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Review: Camelbak women’s Zephyr vest-style running pack

Written by Fiona

May 01 2020

The Camelbak women’s Zephyr Vest is one of a growing number of light-weight, neat-fitting packs that are best suited to runners and fast hikers.

Features include:

  • Engineered knit mesh: Light and breathable material made with body mapping technology to ventilate areas of the body that generate the most heat
  • Dual adjustable Sternum Straps: Offers a range of adjustments for a custom fit and increased stability
  • 10l gear capacity
  • Hydration at the ready with two Quick Stow flasks at the front of your vest for easy access (2 x 170z/485ml).
  • Fuel and gear Storage: Multiple stowing options, easily accessible
  • Secure phone pocket: Keep essentials safe and easy to access
  • Reflectivity for low light safety
  • Stretch overflow pocket to quickly stash or shed an extra layer
  • Trekking pole attachment
  • Polygiene Anti-Microbial treatment
  • Safety whistle
  • Reservoir compatible
  • Made with ultra light materials
  • Weight: 190g
  • Women’s specific fit.
  • Price: £124.95
  • Buy from Camelbak and other retailers.
  • There is a men’s fit Camelbak Zephyr pack

On test: Camelbak women’s Zephyr vest-style running pack

I took the pack for a run on a warm day. I am quite slim but I was able to adjust the pack with various straps fit neatly. I have used up most of the adjustment so if you are smaller or more petite than I am you may find the vest is a little too large. However, I would say that for most women the pack will be a good fit.

If you want a range of sizes the Camelbak Ultra Pro in four sizes might be an option for women who want a more snug fit.

Another area that might not be suitable for all women is the front of the pack. I am not big chested and so I am comfortable with the vest style. The front straps have pockets for your hydration flasks and these fit over the chest. I imagine that if you are larger chested this style of pack will be annoying and uncomfortable.

However, saying all this, I would now never run without a vest style pack. I prefer this style because it fits more neatly around the shoulders and upper torso compared to the more traditional rucksack. These sort of packs stay in place and do not move about while you run.

I usually wear the Salomon Adv Skin 3 5 vest pack and I also like the Osprey Dyna 6 vest pack.

Camelbak women’s Zephyr vest-style running pack has a nice knit mesh design at the rear of the pack. This offers ventilation although I was surprised to see evaporated sweat from my back collecting on the inside of the outer pocket. It felt quite wet by the end of my run. The fabric appears to be semi-water resistant and I am wondering if it did not allow my sweat to evaporate effectively.

Camelbak have replied:  The nature of the weather-resistant material on the outer pocket unfortunately will cause the condensing of the sweat vapour on the inside of the outer pocket.  This will most likely happen on other vests, too.

I disagree that this happens with other vest style packs but I take the point that it’s a balance of weather-proofing and breathability when it comes to fabrics. it is good to have a rucksack with a bit of weather -resistance.

There are lots of pockets for stowing items. This is good if you can remember where you put everything! the 10 litre pack size is more than enough for most daytime runs in the summer months. I could fit in a spare layer or waterproof jacket, gloves, snacks and accessories.

There is an internal zipped pocket for a phone and car key etc. The pocket is not large enough for my iphone. Indeed, I am not sure it would be big enough for most smart phones these days.

Another place that does fit a mobile phone is a chest pocket. This is fine if you have not already got a full flask of water stashed in the chest area.

It’s possible to carry a fair amount of water in the two flasks, almost 1 litre. It’s the sort of thing you might want to try a few times to see if it suits you. Some people like carrying water up front and others prefer it to be in a hydration bladder at the rear. Because I do not have a big chest, I am fine with the up-front water bottles.

The pack is lightweight and generally comfortable. Sadly, I wore it with a running vest and my sweat and the pack combined to cause skin rubs under my arms. I didn’t notice this until after the run. My advice is to wear the vest pack with a t-shirt and not a sleeveless running top. (This is also the advice of Camelbak.)

It is a basic looking pack but has all the features you need for running with a pack. Camelbak is also a trusted brand that offers good quality products. However, I am questioning the cost. Almost £125 seems expensive for this item. The Salomon ADV Skin 3 is a little pricier, while the Osprey Dyna 6 is £25 cheaper (RRP).

Camel back has replied: With regard to the cost, there are several factors which add up to the retail price: The premium fabric to maximise durability while keeping weight down is a main factor, plus the anti-microbial polygiene treatment built into the material of the soft flasks, the use of body-mapped custom mesh and finally the fact that it includes a hydration solution. We hope that it stacks up pretty competitively to other vests of the same quality/weight/spec etc. I agree that it does.

At the end of the day, fit is important and if you like lots of adjustability and good sized hydration bottle at the chest, you will like the Camelbak Zephyr Vest running pack.

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