Camelbak Trail Running Pack Review

Trail running in the Salbit, Swiss Alps
Trail running in the Salbit, Swiss Alps

Camelbak’s Ultra Pro (her) and Ultra 10 (him) in use.

Camelbak Trail Running Packs

Trail running in the Alps almost every day of the summer and fall, gave us plenty of opportunity to try new gear. Late in the summer, Camelbak sent us some of their new performance trail running packs. What we found is worth sharing.

Trail Running Pack Use

We used these packs for both short and full day trail running tours in warm summer weather. We typically carried a wind shirt, lightweight long sleeve, gloves, Buff, phone, food and water.

In the Alps, water is readily available, so we didn’t need to carry water in the hydration reservoirs. We primarily only used soft water flasks, which Camelbak provides with the packs, and always carried them in the shoulder strap pockets. This kept our packs lighter and without the overall volume being taken up by a full water bladder.

Camelbak Ultra Pro Vest

Camelbak’s performance pack is a winner. In my opinion, this is an ideal pack for most all trail running and has become my go to pack for bigger days, or anytime I need to carry a bit more than what a mesh vest can carry.

The pack has one sleeve on the back for what you carry plus a separate hydration reservoir. The shoulder straps are full of appropriately sized and placed pockets for food, water and phone.

This is a size critical pack as there are no side-adjustments straps, it comes in small, medium and large. I am 173cm (5’8”), super thin, and prefer the small.

Camelbak Nano Vest

This is Camelbak’s ultra-light (weighing in at a nearly nothing 150 grams), ultra simple pack for fast missions, when little needs to be carried. The pack is simply a form fitting mesh vest with compression sleeve for clothing combined with a pole carrying system. The shoulder straps have the usual water flask holders and food pockets. This is a size critical pack as there are no adjustments straps, it comes in small, medium and large. I am 173cm (5’8”), super thin, and prefer the small.

Camelbak Ultra 10 Vest

I personally found this pack great for carrying a bit more weight than what most people will carry. I used the Ultra 10 for several photoshoot days for our Run the Alps Switzerland book, so in addition to my normal mountain running kit, I carried a Sony a6500 with a 16-70 lens. Even with the added weight, it carried very well, was completely stable, and fit perfectly. For those not carrying a camera, but instead somewhat bulkier clothing – this is a dream pack.

The one negative point with this pack is that the side compression straps loosen up as you run. Everyone who used these noticed how much the compression helped dial in the fit, but also that they loosened up on their own while moving, and needed regular re-adjustment.

Pros

  • Packs come in sizes small, medium and large which offers the best possible fit. Just be sure you get the right size.
  • Soft flasks and hydration reservoirs come with the packs allowing for options.
  • Two sternum straps can be adjusted independently for optimum fit.
  • Just the right amount, and type, of pockets on the shoulder straps.
  • Simple design, nothing extra.
  • Super light, the Ultra Pro is 280 grams vs Salomon’s equivalent at 380 grams.

Cons

  • The side compression straps loosen during use on the Ultra 10.

By Dan Patitucci

Trail running in the Salbit, Swiss Alps

The Ultra Pro fits tight against the body

Trail running in Zermatt

Camelbak Nano Vests with poles stowed in the built in sleeve.

Trail running in Zermatt

The front of the minimalist Nano Vest has just the right amount of pockets.

Trail running beneath the Matterhorn

Nano Vests in action beneath the Matterhorn.

Trail running in the Salbit, Swiss Alps

The Camelbak Ultra 10 is simply a larger version of the Ultra Pro but with additional side compression to control the larger volume.

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