A great bag for multi-day runs too !
Finally a great bag for long adventures ! The Ultimate Direction Skimo 28.
Well, ok - it is supposed to be a skimo bag. But you can remove a lot of the gizmos and get down to a pretty streamlined design suitable for running.
When would you need this bag if you a runner?
I have been pretty happy with the largest running bags for multi-day adventures (including crossing Corsica over 5 days), but that is the next step when you need to carry sleeping bag, bivi bag, sleeping pad, crampons and all your 3 layers. The mountain is at his best in Fall, but a lot of the huts in the Alps are closed at that time and hence the need to carry a sleeping system.
The bag really holds a lot ! You can spend days in the mountains in sub-0 temperatures and still be very comfortable. While rated at 28l, it feel really bigger than same other 26l I have.
Once you have been spoiled by running vests, it is a bit difficult to use a mountaineering bag again - I thus have been lurking for this new product from Ultimate Direction since last January and did not get disappointed at all.
The bag is very soft, no rubbing, wraps very well. Fully loaded at 7kg, you can actually run all the downhills and flats.
It has a holster for a 500ml Body Bottle Plus in front (to be bought separately), and you can drink from it directly. Unfortunately, only one 500lm can be used - the second holster on the right can only accommodate a 250ml slim flask. To be fair, the Bottle Plus has a great locking mechanism so you can store your 2nd one in the bag without too much risk of leakage - but you will not have the weight in front.
The bag is very easy to adjust while on the go. I typically keep it a bit loose for the uphills, and tighten it up for the downhills. Curiously the medium strap above the belly is very short even on the M/L size - I cannot close it with a fleece and a shell on top.
It has a inside pocket with a zip, but not very easy to access if the bag is packed. However, it has a back pocket with a very large opening from top to bottom: you can put there a midlayer or a pair of gloves (or also a water bladder, if that is your thing) and access them without having to put the pack down. Slim pockets on the belt will let you put gels, but no "real food" (eg. a pack of dried apricots).
The crampon box - with side access - is the best place I have found in any bag to put my big camera ! Maybe that is where you want to put this bag of dried apricots. If you don't like the crampons box, you can remove the inside liner and have just one big central compartment.
As it is a skimo bag, it is not really supposed to handle rain I guess. While it would be nice to have a raincover for it for extra safety, I tried in my shower and content stayed dry apparently.
PROS: The best mountaineering bag I have found for running. It is a bit pricey, but can do double usage.
CONS: only one 500ml bottle holster in front. No mid-sized pocket to store items while on the go (crampons box can be a workaround). Middle strap is too short. Rain cover option would be nice. Missing the accessory system that older lines have (see what people have on the Marathon Des Sables for instance).