UltrAspire Zygos and Big Bronco Vest Reviews

UltrAspire Zygos Vest Review

As a seasoned ultrarunner, I’ve explored various race vests, and for Tahoe 200 (which I ran in July 2023) I decided to try out both the UltrAspire Zygos and the Big Bronco Vest. The Zygos 5.0 stood out for me as a high-capacity vest designed for the long haul, I’m talking 100miles+.

Comfort and Stability: 4.5/5

The lightweight and comfortable wrap-around design, coupled with the ErgoFit Harness, creates a stable and hindrance-free experience. The MaxO2 Form adjustable closure system is a game-changer, allowing the pack to conform to the body with a single pull. This was pretty handy especially during training when I had the vest packed at various levels, sometimes with anything barely in it so I did a lot of adjusting. Even during intense runs, this vest remains secure without affecting my natural breathing.

Lucia wearing the Zygos during the Tahoe 200

Pockets Galore: 5/5

One of the standout features is the impressive array of on-the-go pockets. The 2 zippered shoulder pockets, dual 4-way stretch mesh pocket, pair of stretch mesh pockets (including a zippered one for a large cell phone), a zippered side pocket, and a magnetically closed side pocket offer unparalleled organization. The main back compartment, reinforced with XT fabric means its super durable.

Versatility and Functionality: 4.8/5

The UltrAspire Zygos 5.0 proved its mettle during my recent challenge, the Tahoe 200 in July 2023. The ability to separate my kit in various pockets was a lifesaver when fatigue set in. The inclusion of bungee cords allowed me to secure a jacket when my pack was full, showcasing the vest’s adaptability to dynamic race conditions.

UltrAspire Zygos front

Reservoir and Size Options: 5/5

The 2-liter reservoir is neatly housed in the removable insulated bladder compartment, should you need to use a bladder. I used the bag with 2 soft flasks with straw attachments. This set up took a bit of trial & error I ultimately went with the soft flasks with straws using the mag clips as an additional support to stop the straws flapping around.

With three size options, UltrAspire has made it easy to find the perfect fit for any body type.

Personal Experience: 4/5

Personally, I found the UltrAspire Zygos 5.0 to be super functional, earning its spot as my go-to bag for the Tahoe 200. However, I experienced some chafing on my mid-back area and sides (love handles), which is worth noting for fellow runners. It’s a reminder that even the best gear may require some trial and error to find the perfect fit.

Final Verdict

The UltrAspire Zygos 5.0 is a standout in the world of high-capacity race vests. Its thoughtful design, plethora of pockets, and comfort make it an ideal choice for ultrarunners tackling challenging races. While personal comfort experiences may vary, the UltrAspire Zygos 5.0 is undoubtedly a reliable companion for those seeking a balance of capacity and functionality.

Zygos Rear

UltrAspire Big Bronco Race Vest Review

As an avid ultramarathoner, finding the perfect race vest that combines capacity, accessibility, and comfort is crucial. The UltrAspire Big Bronco Race Vest, a collaboration with ultramarathon champion Jeff Browning, is a stellar addition to the world of ultrarunning gear. I decided to try this vest alongside the Zygos 5 in preparation for Tahoe 200 which I ran in July 2023.

Capacity and Accessibility: 5/5

The 12-liter pack boasts an impressive 7 accessible pockets, ensuring that all your essentials are within easy reach. With the capability to carry 4 bottles and a 2-liter reservoir, there’s plenty of options for hydration. The innovative Fluidic Holster System allows for intuitive access to rear pockets, making on-the-go refueling a breeze. I was skeptical of my ability to reach into the rear pockets but it actually works!

Organization and Flexibility: 4/5

The rear pockets with dividers mean it’s pretty easy to organise your kit, and the 2 large gussets add extra capacity without compromising comfort. The main back compartment lays flat when empty and expands with the 4-way stretch mesh, accommodating a substantial load. Z-pole attachments, accessible on the go, add versatility, doubling as compression for the Fluidic Holster compartments. It took me a bit of practice to do this on the go but once I got the hang of it I was away.

Comfort and Fit: 4/5

UltrAspire’s ErgoFit™ design ensures long-term comfort, a crucial factor for any distance but in particular for 100miles+. The MaxO2 Form adjustable closure system on the front harness allows for a pretty good fit, I still found I had a bit of chafing on my mid back area and on my sides (think lovehandles!)

Innovative Design: 4.8/5

The thoughtful design elements, such as the soft foam flare on the back for easy rear compartment access, showcase the attention to detail put into this vest. Left or right-handed accessibility for the Z-pole attachments is super helpful, I’m right handed but sometimes I found myself attaching the poles from my left side too.

Final Verdict

The UltrAspire Big Bronco Race Vest (RRP $149.95/£115) is a wonderful choice for ultrarunners seeking a balance of capacity, accessibility, and comfort. Whether you’re conquering steep mountains, technical terrain, or pushing your limits in a race, this vest delivers on all fronts. Jeff Browning’s collaboration with Ultraspire has resulted in a vest that truly understands the needs of ultrarunners. I ended up going with the Zygos 5 for Tahoe 200 due to the extra options of more compartments to separate my gear even more distinctly and the bungee chord on the back which I find super handy to shove my puffy/rain jacket into without needing to repack the entire bag. You carry so much stuff for a 200!

If you’re serious about your ultrarunning journey, the Big Bronco Race Vest should be at the top of your gear list.

UlraAspire can be found in the US here and in various stores in the UK

Big Bronco Score:

  • Design – 8/10
  • Features 7/10
  • Value 8/10
  • Performance 8/10

Zygos score:

  • Design 9/10
  • Features 9/10
  • Value 9/10
  • Performance 9/10

About Lucja Leonard: Dutch-Aussie-Brit ultra runner currently USA based. I’ve been running ultras for 12 years now from 50km to multistage, 100 milers and most recently embracing the 200+ mile non stop distance. I’m a globe trotter, love experiencing new locations & can be found hanging out with my husband Dion & my two fur-babies Gobi & Lara.

Have you tried the UltrAspire Zygos or Big Bronco vests? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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OUR RATING:
4/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"Whether you're conquering steep mountains, technical terrain, or pushing your limits in a race, this vest delivers on all fronts. Jeff Browning's collaboration with Ultraspire has resulted in a vest that truly understands the needs of ultrarunners."

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