Camelbak ZEPHYR PRO 12 bag, the beautiful novelty for 2023

Since 1989 in sports hydration, Camelbak has been a pioneer. And yet! Despite excellent trail running products, the US brand sometimes struggles to seduce against 100% running competitors. However, Scott Hawker or Xavier Thevenard were Camel. During the UTMB 2022, we had the chance to test two major 2023 releases, including one that could happily shake up the spring: the brand new ZEPHYR PRO 12 which contains a nice surprise.

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CAMELBAK ZEPHYR PRO 12L
Price : 149.99€
Weight : 190g.

ERGONOMICS AT THE MEETING

We knew the ZEPHYR 12L that Scott Hawker wore in 2019 on the UTMB, and we appreciated it with nuance. This PRO 12 version retains its DNA by removing the side pockets and preferring 2 pairs of straps. We are therefore on a carrying diagram exclusively front/rear of the bag. Result: a great carrying and accessorizing capacity, but a clear separation of the weight (front/rear…) man-sandwich style. Like at Ultimate, “hiking” soul or US habit of carrying a lot of equipment? we like it or not but in any case, Camelbak ensures a precise adjustment that does NOT pinch the armpits. In action and charged, it does not move and…we can breathe. Rare, sometimes! on lateral movement, or ground chopping downhill, we applaud the absence of impact of the flanges on the ribs, or the noise of the runner-shaker.

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Front: pockets in all directions and a host of details

Front face, 2 straps are effective, unclip quickly and adjust easily. We happened to notice a very slight loosening, in moderately heavy current. Worse, the addition of 2 flasks of 355ml to the 2 of 500ml, proved to be a little too mobile. To study closely via another distribution of the rear material. But is the scenario so common? Finally, can we regret the absence of height adjustments? to see, bonus not essential as the tightening is here firm and final. Valid.

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Back: the cross pocket “which catches”, Camel style

STORAGE FESTIVAL…ACCESSIBLE AND USEFUL?

For or against storage on the hips? this ZEPHYR PRO 12 will make everyone agree on its 1er strong point: a farandole of accessories, especially at the front. 2 flask storage compartments, zipped pockets above, in which we find a key hook, elastic bands galore (with zipper, please), net pocket or wallet, etc… in short, we find everything in the Zephyr Pro. A bit too much ? let’s say that’s a lot for a sports bag. But the quality of the detail is reminiscent of Camelbak’s expertise: robust and ergonomic finger loops on the zips, resistant materials (elastic but solid mesh, nylon that has braved the bush).

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At the rear, the same attention can be read on areas that make the difference : we like these silicone inserts on the large transverse back pocket, retaining (quite well) falling objects; the quality of the snaps surprises, etc. Nevertheless, it is necessary to think of its storage because this same pocket is a little flexible, to fit a jacket there without problem… not always the energy bars which can jump – just suffice to compress them, child’s play. 2 back pockets are added, one of which is zipped, which further increase the capacity of the thing. Basically, 3 options await you: switch to the dark side (end of hip pockets, multitude of accessories), remain a purist of “second skin” bags, or reserve this Zephyr Pro 12 for a type of long race, hike-run or mixed. Especially since a surprise is hidden under the back pocket.

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HIDE THIS QUIVER THAT I DON’T…

How’s a quiver? they forgot it, yes! ». That’s the #1 reaction of the cattle tester. Reaction n°2: 3 pressures to unclip at the very bottom of the back, and here is a pretty quiver coming out of its cocoon. Beyond the “gadget”, we immediately say bravo to the care taken: numerous bindings (low/high), fast and firm; summit tightening with stiffened circle (obvious of course, but we have come across completely soft quivers. Go and store your poles there without getting upset. Challenge.), easy to set up and store.

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Be careful, from there to entering/exiting the quiver 10 times on an ultra, there is a step and the whole thing still requires a few quiet minutes. But in movement there is no doubt: the pocket with poles no longer moves and can even be modified on the shoulder in case of discomfort. We do not win the Lépine contest? Quality of materials, inventiveness and real ergonomics, we like this BIG detail which indicates knowledge of use.

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PROBABLY THE BEST FLASKS: QUICK STOW 355/500 ml
Price : 21.99€/25.99€

“And then there are the flasks.” It’s not Brel but collector’s Camelbak. Yes, we didn’t think we were going to brag about the canisters so much, but let’s be honest: the firm excels at them, beyond their apparent complexity. We have even adopted them on all other brands – because perfectly compatible, and… without a single impact on the chest! Ah the bruises and the t-shirts worn out after 3 hours with flasks, finished. We find the quantity of precious little things: easy storage via a pointed shape (but without a hard end), date of manufacture and “use by” of the material, very wide opening to pass ice cubes or bottle brush (bravo), thick and flexible material, hook to hang the flask to drip (bravo), open/closed system. Finally, the liters can be 350, 500 or even 620ml and of course, without bisphenols. The tiny downside? difficulty in sucking from the pacifier, when it is not well oriented. A blow to take, a little annoying. But we breathe, and everything is better.

WE LOVE :

  • Ventilated back, lots of details, qualitative materials, meticulous construction.
  • The Planked Quiver protrudes from the gadget, the rear panel is vast. Large transverse pocket that does not blush in front of competitors, accessible.
  • Support in action close to the monolith, and very light overall. And the flasks, and the flasks…

WE LIKE LESS:

  • the price, always tickling.
  • Stackable in the front, but too filling. Really useful extra flasks? excess weight guaranteed… but who knows, it can help to propel! Zipped storage barely sufficient for a smartphone.
  • back pocket to organize well so as not to lose anything on the way. Or, don’t run too fast.

TRAIL RUN VEST 7L: AN INTERESTING LITTLE SISTER… IN THE MAKING
Price : 99.99€
Weight : 190g.

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Among the new 2023 collection, we were also able to test a TRAIL RUN VEST 7L streamlined. Model with fewer accessories, without double flanges, the bag retains an excellent distribution of the pockets or even an optimal proximity to the body. It includes the double lateral tightening system and a front zipped pocket for a smartphone. Less dorsal volume but nicely limited to the essentials, we would have liked it transverse but this one does the job. Once again Camelbak retains a housing for a water bladder and its tube holder; special hands-free hydration design. Dated? your turn to judge. The brand is betting on its running ranges in 2023 and immediately announces the color: in the spring, we risk seeing Camel on the backs of runners.

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