Camelbak Chase Review

8.3
8.3 score
[Editors rating (8.3)] = (WalkJogRun) score (8.3)/10


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Editor rating: 8.3 / 10
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Camelbak sky-rocketed to fame among athletic and outdoor communities due to their hydration packs. You couldn’t, and still can’t, venture out to a festival or hike without seeing someone wearing one. Camelbak has begun providing a plethora of other must-have necessities for anyone looking to get outside. This Chase biking vest has all the necessities you need when on the mountain trail. Its sleek design ensures it won’t hold you back. Camelbak created a lot of open space to keep you feeling flexible and unconstrained in their vest.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Crux Hydration Pack
  • Fully Mesh Cushioning
  • Dual Adjustable Straps
  • Chafe-Free Design
  • Quick-Stow Pockets
  • Versatile Use
Cons
  • Only Holds 1.5 Liters
  • Slightly Expensive
  • No Visibility Features

Cost

Camelbak is a relatively known brand at this point in their lifespan. That can be both good and bad for consumers. Sometimes a big brand can afford to be more lenient with pricing, but frequently it slightly drives up cost as they gain a proper reputation. Camelbak is charging quite a bit for this Chase vest. Considering its capacity paling in comparison to hydration packs of various designs, it may not seem worth it for a vest that carries a mere 1.5L of liquids. Vests are great for lightweight travel, but if you are an intense mountain biker, you might need a bit more than just a vest to accompany your rides. For someone who is already well-equipped with heavier duty hydration packs or gear, this vest might be a majorly effective alternative. The problem is, if you’re spending the cost of this vest, it’s unlikely to want to also invest in an additional item for added versatility unless it’s something you have coveted or kept your eye on for quite some time already. If you are trying to add a more portable option to your hydration device assortment, then this might be a great way to add variety.

Comfort

Though this particular style lacks a big in storage, comparable to more full packs, it actually benefits from it. The lightweight design and minimalist carry capacity creates a supremely comfortable wear. This will exceed the comfort level that you think an outdoor accessory is capable of. Many reviewers felt this was one of the most, if not the most, comfortable devices they have used to carry fluids with them on their rides. Being active shouldn’t be a chore when you love what you’re doing, and Camelbak makes that simple with this Chase. Nothing about this product will hinder your performance, and you’ll feel that difference as soon as you put it on. The open sides ensure that you have a full range of motion, as well as cutting down on chafing when your arms move against your body. This helps to prevent snags or catches as well. If you wear a watch during your rides, you can feel comfortable knowing this won’t catch your arm at an inopportune time. The light material is mostly meshed, being incredibly breathable for anyone concerned about getting overly hot while they take their bike out.

Design

Very streamlined, the Camelbak chase is clever in its design choices. It looks very similar to a life vest in design, in that it comes over your head and is open on both sides, with the main panels on the back and front. The back of the Chase is equipped with a water storage area. The front has two large panels coming down across the chest and stomach. These act as storage, as well as a way to comfortably anchor the water bladder to your body, without bouncing or feeling uncomfortable while you wear it. It is honestly pretty nice to look at. You would assume this kind of hydration pack would end up looking clumsy or be less than aerodynamic on, but that seems to not be the case on this option. The sleek look flows with the body, and won’t cause any resistance or unbalanced weight when you’re on the mountain trail. While we mentioned that this doesn’t provide very much carrying support, that is because the design intends to cut the bulk and stick to the basics. If minimalism is something that interests you, look no further.

Fit

Everyone’s body is uniquely theirs so a great, adjustable fit can be key when it comes to athletic accessories. With so many different body types and accommodations to account for, you want gear that is as flexible as you. Many reviewers were using this item in place of what is called a “runner’s vest”. Essentially, it is the same function, just a lightweight way to bring water with you and other must-haves. Reviewers who could not find the running kind that would fit them properly were relieved to discover this Chase fit them extremely well. With not one, but two, adjustable straps across the sternum, this had great adjustability and a comfy fit for those that may have too much height or girth for hydration clothing built for smaller frames. This close to the body also helps to stabilize the contents of the bag. One small complaint with the fit is that having a full reservoir will slightly affect how this rests on your shoulders. Reviewers who had this problem recommended possibly keeping heavier items in the front pockets to even out the distribution of weight, but it wasn’t too inconvenient or bothersome. Some body types will still struggle to fit this Camelbak’s 20-inch span, it goes from 26 to 46 inches, but it is at least accommodating to more body types than similar varieties.

Material Breathability

With hydration clothing and accessories, companies often construct them using extremely breathable mesh, or a specially designed system for airflow. Since this vest covers both the front and the back of the body, that material needs to work overtime to provide a ventilated feel. Like a backpack, this does have the heaviest part of the bag, the reservoir, positioned in the middle of the upper back. This is going to retain heat but the way it is dispersed, and the mesh they use, helps to reduce any insulation effects that may come about due to the relatively full level of coverage, compared to a lumbar bag or waist bag. The straps on the upper shoulder are completely meshed, which helps in not restricting heat from moving away from the body. The 3D Vent Mesh provides air flow from several different directions. It also acts as cushioning for the shoulders and the back as you wear this Chase. High-tech material is an integral value for Camelbak in their gear options, and this sleek design doesn’t disappoint.

Pocket Accessibility

Reviewers absolutely adored the accessibility of their most-needed items, thanks to the design of the storage on the Camelbak Chase. They were able to create a pretty sleek set-up despite it being so minimal. The back of this pack holds a hydration reservoir, but there is also room to put bigger items, like a large cell phone. The top of the pack zips, and on the exterior of this bag, there are also two other zip pockets which would be out of reach while riding. While this may be inconvenient for those who need to keep certain valuables close, the most important quick-access items are easily placed in the front pockets of the Chase. Front harness pockets allow for an easy reach to get to anything you might need immediately. If you are someone who likes to keep gels or protein bars on you, these front pockets are very convenient for you to do just that. With access in the blink of an eye, you can munch on an energy generating snack in the blink of an eye.

Storage Compartments

When it came to the storage ability, reviewers seemed a bit conflicted. Some say it didn’t hold much, and would struggle to fit some biking essentials, others said that it was able to accommodate their full kits. Since there was dissent from the opinion of it having great storage for its size, it may be risky to invest in this if you absolutely need to carry with you items that cannot be compromised. Hardcore riders would more than likely need to upgrade to an accessory that is better equipped for hardcore rides, and all the risks that may come with them. With very little room aside from the agreement that phone and assorted items can fit in the main pocket, with a few smaller pockets around the vest, there is a risk of you not being able to carry your normal haul when headed out for a ride. This item would do well to be accompanied by a waist pack of some sort, which would ensure you had everything you need, give you guaranteed room to carry a repair kit, and also have the capacity to carry an additional water container if need be.

Versatility

One of the greatest factors of this Camelbak Chase is how insanely versatile it is. Reviewers often said they used it for running, jogging, or a host of other activities where you need to keep essentials on you without the interference of added bulk. I can’t stress enough how low-profile the Chase is. Even with a full reservoir, it maintains a relatively slim profile. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that this is intended for mountain biking. That means the same kind of safety measures that go into creating street bike gear were not implemented here. Since this is a mountain biking option, there are not reflective materials incorporated into the design. If you do intend to use this in more visible, city settings, I would urge you to get some type of reflective clothing or light to attach to this vest, for your own safety. As long as you keep in mind that this isn’t designed for spaces occupied or traveled by motorists, and thus take the necessary precautions, you should be completely fine using this vest for other activities than mountain biking.

Water Capacity

As mentioned, this item is very sleek. With that sleek design comes a few negative points. One being its less-than-ample storage, the other is its 1.5-liter reservoir. This reservoir is top of the line, and we will discuss that in a minute, but first, it has to be noted that this is smaller than even most lumbar hydration packs. For anyone requiring serious hydration, this probably won’t have a high enough capacity to accommodate you. That being said, this Crux reservoir is able to provide a faster flow rate, better hydrating you. Though it does hydrate better, that means the water will also run out faster, even with pacing yourself. Many reviewers said they would recommend this as best for a 60 to 90-minute ride or run. It would be your safest bet. Some found that in the front “quick stow” pockets could accommodate a water bottle as well, which might be a good additional solution, but it diminishes some of the lightweight features of the vest.

Weight

This mostly mesh construction is stunning to feel. If you enjoy morning jogs with just music and the sun beating down on you, but find you are lacking in hydration during such time, the Camelbak Chase would be a good alternative to doing without. Many people value the freedom they feel when running and riding. Lumbar packs, backpacks, and waist packs, unavoidably feel like you’re being weighed down by the device intended to help you. The allover mesh and even distribution of weight on this Camelbak Chase make adding an additional piece of wardrobe to your run much less of a compromise. This vest weighs only 11 ounces, and with an expandable pocket to carry a light jacket or windbreaker depending on your needs, this can help free you up on the road, whether you're on wheels or on foot. The overall capacity is 2.5 liters, so even with a full pack, you will feel pretty liberated.

Bottom Line

The need to stay hydrated while doing intense physical activity will always be there. Luckily, Camelbak makes satisfying that need a little easier with items like their Chase Bike vest. Though it doesn’t have the extensive capacity, liquid or otherwise, nor does it utilize reflective materials, the features of this low-key accessory more than makeup for it. Cushioned and ventilated mesh create a comfortable vest that you’ll forget you’re wearing, in the best possible way.