Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta Review

The purpose of this Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta review is to provide details on the hydration vest and help you make an informed buying decision.

As your runs get longer and you get farther away from home, the need to carry your own fuel and hydration with you becomes greater. When I started training for my first half marathon, this hydration belt held enough water and fuel to last me for 10-12 miles (depending on the heat/humidity).

Related: The Long Run: Why You Can’t Afford to Skip It

Once I started marathon training and the miles pushed past 12, however, I required the ability to carry more than 16 oz of water with me at a time. After stopping at a gas station consistently every single long run to refill the bottles on my hydration belt with Gatorade, I knew it was time to upgrade to a running hydration vest.

Why Should You Use a Hydration Vest?  

If you have plentiful gas stations or water fountains available on your long run routes, you might be able to get away with training without a running hydration vest, but you’ll need to stop your run in order to get your fuel. Plus, you’ll be at the mercy of using the hydration products available at that stop (water, Gatorade) rather than just carrying your preferred product with (Nuun Endurance or Herbalife Cr7 Drive).

Personally, my stomach feels much better when I am able to premix and drink my preferred hydration source during the run. Also, a vest typically has more pockets and room to store gels, chews, and anything else you might need.

This vest can fit a ton of fuel!

There are also times where you might be out on a trail with no alternate source of fueling. A running hydration vest is a must to ensure you have enough hydration and fuel available to support your activity.

Once you’re away from home for more than 2 hours, it’s time to start thinking about a running hydration vest. It will definitely help you stick to your fueling plan!

Ultimate Direction Race Vesta Review

When I conducted my search for the best running vest, I went to a few of my local running stores and tried several different vests on. I had heard great things about Nathan vests in my Facebook running groups, but I ended up making my decision on the Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta. The material and design on this vest felt much more breathable than the Nathan vests, and it was might lighter in weight.

Me, after a chilly January 15-mile long run in my Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta.

Key Features

Storage: The Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta comes with two front storage pockets, which are perfect for storing your fuel, valuables, or even your phone with easy access during your run. The mesh on these pockets stretches, so it’s easy to fit whatever you might need. I also love the bottom pocket in the back, where I stash other items I might need during my run like an extra hair binder, Kleenex, and gloves. It’s also big enough where you could store extra fuel such as a bar or waffle. The drawstrings on the back are also a convenient way to attach an extra layer of clothing.  

Hydration: It fits 2 Body Bottles, which carry 16.9 oz / 500 ml per bottle. I find that these bottles are normally enough for my medium-long runs, and I add the reservoir for the really long runs over 16 miles. The vest fits either a 1.5L or 2.0L reservoir, depending on what your needs are.

Adjustments: This hydration vest is ultra-adjustable, with Comfort Cinch technology along the low back and fully adjustable t-hooks in the front where you can vertically move the location of the front straps. With the wide variations in female anatomy, this feature is a huge plus to help you find the most comfortable location for your front buckles.

What I Don’t Love About the Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta

First, the bladder is sold separately.

You’ll have to factor that into the price if you need the bladder and you’re comparing to other running hydration vests that come with the bladder. When I purchased mine, I bought the bladder right away but didn’t end up needing it until runs of over 16 miles. I found that in runs 12-16 miles, the two body bottles on the front of the vest carried plenty of water to get me through.

Pro Tip: When you do add the bladder, you don’t need to fill the whole thing up if you won’t need all that water plus your two bottles. I only filled with the water I thought I would need. The bladder gets heavy when full, so carrying more water than you need is just carrying extra weight around for several hours.

After running with this vest for a few months, I noticed the body bottles tend to slide down into pockets as they empty. It’s not a huge deal, but I have to keep pulling them back up to drink after they’re less than half full.

The last thing I’ve noticed and want you to know in this Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta review is that when the bottles on the front are full, the vest tends to dig into the back of my neck. This doesn’t last the whole run because as soon as I start drinking out of the bottles and reduce their weight, it eases up. I only notice it for the first 30 minutes to an hour of my run, and after that it’s not an issue, just something to keep in mind.

What I Love About the Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta

I’m crazy about the two front pockets. They’re perfect for placing fuel and easy to pull my gels or chews out while I’m running.

Related: How to Use Honey Stinger Products During Marathon Training

The back pocket is also really nice to have. I started my longer marathon base training in the winter months, so it was convenient to stick a travel pack of Kleenex for runny winter noses and an extra pair of gloves in case my hands got too cold. I stuck an extra hair binder in there too…just in case mine decides to snap while I’m hours away from home.

Also, I discovered the drawstrings on the back could conveniently hold my thin outer shell. On my winter long runs, for some reason I would be plenty warm on the way out with a long sleeve shirt, but then I would get chilled on my way back. It was really awesome to carry by outer jacket with for an extra layer of protection mid-run when I needed it. 3 hours is a long time to run, especially in the winter months. I learned that a lot can happen in that time and it’s good to be prepared with an extra layer and pair of gloves!

Ultimate Direction Race Vesta Review Conclusion

While every vest will have some pros and cons, this was the vest I ultimately decided was the right one for me. After running in it for 5 months, I still love it and look forward to running long with it!

If you decide this is the running hydration vest you want to go with, I’ve found Amazon typically has the best prices.

Ultimate Direction Women's Race Vesta Review

Do you use hydration vests on Your long runs?


Run Happy,


About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>