By Josh Patterson
Camelbak seems to be in a constant state of refinement. There’s always something that can be made lighter, more ergonomic, or easier to use. For example, last year’s Charge LR has been updated with a back-loading (Your back, that is.) reservoir. This allowed the company to up the cargo capacity significantly.
I’ve used the Charge LR for numerous endurance events and my only criticism is that I wish there was a version with a three-liter bladder. Enter the Volt LR, below. It’s a larger version of the Charge LR with 10 liters of cargo capacity and a three liter reservoir for long days in the saddle. The Volt LR will retail for $125.
Through the R&D process Camelbak found it needed to change the shape of the three liter lumbar reservoir. (The manta ray-esque two-liter bladder, below left, didn’t work as well when the volume was increased.) The three-liter bladder, below right, also uses an internal baffle like the company’s traditional bladder to keep it flatter against your back when topped-off.
On the more traditional-side of the Camelbak line, the stalwart Mule NV, below, has been updated with a clamshell main compartment, an integrated bottom-loading rain cover, and new pod-like back panels said to improve airflow over the previous design.
Camelbak has come up with a pretty clever helmet carrying method for their packs. These clips, located on either side of the pack, securely hold your helmet’s straps and are very unobtrusive when not in use. Camelbak will be incorporating this helmet carrying system throughout its line.
For the ladies
The now has a women’s version of the Charge LR dubbed the Spark LR. Like the Charge LR it has a two-liter bladder and 7.5 of cargo capacity. The straps are contoured to fit a woman’s body and the pack is slightly shorter than the Charge LR for shorter torsos. The Spark LR will retail for $110.
The Luxe NV is essentially a women’s Mule NV. Like the Mule NV it’s redesigned with updated features including the new back panels. The Luxe NV will retail for $135.