Fans of the long-standing classic Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta will be surprised to see an entirely new product for 2018. The materials are new, and frankly, a bit less cozy than those of the last version. We do, however, appreciate the improved lateral fit, redesigned pockets, and greater volume of the Ultra Vesta 4.0. As before, our testers love the large storage pocket and bungee in the back, and we agreed unanimously that the smaller rear pockets help with organization. While the new tension system allows for a better fit, it's also tricky to use the small pull cords. Despite some drawbacks, this model wins our Best Buy Award for a female-specific model.
This isn't the perfect hydration pack for running, but it does get the job done reliably at a price way lower than the Editors' Choice-winning Nathan VaporHowe 12L. The VaporHowe is a better pack, but if you can't justify the price, the Ultra Vesta is a great solution.