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Photo credit: Seth Grotzke

Dynafit ULTRA PRO 15 BACKPACK

08-May-19

By Seth G

After my first run in this vest I told my wife, “I can just get rid of my other running vests I have accumulated over the years. I won’t be needing them any more.” Dynafit has created a go-to vest for anyone running in the mountains, and their special touches demonstrate that they are listening to the runners who are spending time in the elements.

The bottom line, the Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 combines a variety of elements necessary in any mountain run and packages it in a smooth vest ready for nearly any adventure, ranging from extended training runs, self-supported days in the mountains, or ultramarathons.

Features

  • Multiple compartments for kit separation
  • Compression Strap
  • Hip adjustment
  • Soft Flask pockets
  • Hydration Bladder option
  • Speed Pole Fixation
  • Wind Shield
  • Weight 320 grams
  • Volume: 15 liters
  • Price: £115

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Pros: What’s so good about the Ultra Pro 15 Backpack?

I have run hundreds of miles in the past year in my Enduro 12 Backpack and it has been my standard vest for training and ultras. However, there were some aspects which I really didn’t like such as the wide profile of the back, the additional bottle holders on the hips, unused prime space on the straps, etc. I was very happy to see that this vest has addressed all of those issues and added some thoughtful touches.

Fabric and Fit:

This pack both looks good and rides well. The fabric is very durable as with Dynafit’s other packs, utilising both lightweight fabric and also mesh. It is also easily adjustable with the compression strap. Instead of traditional buckles, Dynafit uses a clasp system which cross across the chest. This allows you to adjust the pack smoothly and quickly as your layers change, or the bag shifts during your runs.

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Hydration:

There are flask holders for a 500 ml soft flask on either strap and a bladder option for water in the back. You can’t use your hard bottles with this vest, but my flasks with straws were perfect.

Compartments and pockets:

There are both elastic and zippered compartments and pockets for food and kit, a waterproof pocket for your phone, and a compressible breathable pocket for extra layers. Dynafit has put a lot of thought into the kit necessary for entering the realm of the mountains, and has sought to make that kit easily transportable and reachable.

The three large pockets on the back are suited to give space for the layers you need to carry, but give you options to keep wet away from dry. There are both zippered options and elastic options on the straps which make it simple to retrieve food and other necessities.

Speed Pole Integration:

The pack includes a side pocket for easy access to poles or a reinforced pocket in the back if you won’t be needing them for a while. It is no surprise that this vest pairs especially well with Dynafit’s Ultra Pro Poles, which I highly recommend.

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Extras:

At first I thought that the Insulation Cape was a poor use of space, stealing John Kelly’s plastic grocery sack idea from Barkley’s Marathon a few years back, but it is no joke! It is a very nice addition. One of the frustrations (and joys) of running in the mountains is how all it takes is one turn in the trail to move from the perfect temperature for running into a frigid blast of wind or sleet, and then back again 5 minutes later.

With this cape, you can easily pull it out and add a noticeable layer of insulation in a few seconds, and tuck it back again equally fast. I used it both out training and also in a mountain 50 km race, not wanting to have to slow down to shed an extra layer as the day heated up. I expect to see more companies including this in their vests.

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Cons: What’s not so good about the Ultra Pro 15 Backpack?

With so many upgrades in this vest, I have struggled to find weak points. Here are a couple caveats I would put on my review.

This pack is not your best option for hot temperatures. Because the profile of the back is wider, air doesn’t circulate as well in order to keep you cool. The back is made of a honeycomb mesh which allows more air to flow, but it should still be kept in mind if you struggle with heat. It is meant to be for mountain running, and it is there that it excels.

I really enjoy the cape, but I found that I had to cinch it down tighter than expected because the clasp was just a little too big. It probably is more of an issue for those of us who are not as well-endowed in the girth area, aka, skinny people.

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Conclusion

The Dynafit Ultra Pro 15 Backpack is my go-to pack for heading up into the mountains. It offers comfortable and easy storage for everything I need for a long run.

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Score  
Design 9/10
Features 10/10
Performance 10/10
Value 9/10
Overall 9.5/10


Other packs you may want to consider:

Need a little more room? Consider the Osprey Duro 15

About the writer: You can read more of Seth’s musings on his website. His goal is to keep some “real” in the ultra scene and help provide a stabilising influence for the world through sarcasm.

All images except where stated Seth Grotzke.

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Review Dynafit ULTRA PRO 15 BACKPACK

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