Camelbak - yes or no?

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13/05/2013 at 19:53

Hi all

I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience of using a Camelbak hydration pack.

I don't like running with bottles, but on longer runs could do with something to keep me going.  I've been looking at the Camelbak packs and see that some are aimed at cyclists/runners - I just wondered what people thought - are they good?  

The idea of being able to drop a gel into a pocket and have water literally on tap appeals, but I'm always sceptical of the promotional blurb and wonder if they are comfortable and practical

Thanks in advance

13/05/2013 at 20:10

I use a Camelbak Octane on my long runs and its a fantastic bit of kit. Its lightweight and sits securely on my back without rubbing.  The side pockets are big enough to stuff full of energy gels etc.

I've used various camelbaks for years (still have one of the originals from a long time ago) when mountain biking, so it was the obvious choice for me. 

13/05/2013 at 20:13

Thanks Stutyr,  that's good to know.

I'm looking at the Classic at the moment - it looks small and doesn't cost the earth - I'm happier to pay more, but would prefer to try one out first and then upgrade later.

13/05/2013 at 20:14

I've got the camelbak octane. I am a slight female runner and find this hydration pack very useful and comfortable. It has a waist and chest strap and doesn't bounce- even when the bladder is full. On the waist strap/belt there are 2 side compartments where I store gels or jelly babies. When you fill the bladder- squeeze out the xs air before closing the seal.....this helps to prevent the "sloshing" noise of the water when you run. Another tip is when it is not in use- store the bladder in the freezer- this helps prevent mould. When you need it- pour boiling water on the water tube to dissolve any ice that may have formed. If you are going to buy a camelbak: I strongly recommend a one with a chest and waist strap. I had a cheaper version and it only had a chest strap: it bounced when I ran.

13/05/2013 at 20:17

I have the Classic 2l version at the moment and love it. Sits comfortably on the back, has room for gels and small mobile phone etc. I also like the little strap that goes across the chest, keeps it all really secure. For around the £40 mark you really can't go wrong. 

13/05/2013 at 20:20

Thanks, that's really useful - interesting about the waist strap as I don't think the Classic has one - will have a look at the Octane as both of you have mentioned it now.


Thanks for the tips on storing too - will come in useful

13/05/2013 at 20:25

Thanks Tel

What do you make of the need for a waist strap as Bambi suggests - do you have  a problem with bouncing?  I had been looking at the 2l Classic

13/05/2013 at 20:27

You're correct, there is no waist strap on the classic Phil, it goes across the chest and stops the shoulder straps slipping off your shoulders. I had an old camelbak and used to have to hang my thumbs in the straps to stop it slippling off. The addition of the chest clip on the new one is brilliant. Size wise, I am probably the polar opposite of Bambi and to be honest I've never had a problem with it bouncing.


Edited: 13/05/2013 at 20:31
13/05/2013 at 20:52

They are a good bit of kit, but generally unnecessary for anything shorter than ultra distance. 

13/05/2013 at 21:03

I've got a wonen's Charm one...had it for years but think it's a smaller version of the classic. It's great for long runs when all you need is a drink a somewhere to pop a phone, keys and money. Definitely recommend it.

13/05/2013 at 22:14

I have a camelback octane too, I don't use it that often but I used on Saturday for a trail race. You can geway lot into it if necessary- hat,gloves, jacket etc

i get a bit fed up with all the loose straps and cords, they can be very annoying if they work free.Properly adjusted though, I don't notice the camelback at all. I find the belt pockets a bit small what fits in them would fit as easily into a chest pocket and be more accessible. 

but the principle of a hydration pack is good, you can sip the water and not break your rhythm, and you should be able to find one that fits comfortably. 

13/05/2013 at 23:11

I've got a camelback marathoner - I only use it on runs of over ~15 miles or ~2 1/2 hours, under that I don't bother with water (unless it is blazing hot).  Very comfortable as long as it is relatively tight so it doesn't bounce.

14/05/2013 at 01:53

I have the Camelbak Rogue, don't use it often as (until now) rarely run over 10 miles, no waist strap but a big enough back poctet for jacket, phone etc and 2 litres of water. On my first run with it I had my first (and only) case of joggers nipple, probably caused because the shoulder straps restricted shirt movement? Got some lube now and not had the problem again

 I'll probably use it on my first Marathon as I can't drink from cups when running and don't fancy carrying a bottle.



14/05/2013 at 06:39

Looked at these, but for a bit of extra storage for longer runs and trails I went for an OMM Last Drop and a 2l bladder. Not too expensive.

Pudge    pirate
14/05/2013 at 07:40

I use a Camelback FlashFlo.  It's a waist pack, rather than a back pack.  With the reservoir full (1.5l I think?), it's big enough to carry a few energy bars, keys, phone and a small waterproof.

I find it comfortable enough, although I've never used a backpack so have nothing to compare it to.

I do think that I'm going to have replace it with a backpack before long though, as it's probably only any good for anything up to marathon distance (given the compact size of it), and I'm starting to go beyond that now.

14/05/2013 at 09:02

+1 with Flashflo (it's 1.4l btw)

as for longer than a marathon use Pudge - many ultras have filling up stations so may not need to worry about carrying more (which is extra weight anyway).  

14/05/2013 at 09:23
One piece of kit that I really recommend. Much better than any bottle belts.
Pudge    pirate
14/05/2013 at 09:48
fat buddha wrote (see)

+1 with Flashflo (it's 1.4l btw)

as for longer than a marathon use Pudge - many ultras have filling up stations so may not need to worry about carrying more (which is extra weight anyway).  

It wasn't so much the water issue FB, it was more the fact that a lot of the ultras I've looked at require you to carry certain levels of kit (waterproofs, maps, kitchen sink etc) that just wouldn't fit in the Flashflo.

I'm doing my first 50k next month, and I do intend to use the Flashflo, as the kit list isn't as strict, but for longer stuff I was looking at maybe getting one of the Solomans.

Suggestions/recommendations welcome...

14/05/2013 at 10:02

Bambi - thanks for that useful tip on storing the hydration bladder.  I had to replace mine recently as the tube was full of that pink mould when I took it out to use it after several months.  I did wonder how you got round that problem.  I'll be putting the new one in the freezer tonight.

14/05/2013 at 10:10

I've recently bought a Decathalon version of a Camelbak as I was planning on using it on long runs in the summer with an electrolyte tablet in. However washing it out before first use I realised how difficult it was to rinse it out properly!

Any top tips, or am I best to stick to just water in it for ease of cleaning?

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