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Camelbak Octane LR Pack | Review

A hydration pack with a twist, the lumbar reservoir sits weight low down for better balance and load transfer.

‘The Octane LR’s stand-out feature is a clever lumbar reservoir that keeps weight low down at hip level – and it works pretty well’

Outdoors Magic: Neat lumbar reservoir works well and sits comfortably, lots of pockets, neat adjustment pull system, enough capacity for lightweight outings plus quick access pockets.

Outdoors Tragic: Hydration tune end roams free, sweaty in the heat. Carful packing needed.

Outdoors Grabbit? We like the lumbar reservoir and bite-valve and overall the pack works well with the weight kept low. There’s enough storage too if you keep your kit light and it’s arguably a better all-rounder than higher-sitting ‘race vests’.

Full Specification

Lightweight hydration pack / 2.0L Antidote lumbar reservoir with Quick Link system / Hydroguard technology / Pureflow tube / mesh stash pockets up front / hip-fin pockets / front overflow pocket / pole attachment / reflective details front and rear / dual overlapping main compartment pockets / safety whistle.

Full Review Below

Camelbak's Big Gulp bite valve flows nicely. Note the lock-off and yellow safety whistle - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
The reservoir sits at the bottom of the pack and curves round under the wing-pockets to keep weight low and close - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Octane LR – The Tech

As you might expect from hydration specialists Camelbak, the Antidote lumbar reservoir is the centrepiece of the pack. Or maybe more accurately, the foot-piece.

All you really need to know is that it’s an adaptation of the brand’s more conventional hydration systems will mod cons including a quick release tube for easy refilling and a highly effective Hydroguard, anti-microbial treatment.

What’s different is that the 2.0-litre reservoir is horizontal and runs right across the hip-belt. The idea is to keep the heavy load of water – 2000g when full – low and close to the body for better balance and efficiency.

Otherwise the pack is thoroughly thought out. There are plenty of handy pockets, wicking mesh body contact fabrics, reflective trim and a stretchy, bungee-secured overflow pocket.

 

Upper area has two handy, overlapping storage pockets. Note the easy-to-grab pull-tags on the zips - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Octane LR – Performance

Packs like the Osprey Rev 1.5 and Montane VIA Fang 5 place the load up at shoulder blade level, but Camelbak has taken a different option keeping the 2 kilos of water low and close in.

The good news is that it seems to work. Handy pull-tensioners under the wing-pockets hold everything firmly in place and the reservoir itself works well. There’s no tainting and so far it seems very gunk resistant.

It took us a while to realise we could route the exit tube up through the righthand pocket and over the shoulder rather than letting it swing free and exit upwards. Used like this it’s neat and effective. Plus the quick release tube makes refilling it a breeze, leaving the tube in place.

The lockable Big Gulp bite valve is one of our favourites and flows really well. Our one quibble is that there’s no way of anchoring the valve Osprey style, so it’s free to flap around. If you route the valve the other way, it’s securely held, but not as neat.

Your call really. You can also swap the valve for a right-angle one if you prefer it that way. Which ever way you choose, the pack stays secure and stable even over rougher terrain. No bounce or slosh.

The twin front stash pockets and two hip-belt pockets give easy-to-access stowage. Other items can live in the main pockets plus that overflow pouch is ace for, say, a wet shell jacket or anything else you might need in a hurry.

Downsides? There’s quite a lot of mesh in contact with the body and in hot weather, it can get a little warm. And as with the other lightweight running packs we’ve tested, there’s little back padding, so you need to pack carefully to avoid discomfort.

 

There are two mesh stash pockets up front, but you can also access the zippered wing-pockets easily enough. No complains from us on the storage front

Octane LR – Verdict

The Octane LR’s stable and comfortable, and that low-down water placement works fine. It’s arguably an even better idea on a mountain bike where it makes sense to keep your centre of gravity low.

The reservoir itself is one of the best out there. Easy to refill with minimal hassle – the big screw-top works easily – and with excellent flow characteristics. No desperate sucking required…

Finally there’s plenty of storage available along with those two-litres of water. Capacity is quite a personal call and depends a little on how light and compact your kit is, but we found the LR about right for medium to long-medium outings with minimal kit and food.

If you want more capacity, Camelbak has an Octane 18X with a 3-litre reservoir plus 17 litre storage. Or if you want less, the Octane  XCT offers the same 3-litre reservoir with a 3.5 litre storage capacity.

More Information

See camelbak.com

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