Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/
Camelbak has released two new hydration packs for 2010 made specifically for the All Mountain and Freeride community. The Don (17.5L) and The Capo (11L) have the usual Camelbak features, along with the ability to carry full face helmets and body armor. I originally tested the 2010 Don, but Camelbak was nice enough to send along the 2011 Don (slightly tweaked over 2010), which had their brand new Antidote bladder system. The new Antidote is miles ahead of their previous bladder, and fixes many issues in their system, like the always frustrating fill port screw cap.
The Don has a carrying capacity of 17.5L or 1070 cu in, and the water reservoir is 3L or 100oz, comes in four colors combination’s, and weighs in at 900 grams or 2 lbs.
The Don is made with a slightly tougher rip-stop material than most packs, so that it can take the additional abuse and abrasion that the AM/FR rider is going to toss at it. I can attest to the blows the pack can sustain, since I have crashed on it, and slammed into trees and bushes. I never really thought that a hydration pack could be considered part of my armor and protection system, as it certainly has lessened the blows for my back and shoulders, whether it is a roll or a direct slammer.
The packs black color combination (Black/Methyl Blue) was subtle, and didn’t show dirt easily, even after lots of dusty and dirty trail usage. The pack even had some nifty Camel logo’s blended into the pack.
Pack Weight – 908.3 grams/32.04 oz/2 lbs
Reservoir Weight – 199.9 grams/7.05 oz/.44 lbs
Pack Size: 19″ x 11.5″ x 9″
The air director back panel has a lot of padding so it is comfortable, even when fully loaded, but it seems to retain a lot of sweat and stays pretty hot, without many ventilation capabilities.
Although the waist belt doesn’t have much padding, it does a great job of carrying the load, and pulls the pack nicely into your lower back, helping to keep the weight close and evenly distributed. The carrying system, which includes the waist belt, sternum strap and shoulder straps, offers a lot of movements, but it sometimes allows the pack to flop around on technical and rough trails when one is hanging all over the bike, although this issue is common to most larger capacity bike packs. Cinching the straps down tight when ugly terrain will be encountered is essential, to help alleviate some of the floppiness, albeit it still exists. The actual padded shoulder strap is semi free floating from the main pack (padding not directly attached on top), and instead is connected with a wide piece of webbing, and a seems as though a small amount of sloppiness is inherent in that interface?