Best known for their mountain biking hydration packs, CamelBak has narrowed their focus on trail running models in recent years, with emphasis on moving fast and light. The updated Ultra Pro Vest features lighter-weight overall construction than the original version, with a new mesh material construction and revised pocket configuration. The result is an increase in functionality and storage capacity without compromising its remarkably light weight.
The primary update is the use of lightweight 3D Micro Mesh fabric for the entire footprint of the vest. This mesh provides adequate cushioning when the vest is loaded with gear and helped keep us cool when running in warmer temperatures. However, due to the design of the mesh, it did feel abrasive on bare skin.
Dual straps across the chest are easily adjustable utilizing a lateral latching system, allowing for a custom fit and on the fly adjustments. The vest features one zippered phone pocket on the upper left-hand side which we found useful for keys and other valuables. We’d like for this pocket to be just a bit larger, as an iPhoneX with a regular case barely fits and is difficult to remove while running. The right shoulder has a smaller pocket, just big enough for a gel or two, and has a whistle built in.
The Ultra Pro Vest includes two 500ml CamelBak Quick Stow flasks, which have a wide, screw-top style opening making it easy to fill with ice cubes on a hot day. A large elastic drawcord allows easy access for flask removal as well as storing them when full. One thing we liked about the flasks was that they were easy to stow in the vest while on the go, but we found them difficult to secure in the pocket when the liquid levels got low as they collapse and sink down to the bottom. One clever design detail we appreciate is a hole at the base of the flask, which makes it a breeze when hanging them up to dry.
The rear section of the vest features two storage areas, and the compartment closest to the back has a full-size pocket that would be fully occupied when using a hydration bladder. The second rear compartment has ample space for an extra layer and features a pull-through functionality that allows access to items via the side pouches without taking it off. This pocket has no exterior latches or zippers, so we found this a great place to store bulkier items like gloves or a jacket.
The Ultra Pro hugs the body with the proper adjustment from the chest straps. For the men’s sizing, we found the vest to run slightly large and would recommend sizing down if you are between sizes.
The CamelBak Ultra Pro Vest is available at www.camelbak.com.
Basic Summary: The Ultra Pro Vest from Camelbak was designed with racing in mind. Built to be ultralight, the minimal pack offers 6L of carrying capacity and the ability to hold a 1.5L bladder (not included). Two 500ml soft flasks sit on the front of the chest while a convenient pull-through compartment allows for gear storage on the run.
- Weight: 5oz
- Cargo capacity: 6L
- Hydration capacity: 2x 500ml soft flasks, included
- 1.5L hydration bladder compatible (not included)
- 13 total pockets
- Dual adjustable sternum straps
- 3D Micro Mesh interior surface
- Trekking pole bungee cording
- Reflective striping
- Men’s and women’s specific sizing
- MSRP: $120