Camelbak Ultra 4 Review

The CamelBak Ultra 4 is promoted as the versatile running vest to handle both long runs and epic runs. Since all of my runs are epic and most of them are long, this pack should be the perfect fit.

Camelbak Ultra 4

First Look

The Ultra 4 is equipped with a 70 oz (2L) hydration bladder and has 2L (244 cu in) of storage capacity. It is easy to access the bladder opening for refills in this pack through the back zippered pocket, and the bladder itself never needs to be removed. The bladder is equipped with the Pureflow tube and Big Bite mouthpiece that releases fluid in volume, the tube sits firmly in place via a couple of clips on the front straps of the vest. There are two cargo pockets with shock cord closures in front that can hold water bottles (not included) or other items. Multiple front pockets offer storage for smaller essentials and nutrition items and large open-holed mesh on the shoulder straps provide breathable comfort on your run. A rear zippered sweat-proof pocket is perfect for a phone, a larger zippered storage pocket with an internal pocket allows for easy organization of supplies, and the zippered hydration compartment. Adjustable velcro shoulder straps and chest straps help lock in the fit, while side cinch straps secure the load.

1/4 turn – easy open/close cap

Big Bite™ Valve

The Fit and Test

As with any hydration vest that I have ever used, it always takes a couple of runs to get it dialed in and cinched up to the perfect fit, and the Camelbak Ultra 4 was no exception. The adjustment of the velcro shoulder straps must be done at a stand still, while the adjustment of the side and sternum straps were all easy to reach and adjust while running. My one complaint of the adjustment straps, is the bottom sternum strap, there is just way too much elasticity to it. No matter how tight you cinch it up, it seemed like you should tighten it down more and more. Once everything is dialed in, the Ultra 4 gives a comfortably snug, bounce free fit. I took the vest on a few short runs and a number of long runs. On the short runs I only filled the hydration bladder, carried my phone, keys and some cash, leaving the pack fairly light. The Ultra 4 never gave any bounce or sloshing (when filling your hydration bladder, make sure there are no air bubbles in the bladder and this will eliminate almost all sloshing sounds) and with the small amount of items packed on board, it was light and comfortable, and really became an afterthought. On the longer runs when I stacked the Ultra 4 to the max (two water bottles, full hydration bladder, cell phone, keys, cash, nutrition items, gels and jacket), the pack balanced nicely and still remained pleasant, thanks to the breathable padded mesh. The open mesh at the shoulders is also a nice feature that allowed air to flow and help the cooling and drying process from perspiration. Even with all the extra weight, I found no hotspots, no bouncing or rubbing and the pack was never a burden and did not throw off my balance while cruising down the trail.


  • 70 oz. (2 liters) Antidote™ Reservoir
  • Slim and lightweight reservoir fills easy with quarter-turn of Quick-snap cap
  • PureFlow™ tube with Big Bite™ valve
  • Easy access to re-fill reservoir via zipper compartment without removing it from the pack
  • Reflectivity
  • Adjust height of shoulder straps with velcro
  • Adjustable side cinch straps to secure load
  • Padded mesh back helps keep you dry for comfort
  • 244 Cubic inch storage capacity
  • Zippered rear compartment with internal zipper pouch for easy storage and organization of apparel, gear, or accessories
  • Rear quick-access zippered pouch for small items and accessories
  • 2 front mesh pockets with shock cord closure for water bottles or accessories
  • Small zippered front pocket to stow a phone, keys, cards, or nutrition

The Verdict

The CamelBak Ultra 4 can be used for training runs where you want to go light, or loaded up to the max for a long run or race where you’re required to take a bevy of essentials with you. The Ultra 4 is exactly the kind of product that you would expect from CamelBak, well made, great fitting and thoughtfully designed. Runners in need of a solid vest-pack should consider the Ultra 4, especially with CamelBak’s “Got Your Bak” lifetime guarantee: If they built it, they Bak it!

For more information or to purchase check out :

Mark Ranum: Mark is an outdoor adventure seeker, living in the beautiful state of Michigan. He loves trekking hundreds of miles through the wilderness, whether on two feet or two wheels, always looking for the next new trail or road to see where it will take him.

View Comments (2)

    • Hi Carl,

      Thanks so much for the question. The Camelbak Ultra 4 would work just fine for cycling. As a matter of fact I used it a couple of times on some of my 50 plus mile bike rides as it held more water than I was able to bring in the two water bottles that fit on my bike.

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