Ultimate Direction - Groove Stereo Review

16th September 2016

Ultimate Direction - Groove Stereo Review

UD are perhaps best well known for their race vests. The range has both grown and been modified in recent years. The gents vests are now in their 3rd iteration and ladies in their 2nd. The brand have continually sought to improve their packs and kit, making them more functional, comfortable and therefore usable. 

Autumn/Winter 2016 has seen the introduction of a few new products from Ultimate Direction. There has been the addition of two belts; the Groove Mono and Groove Stereo.

Ultimate Direction Groove Stereo Belt front

Image: the UD Groove Stereo. The image shows the back pouches, the 2 lateral pouches are designed for the soft flasks but can easily fit in a long sleeve top and a waterproof top and or bottoms. The centre pocket also fits in a  waterproof top but is a good shape for carrying a phone, survival bag or something else with a flat back to it.

I've been using the Groove Stereo for around 4 months now. My previous experience with waist belts wasn't great, I found they swung around my waist, my t-shirt rode up my back and they gave me some gastro trouble from time to time. I initially started to use the Groove Stereo when taking my dog out running. I could fit his remote collar in the front pouch, my hat and gloves in the back left, his lead in the back right, a wind proof in the centre pocket, my phone in the front and some poop bags to boot...  I could even fit one of Skip's morning poops in there too!  

I've used the Groove Stereo for lots of runs and a fair number of races, including the Chamonix Marathon, Pendle 3 Peaks and the Totley Exterminator.

I came to really love the versatility of the belt. It had the volume to carry everything I needed for long, hot runs in the summer but also for the fell races where I needed; hat, gloves, waterproof top and bottoms, map & compass and some nutrition. The stretchy mesh back pockets are great, they hold what ever you put in their snuggly so it doesn't bounce about and has a very easy to use elastic cord to tighten/loosen the opening.  The centre pocket is made of the same stretchy mesh meaning you can carry small loads without bounce but can also stuff it with a waterproof if needs be. 

Ultimate Direction Groove Stereo Belt strap

Image: Wide but breathable velcro strap.

The waist belt is super easy to adjust the size, the large strap sits nicely and doesn't dig in above the hips. I don't know if I'm alone in the need to do this but I often change the sizing of the belt dependent on whether I'm running up or downhill, this couldn't be easier with the Groove velcro system.

When I was first given the belt I was totally bemused by the front pouch, I was positive it was going to annoy me and wasn't exactly sure what I'd use it for however the front pouch is perhaps one of the features I'm most fond of. It's not the best for bulky items but for gels, maps, a compass even an iPhone it's brilliant. It's got 2 pockets, one zipped and one elasticated as well as a small side pouch which is great for gel wrappers (or dog poop bags!).

Ultimate Direction Groove Stereo front pocket

Image: the front pouch 3 pocket system.

The Groove Stereo is without doubt a notch above the rest when it comes to waist belts. It's comfy, practical and easy to use.

We've both the Stereo and Mono available in store at the moment. However, stock is limited. 

The Stereo is available here > Buy Stereo

The Mono is available here > Buy Mono

 

 

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