The newest addition to my running bag repertoire is the CamelBak Circuit. I have now been running 200+ km with it and also performed the “stiletto” test, so it is time to share my views on it – both the positive impressions and the criticism. You can either watch the video below, or read all the way to the end.
Let me say it straight away. I think the CamelBak Circuit is fantastic. In my job as a running guide in Copenhagen, I sometimes run 3 running tours a day which are 30+ kilometers and around 5-6 hours of running. On days like this and also on our XL Tours and Half Marathon Tours I always run with a running vest, in order to bring energy, hydration, mobile, credit cards and the ability to carry an extra layer for a guest.
Now let us get on with it:
The CamelBak Circuit is the lightest running vest that CamelBak has. It is 300 grams (270 grams to be exact) and it holds a 1.5 litre water resevoir. The 1,5 litre reservoir comes with the typical CamelBak Big Bite valve where you have to bite a little bit in order to get the water out. The CamelBak Antidote Resevoir is a highly functional hydration system as it allows for quick opening on the run while also being low profile so that it does not slush or move too much on your back when you run.
The ¼ turn open/close cap allow for very quick refill so that if you in a race, you do not have to take the reservoir out to fill it and also the turning mechanism is rather big, which is great if your fingers become cold or numb while running. Mine fingers sometimes struggle during longer runs and in colder weather which is one of the reasons why I like the CamelBak Antidote resevours.
The front of the CamelBak Circuit have four compartments. There are two bigger compartments which are elastic and that can be tightened with a simple tightening technique. These pockets are great for energy or extra water.
There is also two smaller pockets. One is a little hidden,and this is the perfect compartment for a car key. The other pocket is sweat proof and is particularly handy for your mobile. In many Ultra Races it is mandatory to bring a mobile and the zipp pocket is particularly good for this purpose.
CamelBak Circuit – Ventilation
This running vest is very, very light, and as a result the ventilation of the CamelBak Circuit is exceptionally good. It is light to wear and the material closest to your body has ventilation holes so that it is easy for body heat and perspiration to leave your body.
And here’s a trick. I haven’t tried this trick myself but I know that CamelBak recommends to put ice in the Resevour on warm days, in order to keep your water cool and also use the resevour as a cooling device on your back. I haven’t tried it but it sounds pretty nice on a hot day.
CamelBak Circuit – fit/tightening system
The fit of the CamelBak Circuit is amazing and the best fit I have ever experienced. There are two chest straps where the lower one is elastic, which makes sure the running vest does not inhibit breathing. On the sides there is a two way tightening mechanism, which basically makes the bag sit snug and tight. This tightening system really, really, really works.
CamelBak Circuit – Criticism
I have one criticism of this pack because let us be honest. It would be a miracle if there was not a criticism. My criticism is that if you are small-framed like me, then you have all these loose straps everywhere and you can imagine when you run, you have straps everywhere (watch video for illustration). Loose straps is a pet hate of mine. I hate running with things going everywhere. But a pair of scissors and a sewing machine and then you are good to go.
The Stiletto Test
I have written why the CamelBak Circuit is good for running, for races and for us running guides in Copenhagen. But let me also get to a very important part. In Copenhagen and in Denmark in general, it is very popular to run to and from work, in order for people to use their commute to the office as a training session.
When I had my serious job (feels like a lifetime ago), I also ran to and from work and went through quite a few running backpacks. One criteria that I always had when buying running rucksacks was that it had to fit in a pair of stilettos (size 38). I would always bring a pair of high heels to the running store, in order to test whether the pack could fit my heels. In the video you can see how well the fit.
Every woman who runs to work has probably experienced that you run to work and then you jump into your work outfit (in my case suit and high heels). Then after work you take the bus or cycle home and the next morning you run to work again.
Then you stand at work the next day and realise: “Ah! My stilettos or my high heels are at home,”. This means having to spend the entire day at the office in your running trainers and apart from being a fashion disaster it is also just not cool. Having a bag that can fit your high heels will ensure that this never happens again, as you will for certain notice if nothing is in your CamelBak when running to work.
CamelBak Circuit – Round up
I would recommend this backpack to anyone. It is by far the best backpack I have been running with and it is perfect for our use. As mentioned in the beginning of this post – I think it is fantastic.
This fit is just absolutely fantastic. I can imagine even if you are bigger than me, then it might be even better. I do not know how it would be but it seems as if it is designed for someone bigger than me. In case you need more space, a bigger pack, then I can also recommend the CamelBak Octane XCT. We run with this bag as well and it is also exceptionally good. It has a little bit more capacity, a waist belt and a different shape, but still have the high quality in terms of comfort and functionality that CamelBak is known for.
Note: I am sponsored by STM Sport/CamelBak and have been since I started Running Copenhagen. It does not change the fact that I think these products are absolutely fantastic and some of the best that you can get.
With that disclaimer, then I will still say if you need a running backpack, this is by far one of the best ones I have ever tried and one of the best ones on the market.
Camelback Circuit – specifications:
From one gear nerd to another then let us finally look at the technical specifications of the CamelBak Circuit:
Key Pack Features:
External fill, sweat-proof phone pocket, stretch overflow storage, reflectivity, fits 30″-46″ chest.
Designed to Carry:
Water bottle, extra layer, nutrition, phone, keys.
Antidote Reservoir Features:
1/4 turn – easy open/close cap, lightweight fillport, dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening
- Total Capacity: N/A + 1.5L reservoir
- Pack-Only Weight: 9.5 oz / .27 kg
- Torso Length: 12 in / 30 cm
- Back Panel: Air mesh
- Harness: Fixed harness with wall mesh, cargo pockets and dual slider sternum straps, fits 30″ — 46″ chest
- Fabric: 70D reverse chain nylon