Review: Camelbak Ultra Belt
As an endurance runner, I take this issue to heart – I am used to running with either a hydration pack or some sort of storage belt to stash fuel and liquids for the long run. So the idea of a testing out a new hydration belt immediately piqued my interest.
The Camelbak Ultra Belt is designed exactly for what runners need most – space and comfort. As always, we like to test out new products as often as we can and in as many different scenarios as possible – so this sexy little belt has seen dirt, trails, tar, and mountains all over Cape Town and, barring a few minor caveats, we’ve been delighted with the results.
Made from the same high-quality materials we’ve come to expect from Camelbak, the belt’s wide mesh design ensures that weight is distributed evenly across the torso – to the point that you almost don’t know it's there. Its light-weight design means it does the job beautifully – while not making you too hot in the process.
With a user-adjustable front pouch that slides along the belt – you can position the pack wherever it feels most comfortable. As runners, specifically on the trails - we are all different and have the freedom of choice to decide where best to place the pouch is a winning feature that we haven’t seen on many other belts.
The Camelback hydration water bottle is made from a soft, durable, and collapsible fabric that once emptied – seemingly ceases to exist. It flattens and disappears into the belt and not a moment’s thought is given to its shape, size, or weight ever again. The bottle’s valve is the standard Camelbak “bite” valve we know and love – so no surprises there – its easy to drink and the lock feature ensures that not a drop of Cape Town’s precious water spills to the ground in waste.
The only issue we found with the water bottle – when you fill it all the way to the top (500ml’s worth), its shape does become more round and once you stuff it (comfortably) into the back pocket and try run with it – it can roll a bit and becomes slightly bouncy. While this won’t affect everyone – we did find it noticeable enough to mark it down as a distraction.
However, I did find that when I reduced the quantity down to around the 350-400ml mark, the bottle’s shape wasn’t as pronounced and being a bit flatter meant it didn’t bounce as much. I’ll leave the decision on whether sacrificing some quantity is worth the quality to you.
I’m used to wearing a running belt low down on my hips but have found that in this position, if the clip was on my hip bone, it would loosen a bit during the run. My suggestion - wear the belt slightly higher and position the clip in such a way that it doesn’t get lifted up so it won’t loosen all the time.
In terms of storage space - the back pocket has a wide opening, making it very easy to take the bottle in and out. The front pocket is a decent size which can fit a standard sized phone (in my case the iPhone 7) as well as some nutrition and a car key.
In a nutshell - the belt is a good quality. I expect nothing less from Camelbak though, so this again was no surprise. I stress tested the belt on multiple occasions on various terrains and it held up perfectly – from a mechanics perspective, everything functioned and worked exactly as expected – the zippers, clasp, and bottle valve all held up perfectly.
The beauty of this product is that it does not have a lot of moving parts so we believe it will do well over time and as long as you look after it – it will last for as long as you need it to.
The belt itself is made from a durable mesh fabric that, while it looks and feels lightweight, is actually made from highly durable materials that won't be breaking and fraying anytime soon.
If a runner wasn’t involved in this product’s design and manufacture – I will eat my running shoes! Its attention to detail and clever design is uniquely suitable for trail and endurance runners – but will make most pavement pounders happy too.
We cannot fault the product in terms of quality, durability and function - it is the same high-standard, high-quality product we love from Camelbak.
Our final note - we did feel that this belt is more suited for trail running & hiking whereas the constant pounding on the tar for road running made it more of a distraction than a benefit. For long distance road-running, we would sooner recommend the Camelbak Ultra 4.
Final Rating: 7/10.