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Review: Camelbak Ultra Pro running vest

Written by Fiona

December 01 2020

Camelbak will be well known to most outdoor fans for their range of packs for walkers, cyclists and runners. The Camelbak Ultra pro vest is aimed at runners.

Features inclue:

  • 3D micro-mesh
  • Two Quick Stow flasks (500ml each)
  • Dual sternum strap adjustability
  • Removable safely whistle.
  • Front cargo storage for easy access to bits and pieces, such as gels
  • Zipped pocket.
  • Stretch overflow pockets
  • Space for 1.5L reservoir, if needed
  • Front and back reflectivity
  • 3 males sizes
  • 4 female sizes
  • See Camelbak for further details.
  • Buy from Wiggle for £83.55 (as I published).

Review: Female Camelbak Ultra Pro vest pack

I was sent the Camelbak Ultra Pro vest pack without charge for a test review. This is an updated Ultra Pro Vest pack for runners with “increased comfort and ventilation”. The female pack is sold in four sizes. I have the size small, which is my normal size, although I would say I probably needed the medium pack because it felt tight around my shoulders.

Vest packs are great for runners because they sit higher on the back and the shoulders and therefore they tend to be more stable when running and less irritating than the older-style full-back rucksacks with waistbands.

Personally I only run with a vest pack these days.

The Camelbak Ultra Pro vest pack is a pared down style of pack. It is very lightweight and this is helped by the mesh style back and shoulders. The mesh also means the pack is highly ventilated,

I would prefer bit more stretch in the pack because this would make it easier to get on and off. Ladies, think about what it is like to get into a non-stretchy sports bra. It is easier to put the Ultra Pro vest on than a sports bra but it would be easier if there was a bit more stretch.

Comparing this pack to the Salomon ADV Skin 3 vest pack, which is by far the easiest that I have tested to get on and off, the Camelbak feels rather constrained.

The Salomon vest pack is around £109, while the Camelbak can be purchased for around £84, so this will make a difference to many people. There is also a Harrier Kinder 10l race vest for £59. One of my few criticisms of the Harrier pack was also the lack of stretch in the fabric.

There are lots of things to like about the Camelbak Ultra Pro running vest, including the weight. The simplicity is another bonus. It has almost exactly the right number of pockets.

I like the two chest pockets for the 500ml soft flask water bottles. There are several extra front pockets with a variey of uses. For example, the zipped pocket is useful for small smartphones or keys/credit cards. Sadly my larger iphone size does not fit into this pocket. However, it does fit into another vertical pocket.

There are useful stretch pockets at the front to give easy access to all sorts of bits and pieces that you might need while running, such as snacks, gloves, a buff, a small map and compass.

There is a a back stow pocket, too. It isn’t zipped but rather it has an envelope style top. I am not sure what litre size this pocket is but you can fit in a lightweight running jacket and a spare layer or two of other clothing.

If you want to use a water bladder this can be slotted inside the back pocket, but that would mean you can carry less in the way of spare clothing.

There are two straps at the front that can be moved along the length of the shoulders to give a good fit. The extent of the different places for these two straps is excellent. It means the pack is adjustable for women with different size chests.

There is a useful – and removable – emergency whistle.

My friend Lynz is the perfect size for the women’s small.

The pack is easy to wear and I find that with this style of pack you almost forget you have it on. I recommend you wear a t-shirt with sleeves, rather than a running vest, because if you sweat the fabric of the running pack is likely to leave rubs on bare skin. This is the same advice for all these running vest packs. Once they are “worn in” you will be able to wear them against bare skin.

The outside fabric looks to be water resistant but if you were running in wet weather I would suggest you carry items in a dry bag inside the pack. The outer fabric is durable.

The reflective details of this running pack are excellent.

There are elastic straps on the outside of the back of the pack for carrying folded running poles, for when you are not using them.

The best thing about the pack is its light wight, ventilated fabric and the number of sizes you can choose from.

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