Ultimate Direction Wink Hydration Pack {Review}

I’ve been complimented and asked several questions on the type of hydration pack I use. I’ve been meaning to write a full review on it for quite some time and today is finally the day. If you’re in the market for a hydration pack, or just like reading about them, here you go!

The hydration pack you’ve seen me use in my pictures is the Ultimate Direction Wink (the Wink is the women’s version, the Wasp is the men’s).

I bought the pack when I was in the middle of training for my first marathon. A lot of my girl friends in my running club have the Wink and raved about it–knowing I’d also be trekking the Canyon, I figured it’d be a great purchase.

When my marathon came, I went back and forth a million times on whether or not I should run with it. I had trained all the way leading up to the big day and many of my running buddies said I should stick with what I had trained with, so I did. In retrospect, I think I would have done things differently. By mile 18, my shoulders ached and were slumping forward (of course, this isn’t only because of the pack but because I was dying of exhaustion) and all I wanted to do was rip the pack off. When my husband reached me at mile 20, I unclipped it and handed it over. I did feel a lot lighter.

What I recommend: If you want to run your marathon with a pack, I suggest a lighter one with a smaller bladder.

However, I absolutely LOVED the pack when I did the double crossing of the Canyon. Like, I thank all the heavens above I had the Wink.

One of the things we were told in preparation for Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim was that we had to have ample space in our packs for all our gear (food, flashlight, sunscreen, poles, etc. and of course water). The Wink has amazing space. AMAZING.

Canyon ready!

Canyon ready!

When I was training, I’d practice weighing it (by that I mean making it heavy to mimic how it’d be when I crossed the Canyon). Despite it’s weight, it was super comfortable. The straps do not dig in to my shoulders, the pack does not bounce, and it is super easy to refill the water–which I had to do multiple times.

When I crossed the Canyon, I had an orange, four rolled up tortillas, a bag of pecans, a bag of beef jerky, 1 Honey Stinger waffle, a bag of Oreo cookies, 2 Gu packs, a bag of salt tablets, sunscreen, a flashlight, Chapstick, my phone, hair ties, bobby pins, band aids, my EPI pen, a towel, a jacket, a walkie talkie, and my poles. Oh, and with the reservoir filled up to the 70 oz mark.

Whew! But everything fit perfectly and I was actually super comfortable!

With my poles attached to my pack

With my poles attached to my pack

 

at the finish line of the Canyon :)

at the finish line of the Canyon :) 45 hours of wearing the pack

I used it for when I did the Adrenaline 27k Night Run and it worked perfect for that race. I was really glad I had it then too.

Adrenaline 27k

Adrenaline 27k

And I also used it this past Sunday for our under 3 mile hike up Camelback Mountain. In this instance, since it was a strict hike and no running, I didn’t mind using it at all for this short of distance. Loved it!

Sunday's #RunEatTweetAZ hike

Sunday’s #RunEatTweetAZ hike

In short, here’s a PRO/CON rundown:

Pros:

  • Large reservoir of 70 oz/2 L
  • Very, very comfortable (designed for the women’s body)
  • 4 front pockets for easy access (this was a big plus for me because I didn’t have to keep taking it off for items I needed often)
  • Simple refuel process (another major plus)
  • Does not bounce
  • A lot of storage space (there are 3 main zippers–a small one for an ID and money, a large one that holds the bulk of your stuff, and side zipper for extra storage)
  • Easy to maintain care

Possible Cons:

  • I think it’s best for longer runs where there might be a shortage of fueling stations. A smaller pack is ideal for distances shorter than 15 miles in my opinion.
  • The velcro clip that attaches to the tube fell off relatively quickly. I just tucked the tube under one of the front straps and went about my way with zero problems (like in the last pic).

I hope you’ve found this review helpful! Let me know if you have any more questions about it :)

Do you/have you run with a hydration pack?

Ultimate Direction did not compensate me in any way for the write up of this review. I purchased the Wink and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. 

Sunday Social and Week Recap

Yay!!!! I finally got my internets back! Actually, about 30 minutes after I posted Friday’s post from my phone, it was back! You guys brought me luck <3

Last week was a tough running week but the running I did do was pretty awesome.

On Monday, I headed to the treadmill and hit 7 miles at a 9:29 pace. I felt so good and could’ve kept going but reeled myself in :)

Sweat.

Sweat.

Tuesday, I was back on the gym and rode the bike 10.5 miles. But in my typical break-the-RLRF-rules, I met up with my run club in the evening for a 4 mile run that ended up being AWESOME.

Woohoo!!!

Woohoo!!!

The reason this made me so happy is because I’ve been getting down on myself with my paces. I feel like I’ve hit a rut and have been struggling with every run it seems. I know the heat is a big huge factor, but not being able to get the times I “want” has been blowing  my runner’s self esteem. Finally having a run that not only did I feel good but the times were what I liked was the pick-me-upper I needed!

That being said, I feel like this is something I need to work on–not putting so much focus on times and running for running. It’s hard for me to do this because I feel like there should be a purpose for every run and when I start to feel like there’s no improvement anywhere (pace, splits, distance, etc.) I start to get down on myself.

Anyway, Wednesday was supposed to be Christmas in July at track with my run club and I took my kids because my husband was out of town. I thought maybe my oldest would have fun running around the track. Yeah….no. As soon as we got there she threw a huge fit and we lasted all of 10 minutes before I packed both of them back in the car. On our way home, my daughter ended up throwing up all over herself and the car :( It turned out she had a stomach bug! I felt so bad for dragging her out in the heat and not realizing that her fussiness was due to her being sick. She had shown no signs earlier; but, after the car episode, the vomiting continued into the evening. I ended up taking her to the ER to get checked and I was so glad I did. She stayed home with me Thursday and Friday to recover and no running was done in those days.

Saturday, I met up with my run club for my long run. I had 9 miles on my plan and I was worried how I’d do considering I hadn’t slept well or run the past two days with my sick daughter. I ended up completing all 9 miles (yay!) and at a good pace– 9:52/mile.

Sunday, yesterday, I met up with the #RunEatTweetAZ crew for an early hike. My Arizona blogging buddy, Jeremy @ Confessions of an Amateur Athlete, created this group of local bloggers and once a month we meet up to run/hike and discuss all things running and blogging. There’s food afterwards of course :) I missed the first meet-up but there was no way I was missing the second.

The alarm went off at 4:10 a.m. (<—-yes, crazy o’clock) and the plan was to meet at 5. I got there right on time only to find the trail CLOSED. What?!? Apparently, it didn’t open until sunrise and according to the ranger’s handy weather app, that wasn’t happening until 5:33…..

The line to park--

The line to park–

Once we got the parking situated, we all met up at the start and then headed on up. It was so fun to meet with bloggers whose stuff I’ve read and finally put the stories to a face. Like Zucchini Runner was late to the Phoenix Marathon this year (like, really, really late. Like they had already rolled up everything late.) but still ran it!! (<—Edited to add link to awesome story) And I also wanted to meet Shane @shootskdenaloha.com because he seriously has the best collection of compression socks ever.

At the top, Jeremy (aka-King of Selfies), took the necessary achievement pic and we all hung out enjoying the awesome weather that was happening.

The #RunEatTweetAZ crew

The #RunEatTweetAZ crew (Photo Courtesy: Jeremy @ Confessions of an Amateur Athlete)

Our obligatory goofy pic (apparently, goofy means outstretched arms lol!) Photo Courtesy: Zucchini Runner

Our obligatory goofy pic (apparently, goofy means outstretched arms lol!) Photo Courtesy: Zucchini Runner

You know it's a steep climb when they add a pole to help you up.

You know it’s a steep climb when they add a pole to help you up lol!

Hello elevation

Hello elevation!

Photo Courtesy: Kristin @ Cook and Run With Kristin

Photo Courtesy: Kristin @ Cook and Run With Kristin

It was a great Sunday and a great weekend. My daughter was back to her usual rambunctious self and mommy got to run and hike! :D

How was your running weekend?

Have you climbed the Empire State Building? Or an elevation similar to it?

 

 

Technical Difficulties

Hi all! I’ve been MIA due to home Internet technical difficulties. It’s been such a pain trying to get our service back. I’ve spent quite some time talking to voice machines and when I finally do reach a human being, I still don’t get any answers. Grr… And trying to write a blog post on my phone is way too much for me to handle (hence, why this one is short and sweet! Lol!)

I hope you all had a great week and have even a better weekend! Who’s running? Who’s racing? :)

Anyone else dealt with Internet issues? Blah!