Monday, September 30, 2013

Review UltraSpire UltraViz Spry: Safety focused, Versatile, Year Round Race Vest

I am a big fan of UltraSpire run vests and packs. This relatively new company has top notch, innovative design and materials and works closely and listens to top ultra runners such as Karl Meltzer, Krissy Moehl, and Luke Nelson.  They make a very wide variety of highly functional belts and packs of very lightweight durable materials. I have purchased their Spry and Alpha vests and found them to be a perfect balance of light weight, comfort, carry capacity when needed, and zero bounce when fully loaded. I also own and have reviewed their Quantum race belt here.

I met with UltraSpire at Outdoor Retailer and they were kind enough to send me their late 2013 UltraViz SpryVest.  They also sent me their 2014 Titan 2.0 pack which I will review shortly

I was particularly taken by the UltraViz vest as it meets multiple needs:
  • winter and year round visibility and reflectivity.
  • moderate carry capacity: phone, gels, small bladder or light shell.
  • no need to have separate winter reflective vests and summer race vests. All in one.

 Key Features:

  • reflective stripes and ANSI high visibility colors  for winter month safety, and really year round if roads are on your program.
  • 2 easy to reach  deep, stretch mesh pockets on the front. I have put 6 plus gels in a pocket. My smartphone, with room to spare, fits in one pocket or you can easily put an 8 oz soft flask with no jiggling in the second pocket, or gloves, hat, etc...
  • a small zippered mesh pocket on the shoulder for electrolyte tablets or your car keys.
  • 2 shoulder elastic loops for hydration hose or an LED blinker. 
  • Single, somewhat elastic sternum strap that is easy to adjust on the go. Metal slide in hook closure as with all UltraSpire belts and closures.
  • the back has a stretch mesh pocket, with solid magnetic closure for either an optional 1.0 liter UltraSpire bladder or a light shell, gloves, etc..
  • easy to reach adjustment straps on either side to fit over bulkier clothes.

  • UltraSpire UltraViz Run Vest- rear magnetic closure pocket, fits 1 liter hydration bladder

UltraViz Spry is very similar in cut to the conventional Spry.  UltraViz Spry is made of sweat proof mesh with a smaller, less textured pattern than the Spry. Unlike the conventional Spry with its drop in pocket on one side and zipper pocket with small mesh pocket on top on the other, the UltraViz has 2 flat stretch mesh pockets. Far more versatile setup in my view. Women runner friends with the Spry comment that sternum strap should be adjustable vertically.

Road Test:
I have taken a few runs with the vest with front pockets loaded. No bounce to speak of, a tiny bit of looseness and motion in the top part of the chest but also very important the vest is in no way constricting.  Pockets are very easy to reach with no toggles or zippers to deal with. By pulling up on the top of the vest, with a bit of loosening of the side straps, one is able to reach back into the rear pocket without taking off the pack.

Year round safety and moderate carry capacity.
Comfortable, easy to adjust with no belt pressure around the middle.
Quick, fumble free access to all pockets on the run.
OK it is high, high visibility. Might be a bit of light show on the trail but you can't be too visible on the road.

MSRP $55.  Available from UltraSpire

No comments: