I have used the AK 3.0 on a few long unsupported adventure runs now (8 hours, 20 hours, and 44 hours so far) and I think it is absolutely perfect for its intended purpose. It holds more than enough clothing, food, water, etc as long as you don’t need to carry sleeping gear – in which case you would be better off with a different pack as it is not meant for that.
1. The soft bottles are great, easy to refill in streams, lakes or at aid stations, very comfortable. I’m still using the old version (Body Bottle Plus) as I had them already, haven’t even opened the new ones that came with the vest but they are pretty similar.
2. The pole carry system works fine with BD Z poles, don’t believe those who say it doesn’t.
3. SO much storage both in front and back. I can put 2 soft bottles plus hat, gloves, phone, map, many hours worth of food, sunscreen, salt tabs, etc all in the front and side pockets. The 2 small zip pockets in the back are perfect for headlamp/batteries and a small first aid/blister kit, water treatment tablets, etc. Raingear and warm layers fit in the main pocket in the back with or without a bladder, although a bladder does reduce the space for clothing. But there is always the stretch mesh pocket and bungee on the back if needed.
4. Much easier to get the bladder in and out than with previous versions of the PB vest.
I thought it might be too small but I did 122 miles in the Sierras on the High Sierra Trail in about 44 hours with this pack and it was the perfect size to carry all my food, water, clothing etc with no chafing or other issues to speak of. I’m sure the PB 3.0 would have worked just as well but I went with this one since it held everything I needed and I had already used it on a couple long days.
My only minor complaint is that the small pockets on the shoulders can be hard to get into when moving. Not a big deal, just a minor annoyance sometimes.
I am 6′ and about 160 with a 38″ chest and 31″ lower rib measurement. For me the small was too small (not long enough mainly), and the medium seemed a bit too big at first, but with the internal straps tightened up it works just fine. This vest is not meant to be used empty, and the fit is definitely better once you load it up. I can run without any major bouncing, once everything is snugged up well.
By Allen Currano on Sep 6th 2016