Published on December 1, 2015
CamelBak Ultra 10
The CamelBak Ultra 10 is easily the most fully-specced and feature-laden hydration pack we have ever put to test. And there’s good reason for that as the Ultra 10 was designed specifically for the rigours of the legendary Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. Made to accommodate every item on the UTMB’s kit and gear list, the CamelBak Ultra 10 certainly isn’t for those looking for a stripped-back minimalist hydration solution and the plethora of features can take some getting used to. Let’s break it down…
Staring with the basics the Ultra 10 accommodates a 2litre reservoir (which of course comes with CamelBak’s standard lifetime guarantee) but even here there are some neat inbuilt tricks. Want to refill easily on the go? No problem, you won’t even need to take the reservoir out of the pack to top up thanks to the ‘external refill’ design and wide filler mouth. Not everyone is a fan of these extra large filler mouths of course, they do have a tendency to miss-thread – particularly with cold hands in charge – and expelling excess air can be tricky. That said RunningMonkey would take the speed advantages on offer without quibble.
The feed tube runs through sleeving to attach to the right side straps via quick-release clips. It’s entirely possible that those that prefer a left-hand feed can reposition the clips – but quite how has so far eluded us.
The Ultra 10 has colour-coded webbing for easy identification when it comes to accessing water and a thin mesh between reservoir and back so that on hot days iced water can help cool the run. If you’re looking for additional water – or want the flexibility of carrying water and electrolytes / energy drinks – there are two meshed pockets on the front of the pack in which bottles (not supplied) can be secured and quickly accessed.
Aside from the 2litre water capacity the Ultra 10 offers an additional 8litres of storage (in case you hadn’t worked that out from the name.) There’s a zipped sweat-proof pocket to the front and the main cargo hold is divided into three compartments, one of which is zipped for securing things you really don’t want to lose on the run. Add to that trekking pole attachments and a whole bunch of lashing points – more of which we keep discovering on each run – and the Ultra 10 really does start to live up to CamelBak’s assertion that: ‘If it works on Mont Blanc, it can handle just about anything.’
Naturally all this would count for nothing if the Ultra 10 wasn’t comfortable, but it really stacks up here too. There are two sternum straps – as opposed to a more usual sternum and waist strap combo – that keep everything perfectly in place and a multitude of quick-adjust straps for personalising fit down to the last millimetre. Initially we found a couple of the internal bands used for providing rigidity to the front wings somewhat uncomfortable and inflexible, but after a couple of long runs we had either found the sweet-spot for adjustments or they had simply bedded in.
Even if you’re not planning on tackling the mighty UTMB any time soon the CamelBak Ultra 10 is an outstanding option for those who want to go longer, stash more, and have everything right to hand. And, if you’re looking to delay going out for that run it will also provide hours of entertainment just uncovering all of the features…