Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack — Review
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Camelbak Classic has been on the market for a long time. For a good reason, since it comes with anything you could ask for in a small package. Despite the packs’ overall size, it comes with 2,5 liter Camelbak Crux-hydration reservoir and a half a liter pocket for the bare essentials. The pocket has no internal compartments which mean you have to stuff it full or otherwise your belongings might be bouncing around. Camelbak Classic only relies on a chest strap to stay in place with no waist strap available.
Camelbak Classic at first glance
The first thing you are going to notice when picking up a Camelbak Classic is its weight or lack of it. The pack is surprisingly lightweight and small which is one of its key selling points. Once you put it on you find it comfortable to wear and when empty you barely notice it on your back. However, when the hydration reservoir is completely filled up the pack changes shape quite a bit. It still fits just fine, but it definitely doesn’t rest flat on your back anymore.
Once you have stuffed the only pocket full to stop your belongings from rattling around the pack is considerably heavier. Yet, it remains comfortable to wear and walk around with and seems perfect for shorter hikes for example. Camelbak claims that the redesigned bite valve is supposed to have a 20% better flow rate compared to the earlier model. I don’t know about that, but personally, I didn’t encounter any problems with the flow or the valve.
If you’re using the pack for mountain biking you’ll notice two things: first, there’s no way to fit your phone in the pocket after filling it up with a spare tube, tools and a mini pump. Secondly, on flat ground, the pack stays place just fine, but when the terrain gets rough the pack has a tendency to bounce around. It’s particularly irritating when doing a bunny hop since the motion pulls the back upwards off your back. With no way to attach a chest strap to it, unless you go DIY, there doesn’t seem to be a simple fix for this. It’s tolerable every now and then, but if your riding is even moderately rough I recommend steering away from this pack.
Thanks to its small size and light weight the pack doesn’t make your back sweat all that much. Especially when compared to larger packs such as Camelbak Rathet.
The hydration reservoir comes with a screw-on cap for easy filling. The integrated handle makes filling up the reservoir easy. Where the design falls short is maintenance. Washing the reservoir is easy, but drying is a lot trickier. To address this Camelbak sells a specific Crux-reservoir cleaning kit which includes a hanger and a plastic piece for keeping the reservoir open during drying. Not a bad idea, but for 20$ it might be half the price of the pack itself! Granted, it comes with two brushes and a few cleaning tabs, but it feels over-prized nevertheless. It would be a nice touch if the drying kit was included alongside the pack rather than being an aftermarket extra.
Camelbak Classic is a solid choice if you’re looking for affordable multi-sport hydration pack. It’s lightweight and small, yet can accommodate a 2,5-liter hydration reservoir. Where it falls short is storage, it feels kind of an afterthought rather than an intended feature. Without a waist strap, it is prone to bounce around on your back when going gets rough.
- Lightweight and small
- Doesn’t make your back sweat much
- 2,5-liter hydration reservoir
- Poorly implemented storage
- No waist strap
- The reservoir is tricky to dry