CamelBak ultra 10 Vest Review

Suggested Retail Price: $150
Total Capacity: 610 cu in / 8L + 2L Reservoir
Total Weight: 1 lb 3 oz / .55 kg (pack only)
Sizing: One size fits most
Hydration Reservoir: 2L / 70 oz.

CamelBak, a household name to many, and a long time supporter of runners worldwide has recently upped their game in their running packs.  In total for Spring/summer 15, they have 3 new running vests/packs and they’ve also redesigned the majority of their line after listening to runner feedback.  Sitting at the top of the line is the CamelBak Ultra 10 Vest which is their answer to the runner that wants a pack that can handle the demands of ultra marathons.

The CamelBak ultra 10 is designed for the runner that needs not only water and gels for their marathon training runs, but needs enough pockets and storage for runs lasting between 5-30 hours, all while sitting comfortable on the runners body.

CamelBak Ultra 10 Vest Fit While Running

Running with the CamelBak Ultra 10 Vest

The CamelBak Ultra 10 running vest moves from the traditional hydration pack fit to the more popular and trending vest fit.  As more and more runners started to use running hydration packs for longer distance runs, one of the biggest complaints has been aching shoulders after many hours of running.  This primarily comes from the repetitive motion of the pack coming down on your shoulders on each stride during your run. on short runs, this isn’t a big deal, but on 2-3+ hour runs, the constant pulling down on your lats begins to take its toll on you.

CamelBak Ultra 10 Vest Fit

To take some of the pressure off the shoulders while running, their has been more emphasis on running vests which spread the weight of the pack more evenly throughout the body. I’ve tested the CamelBak Ultra 10 vest on runs ranging between 1.5 hours and 3.5 up to this point in which I’ve found their to be no pain on my shoulders. Compared to other traditional running packs I’ve worn, this is a big improvement as my lats and shoulders start to feel it after 3 hours of running.

As for conditions I’ve tested the vest out in, I wore this running vest while both road running and trail running.  I’ve tested the CamelBak Ultra 10 running vest out while running in colder temperatures of 5F and I’ve also run in the pack while it’s been a little warmer, 75F.  That said, I’ve used it with warmer and bulkier running jackets and I’ve also run with the pack while wearing a tee shirt. With everything that I’ve worn, I was comfortable with exception to one instance. On one run while wearing a tee shirt, I’ve found the pack to begin to chaff my nips, but the second I began to feel uncomfortable, I adjusted the pack and everything was fine.  This can be an issue for some people and some vest, needless to say it’s important to get the right fit.  Unfortunately, there is no way to tell whether you will get chaffed by just trying it on in the store.  You actually need to get out and run in the vest.

If by chance you’re looking to run with no shirt, the edges on the front of the vest are lined with a felt like material that is designed to keep the frabric from cutting into you.  I personally wear a shirt when I run with a vest, so I have not tried the CamelBak Ultra 10 without a vest.

Vest Adjustment

CamelBak Ultra 10 Running Vest Adjustment

To adjust the CamelBak Ultra 10, there are a few things that you can do. To begin with, there are straps that are similar to shoulder straps, but instead of pulling down to cinch the vest closer to your body, you pull up.  To make these straps completely effective in getting a snug fit, you also need to connect at least one of the 2 sternum straps.

There are two adjustable sternum straps that allow you to get a solid fit on the front of your body.  Using both straps is important to do in order to distribute the weight of the pack evenly across your body. The top strap uses standard nylon webbing and the bottom sternum strap uses a bungie style strap to allow for your chest to expand and contract while breathing, yet still have a snug secure fit.

Moisture Management & Fabric Used

Material used on running vest

The CamelBak Ultra 10 is not going to be your ultra light / minimalist running vest, but it has trimmed down on some of the material vs. some of their more traditional packs and vest. On the front on the vest, there is just enough material to keep the fabric from clinging to your body, but it doesn’t hold onto a lot of moisture in case you’re sweating. On the back of the vest, there is a minimalist line of material going down the center of the back while the sides of the backpanel have a little more padding.  These sides have a little less material than some other running packs and vest, but I would still put it in the category of traditional vs. minimal.

Ventilation on back of Vest

Well designed Storage

All the storage I could ask for in a hydration running vest

For storage on the CamelBak Ultra 10, there are a plethora of options to store your gear and snacks. In the main pack on your back, there is your main storage area for your hydration bladder, which is 2 Liters. This is pretty easy to take in and out of in the comfort of your own home, but it’s not super easy to refill your hydration bladder on the go, such as at an aid station.

Main Storage Compartment with Zippered pocket

The main compartment in the pack is plenty big enough to store a shell, a compatible insulated layer if you need it, food, and anything else that you might need.  It’s not as big as a regular day pack, but big enough for the necessities.  For any items you want to keep secure, there is a zippered mesh pocket on the inside, great for keys, wallets, etc. For additional access on the main compartment, there is an outer pocket that remains open for easy access.  I’ll generally through in a bar or two in this area, or I sometimes throw in a layer that I am shedding when I start to heat up. On the sides of the CamelBak Ultra 10 Vest, there is a expandable mesh pocket on each side, great for extra water bottles if you need them.

CamelBak Ultra 10 Storage

On the front of the vest, there are plenty of pockets to store pretty much any smaller item that comes to mind. I typically store my gels, salt tabs, and cell phone(Samsung Galaxy 5s with Case). On the right side of the vest, there are a total of 3 mesh pockets, and on the left side there is one mesh pocket and one zippered enclosed pocket.  To be be honest, there are more pockets than most people will actually use, but in the case you are running a hard ass ultra marathon, these extra pockets could come in handy.

Other Features worth Noting

Reflective running vest visible at night

As your often running in the dark for some portion while running a lot of ultra marathons, staying visible can be important. While you’ll typically have a headlamp in these races, the CamelBak Ultra 10 has a number of spots on the vest that are lined with reflective material. For those who like to carry trekking poles while running, there is a trekking pole hold on this vest. Most people won’t use these, but there are still plenty of races out there where trekking poles can come in handy.

Final Thoughts

The CamelBak Ultra 10 has come a long way in the CamelBak line of running vests and packs. The vest provides all the necessities you need and some of the extras you may want. The price point of $150 sits right in line with all the other running packs n the ultra running pack/vest market. Having worn the CamelBak Ultra 10 for a number of my 20+ mile runs, I can happily report that the vest is comfortable for long distances and has all the features I ever needed. For more information, head on over to www.camelBak.com 

Kevin_Fonger:
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