ultra Vest 3.0 solved all of these problems for me.
The dual soft flasks allow me to carry two different beverages. With the weight flanking my chest, I maintain the falling-forward feel of efficient running, rather than feeling dragged backwards. For long days without ample available water, I'll carry up to 1.0 L on my back, too, which balances the front weight. The cinches on the pack keep the weight snug so that the bottles don't bounce around, but not uncomfortably tight.
There are convenient pockets for just about everything: gels/food, phone, salt tabs, &c. Surprisingly, the rear zipper pocket is very easy to access while moving, making it a surprise favorite spot for bars and snacks. I rarely use the big rear stuff-pocket unless I'm going for a long unsupported day, but it's great for that purpose because it can hold a lot and you can use the cord on the outside to compress it or fasten gear to the outside of the pack. I don't usually use poles, but when I have, the pole loops work great.
Even without a shirt on, the pack doesn't cause and chafing, which can't be said for most packs in my experience. Adjusting the side straps first, then the front straps, in order to keep the bottles in the right place was the only work it took to get the pack to sit just right. Simple!
When the soft flasks aren't full, they sink down into their pockets, becoming tougher to access and remove. It gets easier with practice, but definitely can be frustrating. That's about my only complaint and certainly doesn't warrant less than a 5-star rating. Niko Kovacevic on May 18th 2017
the biggest complaint i have with this pack is with the bladder, i cant stand running with bottles up front, im a bladder guy, and thats where this pack has its issues, the bladder just kind of sits in the pack and is real sloshy, the Velcro strap that secures the bladder doesnt hold... IE (use mush better Velcro please) for now i will be sticking with my salomon. as far as sizing be sure to read and measure, i am 6'1, 215 pounds and im at about the middle on the medium. Unknown on May 15th 2017
> 6’, 205
> Wear a MD/LG in shirts
> Have a UD PB 1.0 in MD/LG and fits perfectly
> Chest 42”/43”
> Bottom of Rib Cage 36”
According to other reviews, this runs large, my measurements puts me in between a SM and MD. Purchased a MD. Very odd fit. It feels like the loaded bottles are too low on my chest and the straps over the shoulders are too close to my neck. Doesn’t feel very form fitting. Chest straps are about 2-3 inches apart leaving a ton of strap leftover to flap around. Loosely tying it off solves the problem. Chest and side adjustments seem to be futile to get a comfortable fit, will take it for a run anyways.
First run was a 10 miler. Load was just my key and Houdini in the back zipper pocket. I love the key clip! I only used 1 bottle and kept my phone in the other bottle pocket. I felt like the shoulder strap was rubbing against the left side of my neck, not hard, but noticeably felt uneven. Later in the run, I switched my phone to the zipper pocket, so no load in the right pocket, still felt lopsided. The whole run, I just felt like I had a vest on. This is not the case with other vests that I’ve tried(ie. Salomon Ultra Set 3L...great fit, ripped bottle pocket after 5 uses) This vest is supposed to replace that one, in terms of more capacity and durability than the latter, but less than the PB 1.0 Vest.
Wanted something, super-light, super comfy and super durable. Enough for front country trail runs from 10 to 20+ miles where I need to at least have my 10 trail essentials, some nutrition and enough water.
Test loaded the back pocket with my Puffy Vest and Pullover and Houdini, both bottles. It felt like it fit a lot better, but that is fully packed, which I don’t run with often enough to warrant the larger size.
Update: Received the SMall. Out of the box, it was snug with room for adjustment and a little higher on the body, which feels like a perfect fit. Took it on a 12 miler with my 10 Trail Essentinals and performed just like it should. I have opted to use the skinny 500ml Salomon Hydro Flask and Ultraspire Formula 250ml Soft Flask in lieu of the included bottles. I will be using the Body Bottles for extra water stashed in the main back pocket for longer runs. Just personal preference. It still feels like I'm wearing a vest, but for now, it is a acceptable tradeoff for durability.
Also, this thing dries fast! Nilo Ayson on Nov 17th 2016
Fantastic vest, you barely know you're wearing it. No pressure points, no chafing.
Folds up really small, so I take it on my travels abroad, doesn't take up any space, and the soft bottles help of course.
As other users have noticed, the bottles that come with the vest start leaking quickly, and I've had to replace both of them. The new twist lock is a design error, as the whole top keeps coming off. This is an issue for Hydrapack, who apparently makes these for U-D, but funny enough, the only replacement bottle that doesn't leak is the Hydrapack-branded one...
Overall, the best vest I've ever had! Boston, MA on Nov 6th 2016
I've run long distances for the past 43 years. I recently purchased the UD Signature Series 3.0 vest. It was quite an adjustment to go from fanny packs to a vest. However, I wanted to try it out. There are some advantages. Most items are right up front and easy to reach. My iPhone was stored in a water bottle holder and I could grab it and snap pictures at will. With a fanny pack I wore an armband for my phone. On long mountain trails runs there is a certain ease when you have to make a pitstop and there is no need to remove a belt. Having said this there were problems with wearing this vest. First, that iPhone that I wore in the water bottle pocket did not provide as much safety light as when I run in the dark with it in an armband. Also several times my running app was switched off when my hand accidentally hit the pouch. And about hands hitting the pouch, I found that I had to hold my arms at an unnatural position during my run to keep my hands from brushing up against or banging into the the running vest or bottles. The upper pocket I used to hold keys. Unfortunately after 3 weeks the seams at the top came apart. That was truly disappointing. I will not bother returning the pack but it should have been constructed better. During a beach run of just a little over half a marathon the vest started to cut into the side of my neck. It still hurts and burns from the cut. As a result this morning I switched everything out of the pack and returned to wearing my UD fanny pack. Immediately it felt so much better having it around my waist in comparison to wearing the vest hanging off my shoulders and over my chest and back. I may have to remove the belt when I make those pitstops up in the mountains but over the miles the pack is far more comfortable then the vest. Unknown on Oct 24th 2016
Lightweight, comfortable material. Easily worn without a shirt. Easy access to all storage areas. A great vest for distances from the marathon to 100 miles +.
The soft flask work great, and the option to go with a bladder works just as well. I love that about these vests! I can carry what I need, and have room to spare. Nothing rubs or chafes. My last UD vest, the original AK race vest, is still going strong. I expect this one to last me many years too! Joe Cross on Oct 11th 2016
I will have to get used to wearing a vest. After 43 years of wearing fanny packs this is an adjustment. I just finished, moments ago, a short 5 mile beach recovery run. The sj vest is everything people posted here. I think I will need 10 or so runs before I'm convince it is what I need/want. One thing I've noticed is I have to hold my arms a bit lower and wider out so I don't rub against the bottle or some other part of the vest. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Phillip Cohen on Oct 10th 2016
This is a very good product. The only thing I would change is the Velcro strap that holds the reservoir. It failed within one mile and so the reservoir fell to the bottom of the pack. Will use safety pins in the future. Derek H. on Sep 6th 2016
I would like to LOVE this vest. I must admit, I'm still dialing it in, BUT, there's a few flaws I KNOW Jurek would have run into over the miles.
1. Cell pocket- not good for cell phones. It sits weird due to the body bottle and eats your lower ribs. I have a 5SE and it's still awkward.
2. Fit- I'm a smaller guy. 5'10", 140 pounds. I'm still trying to get the fit dialed in so it doesn't move around the collarbones. I ordered the small and have made an 'x' pattern from the front straps.
3. T hooks- cool concept, pain to adjust. If the anchors were just a tad wider I think it would be easier to change configurations on the fly when changing clothes or just adjusting to the water volume.
4. Body bottle (updated version)- isn't happy sitting above the elastic, bounces under the elastic and the lip around the mouthpiece is just a pain (literally pain in the ribs) until it folds into its happy place.
5. What is that pocket at the very top right? It's like it's sized for slim jims and I know Scott isn't eating that. Really, still not sure what this segmented pocket is for. I plan on snipping the stitches and having a full (usable) pocket.
Having said all of that here's the pros and why I'll be using it as the go-to pack for this seasons races-
1. Stupid light. Really, how do you make something this strong and so light?
2. Comfort- yea, I complained about it above, but once you get the oddities dialed in, there's no chaffing or hot spots on a shirtless runner. I almost always run shirtless. Wearing this from shirtless to rain jacket was huge for me. (With the caveat you tinker with the flask to get them comfortable)
3. The layout is awesome. Everything you need is on the front or in the back zipper. Hard to argue with the concept of having access during a run. I hate reaching for my stuff.
4. The bottles. Again, I complained about them, but, it's hard to argue against a bottle you can roll up and store away once it's empty.
5. Volume- spot on. Light enough to carry everything you need for a trail race (I'd feel comfortable doing an unsupported 50k- 50M with bladder and bottles) but loaded with enough storage to add a rain jacket, poles, calories, and your phone (not the front!)
Adjustments- they're everywhere! As long as you order the right size, I can't see how you can't make this work for you.
TL;DR- I highly recommend this pack but as with all running gear, prepare to make it work for you. There's adjustment everywhere.
Jacob on Aug 29th 2016
The vest is extremely comfortable, light, and provides plenty of storage. The bottles that come with the vest (the version currently shown in the product pictures above - has "pinched" sides near the bottom that narrow downward and a non-twist-lock cap) are great.
Now the downside. One of my bottles started leaking after about 120 miles of usage. Customer service was great, but directed me to the bottle manufacturer for replacement. The above shown bottle is no longer in production. They now have a new bottle design (listed as the same size, but holds about and ounce less) and a new bottle cap. The new cap is awful.
1) it has a twisting lock system that is difficult to turn when your hands or the cap are slightly wet
2) unless you have the cap in fully-clicked lock position the bottle now leaks with every bounce
3) the seal of the rubber mouth piece is not as strong as the old caps and will leak if you squeeze it at an angle
4) Due to the plastic lock mechanism the gray plastic is now two twisting pieces rather than one piece. It appears about the same amount of plastic is used overall which makes it feel far less substantial and more prone to accidentally breaking. It feels cheap.
5) finally, and the kiss of death, the new cap's gray plastic twist top does not have a strong seal to the body of the water bottle like the old version. Unless twisted extremely tightly it will slowly come loose during the run and begin leaking around the edges.
- fantastic vest and original bottles (5 stars)
- terrible replacement bottles if you have a problem with the first set (if these bottles came with the vest as purchased then I would give 1 star) Cameron on Aug 29th 2016
Dimension of 2L reservoir should be varied in different brand. Please make sure the reservoir are long enough to sit on the bottom of the bag with the velcro holder on hold.
36cm long is good, but the longer (and narrow) the better.
Please read "Do not buy if you plan to use a reservoir" for the awful experience. Reservoir user on May 17th 2016
I've had my eye on the SJ pack for awhile and finally decided to pull the trigger when the 3.0 model came out. While it has some nice features going for it, I was very disappointed with how poorly it works with a rear reservoir.
Despite being advertised as compatible with a 2L reservoir, the design is clearly an afterthought. The compartment does not hold the reservoir securely, so it sloshes around quite a bit; the velcro strap that secures the reservoir can sometime come undone due to the sloshing. When carrying a fully filled reservoir, the pack does not sit correctly on the body and slides down your back. This awkward positioning combined with the thin materials caused the hard plastic top of the reservoir to rub uncomfortably against my shoulder blades during runs.
I did like the front-accessible storage, but this vest is basically useless for me on longer runs and races (50k+) because I can't comfortably use a bladder. Will look at Salomon or Nathan packs instead. Unknown on May 3rd 2016
I received my new Scott Jurek Ultra Vest 3.0 on a Friday evening and ran 25 miles on the Pinhoti Trail the very next morning. I plan on using the vest during the Quest For The Crest 50k, so I loaded it up with a full bladder, soft flasks, poles, and more. The vest was lighter than I expected and performed flawlessly. I love carrying the poles up front. They were easy to get to and put away on the fly. The layout of the pockets make sense and I found a use for them all. This is my favorite UD Vest so far. Michael Roy on May 2nd 2016
Like the vest weight and balance. Pocket placement seems easy to use for the most part. Would have liked to see hard bottles as an option. Soft flasks are difficult to extract. Suggest possible use of longer tubing. Reinserting hard bottles difficult if large item in waterproof pocket above bottle. Overall the vest is easy to use for gel, cell phone, as supplies in back pocket
William in Nebraska on Apr 30th 2016
Just used the SJ Ultra 3.0 for a 50k, and it was great. I thought the 2.0 vests were awesome, but this is even better. The pockets are easily accessible. The material is light and comfortable; I was running in the snow and the material did not suck in water or gain weight. I also like the trekking pole attachments. Best improvement is the lower rear pocket, which can be accessed easily on the run for storage of a jacket (or food, etc.) without taking off the vest. The soft bottles are slightly redesigned and very useful. Nice work, UD! Travis on Apr 17th 2016
I've used the PB 2.0 for a variety of training runs and races from 10 miles to 50K. I'm happy to say the SJ 3.0 will likely be its replacement. I was hesitant when I saw the 3.0 wasn't going to come in an XL but the dimensions for the L are almost identical if not a bit bigger. The materials seem to be of a high quality in the 3.0 SJ. The vest is lighter than my PB 2.0 and I like the stretch of the pockets to stash small items securely. The loops for stowing trek poles are in a much more convenient place although I don't use poles - it is handy for my GoPro stick though. I think the fit can be dialed in a bit more since the side straps replace physical pockets the PB had. The PB 2.0 side pockets were always hard to zip or unzip. The soft bottles I haven't used much but I like the idea. I liked the hard bottles because they were quick to fill and I had 4 of them. I could carry 2 and have 2 waiting at aid stations or with crew to swap out. If the soft bottles work well I'll just buy a couple more. I do like the colors more on the 3.0 version of all the hydration packs. Just personal preference but I'm glad the blue is a darker blue, there's some black and white too instead of the previous grey and baby blue/white. Lastly, customer service actually made an effort to communicate with me about sizing and ordering - I like a company that's willing to make sure customers are happy. I'd still maybe like to see an XL in the PB 3.0 vest and more XL in UD outerwear but I think supply and demand will help that along. All in all. Dry pleased with UD after not starting out so happy. Keep runners running! MILLER74MD on Mar 23rd 2016
I've run Ultras for a couple of years now, and have tried every type of hydration system out there (e.g. handheld, bladder vest, waist belt, etc.). I feel that each has it's own place depending on the situation. I always see 100's of UD vest at every race, and I decided recently to give them a shot. When I saw the v3.0's were coming out I waited, and Oh boy...Was it worth it!....I think I have found the one hydration system "to rule them all".
PROs: The vest is CRAZY comfortable - light, soft, flexible, very breathable! Plenty of storage that is FULLY accessible while running. Lots of adjustment to customize the fit for each person or adjust to larger loads as needed. Trekking pole holders keep the poles secured and at the ready at all times.
CONs: I'm not a fan of the soft bottles because they 1) collapse and fall into the pockets as they empty, and 2) have smaller mouths making the addition of powders harder. However, that is a minor gripe because the hard bottles fit just fine are are not uncomfortable! The only design issue I have is the potential longevity of the pole holders. I feel the elastic loops will wear out over time. A better idea might be a small buckle (like the chest strap) and a cinch.
Overall - I'm pretty sure every other hydration system I have is now obsolete! John Jones on Mar 21st 2016
I purchased this hydration pack recently and it has become my new favorite pack for my long runs. The soft water bottles make them easy to stash once their empty, without having to find a spot for a big bulky water bottle. The accessory pockets are perfect. I've got a spot for my car key, phone, and extra space for whatever foods or gels I am carrying with me that day. Colby Ellison on Mar 18th 2016