Camelbak 7L Trail Run Vest review: With bottles instead of a reservoir, the Camelbak is a high versatile option for day-long trail runs…
Camelbak 7L Trail Run Vest
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£90, camelbak.co.uk (not yet available in the US)
- Plenty of adjustability for secure fit
- Wide variety of storage options
- Bottles are easily accessible
- Some pockets could be more secure
Find your stride with a pair of the best running shorts
Having been a fan of Camelbak’s mountain bike rucksacks and hydration systems for years, I was keen to try out the company’s 7-litre trail running vest. Most of its packs include reservoir systems with a hose and bite mouthpiece over the shoulder. However, this is a paired-back slimline trail vest with two 500ml soft flasks.
The flasks are made of the same material as the reservoirs, which helps to keep the volume down. It gives you the option to take just one flask on your run to trim weight too. Plus spreading out water volume across your chest means you don’t have a litre-plus of water sloshing around on your back.
Unpacking the trail vest it’s easy to tell it’s made with the same quality as the rest of the Camelbak range. Made from its 3D mesh vent, the entire vest is perforated with hundreds of holes to improve airflow. Yet there’s enough depth and substance to it so as not to feel flimsy.
Running with the Camelbak Train Run Vest
The main way to tweak the fit of the vest is via two adjustable chest straps, with two more on the waist. That allows you get the vest nice and snug but without compromising breathability.
Out on the trail it works a treat. After an initial test run I’d managed to dial in the perfect fit. Even with two full bottles on my chest, the entire vest felt locked-down and secure. And on technical trails I felt no significant movement either vertically or laterally. It’s unobtrusive enough not to impact your running form either.
The bottles holders have elasticated toggle fasteners on the outside, allowing you to remove a bottle on the move with either hand. That’s easier to do full rather than almost empty, which you might need to stop or use both hands for.
On the back you have a sleeve on each side for walking poles. There’s also a main drop-in compartment with an adjustable clasp. It’s probably best for clothing as the clasp won’t pull tight enough to really lock small items down. I could only secure loose items in here by stashing my running jacket on top. However, that then becomes a pain to get them out.
Camelbak Trail Run Vest features
Instead I used the rear side pocket for smaller things. There’s plenty of space to get gels, bars, arm and leg warmers and a cap or visor in here and still have room to spare. If you want easy access to your keys or phone there’s a zip pocket on the front left bottle holder too, which might even take a wallet at a push. There’s also two drop-in pockets on the front, each capable of holding gels and bars for refueling on the move. Though I wouldn’t put valuables in here, as there’s nothing to stop them bouncing out.
Though there may not be enough room in the vest for all you’d need for ultra-marathons or similar epic runs, for most day-long outings on the trail I always had enough space. Realistically most runners wouldn’t want any more volume on their backs than this trail vest provides.
I do like Camelbak’s attention to detail – there are reflective strips on the rear, handy if you’re running in a group with head torches. There’s also an elasticated toggle at the rear by the small of your back, which is useful to cinch when your pack is maxed out volume wise. There’s a safety whistle too, for alerting people you’re near or calling for help on wild outdoor runs.
As the bottles are made of the same see-though soft blue plastic as other Camelbak reservoirs, they’ll need the same amount of cleaning and drying care to keep them tasting fresh.
For £90 the Camelbak Trail Run Vest represents decent value for money. It’s light (8oz / 220g) yet robust and will last for years – with the additional peace of mind provided by a limited lifetime warranty. If you’re starting to go further afield on your trail runs, this trail vest will certainly help expand your horizons.