Whether covering miles of coastal landscape in New England, or traversing twisting-trails on an epic ultra run across the Appalachian trail, you need a pack that helps keep you hydrated, cool and energized. Engineered for movement, the Highline Hydration Pack from Ultimate Direction is designed for convenience and performance while long-distance trail running or hiking.
The idea of running all day and well into the night is foreign to the significant majority of the population, yet to a select group of dedicated souls it represents the physical, mental, and spiritual challenge they seek. In a sport that places enormous demands on the human mind and body, you’ll need gear that is as capable as it is reliable. Enter Ultimate Direction’s Highline Pack. Don’t let the light weight of 1 lb. 6 oz fool you, this is not a pack for the faint of heart. Strap this bad girl (or boy) onto your back, and prepare to be out adventuring for the long haul.
On Design and Performance…
The Great Smoky Mountains is a stunning mountain range blanketed with a thick coat of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest often blanketed by a thick and near mystical fog. This national park is not only home to 800 miles of challenging trails, but the primary location our female ultra runners put the Highline Hydration Pack from Ultimate Direction through its paces.
Designed as a life vest for the competitive trail-runner or dedicated day hiker, the Highline ensures that hydration will never again be a limiting factor in how far you can trek. Light on weight and heavy on hydration, the Highline has a 2.8L bladder, and two additional water bottle pockets for those times when more is better. The placement of the additional pockets are not only designed for easy access on the go, while not interfering with your natural running motion. As a result, the daring soul is able to go farther and longer and will never have to worry about submitting to the ever lurking thirst monster.
Need to carry more than just your hydration? The Highline has you covered. With ample room and easily accessible storage options, you’ll be able to satisfy your nutrition needs, carry emergency supplies and stash your iPhone so you can capture every epic moment of your journey.
Strap-secure webbing control even provides a place for your rain jacket when Mother Nature decides rain no longer needs to be an additional obstacle on your route. When your energy levels start to falter, grab an energy boost from the gel pockets on the shoulder straps. All told, at just 325 cu in, the Highline offers a plethora of storage options keeping you fully stocked when stalking those remote locations.
Whether you’re traversing 70+ miles of trail through the Smoky Mountains like our run guru’s, or just out for a day of exploring, you need your hydration pack to be as comfortable as it is versatile. Towards those ends, the 3D AirMesh backpanel and shoulder straps provide ventilation and offer plenty comfort ensuring that you’ll never need to worry about chaffing.
At 325 cu in (5 liters), the ample sized pack left our female field testers struggling to find that “sweet spot” where the product perfectly conforms to the body. When trail running, especially ultra trail running, you want your pack to score high on the “invisibility rating”. In other words, do you realize that the product is strapped to your back. When utilizing the Highline for long distance trail running endeavors, our testers were aware of the packs presence, especially when the reservoir was filled to capacity. Whether the result of a gender neutral design, or a build intended for a longer torso, the main critique was that the pack didn’t rank highly on the invisibility scale – which is something some female runners may wish to consider.
Whether your plans involve a quick mountain assault, or a lengthy trail run, the Highline offers the trail connoisseur generous hydration options, ample pockets for gear, and a fail-proof bite-valve. In short, the Highline from Ultimate Direction is a pack that can keep up with the demands of the avid outdoor enthusiast.
Manufactured by Ultimate Direction, the Highline Hydration Pack is available for $99 in Sunflower or Blue Jewel.
*Gumption Gear Review received the Highline Hydration Pack from Ultimate Direction at no cost and receives no monetary compensation for this or any related review. The items featured are provided solely in return for our honest opinions.