Ultimate Direction: Spring 03

The direction ultimately may be all about staying hydrated, but Ultimate Direction in spring '03 says you can not only do it with a little more fun and color, but also with a little more style.
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The direction ultimately may be all about staying hydrated, but Ultimate Direction in spring '03 says you can not only do it with a little more fun and color, but also with a little more style. br> br> The company has updated many of its traditional products, including its EndorFun, one of its top-of-the-line adventure racing packs, as well as its popular Shadow -- a bounce-free lumbar pack with the SportTank bladder. In daypacks, the Horizon and Skyline are updated with a smattering of new technical features including a slide-through stash pocket, and the Bike line brings the new Spider, a system for roadies, cyclocrossers and mountain bikers that insulates the tank in an easy-access pouch. Founded in 1986 and purchased by Sierra Designs in 1999, Ultimate Direction manufactures a complete line of bottle and bladder hydration systems. Ultimate Direction began the hydration-pack revolution over 15 years ago and continues to lead the way with exceptional hydration systems and technical packs for active individuals.br> br> But its real steps will be made not only in a seemingly technically innovative new valve, but also in an expanded women's line (based on the success of its first launch of that line), as well as the introduction of some interesting styles, some of which may just nab more than just ultra-runners and other jocks, but could grab the eye of 'tweeners and 20-somethings for travel and streetwear. br> br> b>DoubleShot Valve/b> -- With a flow rate that UD says is 18-percent greater than other valves on the market (measured under lab conditions at a constant pressure of 30 inches of water) and a unique, leak-proof on/off setting that can be positioned on the right or left, the DoubleShot certainly garners attention. So much so that a few of the prototype valves "disappeared" from UD's watchful eye while on display at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The real deal of the valves will appear on the entire SportTank spring product line in January. br> br> b>Multi-Day Packs/b> -- Ultimate Direction launched itself as a serious player in the hydration pack market largely on the strength of its fastpacking line which adventure racers subsequently "discovered" in the mid-90s. For spring '03, the company is upping the ante with several larger multi-day packs -- the Sonic at 2,000 cubic inches and the Velocity at 3,300 cubic inches. Both packs come with UD's patented roll-top SportTank outfitted with a DoubleShot valve. In addition, both packs utilize the new TorsoLink 360 suspension system, designed to allow the wearer's torso to move freely side-to-side and front-to-back while the pack remains stable and better balanced.br> br> b>Urban Transport/b> -- This is a very new category for UD with the company offering a nifty line of multi-functional bags for travel and work -- starting with six for spring. The two that most caught our SNEWS "possible hot product" eye were the Journalist (pictured) and larger FreeLance (no, it really wasn't just the names that caught our attention). An internal stretchy laptop sleeve keeps your computer secure and a multitude of organizer pockets keep important items at hand. Either can be worn as a pack or shoulder bag, and they both are sized to stow securely in the overhead bin or under the seat when on an airplane. br> br> Also interesting is the Big Slinger, a multi-functional, over-the-shoulder bag large enough to carry all necessary gear for a day out, including water. Smartly, all products in the Urban Transport collection come with convenient cell phone pockets on the shoulder straps. Oh, and they also come with Ultimate's 20-ounce SportFlask for hydration -- this is a hydration company after all.br> br> b>Hydration for Women/b> -- UD is banking on the success of its original women's line to launch the sales and interest in two, new, visually catchy products, the Lunita (pictured) and Echo. Both feature narrower shoulder straps, additional room at the neck and armpit area to reduce pressure points, tapered hip-belts, and more streamlined pack bodies specifically crafted to fit women. The Lunita is a small daypack (500 cubic inches) designed for quick adventures and is just big enough for a wallet, keys, PDA and a sweater or fleece top. The larger Echo (1,100 cubic inches) is intended as a daypack with a bit of style. Of course, both packs come with a 20-ounce SportFlask that fits securely in an outer mesh pocket.br>

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