running under the BigSky
the AK race pack to be exact. I tried to get one of these when they first came out and they sold out in a couple of hours, got an email yesterday they were back in stock, went to the site and they already showed they were out of the M/L went back a couple of hours later for the heck of it and showed there were some in stock???? so I ordered one
I prefer bottles over bladders as I like to have one mixed w/ Perpetuem and another w/ plain water, handhelds are OK, but I prefer to having nothing in my hands- this pack should be just what the doctor ordered
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”
I have one but have not had a chance to use it yet (ankle has kept me to around 10-12 milers at best). Looking forward to trying it!
That looks like a very cool pack. I also prefer bottles to bladders. You'll have to let us know how it works for you.
Thanks for the heads up! I just ordered the SJ pack.
I've used the Wasp for years. I MacGyver'd my Wasp to hold 1 bottle in the front and replaced the UD bladder with a Nathan bladder and the bite valve with a high flow Camelbak one. UD fits me better than any other brand, so I'm very excited to try out this new pack. My Wasp is showing some serious wear and tear.
I had an e-mail that these were back ordered until 1/22, so thanks for posting.
Watoni- get that ankle healed up and report back your thoughts on the pack
sugnim- I'll definitely report back
AT-runner- they originally told me mid Feb, so I was pleasantly surprised to get an email saying they were in, let us know how the SJ works- looks like a very well thought out pack
It would also be nice to hear if any females have tried this pack & to know what they think of the bottle placement. It looks like it could either be awesome or painful.
there is one review from a female on their site- I can see where there potentially could be a problem
this from Buzz Burrell @ Ultimate Directions "Women - the Signature Series is definitely uni-sex. Some women object to the bottles up front and most don't - again, their choice, not mine! (And, there will be an "Ultra Vesta" in one year :-)"
he also mentioned for next year possibly a "fastpack" something in the 20-ish liter range, suitable for a multi-day run adventure- something I've been looking for and haven't found yet
My SJ pack just arrived via Fed-Ex. I can't wait to try it out tomorrow on a log run. It is unbelievably light weight, even with both 20 oz bottles filled.
AT I await your analysis.
I plan to break it in tomorrow, and I'll give a full report.
mine arrived the other day (the AK) and have had it out on two snowshoe runs, I'll post a more detailed report latter- but thus far I'm very impressed w/ this pack- the lightness, the way it carries, the layout and the volume
put the pack on the scales- 6.1 oz (M/L), listed weight 6 oz- no too shabby
I'm not overly fond of bladders (but for long, unsupported runs w/ few water sources- I'll use one) and I like to have a bottle that is mixed w/ Perpetuem- which up to this point meant a handheld or a lumbar pack w/ two bottles- both options have worked, but felt there was a better way- enter the AK. Two bottles carried on your chest in a vest pack platform.
While the pack is certainly small, it holds more than would meet the eye. Here are the items I typically carry on a long run
front view loaded- two bottles in stretch pockets w/ a small bungee/cord lock keeper- the bottles are easy to access and put away, below the bottles there is a small stretch pocket on each side, secured w/ a velcro tab- I keep electrolytes in one and 1/2 pack of Clif blocks in the other. these pockets are very accessible on the run, easy to open and secure, the material is stretchy so you could hold more than what I have in there
above each bottle there is a stretchy pocket, again secured w/ velcro- I keep my camera in one and more Clif blocks in the other- these pockets are also easily accessible
there are two sternum straps, the top is elastic so as not interfere w/ breathing, the lower one is not elastic- the sternum straps can be slid up or down a rail like setup so you can fine tune things
the rear of the pack has two zipped lat pockets- put my phone and keys in one and emergency bits in the other- these can't be accessed on the fly (well maybe you yoga folks can ), the main pocket is a stretch material w/ a bungee cord setup on the outside; there is a velcro loop at the upper end of the pack if you want to use a small bladder (also loops on the outer edge of the pack to secure the hose). this pocket holds a lot of stuff, more than I'm using now and w/ the bungee you could easily add a rain jacket or the like outside the pocket
my biggest fear was that the pack wouldn't carry securely- that fear is completely alleviated- the pack w/ the water bottles up front carries great, it holds more gear than I thought it would which is a nice bonus- you do want to keep softer items against your back as there is no padding between the main pocket and your back- thus far I'm really impressed w/ this little pack
Went for a long trail run with my SJ vest today. I had 40 oz of water, gloves, phone, zip lock bag with tissue paper, hat, 2 gel blocks, 1 honey stinger gel bites, 1 granola bar and baggie of electrolyte pills.
Right away I notices much more bounce than I was expecting. I snugged the chest straps tighter and bounce lessened but felt like i was being squeezed when I was breathing harder on uphills. I had phone in the right front "phone pocket", and that it was banging against the right bottle and pushing the bottle forward compared to the left one.
After several stops for adjustments, I settled on putting my android phone in back zipper pocket, and I moved the chest straps down pretty far on the rails so the bottom one was as far down as it would go and the top one was over 1/2 way down. Once I got hits position, things settled in nicely and most of the bounce was gone. This rail feature is a great one.
Overall a pretty nice debut. I will have to get used to the sloshing sound of the water since the bottles are only 10" or so from the ears. Since this is the SJ model, I have the option of putting my bladder in the back, to supplement the 40 oz in the bottles. This should be a great option on those hot runs where I feel like I'm rationing my water supply.
How does the material feel on those things? From the pics, you can pretty much see through it. Does it feel like it's going to hold up well?
I'm interested to see how durable they are.
Trail and Ultra Running User Group