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  1. #1
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    Camelbak Octane LR vs. Osprey Manta vs. ????

    I know there have been hundreds (maybe thousands) of posts regarding hydration packs here, and I've read a fair number of them. I'm relatively new (riding since this spring) and I'm already on my third pack and still not really happy, so I thought I'd try to define what I've found out so far and what I'm looking for and see what advice others who have had relevant experience might say.

    BTW, I'm well aware of the fact that there really isn't a "one-pack for all purposes" solution, although I'd like to keep the number down to a minimum, one for general bike rides and another that could double as a versatile day hike/longer bike ride pack.

    My first pack was a $25 Ful from Costco, which was really pretty nice for the $$.

    Second was a Cambelbak H.A.W.G. NV. I thought that this one might serve double-duty as a general bike pack and also work well for day-hikes. I was pretty happy with the H.A.W.G. for short, 1-2 hour bike rides. When not packed full, the HAWG is pretty light and comfortable on the bike and certainly held more than enough water.

    I started to get unhappy with the HAWG when I loaded it up with more weight and went hiking with it. I found that when loaded (12-15 lbs., estimated), that it just killed my shoulders and upper back muscles after about 40 minutes or so. I tried adjusting but didn't get any real relief. Last week, after experiencing the same thing after I took it along for a trail workday, I just drove straight to the local REI to see if they had an "expert" pack fitter who could point out to me what I was doing wrong and how I might adjust the pack to be more comfortable.

    After talking with two different REI staff pack people, the upshot was that they thought Camelbaks (and to be fair, a lot of hydration packs) don't really have anything like the frame/suspension systems found in packs meant to carry a lot more weight and gear. BTW, they weren't dogging Camelbaks, and neither am I! We all agreed that the new Camelbak reservoir system (Antidote) is great also. One of the REI guys suggested that I try the Osprey Manta 25 in the M/L size. It's about the same overall size as the HAWG, has a similar number of pockets and storage areas and also has a 100 oz/3 ltr reservoir. The main difference is that the Manta has a stiff peripheral kind of frame built into it that a) keeps the pack a little bit more off your back and b) seems to facilitate getting the weight of the pack loaded onto your hips. It also seems to me to be more adjustable in general. The Osprey's reservoir isn't as slick as the Antidote system, but it also has a still back panel that makes it conform to the shape of the pack. It also has a magnet on the bottom of the bite valve which sticks to the chest strap...kind of neat, but not a big deal.

    Link to Osprey Manta:

    Osprey Manta 20 Hydration Pack - 100 fl. oz. - Free Shipping at REI.com

    REI guy suggested that I just turn in the HAWG and take the Osprey, which I ended up doing, figuring that I kind of knew that the HAWG wasn't going to make it as my day-hike pack, even if it was OK for the bike riding. And the Manta 25 did feel noticeably better at the store--weight was definitely more on my hips than with the HAWG.

    I've only used the Osprey Manta once so far. I took it out to a local bike trail for a hike. I packed it up pretty well--full reservoir and I threw in all my bike gear along with a camera and a portable GPS since I wanted to see how it did with a pretty full load. I did a 5-mile up and down and up and down again hike on one of the local bike trails (Tunnel Canyon to Otero Canyon and back for anyone from Albuquerque!). Took about 2.25 hours and there was a marked improvement in comfort over my experience with the HAWG.

    So, problem solved, right? Well.... I haven't really tried the Osprey Manta on the bike yet, but I'm thinking that even if it's as good, or even a bit better, than the HAWG on the bike, it's still a little big and bulky for most of my short rides. I'm starting to think that what I really need or want is two packs: one for day-hiking and possibly longer bike rides and another one that will serve for shorter bike rides. Which brings me to the Camelbak Octane LR. "LR" stands for lumbar reservoir and here's a link:

    CamelBak Octane LR Hydration Pack - 70 fl. oz. - Free Shipping at REI.com

    This seems to be a nice minimalist solution for the bike pack. In researching these I've run across some complaints that the horizontal reservoir doesn't function well--it leaves water in the wing sections that can't be picked up at the tube junction in the middle. I also wonder if it has enough space for essential biking tools: tube, levers, multi-tool, pump, etc. The IDEA of a lower-riding lumbar reservoir has a lot of appeal, but I'll probably have to try one out to see how it actually works.

    If the Octane LR works as a shorter-ride bike pack, then I'd probably abandon the Osprey Manta in favor of the REI Venturi 30, as my second general hiking pack. I have tried this one on and really like the way that it really suspends the pack away from my back with almost all the weight on my hips. It's too bulky to consider as an everyday bike pack, but I think it would function very well as an all-around day pack and might be OK for longer bike rides as well. It's got a full peripheral aluminum frame and has a hydration reservoir compartment. It also has about 25% more cargo room than either the HAWG or the Manta, while weighing a little less than either of them. (It's also on sale at REI Outlet ). Link:

    REI Venturi 30 Pack - Men's - Special Buy - Free Shipping at REI-OUTLET.com

    One last note: I've seen and like the the idea of the Wingnut packs also, but they are impossible to see and try since no local shop seems to carry them.

    So, after all that, I'd be interested to hear about anyone's experience with the Camelbak LR and/or the Osprey Manta.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  2. #2
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    you're comparing a day pack to a trail running/riding pack... i'm confused, too many words.

    Here you go, since you seem like you buy from REI anyways, buy them all, buy one of them, whatever. Try them all out and then whatever you don't like return it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by illegalsmile View Post
    you're comparing a day pack to a trail running/riding pack... i'm confused, too many words.

    Here you go, since you seem like you buy from REI anyways, buy them all, buy one of them, whatever. Try them all out and then whatever you don't like return it.

    Sorry for the long post....sorting things out in my own mind, I guess. Bottom line is I'm wondering whether anyone has experience with the Camelbak Octane LR. I think I'll definitely give it a try.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  4. #4
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    The Manta 20 is billed as a multi-sport pack, and according to Osprey that label includes mountain biking. I have a Manta 25 that I use all the time (though not so much for biking right now as it's overkill until I need to carry extra layers) and I love it. I know people who have the Osprey bike specific packs - the Raptor series - and they really like them too. As far as I can tell, they are very similar, but do have additional bike features like more bike-tool-friendly organization and the lid lock thing.

    I believe the frame of the packs are the same. And, to me at least, the Osprey keeps the weight on your shoulders/back in a much more comfortable position than a loaded Camelbak that just kinda hangs there. IMO, the Manta will be just fine despite not being 100% marketed to biking. For shorter rides the compression straps do a good job cinching a lighter load down and keeping everything steady. And that little bite valve magnet seems like a gimmick at first, but you'll learn to love it!

    That said, I don't have any experience with the Octane LR. Just my quick thoughts. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    The Manta 20 is billed as a multi-sport pack, and according to Osprey that label includes mountain biking. I have a Manta 25 that I use all the time (though not so much for biking right now as it's overkill until I need to carry extra layers) and I love it. I know people who have the Osprey bike specific packs - the Raptor series - and they really like them too. As far as I can tell, they are very similar, but do have additional bike features like more bike-tool-friendly organization and the lid lock thing.

    I believe the frame of the packs are the same. And, to me at least, the Osprey keeps the weight on your shoulders/back in a much more comfortable position than a loaded Camelbak that just kinda hangs there. IMO, the Manta will be just fine despite not being 100% marketed to biking. For shorter rides the compression straps do a good job cinching a lighter load down and keeping everything steady. And that little bite valve magnet seems like a gimmick at first, but you'll learn to love it!

    That said, I don't have any experience with the Octane LR. Just my quick thoughts. Good luck!
    Thanks. I agree that in my test hike anyway the Osprey was an order of magnitude more comfortable than the fully-loaded Camelbak.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  6. #6
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    I have an Octane LR and find it comfortable assuming you have arranged your gear the right way. There isn't much padding between your back and the storage pockets, and no bladder either, so you can feel everything in there if you do it wrong. There is not a lot of storage but I normally have a spare tube, levers, pump (topeak micro rocket), bike tool and multi-tool. I've also only used it on shorter rides and haven't consumed enough water to experience any problems with the bladder. If you start adding things for longer and more remote rides (food, first aid kit, etc.) you'll probably run out of room. The two pockets also share a wall, so if you fill up one too much you start to take room from the other pocket. I think your description minimalist is spot on.

  7. #7
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    Consider these two well designed performance packs:

    Dakine Apex: DAKINE Bike : Apex

    Ergon BC-2: ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS

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    The Clymb just announced a sale on Camelbak - up to 70% off. Do me a favor and use my referral code! www [dot] theclymb.com/invite-from/JimMackay

    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugger View Post
    The Clymb just announced a sale on Camelbak - up to 70% off. Do me a favor and use my referral code! www [dot] theclymb.com/invite-from/JimMackay

    Good luck.
    Thanks. I'm already signed up with The Clymb, so I can't help you there. Also the selection of Camelbaks on sale is pretty limited--mostly women's packs. But again, thanks for the thought.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by heppcat View Post
    I have an Octane LR and find it comfortable assuming you have arranged your gear the right way. There isn't much padding between your back and the storage pockets, and no bladder either, so you can feel everything in there if you do it wrong. There is not a lot of storage but I normally have a spare tube, levers, pump (topeak micro rocket), bike tool and multi-tool. I've also only used it on shorter rides and haven't consumed enough water to experience any problems with the bladder. If you start adding things for longer and more remote rides (food, first aid kit, etc.) you'll probably run out of room. The two pockets also share a wall, so if you fill up one too much you start to take room from the other pocket. I think your description minimalist is spot on.
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm kind of zeroing in on having two packs--a real minimal bike pack and a larger hike/bike pack. The Octane looks like it's worth a try if you can get the essential bike tools into it.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Consider these two well designed performance packs:

    Dakine Apex: DAKINE Bike : Apex

    Ergon BC-2: ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS

    Thank you. That Ergon suspension system looks interesting. Do you have any experience with it? It looks like it definitely keeps the pack away from your back, but does it keep the weight off your shoulders?
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  12. #12
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    I took the Osprey Manta 20 on a short (1 hour) bike ride and it was pretty comfortable--better than the Camelbak HAWG. The magnetic bite valve/hose is pretty handy too. The reservoir leaves a lot to be desired compared to the Camelbak antidote, though, at least as far as ease of filling and cleaning goes.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  13. #13
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    New "LR" (lumbar reservoir) pack from Camelbak

    I went to REI and tried on/purchased the Octane LR today and about 10 minutes later I discovered that Camelbak has announced a more bike-oriented version of the pack called the "Charge LR."

    Here's a link to some info:

    Dirt Rag Magazine

    Basically the same idea as the Octane--low-riding, horizontal 70 oz. reservoir, but supposedly has more padding to address the problem noted by Heppcat above and also a little more capacity.

    Overall I really like the super-low weight of the Octane, but I'll be returning it unused and wait until I can find the new Charge LR.

    For day-hiking needs I'll either keep the Osprey Manta, or keep looking for something.

    If anyone knows where the new Charge LR can be found, please let me know!
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  14. #14
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    Outside mag did a short online review of that pack and says it'll be available "later this fall." Whatever that means...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    Thank you. That Ergon suspension system looks interesting. Do you have any experience with it? It looks like it definitely keeps the pack away from your back, but does it keep the weight off your shoulders?
    I have the Dakine Apex pack, along with many other Dakine packs I use for skiing, fly fishing and hiking.

    Prior to purchasing the Dakine Apex, I thoughtfully considered Camelbak's offerings but have yet to find a Camelbak pack which is superior to a competing Dakine design.

    Examine the Apex pack in person to appreciate it's many thoughtful cycling design features and fit.

    How wide is the important hip-belt strap on the current Camelbak Octane? The Dakine Apex strap is 1.5 inches wide and provides stable load carrying support.

    Be certain to properly fit, and use, your hip-belt and sternum strap. If your pack continues to dig into your shoulders, with a even a modest load, then that pack is not the right pack for you.


    I also suggested the Ergon pack as it is rated up to 13 pounds and the unique hip-belt and frame design allows the pack to support up to 80% of the load weight, while maximizing ventilation and minimizing movement restrictions for bikers.


    You may need to search beyond REI given that REI's current product selection/choices, is not as vast as it has been in recent years.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    Outside mag did a short online review of that pack and says it'll be available "later this fall." Whatever that means...
    I sent an email to Camelbak and may call them in the morning. Hopefully they'll have some concrete info. I'll post here if I find out anything.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    I have the Dakine Apex pack, along with many other Dakine packs I use for skiing, fly fishing and hiking.

    Prior to purchasing the Dakine Apex, I thoughtfully considered Camelbak's offerings but have yet to find a Camelbak pack which is superior to a competing Dakine design.

    Examine the Apex pack in person to appreciate it's many thoughtful cycling design features and fit.
    I'll see what opportunities there are here (Albuquerque, NM) for seeing these in person.

    How wide is the important hip-belt strap on the current Camelbak Octane? The Dakine Apex strap is 1.5 inches wide and provides stable load carrying support.
    The Octane's hip belt is about 3/4" wide--at least the webbing part. Same with the Osprey Manta 20. The Octane has the "wing" pockets, which are in a sense part of the belt.

    My main attraction to the Octane, and now the Charge, is that it seems to fit the bill for a really minimal bike pack. It's very, very light--12 oz. total weight. The horizontal reservoir is meant to keep the water weight low and there's enough storage (even in the Octane) to carry a pump, spare tube, multi-tool and other biking essentials. That said, I've found that NONE of the Camelbaks that I've looked at have any kind of real suspension system that transfers the bulk of the pack's weight to the hips. On a bike, at least for short rides, this shortcoming with the HAWG didn't really manifest itself until I took it out on hikes and it started killing my upper back/shoulders. Probably has something to do with the fact that when riding you're mostly leaning forward so the pack's weight isn't really hanging off your shoulders, but is kind of resting on your back. My current theory anyway....

    Be certain to properly fit, and use, your hip-belt and sternum strap. If your pack continues to dig into your shoulders, with a even a modest load, then that pack is not the right pack for you.
    Agreed. This will be a primary consideration for my second pack. I tried on an Osprey Stratos today and it had a fully frame and felt very good. Even the Manta 20 has a good degree of adjustability and has felt comfortable in my limited use.

    also suggested the Ergon pack as it is rated up to 13 pounds and the unique hip-belt and frame design allows the pack to support up to 80% of the load weight, while maximizing ventilation and minimizing movement restrictions for bikers.
    It really does look like a unique design. Another one I'll try to see in person. I wonder how it would function as a dual-purpose hike/bike pack?
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    I'll see what opportunities there are here (Albuquerque, NM) for seeing these in person.
    Per Dakine's store locator, there are several shops in you area which carry Dakine products: DAKINE Store Locator

    Also, here is a YouTube video review of an older Dakine Apex (2009?) which gives you a better look at the Apex. The current models feature an improved ventilated back panel and uses the 3L/100oz Hydrapak Hydration Reservoir (Wish I had this reservoir):

    Dakine Apex Video: Dakine Apex mountain biking pack - YouTube

    Hydrapak: Hydrapak Reservoir


    Also, if you're not familiar with Oregon based Dakine products, these are some of the other bike packs, and capacities, which are available:

    Apex 26L
    Nomad 18L
    Drafter 12L

    Hope this helps.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    Outside mag did a short online review of that pack and says it'll be available "later this fall." Whatever that means...

    I called Camelbak and didn't really get any definitive info. One person there said the pack will be released next month at some big bike show and in stores "sometime" after that. Maybe as late as early 2012.

    So I returned the Octane and will wait for this one to show up. Maybe I'll find something even better for the "minimalist" pack I'm looking for.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    I called Camelbak and didn't really get any definitive info. One person there said the pack will be released next month at some big bike show and in stores "sometime" after that. Maybe as late as early 2012.

    So I returned the Octane and will wait for this one to show up. Maybe I'll find something even better for the "minimalist" pack I'm looking for.
    What are your thoughts on the Raptor series hydro pack, after reading this fine thread I searched on REI and the raptor 10 (m/l) caught my eye.
    WARNING : Do not ride your bicycle until you have read and thoroughly understood the owners manual.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.M.S View Post
    What are your thoughts on the Raptor series hydro pack, after reading this fine thread I searched on REI and the raptor 10 (m/l) caught my eye.
    I didn't do any serious looking at the Raptor series while at REI. I was mainly focused on finding a good hiking hydration pack and the Manta series has the rigid-type suspension system that keeps the pack weight off the shoulders.

    That said, I was impressed with the overall quality and thoughtful design of the Ospreys in general, and so were all the REI salesmen, for whatever that's worth. The Raptor series packs don't have the "rigid" suspension, that so impressed me with the Manta, so I didn't try them on, figuring that the lack of suspension was the problem with the Camelbak HAWG NV's giving me sore shoulders.

    For now, my "hiking/long-ride biking" pack slot is taken by the Manta 30. My "minimalist" biking pack slot is still open, waiting for the Camelbak Charge LR to appear If the Charge LR is close to the Octane in weight (12 oz.!!) and functionality I will definitely give it a try as it seems to embody the ideal of "just enough" for shorter bike rides.

    If you have an REI near you, I'd suggest going in and comparing the Raptors to Octane LR and maybe some others and see what you think. Speaking generally, I'd say that I prefer the Camelbak "Antidote" reservoir system to the Osprey's, but on overall quality and design, I like the Ospreys more.

    At this point in my pack education, if someone said I had to pick ONE pack for both purposes, I'd probably be happiest with the Osprey Manta 20 or 25. But there are a LOT of choices out there and I'm sure a lot of good ones.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  22. #22
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    Colorado based Osprey packs and products are highly regarded by outdoorsmen and woman.

    Osprey also has a long history of winning designs which combine innovative technology with high quality, fit, design, performance, and comfort.


    CamelBak, with regard to packs, not so much.

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    Bad thing is there are no REI stores around here, so I wouldn't be able to try the osprey 's on. I don't hike, just need a Med size pack for riding, camelpacks are a dime a dozen around here though.
    WARNING : Do not ride your bicycle until you have read and thoroughly understood the owners manual.

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    Here's a pic of the new Manta 30 fully loaded for a test hike....14.2 lbs. total. Almost full reservoir. 5-miles, felt pretty good.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Camelbak Octane LR vs. Osprey Manta vs. ????-img_0792-custom-.jpg  

    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

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