Ultra-lightweight and balancing a minimalist design focus with the need to incorporate essential performance features, the waterproof/breathable Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket is sure to appeal to trail runners and other ounce-counters.
I am wearing the Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket. This is an athlete driven piece that was designed specifically with the ultra runner in mind. You have a very minimal feel, a very lightweight feel. It weighs in right around 5.3 ounces. It is a waterproof piece, but it is very lightweight. Not only is it minimal but you get all of those little features that you are looking for when you are out on the trail for long days, long miles on the trail.
So just starting with the face fabric here, you have got a very lightweight, 20 denier hex nylon fast breathe ultra fabric. This is pretty durable for its weight. So you have like a rip stop in that fabric. It is extremely breathable, but it is fully seam taped and it is waterproof. So unlike some of the lightweight rain jackets out there, this does feel really lightweight on and it feels like it would be very breathable compared to some other jackets on the market. So definitely when you are moving fast on the trail you don’t want to, you know, feel clammy inside of a jacket like this. So this is definitely very breathable.
The fit here is a very trim fit. It is supposed to fit kind of tight to the body. I am wearing a size small right now and I normally wear smalls in other brands and it fits me pretty well, but it is meant to be worn just over lightweight layers. It provides wind protection as well, so not just in nasty rainy weather, but in windy weather. This is a great barrier for that.
Going through the features here, you have got a very lightweight, full length zipper, so easy on and easy off. You don’t have to pull it over your head. When you are out on the trail and you want to, you know, put the piece on or take it off, it is really easy to do. You have got just a very lightweight stretchy draw cord that comes just to one side. So they keep the weight down there as well.
You have got a really interesting design here down in the cuffs. So you have a stretchy cuff right here. He fits really well right down there to the hand. But you do have this flip mitt design. Something I really like about this jacket, probably my favorite feature. You can turn that inside out and protect your hands when the weather turns really nasty and you are looking for something to provide a little bit of warmth there for your hands. Definitely been out there in the elements and had a rain jacket on, but my hands weren’t protected and were really cold. So that is just a really great feature. It tucks away when you don’t need it, but when you do, it really makes a big difference there. So really cool, smart design there.
You do have a hood on this piece and you have adjustment in the hood. So if I put that on, you have got a really stiffened brim here on the top so against rain that is going to be really great. You have got adjustment here around the sides. So you can just pull those in. And you also have an adjustment in the back. So you can really cinch that down around your head.
You are very protected here with the hood. And on the underside of the hood you have got a channel of mesh that is very breathable. It is going to help with moisture management there on your head and it is just going to keep you a little bit more comfortable when you want that protection on your head, but you don’t want to build up too much heat and too much sweat there. So really, really smart design with the mesh there in the hood.
You do have one interior chest pocket and this pocket is big enough to accommodate an iPhone 6, specifically meant for that. There is a media pass through here for ear buds and the thing I really like about this pocket is it hangs off of the jacket. They don’t just sew a pocket on to the face fabric there. It actually is its own separate pocket. It is waterproof. When you have got the jacket zipped up it is protected from the elements. So that is why it is on the inside so you have got a really, really smart pocket there.
Another feature that I really like is you have got underarm vents. These are always open vents that have a little bit of mesh there underneath so when you are moving fast, when you are building up that heat, it is definitely going to dump out all that excess heat from your underarm. So you don’t have to fumble with underarm zippers or anything like that. These are set up in such a way that if you are wearing a hydration vest, you still have a lot of breathability here with these underarm vents.
So, as you can see, all of these different features, the small attentions to detail are definitely designed for that athlete that is going to be out on the trail moving fast and they want something that is going to really protect them from the elements. It is the Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket.