Ultimate Direction Side Kick Accessory Pocket: Half Good

So I’ve had this Ultimate Direction water bottle belt for 20-some years.  It’s in great condition, it works well and I’m gonna keep using it.  On the actual bottle pocket, some of the fabric is beginning to fray.  Otherwise, it does what I need it to do.  No need to throw it away just because it’s old.

Recently, though, I needed to replace the accessory pocket.  This will be the third UD accessory pocket since I bought the belt.  The current pocket has lasted around 10 years.  It’s stuffed with kick wax in the winter, and keys, an energy bar or gel(s) in the summer.  The faded ripstop fabric was coming apart.

So I went to the Ultimate Direction web site and bought a Side Kick accessory pocket as a replacement.

Billed at 15 cubic inches, the large Side Kick is made of sturdier material than the accessory pocket it replaces.  It’s shaped to accomodate a portable music player.  It’s still dryland season, but I was able to stuff three cans of kick wax and a cork into it.  There’s a key hook inside, too.  Nice.

While there’s adequate space, this product falls short in the details that matter.  Namely, keeping your stuff from getting lost.  Instead of a zipper closure, there’s a flap with velcro.   The velcro closure here  is tenuous at best; I would have preferred a zipper as on the old one.  The clips that hold the pocket on your belt are also insecure.  It’s too easy to inadvertently knock this thing off your belt.  I almost have, twice.  The old pocket had a bombproof velcro loop that went around the belt.

I can only think the flimsy closure and clips are an avenue to cut costs.   Cost-cutting is fine, but in this case it’s at a steep cost to quality of the overall product.  If you buy this, you’d be wise to have a spare car key stashed at the trail head.