Ultimate Direction Wink Pack Review


I bought myself a Christmas Present!  After hemming and hawing about how to approach long distance un-supported running, I finally decided to go with a pack and bladder.  I tried a run about a month ago with an old Camelbak pack.  Loved having my hands free, but that pack was definitely not appropriate for my needs.  It bounced, didn’t sit square or centered and loosened every few miles.  What I did learn from that run (12 miles at Pawtuckaway) was I needed storage that was easy to get to.  I don’t want to have to take my pack off every few miles just to get to energy packs, food, or put away small items.

So I welcomed the “Wink” into my life.  Made by Ultimate Direction SPECIFICALLY for women, it had excellent reviews by ultrarunning women.  I almost went with an Ultimate Direction specialty vest designed with a 20 oz. bottle on each front strap.  Bad reviews for women for obvious reasons :).


The first thing I noticed about the pack is how LIGHT it is.  It is 20 oz. to be exact.  It included a 70 oz. bladder too.  It was a little pricey at $82.00 but as I learned on my test run, worth every penny!  There are tons of pockets, including FOUR on the front straps alone!  The bladder hose is insulated to keep liquids cool and the back of the pack super vented.  One reviewer tried this pack on a 90 degree day in Florida and did not get overheated or wet from the bladder sweating.


My test run was a 28 degree day at Northwood Meadows (5.5. miles, trail).  It was breezy enough I needed to wear my fleece vest.  I put my pack on and strapped it down.  Made a few size adjustments and immediately felt comfortable.  It sits high so it doesn’t interfere with my mid or lower back at all.  I had about 50 oz. of water in the bladder, a first aid kit, snacks, and my phone in a front pocket.  Of we went.  I was in love within the first mile.  The kicker is, I forgot it was there!  So comfortable, ZERO bounce, no strap issues and I don’t even remember hearing the water slosh around.  I can’t wait to wear it with fewer layers and really fine tune the adjustments.  My camelbak would wear on my shoulders within a few miles but I honestly felt nothing at the end of this run.  Super centered and light.  I really do feel I could load this thing up and still be completely fine.

Only negative to note was a very slight leak on the right side of the bladder.  I threw my pack into the backseat of my truck when we got done.  By the time I got home, the back of the pack was wet.  The bladder was literally dripping.  I tried a variety of folding and toying to no avail.  I have an e-mail into Ultimate Direction.  I hear they are good about replacement.  What I do love about the bladder is the super wide mouth and the hose.  This hose completely disconnects from the bladder for flushing and cleaning.  I will have no problem using Nuun in this bladder.

All in all, I am thrilled with this purchase!  I will continue to review this in future posts.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Thank you Ultimate Direction! « Learning to Run

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