Camelbak The Don Review

Hydration Pro Reviews

The carrying system for a full face helmet is really sweet. Without instructions, I wasn’t sure what straps to use, except for the obvious ones under the flap to hold the chin bar, so I did a best guess estimate. I have yet to find a hydration pack company that gives you any instruction on how to use things, call it a features guide or suggestion FAQ, come on guys, your features can be a bit confusing?

camel_chin

It was an easy task to attach, I just popped open the front flap, snapped the two chin straps onto the helmet’s chin bar. I then pulled the flap up and over the chin guard, closed its Velcro, snapped the flaps four compressions straps, and cinched them tight.

camel_helmet

When the full face helmet is strapped down, it was very stable, with no flopping nor excess movement. The synergy of the helmet strap system, along with the thickly padded back and carrying system (waist/shoulder/chest), made the helmets additional weight (2-3 lbs) and bulkiness tolerable. You still need to watch for the errant tree or bush, since the visor and helmet sort of stick out.

I tend to ride up trails wearing a normal helmet, and then switch to the full face for downhilling or when I know I will be riding gnarly terrain. Carrying the normal helmet was also easy since it slips nicely into the flap’s pouch, although I detached the visor to make things easier to stow. There are enough strapping to secure the load, carry armor (nice set of bottom straps), and pretty much anything that is required.

The pack has a plethora of pockets or compartments, and the main compartment of the pack is quite cavernous, with the zipper going 2/3 of the way around it. Once opened, with the side compression straps undone, the main compartment sort of flops open, making it easy to grab most anything. In the main compartment there are two pouches, and two zippered pockets, one is quite large and sits down low, which is nice to segregate infrequently used items such as first aid kit, tools and repair equipment, while the other pocket is for smaller items. I would have liked another zippered pocket above the larger one, one which one have quick access capabilities, for energy bars, etc.

camel_pockets

On the top back of the pack is a sealed/water resistant pocket for electronics (I put my camera and small tools there), and a padded eyeglass one (usually my keys and wallet) just above the full faced helmet flap. When anything was stuffed into the helmet slot, it was difficult to access the top pocket, since it sort of squeezed the pack down and the zipper was tough to open and close, and items were hard to extract.

By your hips, there is a small zippered pocket that I used for my cell phone (easy to reach, unzip and grab a phone), and then a lift pass holder with Velcro flash cover for those ski area outings.

camel_pass

Next » Antidote Reservoir

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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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  • jack says:

    What is the asking price?

  • Matt says:

    I like the bag itself, but I’d probably put in a Hydrapak reservoir. As long as Camelbak uses that horrible screw-off lid I’m sticking with the simple Hydrapak bags. I had an earlier hydrapak (sorry for saying the name so much… I feel like I’m in a commercial now) and couldn’t stand their valve or the horrible taste that the tube added. After it started leaking, I switched to a camelback– while I liked the bite valve, I hated the small opening on the reservoir and the screw on/off lid. After I had to use a wrench to open it after using it last time, I went back to hydrapak and was happily surprised at their advancements (bite valve, detachable tube) and how they kept their basic bag opening.

    I really do like camelback’s bag, though! This thing looks tough!

  • Brian Mullin says:

    The new Antidote reservoir is a vast improvement over the old one, the opening is 20-25% bigger, has a quick release tube (easier than the hydrapak), and the 1/4 turn cap doesn’t lock up and is easy to turn, plus the drying arms are pretty sweet. I also have plenty of hydrapak reservoirs, and the new Antidote certainly levels the field, and I wouldn’t swap out bags, the Antidote is just fine.

  • Disco says:

    Seems they have finally noticed what the competition (Dakine and even Jan-Sport) have been up to all along but the core of their business has been military and not recreational sales for years. The bladder is a properly evolutionary step, mimicking Nalgene’s original thoughts and apparently smoothing out the flaws.

    Ride on.

  • Harrys says:

    this site is great,you found anything

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