This Ultimate Direction Fastpack 35 Review is about a daypack with features of both hiking and trail running packs, a unique and original design.
Key features & benefits
- Very lightweight.
- Roll-top closure for the main compartment.
- Quite unique InfiKnit construction.
- Impressive storage space on the shoulder straps.
- Dual sternum straps.
Who is it for
The Fastpack 35 backpack is designed in the style of the Ultimate Directions’ trail running vests (see some in the links on the bottom of the page), so all corresponding features are on the shoulder harness. The pack is completely flexible and without any rigid frame, built for high paced tours.
But in the same time, this is a quite sizeable daypack with almost 38 liters of volume so it is very much suitable for any day hiking tours, at least in view of its volume.
However, the harness is of such materials that I would not carry a lot of weight in this pack. See more about this below.
Description – two faces of the pack
This pack is with a strong contrast between the front and the “other” side. Note, the term “front side” is usually used for the side seen from behind you when it is on your back, so the terminology is confusing but this is nothing new.
Anyhow, the shoulder harness side (this could be a proper term) is incredibly rich with a lot of storage space. But the other “front” side is quite different.
The front side
So to start with that less attractive side which still contains quite atypical features. You have a roll-top closure here, see the picture below, so this is neither panel nor classic top loader with the lid. Now, this type of closure has both good sides and bad sides.
The good is that it allows for extension dependent on the amount of food and other stuff in the pack. But as you consume the food, the volume can be reduced, just roll it a few times more. The bad is that you do not have a lid with standard pockets.
The main compartment is just a bag, with the hydration sleeve inside, nothing else. On the front, you have a very deep stretch mesh pocket, very useful space where you can put a lot of stuff, it is shown above. There is also a zippered pocket with a key clip practically inside of this front pocket.
Other features on the front are dual daisy chains, very long and they go all the way from the top to under the bottom of the pack, low profile but very practical. Dual attachment loops are on the bottom for ice axes or trekking poles, paired with dual bungee tie-offs.
I would add here as well that you have dual side mesh pockets, stretchy, deep, and very useful. One compression strap is on each side, so they can be used to fix items carried in the side pockets. This is shown below.
The suspension and harness side
Here you have a design with features introduced to avoid bouncing when you are going very fast or running. So the pack is snug and close to your back, there is no real frame, just some foam which gives a bit of structure and shape. But this is not a padding in the true sense.
You have what they call the lnfiKnit mesh system, this is a seamless design which covers all back panel and shoulder strap system, see it below. But again, there is no padding here, the shoulder straps are just a thin mesh. Ventilation is next to none, but this is the part of the design, you are supposed to sweat in the activities for which this pack is designed.
There is a tiny hip belt, see it above, and this is what makes it different from the 15 and 25 liters packs. Its main purpose is to keep the backpack in place when you are running. Note that it is removable.
The truly great part is the storage and attachment system on the shoulder harness; this is simply impressive, no other pack can come close to this. So let me describe it.
You have two chest straps, completely adjustable in both directions. This is a nicely designed rail system, you can see it below.
On the left shoulder strap, you have a large pocket with a vertical zipper, one lower stretch mesh pocket, plus a pass-through pocket behind these two pockets.
On the right shoulder strap, you have a big stretchy water bottle pocket, plus one small stretchy pocket, plus another small zippered pocket.
So this is 6 different pockets in total in such a small space. But this is not all; there are two pairs of bungee loops, one pair on each shoulder strap, simply incredible, so you can attach collapsible trekking poles. They are shown in one of the pictures above.
However, observe that this pack has no standard hip belt pockets, so some of those on the harness compensate for this.
This is again something atypical; this is not about the pack size, it is about the chest straps sizes. So you have two ranges S/M and M/L, see below for numbers.
You have more than what the name says. The total volume is 37.8 liters (2307 in³), and this includes 32 liters (1953 in³) of secured volume and the rest is in the pockets without zippers. So plenty of space indeed.
In this short video you can see more about this new 2017 series which includes 4 packs (note that in the video they do not mention the 15 liters pack):
Pros & Cons
Here is my summary:
|Good & Cool||Less good|
Most of the items from pros and cons I have already mentioned in the text above. The pack is without rain cover but this may not be essential for you. The fabric is thin, you will see this in specifications.
The hip belt cannot help in carrying the load, so the weight is on shoulders; for such a size pack this can be a problem in the case of a heavy load, in particular, if you are in the thin air.
The price is steep, around $185 at the moment of writing this text. See how I rate this pack:
My rating breakdown of the Ultimate Direction Fastpack 35 backpack
I give a rather low rate for features and bonuses, in spite of such an incredible harness design. But many essential features are missing if you plan to use this pack as a hiking tool.
- Gender: unisex.
- Weight: 24.85 oz (710 g).
- Secured volume: 32 L (1953 in³).
- Unsecured volume: 5.8 L (354 in³).
- Total volume: 37.8 L (2307 in³).
- Dimensions: 27.6 x 11 x 11 in (70 x 28 x 28 cm).
- Chest sizing:
– S/M: 66 – 112 cm.
– M/L: 76 – 127 cm.
- Dual daisy chains.
- Two large side pockets.
- Dual sliding rail sternum straps.
- Dual front trekking pole loops & bungee tie-offs.
- Dual harness bungee cords.
- Large mesh stretch front pocket.
- Removable waistbelt.
- Patented lnfiKnit mesh seamless back panel and shoulder straps system.
– MonoRip Mesh, breathable, non-stretch, and hydrophobic.
– 100D Robic Triple-Ripstop.
– Power Span Stretch Mesh.
Ultimate Direction Fastpack 35 L backpack vs competitors
This pack is designed in the trail running style but also as a hiking daypack, so here I compare it with two top-class daypacks. See how they compare, to see more please follow the links:
|Ultimate Direction Fastpack 35|
|Access||top, bottom||top, bottom||top|
From this table, you can see how many standard features are missing in the Fastpack 35 pack. But it is fair to say that its shoulder harness features with all storage capacity are beyond comparison and those two other packs are far more modest in this respect.
So, it is pretty much impossible to compare it properly with standard hiking daypacks of this size.
The prices of the three packs at the moment of writing this text are, respectively, $150, 140, 185.
To conclude this Ultimate Direction Fastpack 35 Review, as you realize this is a rather unusual pack, totally atypical. It is neither truly trail running pack (I feel it is too big for such a use) nor a truly hiking pack (it lacks some essential features, at least by my book). So it is somewhere in between, but it looks cool indeed, and it has its purpose and the place on the market. But the absence of the frame and padding is a true issue for me.
Yet, if you need something mainly for hiking, perhaps it is better to consider the top-class packs given in the comparison table above, with all features that you really need for such an activity, or visit my page with tens of daypacks described.
So thank you for reading. Please use the comment box below in the case of comments and questions. I wish you a nice day.