The Ultimate Direction Access Waist Pack is a running waist pack that can be characterized in four words: gets the job done. There’s nothing fancy about this pack, but if you’re looking for a simple pack perfect for some local runs then this may be the pack for you.
- Easy to obtain a good fit
- Easy access to the water bottle (slanted holster)
- Neat little earbud exit portal in the pocket (perfect for running with your iPhone)
- Available in 10 different colors
- Ultimate Direction uses a “kicker valve” on all their water bottles, which can be a little annoying for those used to a bite valve
- Storage appears larger than it actually is
The Bottom Line
Ultimate Direction does a good job of creating a very solid single bottle running waist pack for an affordable price. However, we recommend you check out the Nathan Trek before making a decision, as it’s a comparable pack.
If you take a look at Ultimate Direction’s website you’ll notice they offer 9 different style running waist packs, and the Access is their best seller.
Before we get into the review here’s a a closer look at the available colors.
Below are just a few of the color combinations available.
Comfort and Fit
Finding a good fit with the Access should be pretty easy. It’s a single strap that connects with your typical plastic clip and is easily adjustable. The waist pack itself has a slight curve to it in order to fit snug against your waist.
In addition the pack is made mostly of closed cell foam with a little bit of extra padding just behind the bottle holster, so you don’t feel it pressing into your hip as you run.
Like any good waist pack the 20 ounce water bottle fits snugly into its holster, but at a slight angle for easy access. Unlike a lot of packs that have bottles molded specifically to their pack or holsters fitted to the bottle the Access holster is pretty straight forward and you could easily change out their water bottle for another 20 ounce bottle (if you happened to have a favorite).
One thing to be aware of is the valve type that Ultimate Direction uses, called the “kicker valve”. They’ve used this for years on all their water bottles because they claim it provides the best “flow.” If you haven’t used a kicker valve before there is a little bit of a learning curve, though after a few runs it’s really not that much different.
Instead of the typical bite valve, this valve operates by pulling it out, kicking it (or turning it to the side) and then pouring/squeezing the liquid into your mouth. It is closed simply by straightening the valve and pushing it closed. See the picture below for more details.
The Access comes equipped with one single pocket that sits adjacent to the water bottle holster. The pocket opens and closes with a zipper and because it sits so close to the water bottle one side of the pocket is actually larger than the other side.
The pocket isn’t very large, but big enough to toss your phone, keys, and maybe another small item, which should be perfect for any local training runs. Also, the pocket zips left to right, so if you’re planning on changing songs via the phone stored in the pocket then it may be difficult for left-handers as opposed to right-handers.
Ultimate Direction has built a solid waist pack, and an awesome water bottle. The pack doesn’t match the quality of a Nathan, but for the price (and the water bottle that we love!) it’s well worth it.