CamelBak Ultra Pro Vest

Packs have come a long way in recent years with a big move towards lighter weight materials, vest-like fits and soft flasks in place of bladders. CamelBak were relatively late to come to the party despite being pioneers of running hydration. Why? I think it was in part due to taking the time to see how the market reacted to the new concepts and then being thorough in the design process to ensure what they did was a genuine advancement of what they had done in the past. The end result is a winner!

The Ultra Pro Vest is extremely lightweight, utilising mesh-like material that breaths beautifully to keep you cool and comfy. The vest is minimalist in approach, but don’t let that make you think it’s going to be poor quality or overly simple. In terms of build quality, I have been wearing mine for 7 months and it still looks as good as new – once the sweat marks have been washed off after a run! There’s not a tear in the fabric and all the elastic elements are as good as new. The only issue I’ve come across is that the whistle has a few dents from my pug dog chewing on it.

The size of the pack is just large enough to hold all the mandatory gear you’re likely to need at most ultra races. That’s assuming you’ve got higher end, lightweight gear and small sizes. If you were to be on the larger size and have inexpensive thermals, waterproof jacket and pants to squeeze in, you may need an alternative, like the similar but larger Ultra 10 vest ( There are ample pockets on the front for fuel and salt tabs, with a zippered pocket to hold your mobile. The stretchy side mesh stash pockets are great for rubbish or squeezing your buff or gloves into when you start to heat up.

There’s space for two 500mL soft flasks in the front, and if you don’t have the back full of gear you can also pop a bladder in there. The flasks are great for racing or if you want alternatives in your hydration. I use one for water and the other for electrolyte. A final touch are the reflective tabs, which is a nice bit of safety for night runs.

Available in three sizes. RRP: $189.95