Inside the outdoor industry

FIELD TEST: Camelbak Circuit Vest

We tested out Camelbak's new lighter hydration vest


Despite already huge levels of popularity, running shows no sign of any decline, with more and more people taking up the sport across the world.

At the end of 2017, in the US alone almost 60 million people participated in running, with one of the main motivations for taking up the sport being weight loss, improving stamina and fitness.

And, while many people take up the sport for a bit of gentle jogging each week, there are other verticals such as trail running, marathon and ultra-running for those athletes looking for a different experience and greater challenge.

Such athletes often compete for hours, if not days at a time, over long distances and difficult terrain. An essential part of the training for longer runs is the ability to take on fluids and energy bars when needed, plus storage for essentials and small items.

Step forward the newly improved hydration pack by CamelBak – the Circuit Vest. Designed specifically for trail/longer runs, the vest is a neat design of easy access pockets and water reservoir at a minimum weight – a mind-blowing 160g/5oz – making it an ultra-light version of its older sibling, the CamelBak Marathon Vest.

The 1.5 litre Crux hydration reservoir when full brings the total vest weight up to just under 4lb in weight, with an additional 3.5 litre cargo capacity to store other essential bits of kit, such as snacks, keys, etc. All pockets feature elasticated adjustment, plus a zipped pocket for added security, with an added bonus of  being enough space left over in the main reservoir compartment for bigger items, such as a light jacket.

The big difference with the Circuit Vest over the Marathon Vest is the material, with the whole design created out of CamelBak’s new 3D ventilated mesh, providing a super light, breathable experience when out on longer runs or in warmer weather. The material is fantastic and, thanks to the design, you can barely tell that you’re carrying water and items, let alone actually wearing the vest.

The Circuit Vest comes in one size, with two adjustable elasticated straps bringing the vest together and additional fixings around the back of the vest. Spending a little bit of time on these before venturing out gave me a superb fit, with the added benefit that I could adjust ‘on the go’ if I needed to.

The mouthpiece and tube sit neatly down the right-hand side of the vest, clipping into a tube trap at the top and stow belt at the base of the vest. The tube can be adjusted to sit on the left side of the vest if more comfortable, although the tube trap is not moveable. In any case, left or right handed, access from the right is great and, as with all CamelBak products, there was absolutely no leakage from the reservoir or from the mouthpiece thanks to the leakproof on/off lever.

The Circuit Vest comes in a variety of colours, featuring reflective strips to help when out running in low-light conditions.

Hydration packs are essential items for the seasoned runner and, as such, there are lots of products from various brands to choose from in the outdoor market.

If you want something to help you go that little bit further, however, the Circuit Vest really does go the distance.

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