Thursday, December 10, 2020

UltrAspire Legacy Vest 2.0 Review

Article by Renee Krusemark


UltrAspire Legacy Vest 2.0 ($110)

The UltrAspire Legacy Vest 2.0 is a 10L capacity race vest meant to be a long-distance mid-capacity pack, and I think that definition fits well. The vest has 6 pockets, including two in the back (one larger zipped storage area and one smaller zipped area). 




The four pockets in the front include one zipped area on the left side and one smaller magnet pocket to the right. On the right side on the chest area is one zipped area (suitable for phone storage) and on the left side is an open mesh, deep-long pocket. 









Other storage in the front includes two mesh storage areas for water bottles. 









The back also includes two side mesh pockets for water bottle storage. In short, there is a lot of storage, namely water storage. All of these details are similar to the first version. The update includes the “MaxO2 system side compression” meant to give a better fit. 


Features

The storage is the key feature for the Legacy 2.0 vest. With 10L of storage and a massive amount of potential water storage, the vest is best suited for really long runs or hikes. 

Between the 2L bladder capacity in the back and the four mesh pockets for 550L bottles, the vest is for runners or hikers who need a lot of water and they know it. 










With two UltrAspire Hybrid 550ml hard bottles in the front pockets, I can fit at least five gels in the mesh pocket behind the bottle. A Cliff bar also fits. Personally, I prefer more easily accessible pockets for gels (side access rather than from the top). For the zipped mesh pocket, I store a knife. Four gels can fit there too. The right-sided, smaller magnet pocket seems best suited for salt packets because the opening is a bit small, but I can shove two gels there too (or my Jeep fob). 


The zipper pocket on the right side easily fits an iPhone with room to spare. 









A jacket fits in the larger storage area in the back, and socks and a portable charger can fit in the smaller back pocket. 


In short, the vest has a lot of storage and possible options of what you can store and where. The storage is, in my opinion, the most positive aspect of the vest. For runners (or hikers) who are not sure what they need to take, or know they need to take a lot, the vest can handle it. And it does fit like a vest rather than a pack, which is appealing for actual running (versus hiking) purposes. 


Fit









If storage is the number one positive of the vest, versatility in fit is the second positive. One size fits most is a scary term for me, but the Legacy 2.0 is fairly close to “most.” The first version had a 26"-48” fit size, although I did not see a set of measurements for the 2.0. I do question whether or not a runner with a 26” chest measurement would find the vest too large.


I wear the tightest, most compressing sports bra possible, making the largest measurement of my chest at 33”. 


While wearing the vest unpacked,  I have to pull all four bands about as tight as they can be pulled. I’m going to guess runners with less than a 30” chest measurement might find the vest a bit too roomy in terms of fit, but of course, the more that is packed, the looser the straps can be. 


My husband tried on the vest, and with his 47” chest measurement, all of the elastic straps (the two front and two sides) were as loose as they could be. 


The straps could buckle, but barely, and it was too tight for him to move (and this is without anything in the storage). I think the vest would best fit those with 30”-45” (max) chest measurements. 


All that said, the use of four straps is great for changing the fit of the vest to suit the runner. I ran with the bladder full, switching the hard bottles from the back pockets to the front pockets to test the overall comfort and feel. Adjusting the straps helps to position the hard bottles across my chest in a comfortable way. 

When storing all hydration in the back (bladder and two hard flasks), the vest sits low on the back, but adjusting the straps creates comfort and reduces any pull from the weight. The ergonomic feature of the straps works great. 


Performance

For the capacity of the vest, it runs with a light feel. I do prefer a high-sitting bladder vest, but the low sitting nature of Legacy 2.0 was fine. The bladder storage area is huge, making the bladder easy to drop in. I imagined the bladder flopping around across my lower back, inhibiting my running, but this was not the case. Overall, stocked full with as much gear and hydration as the vest can hold, I ran comfortable. 


I thought the vest performed the best while using the UltrAspire 550ml Hybrid ($15) hard shell water bottles, either in the front pockets or the back pockets. 










I tried a soft 500ml flask in the front, and it flopped around way too much. I found it very annoying. The UltrAspire 550ml bottle shape works best for the pockets, in my opinion. You can use other brands, but be aware that the general shape affects how much the bottles move around. For hiking, no big deal. 


For running, I did not like the fit of any hard bottle aside from the UltrAspire 550ml bottles (so keep that in mind for pricing because the vest does not come with a bladder or those bottles). 









My Nathan brand 500ml and 355ml hard bottles fit fine in the front mesh pockets, but moved around much more than the UltrAspire bottles. For hiking, I would not mind this movement, but for running, it was annoying. 


Conclusions









The Legacy 2.0 is a mix between a vest and a pack. The storage is reflective of a pack but the fit and ergonomic feel are like a vest. For usage, this will be best for runners who need a lot of water (i.e. self-supporting 50 miles plus) or for hikers who are out for the day and need a lot of water. The back of the vest is low-sitting versus high, which might not suit fast runners who need minimal storage between aid stations or simply do not need to carry so much gear, water or otherwise. 


The Pros:

1. The overall storage without feeling like a pack

2. The ergonomic fit, which is diverse and highly adjustable because of the four straps 


The Cons:

1. The vest might not fit very petite runners or large runners 

2. The straps are great, but I had to pull them all fairly tight, and thus the excess cable flopped around. I tried several methods of tucking the straps in, but eventually, they would always flop about. Not a problem for fit, but slightly annoying. 










Overall the Legacy 2.0 is a good “starter” pack/vest because it allows for a diverse hold of water and overall storage (i.e. bladder and bottles from the front and back). The vest would be a good buy for people who want something to hike with and run with and something to train with and to race with. At $100, this is a much cheaper option than the race-specific vests with similar storage amounts. Keep in mind, the bladder and bottles do not come standard with the vest, so hydration devices are needed. I found that the 550ml UltrAspire hard bottles worked much better than other bottles because of the shape. My preferred use of the vest is holding all hydration in the back between the bladder and placing bottles in the back pockets; this keeps all of the front storage open for quick access to items such as gels/food or for adding or shedding layers in cold weather (i.e. gloves, sleeves, hats).


Comparisons

For running and racing, the Legacy 2.0 does not compare well to other vests that are NOT one-size fits all. For a race and performance fit, I will prefer a vest that is not one-size fits all and a vest that has a simpler strap method, for example the Salomon Advanced Skin or Active Skin that have one strap across the sternum. The Legacy 2.0 is a better option as a training pack/vest or a vest that doubles for hiking and running purposes.

The Legacy 2.0 Vest will be available from UltrAspire Feb. 2021. $110


Tester Profile

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has 2020 PR’s of 1:35:44 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.


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The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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