CamelBak Charge 10 LR Review

Hydration

This is one of my favorite hydration packs of all time, and it sticks to your back like Velcro, and carries the weight low on your lumbar. It’s a tough well made pack, with lots of features and innovative designs. It’s a small pack with only a 2 liter water capacity, but it functions extremely well for almost any ride of moderate distance.

The CamelBak Charge 10 LR hydration pack is extremely comfortable, light and conformable, and features their lumbar Antidote reservoir, which is located at the bottom of the pack. The design places the water low on the hips and back for stability and comfort, and the pack becomes part of your back, at least figuratively, as it conforms to the shape and oddities of your body. The Charge 10 LR uses lightweight ripstop fabric, has great organizational pockets, a softly padded back panel and hip belt, and uses their 70 oz (2 L) Antidote Reservoir.

CamelBak Charge 10 LR
The Charge 10 LR (Lumbar) weighs in at a svelte 507 grams, and has padded back, hip, and shoulders, and is constructed with their Ultra-light materials, using a combination of ripstop and stretchy nylon. The wraparound body uses their LV back panel, and Ultra-light 3-D Mesh Independent Suspension with Slider Sternum Strap. The upper portion of the pack has a long and narrow zippered main compartment, which opens in clam shell style for easy access. It has three meshed organizational pockets, one large and two smaller ones, and the larger one has a Velcro closure tab. There is an overflow storage sleeve on the back, which extends down the bottom two-thirds of the pack, and closes off with a cinch strap. The sleeve uses very stretchy fabric, so it can expand to hold various apparel or other items as required. The padded hip belt uses 1-inch webbing with a front clip, and has zippered cargo pockets on each side. In addition, the pack is equipped with lumbar compression straps, which draws the bottom of the pack into the back as the reservoir’s water volume decreases, keeping things stabilized, with the weight in tight to the body. All the pockets and compartments combine together to give 488cu in or 8L of storage space, although the outer sleeve adds quite a bit of additional volume. The 70 oz. or 2L Antidote reservoir with the Quick Link connector, sits in a zippered pouch at the lower back, wrapping backwards around the hips and the lumbar. The pack will come in two colors, Pirate Black/Graphite and Skydiver/Dove (tested), and will retail for $110.

Antidote LR Reservoir
The Antidote lumbar reservoir (70 oz/2 liters) sits horizontal in contrast to the typical vertical layout, and it includes mini baffles (the small cutouts) to keep the water from sloshing around and keep the shape from getting too fat (flatter bladder), and it makes it bend easier at the wings. The bite valve worked quite nicely, and was easy to draw, and didn’t leak. The screw cap for the fill port takes only a quarter turn to open or close, and it does not get stuck and require brute force to open. Just line up the arrow on the cap with the circle icon ‘O’ (with arrows pointing in tightening direction), and turn it a quarter turn clockwise until it lines up with the solid circle icon by the top hanging hook. It only takes a light touch to close the cap, and its water tight and snug. The fill port has a wider diameter hole for easier filling, cleaning and drying, and has a handle which hooks onto the drop slot of the packs zippered pouch, helping to keep it stable and secure, and makes it handier to hold the cumbersome wide reservoir. They added an auto shutoff quick disconnect, named the Quick Link, which allows you to disconnect the reservoir from the drink hose, which facilitates cleaning, filling and drying.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Joe says:

    Hey Brian, great review! I can see your Spot II GPS unit stuffed in the pack; did you have to take the Spot out of the pack to receive/transmit, or where you able to get a signal by leaving it in the pack in tracking mode and broadcast through the light weight material of the pack? If not, is there a good place to attach the Spot to the outside of the pack so you don’t have to take it out to broadcast?

  • Eric says:

    Wingnut Gear has been making incredible mtn bike posts for quite a while. They have an awesome 100 oz pack that all the weight is carried on your hips. I have been using one for 3.5 years and it beats anything on the market. Camelback is really late to the game but their mass marketing budget is hard to compete with. I use a Deuter bladder and insulated sleeve and a camelback hose sleeve so my water stays cold even in hot ol’ Redding, CA… It is a sweet set up!

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Eric – I haven’t ever used any of the Wingnut Gear, so I can’t really comment on them, I think their Splitback is the closest in size to the Charge 10 LR. The Charge 10 LR is brand new, while the predecessors, the Charge LR, and the Octane have been around for 1 and 2 years respectively. What I do like about the LR reservoir is the the shape with the wings, as it rolls the weight out over your hips, plus the packs lumbar compression straps, the overflow sleeve and hip pockets are great features. FYI: Deuter doesn’t make bladders, they use the Israeli company named Source (which does military hydration packs like CamelBak).

  • nora says:

    Hi Brian

    I’m newbie in outdoor sport but i want to equip myself well. i don’t mountain bike or ride, i only do sport climbing and jungle trekking.

    I’d like to get your expert advice for CamelBak Charge 10LR redesigned, i bought this model for my outdoor activities. is this model suitable for such activities? or even cross country running?

    Your expert advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    NORA

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