CamelBak Charge LR

Hydration Pro Reviews

Bottom Line
The CamelBak Charge LR is a superb pack, and synergy of the lumbar design, low slung reservoir, conformable back panel and hip belt, and functional suspension system makes for a fantastically stable and comfortable entity. The pack adheres to your back, like its attached with Velcro, and it carries the weight centered properly on your hips, lower back and lumbar. It seems to all but disappears, and during any type of extreme riding it didn’t flop or bounce around, which was especially noticeable on steep terrain, where it didn’t do any head slaps. The lumbar compression straps helped pull the bottom of the pack into the back when the reservoir started to shrink in size, and it was useful for doing customized load and fit trimming. Besides the exceptional load carrying and stability characteristics, the pack had some other excellent features, including the main compartments clam shell opening and mesh pockets, the roomy side cargo pockets, and the uber stretchy back burrito sleeve. The 70 oz (2 L) of water is fine for short rides, and the storage space works adequately, especially when adding in the rear sleeve and the space above the reservoir.

Nitpicks: A helmet holder of some sort would be handy at times, but it certainly isn’t a deal breaker, and might not work considering the constraints of the pack’s design. The Antidote lumbar reservoir was easy to clean, and install in the pack, but it was cumbersome to fill (especially re-filling) and difficult to dry properly. On occasion, the side cargo pockets would catch on things, usually a saddle, but it was a minor annoyance.

The Charge LR’s innovative design, lightweight materials, soft padding, and its highly flexible nature, create a plush and comfortable pack, and it becomes one with the back, and has just enough space for moderate rides.

Strengths

  • Antidote bladder system
  • Comfortable, conformable and nicely padded
  • Weight and pack disappear
  • No flopping and bouncing around
  • Clam shell opening
  • Lumbar compression straps
  • Main compartments mesh pockets
  • Outer expandable burrito sleeve

Weaknesses

  • Reservoir difficult to dry
  • Reservoir cumbersome to fill/re-fill
  • No helmet carrier
  • Side cargo pockets can catch on things

MSRP: $100

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Follow Brian Mullin at http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

Charge LR Specs:

  • MSRP $100
  • Retail Availability: February 2012
  • Antidote Reservoir with Quick Link System
  • Perfect for mountain biking
  • Hydration Capacity: 70 oz. (2L) with the new Antidote Lumbar Reservoir
  • Cargo Capacity: 427 cu in / 7L + 2L Reservoir
  • Weight: 16 oz (460 g) (no reservoir)
  • Back Panel: Lightweight Exoskeleton
  • Ultra-light 3-D Mesh Independent Suspension™ with Slider Sternum Strap and integrated Tube Trap
  • Belt: Side cinch 25mm / 1” with cargo pockets
  • Key Features: Ultra-light materials, lumbar reservoir compression, bike tool organizer pocket, stretch overflow storage



 

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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