CamelBak Octane LR Review

Hydration Pro Reviews

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The CamelBak Octane LR is an incredibly comfortable and trick hydration pack, which features their lumbar Antidote reservoir, which is situated at the bottom of the pack. The design places the water lower on hips and back for stability and comfort. The pack becomes part of your back, at least figuratively, as it conforms to the shape and oddities of your body, and it doesn’t bounce around, even when bending forward. The Octane LR uses lightweight ripstop fabric with reinforcement at key areas, and has 549 cu in (9 L) of space with a 70 oz (2 L) Antidote Reservoir. It’s an ideal pack for mountain biking, trail running and adventure racing.

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Antidote Reservoir
The new lumbar Antidote reservoir (70 oz / 2 liters) is pretty amazing, and CamelBak has done a full redesign of their units, adding many features and functionality, and has caught up to the competition’s innovations. The lumbar version 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. The bite valve worked quite nicely, and was easy to draw, and didn’t leak (at least not yet). 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 in addition it makes it handier to hold the cumbersome wide reservoir. They added an auto shutoff quick disconnect, named the Quick Link, which allow you to disconnect the reservoir from the drink hose, which facilitates cleaning, filling and drying.

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CamelBak Octane LR
The Octane LR (lumbar reservoir) is light 343 grams, is minimally padded using their Ultra-light 3D mesh, and is constructed with 70D mini ripstop, 230D taffeta, 420D Nylon (with DWR + 1000mm PU Coating) materials. The wraparound body uses their Air channel back panel, and has padded shoulder and waist straps, and a sternum strap. The upper portion of the pack has two main pockets (shaped liked trapezoids), one slightly larger than the other, and two small ones situated on the waist belt, and they combine together to give 9 liters or 549 cubic inches of space. On the lower front is an elastic mesh front pouch, with a bungee closure, and a skinny slot on the left shoulder strap. The Antidote reservoir sits in a dual zippered pouch at the bottom, wrapping backwards around the hips and the lumbar. The pack comes in two colors, Mirage and Frost Gray (as tested) or Lime Punch and Graphite.

Next » Impressions & Bottom Line

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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  • Steve says:

    Just wondering how this compares to the Wingnut packs. My only issue with my Wingnut Hyper 3.0 is that it tends to bounce up whenever I bunnyhop or jump. I think I might try the Octane LR as is seems like it might be a bit more stable in these situations.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    This pack is sleek and low slung, and doesn’t bounce around like the typical fanny pack, and the Wingnut is a slight variant of each pack type (fanny and lumbar).

  • Rich says:

    Brian, another excellent review. Very thorough, with useful information, as usual. The only thing I question, is your conclusion. To give a pack 5 flamin’ peppers, when you note that the pack is basically too small for a lot of folks, with a poorly thought out hose that’s routed weirdly, and either has QC issues, or potentially a redesign, well, that doesn’t make sense to me.
    I understand that it’s super comfy, and stable, but it sounds more promising, than well executed. To top it off, it’s not unusually expensive, but in order to try to remedy some of the stated issues, will cost you some bucks, so it’s not really a bargain either, for a pack that really seems suitable only for post work length jaunts. Sorry to nitpick, but your conclusion just seemed inconsistent with the rest of your review.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    My job is nitpick things to death, and I go overboard, and find things wrong with anything (nothing is perfect). Some of my observations are also meant to prompt the manufacturer into making changes. Hint, Hint, CamelBak!

    1) The mini hole issue is hardly noticeable, and less than a pinkie in size, and it has not torn any worse in several months of use, I removed the redesign wording, that was a bit harsh
    2) The hose issue is also minor (but I will give you that one as a demerit against the pack), and I myself just didn’t like the lower routing, but it does work, and in that direction the length issue becomes loss prominent. Most people seem to prefer it the lower way? I had heard that for tall people it’s more noticeable? Yes, an additional $9 for a tube does add to the price.
    3) The pack isn’t too small, is just would be nice to have some more leeway, I have been using it just fine through the Winter, and just need to be more judicious in what you carry.

    It got 5 chili’s because as entire package it is a stupendous pack, that just becomes glued to you torso, and yes it has flaws, warts and all (like everything does), and works better with $9 additional tube?

  • Don says:

    I imagine the pack isn’t too small if you already have something like a HAWG, and you’re looking for a smaller pack to use for 1-2 hour rides and to utilize for trail running, which the HAWG isn’t well-suited for. I may try this one. I’ll have to fiddle with the hose in REI to see if the length is an issue for me.

    Thanks for the thorough review.

  • salimoneus says:

    I would have to echo Rich’s comments. Very thorough review and lots of good info. But a hole tears through the pocket, yet the pack still receives a 5 star rating? Just because it’s only one small hole now, doesn’t mean it won’t get worse, or that it won’t happen in other areas. All we have to go on in how it held up during the use of the review, and apparently it didn’t do too well in the build quality area. I have a cheap pack I picked up at Costco for $20 that hasn’t torn any holes in over 2 years. I would expect more from this product. Clearly there are either some design or quality control issues. I would expect to see someone give a 2/5 rating here before giving a perfect score, so it makes one wonder…

  • Charlie America says:

    I wonder if this bladder (reservoir) would fit in my 15 year old Grandito? Note: Grandito (large), not Bandito (smaller)…

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