Walk test: Camelbak ZEPHYR PRO 12 bag, the big news for 2023

Walk test: Camelbak ZEPHYR PRO 12 bag, the big news for 2023

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

Reward : €149.99
Weight : 190g.


We knew the ZEPHYR 12L that Scott Hawker wore in 2019 at the UTMB, and we appreciated it with nuances. This PRO 12 version retains its DNA by eliminating the side pockets and preferring 2 pairs of straps. We are therefore in a transport diagram exclusively in front/behind the bag. Result: a great load capacity and accessories, but a clear separation of weight (front/rear…) man-sandwich style. Like in Ultimate, the “hiker” soul or the American custom of carrying a lot of gear? whether we like it or not but, in any case, Camelbak ensures a precise fit that does NOT pinch the armpits. In action and loaded, It does not move and… we can breathe. Weird sometimes! in the lateral movement, or downhill ground dive, we applaud the absence of impact of the flanges on the ribs, or the noise of the runner-shaker.


Front: pockets in all directions and lots of details

front face, 2 straps they are effective, quick to release and easy to adjust. We began to notice a very slight slackening, in a moderately heavy current. Worse still, the addition of 2 355 ml flasks to the 2 500 ml ones turned out to be too mobile. To study closely via another distribution of the back material. But is the scenario so common? Finally, can we lament the absence of height adjustments? let’s see, not essential bonus since the tightening is firm and definitive here. Valid.


Back: The “catcher” crossover pocket, Camel style


For or against storage on the hips? this ZEPHYR PRO 12 will make everyone agree on its 1Ahem strong point: an accessory show business, especially in the front. 2 compartments for bottles, zippered pockets at the top, in which we find a hook for keys, elastic bands galore (with zipper, please), net pocket or wallet, etc. In short, we find everything in the Zephyr Pro. A little too much ? let’s just say that’s a lot for a sports bag. But the quality of the details recalls Camelbak’s expertise: robust and ergonomic finger loops on the zippers, resistant materials (stretchy yet strong mesh, nylon that has defied the mount).


At the rear, the same attention can be read in the areas that make the difference. : We like these silicone inserts in the large transverse back pocket, which (pretty well) retain falling objects; the quality of the snapshots surprises, etc. However, you have to think about its storage because this same pocket is a bit flexible, to put a jacket in there without problem… not always the energy bars that can jump – just compress them, child’s play. 2 rear pockets are added, one of them with a zipper, which further increases the capacity of the thing. There are basically 3 options waiting for you: go to the dark side (no more back pockets, lots of accessories), stay a purist of “second skin” bags, or reserve this Zephyr Pro 12 for a long run, hike-run kind of thing. or mixed. Especially since there is a surprise hidden under the back pocket.



How is a quiver? they forgot, yes! ». That’s the #1 cattle tester reaction. Reaction #2: 3 presses to release in the lower back, and here’s a nice quiver coming out of its cocoon. Beyond the “gadget”, we immediately say bravo for the care taken: numerous links (low/high), fast and firm; summit adjustment with hard circle (obvious of course, but we have come across completely soft quivers. Go and store your poles there without getting upset. Defiance), easy to set up and store.


Be careful, from there to entering/exiting the quiver 10 times in one ultra, there is one step and it all requires a few minutes of quiet. But on the move there is no doubt: the pole pocket no longer moves and can even be modified on the shoulder in case of discomfort. Didn’t we win the Lépine contest? Quality of materials, inventiveness and real ergonomics, we like this GREAT detail that indicates knowledge of use.


Reward : €21.99/€25.99

“And then there are the jars.” It is not a Brel but a collector’s Camelbak. Yes, we didn’t think we were going to brag so much about the boats, but let’s be honest: the firm excels in them, beyond their apparent complexity. We have even adopted them in all the other brands. – because perfectly compatible, and… without a single impact on the chest! Ah the bruises and worn t-shirts after 3 hours with flasks are over. We found the number of precious little things: easy storage thanks to its pointed shape (but no hard end), date of manufacture and “date of use” of the material, very wide opening to pass ice cubes or bottle brush (bravo), thick and flexible material, hook for hanging the drip flask (bravo), open/closed system. Finally, the liters can be 350, 500 or even 620ml and of course, without bisphenols. The little downside? Difficulty sucking on the pacifier, when it is not well oriented. A hit to take, a bit annoying. But we breathe, and everything is better.


  • Ventilated back, many details, qualitative materials, careful construction.
  • The quiver of planks protrudes from the device, the rear panel is huge. Large cross pocket that doesn’t blush against competitors, accessible.
  • support in action close to the monolith, and very light overall. And the jars, and the jars…


  • the price, always tickling.
  • stackable in the front, but too abundant. Really Useful Extra Flasks? guaranteed excess weight… but who knows, it may help boost you! Barely enough compressed storage for a smartphone.
  • back pocket to organize well so as not to lose anything along the way. Or don’t run too fast.

Reward : €99.99
Weight : 190g.


Among the new 2023 collection, we were also able to test a VEST TRAIL RUN 7L aerodynamic. Model with less accessories, without double flange, the bag retains an excellent distribution of the pockets or even an optimal proximity to the body. There’s the dual side adjustment system and a front zippered smartphone pocket. Less dorsal volume but very well limited to the essentials, we would have liked it to be transversal but this one does the job. Once again, Camelbak retains a housing for a water bladder and its support for tubes; Special hands-free hydration design. Dated from? your turn to judge. The brand is betting on its running ranges in 2023 and is already announcing the color: in spring we run the risk of seeing Camel on the backs of runners.


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