I have been using some sort of hiking/mountaineering pack for over thirty years. Being a mountaineer / rock & Ice climber, you have to be very efficient with not only your pack weight, but gear placement and access. I presently have 5 running packs: GoLite Slipstream hydration pack, TrangoWorld Hydration Pack, Montbell Cross Runner Pack 7L, a very old CamelBack and lastly a new UltraSpire Kinetic.
The UltraSpire Kinetic is freakin awesome! I absolutely love the way it carries and it has more than enough room for just about every “traditionally” supported ultra. You will need something more for those unsupported runs.
Sizing is not easy! You should make sure it fits correctly when you buy it, because I had trouble. Last year, I broke the rules and bought a new pack a few days before the Devil Mountain 50 miler and ran with it; the pack was just too cool I had to get it. It was exactly what I was looking for – a super light weight pack with tons of front access and easy bottle access. In the store it felt great and I even went for a run with it prior to the race. According to Ultraspires’s sizing video and website, I was a medium vest – the red one. I am 5’8 and at the time a 33” waste. Based on that, I assumed the medium would be perfect. *I did not call their “800” number for sizing help.
WHAT SIZE SHOULD YOU GET? Think of them like T-shirts? If you have any questions on fitting give us a call. 1-888-532-2545 SMALL - fits waist up to 28" - 44" MEDIUM - fits waist from 30" - 46" LARGE - fits waist from 32" - 46"
But man I had problems during the race. First the sternum strap was missing, a triglide buckle, so as I ran the strap slowly loosen. If you look at the photo, it loosened up so much that it slid off my shoulder. I was frustrated. I ended up tying it in a knot. *They sent me a new buckle. Also if you look at the waste belt, it would shift around while running. *This was solely do to sizing.
Right and Left Front Chest Pockets
Another great secure pouch. I keep my phone here – no bounce.
I have no complaints about the bottles; they work great. The are very easy to access, particularly with the trigger finger. My only criticism, is that they are just a tad difficult to put back in the holster on the fly.
- Bottle placement is awesome.
- Electrolyte pouch is perfect.
- Front storage available is more than adequate including various pouch styles depending on your needs.
- The clasps are super light and really easy to fasten. Can be difficult to adjust on the fly, but once it is set you shouldn't have to adjust it.
- Once the pack is adjusted correctly, you will not need to adjust it again. *Takes some trial and error first.
- Very comfortable and the weight is dispersed evenly enough not to feel it. You can over stuff some of the front pockets which may lead to some bounce, but that is your fault.
- You can add an extra bottle in the front pouch, but I use it for glove, hat, jacket or other lighter gear.
- The provided bottles are easy and fast to remove, but can be trickier to place back (on the fly). Smaller bottle like the Camelback transition in and out mush easier.
- Price. With that said, if I would have bought the Kinetic first, I would not have bought the other packs.
- Sizing is not universal despite the sizing chart. As far as my frame.
- The back pouch is not the best placement and wish it had a maybe a top flap, but is accessible on the fly. I am biased by the Montbell pack with its rear horizontal jacket tube (the best). Don’t know if it would work with this style pack.
Overall, once I got the right size pack, it fit perfect. It is the pack I use these days and haven’t any of my other packs since. Honestly, it has all the features I want and need. That is why I bought it last minute at the Boulder Running Company. Although it is awesome for well supported ultras, I need a little more room for more extreme races, hence I am researching the FastPack?? for my next big race Andorra Trail Ultra in Europe. Don’t know if it carries the same, I just want a pack like the Kinetic but with a tad more storage in the back.
Do I recommend it? . . . Hell Yea!!!
My four other running packs:
I have a very old version of this pack. Unknown Model. It was great when I was riding a bike, not practical for running. No front pockets.
I thought it was a pain to run with because if I wanted something I had to take the pack off. Not practical for racing - No front pockets. . *If I didn’t buy online, I would have returned it.
I was given this at the Aneto Marathon, Spain. It is not bad, but no front access. Also I don’t think I could ever fill the pack and no compression straps.
Montbell Cross Runner Pack 7L:
I absolutely loved this pack and still do. It is my go to pack when I have to carry a bit more gear. Great side pockets and carries well. It rides a little bit high, and it felt weird at first because I was used to really low belts.