View Full Version : Camelbak hydration backpacks
Is anyone using any of the Camelbak hydration backpacks for mild dayhikes with 4x5 kit? If so, which model, and how much do you pack? My requirements would be 4x5 field camera, 2 lenses, meter, quickload holder and packets (maybe also polaroid holder and packets) jacket, powerbars, etc. Thanks.
There is no real answer to your question. I have used a camelback (2L I think) quite a bit for biking, sometimes with camera gear. I have also used it hiking. I have used up all the camelback plus 2 large bottles of water on some occasions (36 degrees Celsius, high humidity, hard ride) and barely touched it others. Heat, humidity, length of time, level of exertion, pre-hike hydration state, physical condition and other factors are play an extremely strong factor.
I do know one thing from experience: I far prefer to come home with water then not. I have been dehydrated a few times it is quite unpleasant, not to mention dangerous.
I have not owned one but I can tell you from experience what it feels not to have one. It was a scary miserable dry sunday I spent hiking the crater of a volcano. Get one!
I use a model (Pakteen 50oz) that snaps onto a belt and holds 1.5L. If I think I'll need more water than this, I won't take the hike. It rides on my hip on a padded belt (Kinesis). Helpful hint #1: Buy a replacement "mouth valve" because you can loose this piece if you are not careful. Helpful hint #2: After taking a drink, blow back (lightly) in the drinking tube to force the water that's in the tube back into the container. Otherwise, when you take a drink a half-hour later, the first swallow will be "hot" (yeccch). The water will stay remarkably cool in the container, however. I love mine.
Hey Josh, Yeah the camelback packs are really great. I think they have us all drinking more water (or other beverages) than ever before. Go look at the various models in person. Some of them are bare bones hydration packs with little room for anything else besides the bladder, others are like small day packs with pockets and room for of extra gear. Those with extra packing room can get quite large, yet aren't really big enough to haul anything useful unless you are a cyclist. They also offer something called (i think) the unbottle which is just the bladder plus hose, and you can put/strap it into any pack. check it out!
Since I started using one I stopped getting dehydrated. I used to come home with a headaches, thinking I had drunk enough when all I had taken was one litre. (I used to think it was all the exercise!) I use a 2 litre one and I still run out, for really long days I also take a thermos, which brings me up to three litres in a day. So in hind sight I would buy a three litre one.
I strap it to the top of which ever camera bag I am using. Always check to see that it dosen't leak by squeezing it. I use a camelbak unibottle 70, it has insulation and loops to make strapping it on where-ever an ease. Never had any problems except sand in the lid causing leaks. You can get a neoprene cover to stop the water getting hot in the hose in the sun. Be careful in cold weather, the liquid can freeze, in the hoze and the lid, leaving you with no access to water, backcountry ski guides don't recommend them for ski touring.
As for choosing a camera pack, take all of your gear to a supplier and fit it in, otherwise you are likely to get the wrong size. From my experience buy one too large, so you can always add more lenes, clothing, lunch etc. Comfort is worth considering if you are going to carry it all day. It might seem lite at the start of the day, but by the end it is always heavy.
Thanks all. Does anyone know if there is room for the unibottle (n/k/a "Omega Reservoir") in or on a Lowe NatureTrekker AW or Photo Trekker AW? Or is it better to get a dayhike sized Camelbak and wrap the camera gear?
I use an Osprey Eclipse 32 pack that has a built in pocket for a hydration bladder. In that pocket I use a 4 liter Platypus bladder (absolutely no plastic taste - highly recommended).
I use this pack for my 4x5 kit - Toho FC-45X, four lenses, 10 film holders, meter, accessories, Gitzo 1227, Arca-Swiss B1, first aid kit and emergency gear. Total without water is 13.5kg (just under 30lbs).
I use this backpack kit for everything, from car transport to hikes with 1000m (3300f) elevation change and greater. Believe me, when you are schlepping the 4x5 kit up the mountain, you need the water. IMHO, 2 liters isn't enough. I would rather carry an extra liter of water and not need it, than come up a liter short and become dehydrated. That's a headache (literally) that I don't need.
Get the 3 liter size for all-day trips---I only took 1 liter to Canyon X in May, it was 90 degrees and I got sick. Later found I was electrolyte-short, so perhaps instead of plain water one should take Gookinaid, or some such "sports drink" whick replaces lost electrolytes.
Try Campmor mail order-$69.00 with a hydration unit. They have a Kelty redwing pack, 2900 cu inches, great suspension for the money and aluminum back stays. I have hauled my gear for hours in the mounatins with 20+ pounds. Good large format backpack if you make inserts or wrap the equipment. John Sexton has used one for years without the hydration feature.
Yep, what he said. ^^^^^^^^^^^
I recently purchased the Kelty Redwing 2900 with 3-liter bladder from Campmor. Lots of room, plenty of water, and a great suspension. You can't beat it for the money.
North Face also makes good packs that have pockets for water bladders as well. A bit pricier than the Kelty, but very versatile for those heading far off the beaten path. I have a NF Patrol pack that not only holds my LF kit, but has tons of room for anyhting you need to stay out for a couple of days. Mine is relatively lightweight, has a carbon adjustable frame, is really comfortable and I can hang other essentials like the tripod, an ice axe, crampons, etc. on the packs external loops and holders.
On a side note, those concerned about dehydration should also remember to use the water bladder not just when it's hot out, but on cold weather or high altitude trips, too. It's really easy to get dehydrated under these conditions so always make it a rule to carry plenty of water at all times. I'd hate to see anyone noit be able to articipate in this forum because they got too sick from dehydration.... :)
I have a Pro Trekker AW, and I strap the unibottle to the top (so that it sits over the handle), so that is as high as possible on the pack, then I don't have to suck too hard to get the fluid out. I have been doing this for over a year and I have found it to work very well. This position also allows me to have all my other attachment pockets on (I have quite alot of pockets for warm clothing, epirb, wet weather gear, first aid kit, lunch, snacks, map, compass, thermos etc - as there is no room left inside as it is full of camera gear). The unibottle will only just fit if squashed into the attachable pockets that come with the pack, this means that you wouldn't be able to carry as much water. The Pro Trekker is covered with attachment points so you can strap pockets and gear on where ever you like.
As for the Photo Trekker I have no knowledge. In hindsight I should have bought the Supper Trekker AW as my camera set up is rather different to when I bought it 6 years ago, though I am hoping to get it down again as I am just learning that 'less is more'.
Love my Camelback...
I bike alot and have had several Camelbacks and other brands. They all seem to sweat or leak slightly, so I've been wary of packing expensive gear too close to the bladder, and using redundant plastic bags around the bladder and my gear. That said, they are a boon to keeping hydrated and feeling good when you're working hard. I stick with water only, as beer, energy goop, and juice seem to be impossible to totally clean out of the system. Also, I like to use those clips to attach the hose to my front packstrap.
The new bladders allow you to put regular ice cubes inside - nice.
The newer Camelbacks seem to have the best designs so far... they cost abit more, but they always seem to be a season ahead of the copycats.
Does anybody know which model Weston or Adams used? Hmmm?
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