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  1. #1
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    New lightweight Camelbak Charge LR--first look...

    I've been looking for one of these since they were announced since they sound like a great solution to a real "minimal" hydration pack for shorter rides. They aren't supposed to be released until after the 1st of 2012, but I happened across a dealer who had a salesman's sample for sale and bought it--after I confirmed that it was mfg'd to the final specs of the production model, had the Antidote reservoir, etc.

    It arrived today and I really like the look and feel of it. Too late to take on a ride today, but will do so soon.

    It's EXTREMELY light and has plenty of room for a couple extra tubes, pump, levers, multi-tool and more. Nice side pockets too. Feels great on my back. Here are some pix for anyone who's interested in these.

    Standard disclaimer--no connection with Camelbak at all.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New lightweight Camelbak Charge LR--first look...-charge-ultra-light-custom-.jpg  

    New lightweight Camelbak Charge LR--first look...-front-2-custom-.jpg  

    New lightweight Camelbak Charge LR--first look...-open-compts-custom-.jpg  

    New lightweight Camelbak Charge LR--first look...-reservoir-custom-.jpg  

    New lightweight Camelbak Charge LR--first look...-img_0840-custom-.jpg  

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

  2. #2
    In Bum Fcuk Egypt
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    Seems to be pretty nice. I like the lower center of gravity, and the Infantry blue coloration. The only thing I don't care for is the notches in the bladder. Might just make it a little more difficult to keep clean. Guess they did that to allow for it to bend around the wearer...

  3. #3
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    What size is the bladder? I like the look of it, and especially the quick release fitting at the bladder end. I get bored of rethreading the tubes on my current packs when I want to do a quick rinse and clean.
    It's all Here. Now.

  4. #4
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    I've been using the Octane LR this season and I've been quite happy with it. But this version seems to step thing up. It's on my list for next year (or whenever the become available!).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by iron29er View Post
    Seems to be pretty nice. I like the lower center of gravity, and the Infantry blue coloration. The only thing I don't care for is the notches in the bladder. Might just make it a little more difficult to keep clean. Guess they did that to allow for it to bend around the wearer...
    I agree on the cleaning/drying. It wants to collapse when empty and no air gets in. It has the same attachment points for the plastic arms that hold the "regular" Antidote reservoir open for air-drying, but they don't do anything helpful in the horizontal version. Have to hand-dry, or figure out a way to prop it open.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    What size is the bladder? I like the look of it, and especially the quick release fitting at the bladder end. I get bored of rethreading the tubes on my current packs when I want to do a quick rinse and clean.
    70 oz./2 liters. I really like the quick-disconnect too. I had an Osprey pack with their reservoir, which I actually like better--has a stiff, curved back that fits better, but the quick disconnect is really handy.

    Quote Originally Posted by in the trees View Post
    I've been using the Octane LR this season and I've been quite happy with it. But this version seems to step thing up. It's on my list for next year (or whenever the become available!).
    I would have purchased the Octane LR--it's really light and nice, but then I read some announcements about this one being in the production line and decided to wait. It's a little bit heavier than the Octane, but not much and it's better padded and has more storage space. I'm stoked that I ran across the "salesman's sample" and that it seems to be a full production model.

    Still no rides...;-) Tomorrow? I'm curious about how the water reservoir is going to feel down low.
    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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    What price did you pay for this sales-sample pack?

    What is the expected MSRP for this pack?


    Those reservoir "water wings" appear likely to retain water and not feed the flow tube when riding a road bike or a mountain bike - especially when in the attack position.

    Is there a cinch-system you must manually employ to aid water flow from the "water wings"?

    The waist straps appear uncomfortably narrow for the load/weight they are intended to support.

    The hip pockets useful storage space appears limited, if not hindered, by the water volume contained in the "water wings".

    This pack appears more suited for upright use such as walking or running. The pack's limited cargo carrying capacity makes it an inferior choice for hiking.


    In comparison to the many superior and quality pack manufacturers in the market place, Camelbak again fails to impress.





  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    I agree on the cleaning/drying. It wants to collapse when empty and no air gets in.
    I always blow air into the bladder before I try to fill it or deal with it out of the pack. That makes things a lot easier. The baffles on the Antidote bladder absolutely helps the bladder keep it's shape after you blow it up vs the old Camelbak bladders.

  8. #8
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    Once you get a couple on rides in, update us and let us know how the internal bladder compression strap works as well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    What price did you pay for this sales-sample pack?

    What is the expected MSRP for this pack?


    Those reservoir "water wings" appear likely to retain water and not feed the flow tube when riding a road bike or a mountain bike - especially when in the attack position.

    Is there a cinch-system you must manually employ to aid water flow from the "water wings"?

    The waist straps appear uncomfortably narrow for the load/weight they are intended to support.

    The hip pockets useful storage space appears limited, if not hindered, by the water volume contained in the "water wings".

    This pack appears more suited for upright use such as walking or running. The pack's limited cargo carrying capacity makes it an inferior choice for hiking.


    In comparison to the many superior and quality pack manufacturers in the market place, Camelbak again fails to impress.





    How can you even begin to make a judgement on something you've never even used? Just by looking at it?

  10. #10
    Bandit 29 FTW!!!
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    That is nice...Looks alot like my Camelbak Octane. I like the separate compartments in your Charge.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    I get bored of rethreading the tubes on my current packs when I want to do a quick rinse and clean.
    Oops, I have a reading comprehension problem.

  12. #12
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    Update after first ride....

    I went for a short ride yesterday. Camelbak performed fine. Me, not so much--endo'd and planted my face on a downhill. I think I cracked a rib also--sure hurts today.

    The Charge LR worked out well. It wasn't a long ride and I didn't come close to running the reservoir to the point where the water level might fall below the pickup point for the tube.

    There IS a compression strap that looks like it's meant to cinch down the bladder if it starts getting empty, so I'll see how that works out on a longer ride.

    The pluses: it is VERY light, small and feels good on the back. No leaks. I think it is great for what it is--a lightweight minimal pack for 1-2 hour rides. Construction quality seems to be first class. So far, so good.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  13. #13
    Just Ride !
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    Looks nice, but I will stick to my Osprey raptor 14 that is awesome.
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.

  14. #14
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    I don't think there would be a problem with getting the last drops of water out when it runs low even if you're in an "attack" posture on a bike, as long as you don't have any air bubbles in the bladder to begin with. As long as there is no air in the bladder, it will automatically cinch itself as you drink. As you run low, it'll get harder to suck the water out but it shouldn't be impossible. To illustrate my point, take a regular Camelbak bladder and turn it upside down so that the drain is at the top. Then try to drink out of it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.M.S View Post
    Looks nice, but I will stick to my Osprey raptor 14 that is awesome.
    Osprey makes excellent products.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for posting your impressions Porshefan. I have been using the same old Mule since ~2005 and, other than being covered in dust and salt stains, it really looks the same. There does seem to be a significant suction-effect when I empty any of the bladders I have had in the mule, it makes me think the perforations along the bottom won't pose a problem. If it holds up for you, I would love to get one of these!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.M.S View Post
    Looks nice, but I will stick to my Osprey raptor 14 that is awesome.
    I really like Osprey packs too. I thought I might find one pack that would be good for both biking and hiking and along the way I tried, and liked, the Osprey Manta 25 and Manta 30. I ended up with an Osprey Stratos 36 for hiking and I really like it. It's super comfortable and can easily handle day hikes and probably even an overnighter. I had come to the conclusion that I really needed different packs for the different activities. That said, I have taken the Osprey Stratos on a bike rides and it is surprisingly very, very comfortable also. It's kind of bulky, but when cinched down, it works well on the bike, mainly because it's so damn comfortable. The Raptor looks like a really nice pack too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Osprey makes excellent products.
    Bambi19--see above and the original thread HERE where this "search" started.

    I don't totally agree with your comments about the Camelbak in this thread though. I think in many respects, and CERTAINLY in hiking packs, Osprey is a higher-quality product than Camelbak. But this is just a super-light, lumbar reservoir pack aimed directly at biking. I think it fits that bill nicely, and I am so far impressed by the overall quality.

    To answer your question on price: the MSRP on this is going to be $100, so it will probably sell in the $80-90 range, which is what I paid for the sample. I think ALL these packs are "overpriced" including the Ospreys--but that's just me being a cheapskate.

    Quote Originally Posted by primefocus View Post
    Thanks for posting your impressions Porschefan. I have been using the same old Mule since ~2005 and, other than being covered in dust and salt stains, it really looks the same. There does seem to be a significant suction-effect when I empty any of the bladders I have had in the mule, it makes me think the perforations along the bottom won't pose a problem. If it holds up for you, I would love to get one of these!
    Thanks! I'll post updates if I run across any problems with the pack. It looks to be about as sturdy as a lightweight can be. This pack is really the Octane LR concept expanded with some mountain biking features--more room, more padding. I THINK it's main appeal will be the lumbar reservoir concept--keeping as much weight as possible off the back and lowering one's center of gravity . How well that works out will probably determine its success.
    Last edited by Porschefan; 09-29-2011 at 06:36 PM.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    ...

    I don't totally agree with your comments about the Camelbak in this thread though. I think in many respects, and CERTAINLY in hiking packs, Osprey is a higher-quality product than Camelbak. But this is just a super-light, lumbar reservoir pack aimed directly at biking. I think it fits that bill nicely, and I am so far impressed by the overall quality.

    To answer your question on price: the MSRP on this is going to be $100, so it will probably sell in the $80-90 range, which is what I paid for the sample. I think ALL these packs are "overpriced" including the Ospreys--but that's just me being a cheapskate.

    ...

    Regarding the Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system from CamelBak, CamelBak states the following:

    This Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system keeps water secure and amazingly stable for trail running and adventure races.

    The suggestion is that CamelBak's with the Lumbar Reservoir hydration are better suited for upright activities.


    Riding, pumping, and flowing on a mountain bike is not an upright activity. Especially when riding in the downhill or attack position.

    However, riding my Electra Townie along the beach is an upright activity - one where a pack with a Lumbar Reservoir would likely not present any difficulties.


    When using CamelBaks current website search function to narrow down their product list to packs recommended for biking and mountain biking - 21 CamelBak packs are recommended and none of the recommended pack feature the Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system.

    CamelBak Link: CamelBak® - Packs


    It's common knowledge that water flows to, and collects at, a container's lowest point.

    Previously posted suggestions that when the reservoir water level is low and has settled in the water wings, and when actively riding a mountain bike, a rider can suck on his mouthpiece and draw water which will flow from the reservoir's low point water wings, against gravity, through an empty air space, to the water pick-up point to easily feed the rider is implausible.


    The existence of a compression cinch strap indicates consistent water flow be an area of concern, especially with activities which require a more aggressive body posture and action.

    The manual operation of compression cinch strap requires the user to actively employ extra physical measures to hydrate and ensure water flow; for a cyclist with two hands controlling his bike, this requirement would be both a nuisance and unsatisfactory.


    A nice $100 pack and hydration this may be, but this Lumbar Reservoir pack is one better suited for walking, running, or riding an upright comfort bike - not active mountain biking - again, per CamelBaks current recommendations.

    Especially when superior products exists for the very same purpose, price point, and are designed specifically for mountain biking....or if you prefer CamelBak, choose one of their 21 other models, none of which features the Lumbar Reservoir hydration system.

    Please understand that this is not a belittling of your purchase; rather, it is a fair and objective look at whether this $100 pack, with it's Lumbar Reservoir and water bladder cinch strap, is best suited for mountain biking when superior choices exist.


    For those who disagree with this opinion, simply disregard. The money you choose to spend is your own.

    Spend your $100 on a Lumbar Reservoir pack, fill it with water, go riding, yank/adjust the bladder cinch compression strap as the water level drops (if equipped), hydrate, ride, and enjoy.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Regarding the Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system from CamelBak, CamelBak states the following:

    This Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system keeps water secure and amazingly stable for trail running and adventure races.

    The suggestion is that CamelBak's with the Lumbar Reservoir hydration are better suited for upright activities.


    Riding, pumping, and flowing on a mountain bike is not an upright activity. Especially when riding in the downhill or attack position.

    However, riding my Electra Townie along the beach is an upright activity - one where a pack with a Lumbar Reservoir would likely not present any difficulties.


    When using CamelBaks current website search function to narrow down their product list to packs recommended for biking and mountain biking - 21 CamelBak packs are recommended and none of the recommended pack feature the Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system.

    CamelBak Link: CamelBak® - Packs

    .
    The only thing I would point out here is that this pack is NOT yet released and therefore not mentioned on the website. All the Camelbak LR packs to date have been developed for the trail-running market. The Charge was developed specifically for the mountain biking market and addressed bikers requests for an Octane-like pack with more padding and more storage.

    I'm sure that when the pack gets wide release it will succeed or not based, at least somewhat (after all, there is "marketing" involved too) on its merits.

    If I run into any problems or flaws, I'll be sure to post them here too. I'm not a Camelbak stockholder, or even a big fan, but I like this pack and I like their Antidote reservoir system too.
    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 Bambi19 View Post
    Regarding the Lumbar Reservoir (LR) hydration system from CamelBak, CamelBak states the following:

    ......
    Previously posted suggestions that when the reservoir water level is low and has settled in the water wings, and when actively riding a mountain bike, a rider can suck on his mouthpiece and draw water which will flow from the reservoir's low point water wings, against gravity, through an empty air space, to the water pick-up point to easily feed the rider is implausible.

    ........
    How is it implausible? As I explained in my post, you can test it for yourself: take a normal camelbak bladder, flip it upside down so that the drain is at the top (and therefore all the water is below the level of the drain), and try to take a sip. You'll be able to continue drinking until the bladder is within teaspoons of being empty.

    This works because the bladder is collapsible. You're utilizing the atmosphere's air pressure to counteract gravity. Naturally if the bladder were rigid you wouldn't be able to drink anything below the level of the drain.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    The only thing I would point out here is that this pack is NOT yet released and therefore not mentioned on the website. All the Camelbak LR packs to date have been developed for the trail-running market. The Charge was developed specifically for the mountain biking market and addressed bikers requests for an Octane-like pack with more padding and more storage.

    I'm sure that when the pack gets wide release it will succeed or not based, at least somewhat (after all, there is "marketing" involved too) on its merits.

    If I run into any problems or flaws, I'll be sure to post them here too. I'm not a Camelbak stockholder, or even a big fan, but I like this pack and I like their Antidote reservoir system too.
    The focus and area of concern for mountain bike use is the Lumbar Reservoir (LR) for use in other than upright pedestrian positions such as running and walking.

    What is the difference between the current Octane LR and the Charge LR?

    From what I've read, the Charge LR is simply a modified Octane LR pack with the same Lumbar Reservoir bladder and which adds a padded back panels for comfort, a top mounted drinking hose, an increased cargo capacity, and cinch straps to adjust pressure on the water bladder.

    Add to these slight changes a higher unit price and CamelBak marketing and you've got the CamelBak Charge LR in exchange for approximately $100.


    There's no doubt that the Lumbar Reservoir works for upright pedestrian positions, but there are user reviews where users have complained about the problem of not being able to obtain water which has settled, and remains, in the side Lumbar Reservoir water wings.

    This is likely why the bladder cinch straps are needed for mountain bike use and must be employed to consistently hydrate. Otherwise you'll end up riding with a set of trapped water pouches on each hip.

    Such an unneccessary nuisance.


    Again, the Lumbar Reservoir remains unchanged, the basic design of the pack slightly modified from the Octane LR, the unit priced increased.

    Add CamelBack marketing and you now have the CamelBak Charge LR for mountain bike use.

    Not the best choice on the market, but soon available for purchase.


    If someone truly must have a CamelBak product, any of the other 21 CamelBak mountain bike products would be a superior choice for mountain biking over a pack with the Lumbar Reservoir (LR)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTimeCRX View Post
    How is it implausible? As I explained in my post, you can test it for yourself: take a normal camelbak bladder, flip it upside down so that the drain is at the top (and therefore all the water is below the level of the drain), and try to take a sip. You'll be able to continue drinking until the bladder is within teaspoons of being empty.

    This works because the bladder is collapsible. You're utilizing the atmosphere's air pressure to counteract gravity. Naturally if the bladder were rigid you wouldn't be able to drink anything below the level of the drain.
    If you are able to flip a water hydration pack upside down, in the manner that you've described, against gravity, and successfully suck all of the water out (beyond what originally remained in the flow tube) - then you are much better at sucking water than I could ever be.

    You win. You may purchase a Lumbar Reservoir for aggressive mountain bike use, with complete confidence.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    If you are able to flip a water hydration pack upside down, in the manner that you've described, against gravity, and successfully suck all of the water out (beyond what originally remained in the flow tube) - then you are much better at sucking water than I could ever be.

    You win. You may purchase a Lumbar Reservoir for aggressive mountain bike use, with complete confidence.
    Try to keep an open mind and just give it a try. It's not impossible or even difficult to drink water out of a bladder that's upside down, as long as it's a collapsible bladder.

    That said, please don't mistakenly think that I'm trying to advocate the design of the Camelbak Charge LR as being a wonderful thing. Only time will tell if this product actually works well overall.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTimeCRX View Post
    Try to keep an open mind and just give it a try. It's not impossible or even difficult to drink water out of a bladder that's upside down, as long as it's a collapsible bladder.

    That said, please don't mistakenly think that I'm trying to advocate the design of the Camelbak Charge LR as being a wonderful thing. Only time will tell if this product actually works well overall.
    Couldn't do it.

    With the hydration bladder flipped upside down, the water pickup at the top (superior position) and the water on the bottom (inferior position), and nearly all air removed (by suction) from the hydration bladder, the attempt to obtain water from the hydration mouthpiece was unsuccessful.

    Gravity won.

    It is no different that trying to drink juice from a bottle or flexible squeeze-pak with a straw that is not immersed into the juice.


    Understand now that you're not advocating that the design of Charger Lumbar Reservoir (LR) is wonderful for mountain biking, as it clearly does not perform as well as a standard hydration bladder.

    User reviews of the similar Octane Lumbar Reservoir (LR) have also identified the inability to draw water at times without special attention in certain positions.

    Who wants to pay more and then have to fiddle with bladder cinch straps designed to apply pressure on a hydration bladder so they can hydrate when they're out riding?


    If someone must buy CamelBak, wants an Antidote hydration bladder with Quick Link (conventional bladder design), and wants a small lightweight design - then CamelBak has other packs at lower price points to better meet their needs.

    In addition to what competing pack manufacturers offer.


    THE VERDICT:

    > $100 CamelBak Charge LR for mountain biking use= PASS, Better choices exist.....even from CamelBak

    > $100 CamelBak Charge LR for pedestrian upright use (walking or running)= OK

  25. #25
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    Looks great! If it really does take the weight off your back, I'll need to get one next season. I get terrible back pain when I ride with a full normal Camelbak that I don't get when I ride with bottles instead.
    '15 Soma Wolverine '12 Soma Analog SS '10 Transition TransAM '07 Felt F1X '97 Schwinn Mesa SS '89 Fuji Saratoga '86 Fuji Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Couldn't do it.

    With the hydration bladder flipped upside down, the water pickup at the top (superior position) and the water on the bottom (inferior position), and nearly all air removed (by suction) from the hydration bladder, the attempt to obtain water from the hydration mouthpiece was unsuccessful.

    Gravity won.
    Methinks someone has a drinking problem.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Couldn't do it.

    With the hydration bladder flipped upside down, the water pickup at the top (superior position) and the water on the bottom (inferior position), and nearly all air removed (by suction) from the hydration bladder, the attempt to obtain water from the hydration mouthpiece was unsuccessful.

    Gravity won.
    Take the extra air out of the bladder before sealing it, then the problem goes away. As long as you don't let air back through the bite value you should have no problem drinking every drop of water from the bladder. It also makes the bladder smaller meaning you have more room in your pack for other gear

  28. #28
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    Wow, not sure how people are basing the truth on conjecture, instead of real time usage?

    I have used tested one since mid summer, and have also used the Octane LR, and never had any issue with water, perhaps the last vestiges of water get stuck in the nooks of the wings, but it isn't enough to give any problems, at least from my experience. The cinch straps are to help pull the bottom of the back into the lumbar when the extra girth of the used up reservoir shrinks. The waist/hip belt is nicely padded, since the major portion that flow around your hips has a piece of the bladder and then the zippered pockets.

    The cutouts or notches are there to help keep the bladder flatter, else it would bow out to much, especially towards the wings, and to make it bend easier. One of the reasons the water gets pulled towards the inlet (and out of the wings) is the partial vacuum that gets created as you suck in the water through the tube. Does it work perfectly? No, but it works just fine.

    The Charge uses the same 70 oz LR Bladder as the Octane, but can hold more stuff, has a lot more pockets and compartments, but it doesn't snug down as low as the Octane, which sort of disappears when wearing it, the Charge is a hybrid of a normal pack and the Octane, and it works pretty darn good from my current testing.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastajet View Post
    Wow, not sure how people are basing the truth on conjecture, instead of real time usage?

    I have used tested one since mid summer, and have also used the Octane LR, and never had any issue with water, perhaps the last vestiges of water get stuck in the nooks of the wings, but it isn't enough to give any problems, at least from my experience. The cinch straps are to help pull the bottom of the back into the lumbar when the extra girth of the used up reservoir shrinks. The waist/hip belt is nicely padded, since the major portion that flow around your hips has a piece of the bladder and then the zippered pockets.

    The cutouts or notches are there to help keep the bladder flatter, else it would bow out to much, especially towards the wings, and to make it bend easier. One of the reasons the water gets pulled towards the inlet (and out of the wings) is the partial vacuum that gets created as you suck in the water through the tube. Does it work perfectly? No, but it works just fine.

    The Charge uses the same 70 oz LR Bladder as the Octane, but can hold more stuff, has a lot more pockets and compartments, but it doesn't snug down as low as the Octane, which sort of disappears when wearing it, the Charge is a hybrid of a normal pack and the Octane, and it works pretty darn good from my current testing.
    Gram,

    Just read your review on the Octane LR and will look forward to one on the Charge LR. I'm assuming that you can't or choose not to review unreleased products. BTW, excellent website--I've bookmarked it for future reference.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  30. #30
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    Looks a lot like an INOV-8 pack. Inov-8 Race Pro™ 18 I've had the Pro 18 for about a year and a half. Have used it for trail runs and adventure races and it is super light and carries the weight of the water low on your hips, which is great for running. Super lightweight too.

  31. #31
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    Who would clean a camelbak? I've had mine for 3 years and I don't think it's left my car (except at the trailhead of course)

  32. #32
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    When better packs and reservoirs exists for mountain biking -

    Have fun paying $100 for a pack with a CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR).

    Have fun then having to yank hip bladder cinch straps, on top of trying to suck water trapped in the water wings nestled around your waist when bent over and actively riding a mountain bike in any of the following common riding positions:

    If this rider had a CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR), gravity says water will sadly settle in the LR water wings around his waist when riding in this position:




    If this rider had a CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR), he better stop and take the time to tighten his bladder cinch straps around his waist to aid hydration:




    If this rider had a CamelBak LR, he's not going to be able to hydrate unless he either has a full bladder or comes to a complete stop and stands upright:



    If the downhill rider (in dark blue) were wearing a CamelBak LR, he'd likely be yelling at the uphill rider (in yellow): "HEY! CAN WE STOP? I NEED TO TAKE A DRINK AND ALL MY WATER IS STUCK AROUND MY WAIST AND I'M NOT GETTING ANY WATER FLOW!!!"




    These fine folks should have no problem hydrating with a CamelBak LR due to their upright riding position:



    User reviews exists which identifies the CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR) shortcomings when used in a non-pedestrian non-upright position such as active mountain biking.

    It's your $100. If you want a CamelBak Lumbar Reservior (LR) pack, buy it and enjoy!

    Proudly spend your $100 as you see fit, and disregard competing packs with superior designs for mountain biking.....and yes, for those who simply must have a Camelbak, that includes disregarding any of the other 21 CamelBak packs meant for cycling.


    ----------

    Note: I took time time to post because there many riders who join the sport of mountain biking everyday. Often times, these riders (and experienced riders included) may make a purchasing decision after seeing a new item, recognizing a brand name, reading a glowing one-sided report - all without the benefit of learning that better options exists and not having an objective differing opinion available.

    I stand by my personal opinion of this product as it is based on experience, actual user reviews, and common sense. I currently own 10 hydration capable packs and 1 lumbar pack, each of which is used for its specifically designed application such as: mountain biking, snow skiing, snow boarding, fly fishing, hiking, and long-term hiking/camping. I'll never use my snow pack with it's insulated water flow tube for cycling, because the mountain bike pack is simply the better choice for cycling.

    If I had to select a CamelBak for mountain biking, I would, for good reason, select one of the other 21 CamelBak packs meant for cycling, all of which do not feature the Lumbar Reservoir.
    Last edited by Bambi19; 10-01-2011 at 06:38 AM.

  33. #33
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    good god, some of you really have your panties in a knot over hydration packs. tone it down and move on.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeb View Post
    good god, some of you really have your panties in a knot over hydration packs. tone it down and move on.
    $100 for a hydration pack is significant amount; a discussion of the merits and disadvantages of a new bladder design meaningful.

    That said -


    When you take the time to point your finger at others, while offering no constructive viewpoint or opinions on the subject , and yet tell others to "move on" with audacity-

    Then you point three of your own accusatory fingers at yourself, as you confirm that it is you, who has their "panties in a knot".

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    $100 for a hydration pack is significant amount; a discussion of the merits and disadvantages of a new bladder design meaningful.

    That said -


    When you take the time to point your finger at others, while offering no constructive viewpoint or opinions on the subject , and yet tell others to "move on" with audacity-

    Then you point three of your own accusatory fingers at yourself, as you confirm that it is you, who has their "panties in a knot".
    your holier-than-thou tone sucks. i don't like you.

  36. #36
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    Responses in line to Bambi19:

    If this rider had a CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR), gravity says water will sadly settle in the LR water wings around his waist when riding in this position:
    => yes, gravity does settle the water to the wings, and then the partial vacuum produced by drawing water towards the inlet (when drinking), pulls it back towards the center, although some water does linger in the wings, but its a very small quantity, and body movement, such as pedaling and hip swivel aid in drawing it back to center


    If this rider had a CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR), he better stop and take the time to tighten his bladder cinch straps around his waist to aid hydration:
    => again, they are not bladder cinch straps per se, but pack cinch straps to pull the bottom up into you lumbar as the bladder empties


    If this rider had a CamelBak LR, he's not going to be able to hydrate unless he either has a full bladder or comes to a complete stop and stands upright:
    => again, I tested this this (as a crosscheck) and it is not the case, it works fine in the normal biking position, which happens to on average be around 30-40 degrees off vertical Edit: wrong percentage, 20-30% was incorrect, fixed


    If the downhill rider (in dark blue) were wearing a CamelBak LR, he'd likely be yelling at the uphill rider (in yellow): "HEY! CAN WE STOP? I NEED TO TAKE A DRINK AND ALL MY WATER IS STUCK AROUND MY WAIST AND I'M NOT GETTING ANY WATER FLOW!!!"
    => again not the case


    These fine folks should have no problem hydrating with a CamelBak LR due to their upright riding position:
    => no comment


    User reviews exists which identifies the CamelBak Lumbar Reservoir (LR) shortcomings when used in a non-pedestrian non-upright position such as active mountain biking.
    => I am sure there are reviews such as this, but again from my experience it's a non-issue


    It's your $100. If you want a CamelBak Lumbar Reservior (LR) pack, buy it and enjoy!
    => I will


    Proudly spend your $100 as you see fit, and disregard competing packs with superior designs for mountain biking.....and yes, for those who simply must have a Camelbak, that includes disregarding any of the other 21 CamelBak packs meant for cycling.
    => No denying there are many great packs, but the LR system really works, and the pack doesn't bounce around as much, nor bump up towards your head on extremely steep downs, like in technical All Mountain and Freeride terrain, as many normal designs can do


    Note: I took time time to post because there many riders who join the sport of mountain biking everyday. Often times, these riders (and experienced riders included) may make a purchasing decision after seeing a new item, recognizing a brand name, reading a glowing one-sided report - all without the benefit of learning that better options exists and not having an objective differing opinion available.
    => No denying there are many great options, that is why I review so many packs from so many vendors, but myself and others have had some real world usage with LR product line from Camelbak without any issues


    I stand by my personal opinion of this product as it is based on experience, actual user reviews, and common sense. I currently own 10 hydration capable packs and 1 lumbar pack, each of which is used for its specifically designed application such as: mountain biking, snow skiing, snow boarding, fly fishing, hiking, and long-term hiking/camping. I'll never use my snow pack with it's insulated water flow tube for cycling, because the mountain bike pack is simply the better choice for cycling.
    => And to each their own, and take it all with a grain of salt (my viewpoint included). Have you tested or used any of the Camelbak LR series for biking? For what it's worth, the 'insulated water flow tube for cycling' work great for warm weather, keeping the water from getting warm in the tube, and quite a few vendors, such as Camelbak, have them on their normal bike packs.



    I actually write reviews as a part-time passion, and did write a review on the Octane LR, and I am working on the Charge LR, and I have never had any issue with water, and I ride in extremely gnarly terrain, with lots of long grunt climbs to get to my terrain, meaning steep up and down. I have used, tested and reviewed (not always written down) perhaps 25 - 30 hydration packs from the multiple vendors.

    For an experiment yesterday, I added varying levels of water into the Charge LR pack, and wore it in a riding position while drinking, and at the worst, 4 oz or 1/2 cup of water stayed in the bladder, some of it was down in the wings, with some other portions in normal spots, where the draw port wasn't able to extract (like a normal bladder). Doing the same experiment with a normal bladder, there were 1-2 oz or 1/8-1/4 cup of water left. So is the LR perfect? No, but neither is the normal one, and if you are dehydrated you can always get the last 1/2 cup if needed from the LR. Note, that although the water does work its way down into the wings, the movement of your back pushes it towards the center (but not all), as does pedaling, hip swiveling, etc. I made sure to have the cinch straps totally loose to make them a non-issue, and when I did pull them in it made a very minute difference, and it was not enough to make any significance. The cinch strap is meant as a trapeze to draw the pack towards the lumbar and back.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi View Post
    I always blow air into the bladder before I try to fill it or deal with it out of the pack. That makes things a lot easier. The baffles on the Antidote bladder absolutely helps the bladder keep it's shape after you blow it up vs the old Camelbak bladders.
    I never have that problem because my bladder never gets completely empty. I return from a ride with it a quarter full. Throw it directly into the refrigerator and its ready for the next ride. No bacteria can form due to the cold and you just refill and go. No cleaning ever needs to be done. I used to put it in the freezer a quarter full but it became a hassle running hot water over it to melt enough to refill. Back to this so called "new" camelbak I have one I bought back in 02' that is basically the same design except for the grooves in the bladder. It is brand new and never used. I forgot I had it but after seeing this I'm going g to dig it out and use it for those short rides. Hell these days that's about all I ever have time for. So about this time next year it should be worn out and I will be in the market for this "new" model.

  38. #38
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    ive ridden more than 1000h with a lumbar inov-8 pack and while not perfect it didnt hamper my riding in any way. as someone that hates straps over my shoulders the lumbar packs are a nice option. having said that there are issues, namely finding a way to keep the bladder shape and without the pack feeling like it is rolling down - maybe the big research dollars at camelbak can solve that issue but as it stands the only way to keep that from happening is to have the shoulder straps a la this camelbak and the wingnut packs.

  39. #39
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    Pastajet-

    Thank you for your post and the insights and observations you noted.

    Given that the CamelBak LR is not yet available to the public and shares the same hydration reservoir used in the Octane LR, does the Octane LR have the hip bladder cinch straps? If not, then I will need to wait until the Charger LR hits the market for hands-on testing.

    It would interesting to personally test the effectiveness of the CamelBak LR design against that of a conventional water bladder for active mountain bike use.

    Also, would you kindly share the link, or links, where one may read your gear reviews?

    Thank you again.


    Last note:
    Thanks for bringing up the idea about using the insulated flow tube for other than winter use. The winter hydration pack also came with an insulated pouch; and I though I have considered using them in the summer, I never gave it a serious thought until I read your comments.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoutcat View Post
    ive ridden more than 1000h with a lumbar inov-8 pack and while not perfect it didnt hamper my riding in any way. as someone that hates straps over my shoulders the lumbar packs are a nice option. having said that there are issues, namely finding a way to keep the bladder shape and without the pack feeling like it is rolling down - maybe the big research dollars at camelbak can solve that issue but as it stands the only way to keep that from happening is to have the shoulder straps a la this camelbak and the wingnut packs.
    Understand your experience and viewpoint on lumbar packs and dynamic movement.

    Have a Mountainsmith lumbar pack which was purchased for hikes and a fast day on the trail.

    After a few hikes, I no longer use this lumbar pack due to the similar "rolling" effect you described; along with the lumbar pack shifting and moving during fast dynamic movements.

    The absence of conventional shoulder straps to help stabilize and secure the lumbar pack's load were sorely missed - and are at least present on today's CamelBak Octane and Charge LR.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastajet View Post
    Responses in line to Bambi19:]

    => again, they are not bladder cinch straps per se, but pack cinch straps to pull the bottom up into you lumbar as the bladder empties
    Gram--thanks for clarifying this. I was just assuming that they were meant to cinch down the bladder, but they are not. They ARE a nice feature for pulling the pack in close.

    Quote Originally Posted by pastajet View Post
    Responses in line to Bambi19:]

    For an experiment yesterday, I added varying levels of water into the Charge LR pack, and wore it in a riding position while drinking, and at the worst, 4 oz or 1/2 cup of water stayed in the bladder, some of it was down in the wings, with some other portions in normal spots, where the draw port wasn't able to extract (like a normal bladder). Doing the same experiment with a normal bladder, there were 1-2 oz or 1/8-1/4 cup of water left. So is the LR perfect? No, but neither is the normal one, and if you are dehydrated you can always get the last 1/2 cup if needed from the LR. Note, that although the water does work its way down into the wings, the movement of your back pushes it towards the center (but not all), as does pedaling, hip swiveling, etc. I made sure to have the cinch straps totally loose to make them a non-issue, and when I did pull them in it made a very minute difference, and it was not enough to make any significance. The cinch strap is meant as a trapeze to draw the pack towards the lumbar and back.
    Gram, I didn't do this as carefully, but today I took the Charge on an easy hike and only put a minimal amount of water in the bladder (maybe 3/4 liter?) because I wanted to check out what happened when the water got low. (I also put a bunch of ice cubes in it--a habit from my larger reservoirs. The LR is too small to put a lot of cubes in it--they take up too much space and don't melt fast enough at least on a mild day.) I checked the bladder when it got difficult to get full gulps of water, and I would say your estimate of ~1/2 cup is fairly accurate. I also had a few cubes left!

    Thanks for sharing your real-world experiences with the pack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post

    Given that the CamelBak LR is not yet available to the public and shares the same hydration reservoir used in the Octane LR, does the Octane LR have the hip bladder cinch straps? If not, then I will need to wait until the Charger LR hits the market for hands-on testing.
    The Octane LR might be an OK test of the LR system....but it's a significantly different pack. I've tried on the Octane and it almost feels like a VEST. Has minimal storage and minimal padding. I read a couple of user's reviews of the Octane that mentioned that biking tools weren't isolated from the back well enough, so when I heard about the Charge being developed specifically for biking, I decided to wait. See Gram's reply about the cinch straps--not meant for the bladder--my error in attributing that function to them.

    It would be interesting to personally test the effectiveness of the CamelBak LR design against that of a conventional water bladder for active mountain bike use.
    Now you're talking. I think I mentioned previously that I didn't think you were being entirely fair in your vigorous criticism of a pack you haven't tried in person.

    Once again, I'd like to emphasize I don't have ANY interest in promoting this pack as the greatest ever, and if it turns out to have flaws, I'll definitely report them here. The pack's intended purpose, and why I decided to try it, is for BIKING. Light weight for short rides. I did take it on a short hike today just to see how it felt for walking and to check the reservoir's functioning (see comments above). It's totally fine for short hikes/walks if you want to take some water and few things....but I prefer the feel of a pack with more suspension when hiking even short distances.

    Also, would you kindly share the link, or links, where one may read your gear reviews?
    Bambi, here's the link to Gram/Pastajet's site:

    Grams Light Bikes - Mountain Bike and Gear Reviews, and News

    It's in his signature line. It's also a great site, IMHO.

    As someone pointed out it is JUST an hydration pack...I'll try an confine any future remarks about it to supplying data about my experiences with it.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  42. #42
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    Test on LR bladder usability

    If anyone is still interested....

    I haven't been doing any hiking or biking for about three weeks--fractured 3 ribs in a crash, but today I decided to test out the capability of the lumbar reservoir on this pack.

    I filled the bladder just about as full as I could get it and then went for a hike. The hike was only about 1 1/2 hours so I really couldn't DRINK all the water, but I did drink or spit out water throughout the hike. I was still getting full flow of water until I reached home, where I just sucked and spit out water until I got air coming in. At this point I took the pack off and checked the reservoir--it was virtually empty. MAYBE there was 1/4 cup of water in there, but it didn't even seem like that. So I'm satisfied that it works well at least while hiking. When I'm able to get back on the bike I see if there's any difference in the riding position.
    Last edited by Porschefan; 10-16-2011 at 08:27 PM.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  43. #43
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    Thanks for the update!

  44. #44
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    Awesome piece of kit

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    If anyone is still interested....

    I haven't been doing any hiking or biking for about three weeks--fractured 3 ribs in a crash, but today I decided to test out the capability of the lumbar reservoir on this pack.

    I filled the bladder just about as full as I could get it and then went for a hike. The hike was only about 1 1/2 hours so I really couldn't DRINK all the water, but I did drink or spit out water throughout the hike. I was still getting full flow of water until I reached home, where I just sucked and spit out water until I got air coming in. At this point I took the pack off and checked the reservoir--it was virtually empty. MAYBE there was 1/4 cup of water in there, but it didn't even seem like that. So I'm satisfied that it works well at least while hiking. When I'm able to get back on the bike I see if there's any difference in the riding position.
    Have you recovered enough to really try it out on a mtb ride yet? Keep us posted!

  46. #46
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    Bambi19, well it is May 24th and the Charge LR has been available to the public. I have been using it for a month now... and guess what? You are wrong... sorry, judging from your "I know everything and cannot be wrong" attitude, you won't like me saying this... but really, what gives with all the hate on this product? I'm guessing you work for a competitor, or really are just THAT judgmental in life.

    The pack works amazingly... no problems getting water whatsoever. It is also available for $75 at REI. I love all the space for pumps, tools, phone, keys, and lots more. 70 oz of water is much more than is needed for me (I'm used to a single 20 oz bottle). I have never had this pack ride up on me, slide around, or do anything uncomfortable. The lower center of gravity makes this a winner and is much less noticeable than any other pack I have had in the past.

    Alright - your turn to post something you consider fact, without having tried the actual product. Enjoy.

  47. #47
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    bambi19- people like you are the reason this forum sucks.

  48. #48
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    none of the camelbaks are that heavy. It's the water you put in them that is heavy. Sadly no such thing as light weight water.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by duggus View Post
    Bambi19, well it is May 24th and the Charge LR has been available to the public. I have been using it for a month now... and guess what? You are wrong... sorry, judging from your "I know everything and cannot be wrong" attitude, you won't like me saying this... but really, what gives with all the hate on this product? I'm guessing you work for a competitor, or really are just THAT judgmental in life.

    The pack works amazingly... no problems getting water whatsoever. It is also available for $75 at REI. I love all the space for pumps, tools, phone, keys, and lots more. 70 oz of water is much more than is needed for me (I'm used to a single 20 oz bottle). I have never had this pack ride up on me, slide around, or do anything uncomfortable. The lower center of gravity makes this a winner and is much less noticeable than any other pack I have had in the past.

    Alright - your turn to post something you consider fact, without having tried the actual product. Enjoy.


    Is there room in it for two bladders? TIA.

  50. #50
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    I've got 3 sizes of CamelBaks, and I always end up using the middle size one. I might use my large one on an epic ride, and if I'm doing a SHORT race, I use the smallest one like this one you are inquiring about. This small size is the least favorite.

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