UltrAspire Bryce XT 15L Race Vest Review
Recently I attended The Running Event held in Austin and got a chance to check out UltrAspire, a company that makes really cool race vests, hydration systems and accessories.
After the TRE expo I was sent a new, still being tested, 2019 UltrAspire vest called the Bryce XT. It’s a 15L race pack. It’s a beast of a vest and has all the bells and whistles one could hope for, including loads of pockets, a killer retention system and even a safety whistle, which makes it pretty stellar for longer races and training activities.
Race vests are usually designed based on distance and what an athlete might need for the duration of the event. Most of UltrAspire race vests are geared towards the ultra marathoner and people who train for long distance adventure races.
While certainly designed for running, race vests often make killer mounting biking and hiking day packs. They often come equipped with enough pockets and storage areas for your favorite energy snacks and training fluids, plus they usually have room to carrying light weight cloths and jackets should weather conditions change.
UltrAspire Bryce XT Technical Highlights
The UltrAspire Bryce XT is packed full of really innovative features including
- Sweat Proof Webbing
- Silicone and PU coded fabrics
- Plush Feeling Micro-fiber Edges
- Zig zagged Stitching
- Magnon Pockets
- Safety stitched bar tack
- Breathable fabric
- Bounce Free Zipper pulls
- Quick Bladder attachments
- Bungee cord retention system
UltrAspire Bryce XT 15L Overview
The Bryce XT is a 15L race vest designed for longer racing and/or training. It comes fully equipped with 11 pockets of various sizes.
On the right shoulder strap there are 3 pockets including a small pocket that uses their Magnon (Magnetic pocket) tech, a quick access mesh pocket and a larger zipper pocket.
I found the mesh pocket super useful to hold trash items like used Gu packets. I did notice that if I put the unused Gu gels in the larger zipper pocket they bounced around, so I moved them to the left shoulder mesh pocket and no more bounce. The smaller Magnon pocket would be useful for holding salt tablets.
On the left shoulder strap there are 3 pockets including 2 zippered pockets and a Magnon mesh pocket.
The left mesh pocket was my goto pocket for holding energy gels. I tried putting a few in the zippered pocket, but like the right zipped pocket, they bounce around a bit, so I moved them to the mesh pocket.
The upper zippered mesh pocket is also perfect for holding gel packs.
The inside back portion of the vest includes an open pocket for use with a water bladder. The pocket is also lined with a heat shield material which helps keep the liquid cooler or warmer depending on use.
At present I haven’t tested the pack with a water bladder, since I don’t own one, but it looks wide enough to hold most bladders.
The back of the pack contains 4 pockets including a top zippered pocket, a large mesh retention pocket, a large zippered pocket and an internal zippered pocket.
Both the main pocket and mesh retention pocket are great for storing a light jacket, hat and misc stuff you might want to bring. When I trained and raced Leadville having a place to stuff your layers was key to being well prepared.
One thing I wasn’t quite certain on was how to utilize rear mesh pocket’s bungee system. There is a retention strap that looks like it might hold nordic poles, but it wouldn’t really work for the ones I have.
UltrAspire Bryce XT 15L Fit
I found the Bryce XT to fit extremely well. UltrAspire utilizes Universal sizing (One size fits all) on the Bryce XT rather than Small, Medium, and Large. Obviously people on the very large side or very small side may have issue, but for most, the Bryce will fit and and feel quite comfortable once the straps are adjusted to size.
The race pack comes with a 4 point adjustable retention system allowing a lot of customization for fit. It comes with 2 bungee straps that go across the front and can be adjusted by tightening or loosing the bungee strap locking mechanism. It also has a lower webbing strap that can be adjusted making for a great fit.
Cranking down on the bungee straps allowed for a super tight fit without feeling overly tight.
While I didn’t test the pack utilizing a water bladder, I felt like I could run in the Bryce all day long without issue. Super comfortable.
The Bryce retention system just works and is super easy to adjust on the fly. Excess bungee can be stuffed into open storage areas so that the ends don’t flap.
Another super cool feature of the XT pertains to the zipper pulls. They don’t flap around and are easy to grab and use. I do wonder about the longevity of the pulls, since they are plastic. I also wonder how the heck you can replace them, should one break.
UltrAspire Bryce XT Materials
The UltrAspire Bryce XT is designed with ripstop type grid patterning to help prevent any ripping or tearing.
The Bryce XT also comes with a load of safety stitching on all stress points, giving you a lot of confidence that the pack will hold up over time and use.
Mesh material is used throughout the race vest for breathability and to help pull moisture away from the body.
If you are looking to carry gear, nutrition and liquid on your next outdoor adventure, check out UltrAspire (https://ultraspire.com/) and the Bryce XT 15L. You will not be disappointed.
The Bryce XT 15L will be available in 2019.
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