Shuffling Along . . . . .

UltrAspire KINETIC £94.99

by on Apr.28, 2013, under Kit Reviews

lots of useful pockets

I’ve used this pack for a few months now and have gotten used to where everything is. It seemed to take me ages to remember where all the pockets are on a pack after using my old CamelBak® for so long. Anyway the UltrAspire does have some great features but unfortunately some bad design to.

pack without bottles

First of all lets look at the good points. This pack has a pocket for everything, two even have magnets which snap shut after use. These are the small front pocket which UltrAspire suggest is good for electrolytes.

electrolyte pocket with self-closing magnet

 The second one is the large rear pocket which I use for my head torch & my coat. It’s quite easy to get stuff out of this rear pocket even whilst running. It also has a small drain hole at the bottom, it’s not big enough to lose stuff from though.

rear pocket has a self-closing magnet to

The only problem with this rear pocket is the magnetic bits go rusty & can stain light clothes. This may just be me using it in all the rain recently, but is that not what it’s made for?

notice rust on the metal self close parts

I do like all the front pockets though, after years of struggling to reach the side pockets on my old CamelBak® the UltrAspire is better in this respect. I also like the open rear of the pack which is much cooler than my old pack. The UltrAspire does have material where you need it though, around the kidney area which can make you feel cold if it’s not covered.  I do like the packs weight, very light. Which is good for carrying so much stuff. I get my hat, coat, head torch, gloves, food & other bits & bobs to fit in just fine.

This is a good pocket to put a phone in, just remember to put it inside a ziplock bag though. The pocket is not waterproof.

Why don’t manufacturers put a waterproof pocket on these packs? Most people today carry an expensive smart phone so why no waterproof pocket? A phone is a compulsory carry on most races.

mould grows inside the handles

Now the not so good bits, first up the bottles. After just a few runs mould started to grow inside the finger loops on the plastic bottles. I realise you can get tablets to sterilize the bottles but it’s a bit of a faff when you run sometimes twice a day. Other bottles don’t do this so why can’t UltrAspire sort this out?

This isn’t the only problem with these bottles though. On my first run with this pack I squeezed the bottle to make sure it was shut & the lid came flying off! See the video above. Maybe you’re not supposed to check them like this but it’s something I’ve done for years. I wasn’t a happy bunny having lost all my water 5 miles into a 30 mile training run on a hot day. Never trusted them since & have replaced both of them with some excellent CamelBak® Better Bottle Tritan 750ml. They fit into the bottle holders & the handles make them easier to get out. They cost around £14 each but worth every penny.

Camelbak Better Bottle Tritan 750ml Water Bottle

£14 each but worth every penny

UltraAspire pack with CamelBak® Better Bottle Tritan 750ml

A pack costing £94.99 should come with decent bottles, it would be better to add £10-£20 to the price of the pack than supply a sub standard bottle in my view. Why do the bottles have a magnet in the bottom? Spend the money on decent bottles & keep the magnets!

nice buckle, shame about the fit

The nice shiny alloy buckle on the front of the pack which holds the pack close to your body as you run is another annoying part of this pack. Why spend time making a nice anodised alloy buckle and then spoil it by making it the wrong size? As you can see in the picture above the strap across your chest slips right through the hole & constantly needs adjusting. My son Alex also has this pack and we both have trouble with this buckle coming lose. He tied a knot in his & I have a clip holding mine together.

So the UltrAspire KINETIC really is a bit of a mixed bag (pun intended). On the one hand it has some nice features but on the other most of them are poorly implemented. I like the magnetic closing pockets, but not the rust. I like the bottle placement but not the bottles. I like the anodised alloy buckles but not the loose fit of them on the straps. All these faults would be semi acceptable on a cheap pack but at this price, the best part of £100? I don’t think so, maybe the next one will address these problems and make this the pack it should have been in the first place given a little more thought.

As you’ve probably worked out I have no affiliation with UltrAspire and I didn’t get paid to write this review. Some may think it’s a little harsh, but it’s an honest opinion. I think the most annoying thing about the UltrAspire is the fact it could have been the perfect pack, could have been.

The good?

almost a great pack

bottle access

The bad?

very poor, cheap bottles included

badly fitting front buckle

rusty self-closing magnets on the pockets

The ugly?

it could have been perfect

Verdict

2/5

Happy Running 🙂

 


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