One of the most underrated gear items I have reviewed here at Run Oregon was from way back in 2014. I was just starting to get in to some trail running and was happy to connect up with Ultimate Direction for their Fastpack 20.
Of all the gear I have reviewed over the last 3+ years, I have put this pack through the ringer above all else. I have utilized it for running, as a pack for hiking, as a diaper bag (for two kids), a gym bag, and also as a travel bag. Even with all of that, it still functions amazingly well, and has come with zero (and I mean ZERO) technical issues. The fabric, zippers, pouches, seams, and strings have all been pushed to their limits – and they all still work as well as they did on day 1.
Fast forward three years, and the new updated incarnation of the Fastpack line is upon us – and I couldn’t be more excited. The new Fastpack line has sizes of 15, 25, 35, and 45, so you can find a storage level that meets your needs. They also each come in a single color, so no need to spend time going back and forth between color options – just choose your size and go.
First and foremost, there continues to be tons of storage capacity on each of the shoulder straps:
- Cinched water bottle holder
- 2 zippered pockets (one big, one small)
- 3 stretch pockets (two big, one small)
UD has done away with the velcro’d small pocket in lieu of adding stretchable mesh. The half-zip pocket in the old version has also been replaced with a fully zipped pocket, something I really appreciated for security’s sake. There are so many options for these pockets and they are always right there at your fingertips for easy access.
Attached to the shoulder straps, there continues to be two sternum strap and buckles. The Fastpack 35 also has an added hip belt for support and keeping all the weight off your shoulders – especially when carrying gear at capacity. The hip belt is height-adjustable and removable, something that is nice if you aren’t planning to carry much weight or if you are utilizing the pack in less rugged scenarios.
There are three pockets on the main portion of the pack – one on either side and one large one on the front – all of which are made from a super stretchy mesh material (MonoRip Mesh) that feels like it has no business being as flexible and strong as it actually is. I have had no issues with getting large HydroFlask water bottles in the side pockets and I have tested the front to the max already. If it is as resilient as my old Fastpack 20 was, you will be ecstatic with how it holds up.
The top of the pack is a roll-top in nature, allowing for a secure tie down not matter how much (or little) gear you have crammed in the main area. The top is velcro’d and also has two small buckles at either side that keep things snug. Feel free to toss in a hydration bladder and utilize the designated hydration hole and cords for each access. The back of the pack is made of a padded, seamless “infinity” mesh (patented lnfiKnit mesh) that makes it so your skin isn’t going to get raw from rubbing or discomfort. The color of the back was changed from a neon green to a standard green in the new upgrade.
While I haven’t personally had a need, there is a nice daisy chain along the front where more accessories can be added, as well as ice axe loops at the bottom.
Overall, I feel Ultimate Direction has knocked it out of the park with their new Fastline packs. They are a relative investment (the 35 rings in at about $185), but I can tell you from experience that you should be able to get YEARS of frequent and rugged use out of this bag. It’s quality stuff and so multi-functional for all aspects of your life. Needless to say, I can’t wait to use the new Fastpack 35 in the upcoming years.
Specs (from website):
- Secured Volume: 32L / 1953 in3
- Unsecured Volume: 5.8L / 354 in3
- Total Volume: 37.8L / 2307 in3
- Weight: 24.85 oz / 710g
- Dimensions: 27.6″ x 11″ x 11″ / 70 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm
Materials (from website):
- MonoRip Mesh: Breathable, non-stretch, and hydrophobic – this lightweight monofilament mesh is ideal for bounce-free load carrying
- 100D Robic Triple-Ripstop: High-tenacity nylon for strength and durability
- Power Span Stretch Mesh: High-strength, durable stretch mesh allows you to see inside pocket to view contents
Sizing at Chest (from website):
- S/M: 66 cm – 112 cm
- M/L: 76 cm – 127 cm
- Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear
- A pack full of gear will fit smaller
More about Ultimate Direction:
In 1985 Ultimate Direction invented the entire category of hydration packs. We created the first waist pack for carrying bottles, a few years later made the first pack/strap to carry a water bottle in your hand, and have made many other innovations that define what a hydration pack is today.
30 years later we remain a market leader, having created and popularized the “vest” concept for carrying water. We introduced the very first women’s-specific line of hydration packs and have brought the classics of the past into the technical future with award-winning gear such as our Fastpack and Ultra Jacket.
Our products are designed by athletes for athletes, and the Jenny Collection was designed by women for women. Some of the best runners in the world thought long and hard about what works the best, and the result is absolutely great gear.
Thank you to Ultimate Direction for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.