UltrAspire Bryce XT Hydration Pack


Basic summary: A multi-purpose hydration pack designed for adventure running, mountain biking or moving fast through mountain terrain. It combines excellent cargo capacity with comfortable, durable construction and expansive front cargo access. The pack accommodates a reservoir but does not come with one.

MSRP: $155

Specs and Features:

  • Weight: 1lb, 20z (515g)
  • Cargo capacity: 915 c.i.; 15 L
  • Recommended use: Fast, high mountain ascents, ultra races, mountain bike training/races, climbing or scrambling scenarios, mountain running
  • Reservoir compatible up to 3L (reservoir not included)
  • Front pocket layout
    • two large zipper pockets
    • two large stretch mesh pouches
    • one small zipper pocket on the left
    • one small magnet pocket on the right
  • Sweat proof webbing on front pockets
  • Rear cargo storage
    • top horizontal zipper pocket with key clasp
    • large full-length zipper storage compartment
    • expandable helmet storage pocket with strap closure
  • Insulated bladder compartment
  • Unisex fit
  • Universal size (chest size 26”-48”)
  • Max O2 XT sternum straps

Deep Dive:

UltrAspire founder, Bryce Thatcher, is an adventurer at heart. He’s one of the OG endurance athletes who was pioneering things like fast packing, adventure running, peak bagging and FKTs before those terms became popular. So it’s no surprise that his namesake pack is built for those who embrace the same “go anywhere, explore everywhere” mentality.

The Bryce XT is part of UltrAspire’s Extreme Line, built for multi-sport adventurers requiring large cargo and hydration capacity, durable construction and all-day comfort in a manner that still allows fast and light movement. The products are designed to provide one-pack-does-all functionality for people to support a range of outdoor experiences.

From a comfort and durability standpoint, the Bryce XT performs exceptionally well. The exterior fabric is a super-durable XT ripstop billed as “stronger than steel” and while we didn’t test this specifically, it’s more than rugged enough to resist punctures or abrasions during dense bushwhacking or squeezing through narrow granite passageways on your way to the summit. The interior surface consists of a comfortable XT mesh that feels soft against your body and is very effective at pulling moisture away from the surface. The entire pack has a relatively low footprint against your body in comparison to similar-cargo spec packs, which prevents heat buildup in warm conditions.

Extensive storage is available on the front side of the pack, which is a huge convenience for accessing things like food, phones, gloves/hats, or anything else you want within easy reach. The front straps connect to each other through new Max O2 XT sternum straps, which are basically a combination of the patented stretchy bands that expand with your lungs, with a traditional clasp closure that makes them easy to connect or detach. On previous packs, we have loved the Max O2 straps when they’re in place but they could be cumbersome to open or close, so this new setup is a definite improvement.

New Max O2 XT sternum straps

Plenty of front pocket storage

Both primary zip pockets on the front are large enough to accommodate virtually any smart phone, and they can also hold a small flask or UltrAspire’s Formula 250 if you want to carry extra fluids or gel not stored in the rear. One very thoughtful aspect we appreciate is the use of a sweat-resistant barrier on the interior surface of all front pockets, which prevents you from having to use Ziploc bags to prevent sweat soaking.

Rear helmet pocket

Rear cargo storage is mainly composed of a large zipper compartment that has plenty of room to hold extra clothing layers, and an external helmet pouch that can secure a bike or climbing helmet. This pouch has an internal bike pump sleeve and a bungee hook-and-loop attachment anchor point for other gear. The helmet pouch is secured by four different straps which combine with stretch mesh side walls for great expandability, but if this pouch is empty, the straps cinch down tightly to keep the rest of your load stable. Between these straps, two lower side straps at the base of the rear cargo compartment and the Max O2 XT straps in front, there is a lot of adjustability for this universal-fit item to accommodate most users in a variety of conditions.

The hydration compartment has an insulated layer which is integrated into the mesh, rather than being removable as on some other UltrAspire packs. It also has a very convenient pull-through clip to anchor a hydration reservoir. The pack can accommodate a 2L or 3L reservoir, but doesn’t come with either. UltrAspire has moved away from including reservoirs with many of their packs in recent years, and this is a trend we’d like to see reversed. The Hydrapak reservoirs UltrAspire sells as accessories are the best around, but it feels like an unnecessary added cost to have to purchase them separately.

The UltrAspire Bryce XT pack is available now at www.ultraspire.com.


About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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