The end of my CamelBak Backpacks
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Now, this review isn't going to be entirely negative as this bag does inherently have some pro's to it, and hopefully a good foundation to fix this bags downfalls. This bag failed for me 2 separate times in the straps and in the handle once on two bags. (props to Backcountry's legendary customer support on 30 day exchanges/returns) This bag was going to be "the" bag for me as it had everything I wanted. The water reservoir was the perfect sized and the TubeTrap really did work and keep the water in very well and it was easy to drink out of and very to the point in that facet of the bag. The storage was never at a premium as I always had ways to expand the bag to fit items for men hikes and the bag was the perfect weight to take it on jogs. Thats about where the good ends and the constructive criticism begins; the storage compartment where you would put the water reservoir was an insane pain to get into as the zipper didn't go all the way around but just a little over half. Now, if you are left handed it would probably not be as much of a pain as the zipper goes perfectly down the left side however it would be amazing if it went all the way around. Secondly, and most importantly was the quality issues. I am going to assume this is two isolated issues as I have had other CamelBak products that work very well however my experience with their backpacks just hasn't been a positive one. The top handle was vastly weaker and harsher on the hands to hold and that is why it ripped first. At this point its a whatever because its not vital to the bag however for $160 one would expect better. Next was the left strap that ripped when I was climbing, I'm not going to act like the bag didn't have weight in it but some camera equipment and extra clothes for the car ride home and snacks shouldn't overbear a bag that most kids are just going to use for books which is substantially more heavy but my bag absolutely had no more than 10-15 pounds in it. My biggest complaint was that it failed me at a critical time and when it broke I was climbing and the bag flew around and got stuck between some rocks and the only way to get it out was to yank it and it ripped one of the front straps and the zipper. However, I will not knock them for this as they can't rock proof a thin and light bag however they can make sure it doesn't break on you when you need it to hold strong.
Quality- 1/10 obviously for having 2 bags straps rip
Comfort- 8.5/10 for the handle being harsh on the hands if you have to man(or woman) handle it in caves for a distance.
Cost- 5/10 for it being a good idea with poor followthrough on some parts.
Practicality- 9/10 this bad should be the ultimate hiking/Climbing pack. I can name so many categories where this bag would be near the top if they could just fix the quality issues
Value- 7/10 it gives you a lot for the money, you will pay more for bags with less space and worse comfort as I have been in this a while. Quality drives it down but doesn't take away the features it has. should be a 9-9.5 after they figure out this quality issue.
To conclude, this bag should and can be the best bag however it just isn't there yet, maybe if they fix a couple things and can prove that it will hold up not just at one point but over multiple days and many many miles of hiking then I might get another but until then I'm back looking for a backpack. Should be 1.5 stars but because it did well in some areas I will give it 2, however in the end if you can't rely on your pack to deliver then you will never use it.