Review: Camelbak Volt 13 LR

Hydration

The CamelBak Volt 13 LR hydration pack is extremely comfortable, light and conformable, and features their new 100 oz Antidote lumbar reservoir, which resides at the bottom of the pack. The lumbar (LR) design places the water low on the hips and back for stability and comfort, and it conforms to the shape and oddities of your body for a great fit.

The Volt 13 LR weighs 700 grams (pack and reservoir), and has softly 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. It has a 10 liter storage capacity with excellent organizational pockets, and comes in two colors, Pirate Black/Graphite and Brick/Dove, and retails for $125.

Features

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. On the front is a smaller zippered compartment, with two meshed pockets and a key clip. Between the front and main compartments is a storage sleeve with stretchy side panels that expands to accommodate bulkier items, including apparel and armor. All the pockets and compartments combine together to give 600 cu in or 10L of storage space, although the middle sleeve adds quite a bit of additional volume. It has two upper compression straps for cinching down the load, and helmet strap hooks located on either side for attaching your helmet for carrying.

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 (orange pull tabs), 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. The 100 oz. or 3L Antidote reservoir with the Quick Link connector, sits in a zippered pouch at the lower back, slightly wrapping backwards around the hips.

Antidote Lumbar Reservoir

The new larger 100 oz/3 liter Antidote lumbar reservoir has a trapezoidal shape and sits down low on the back instead of the traditional vertical layout along the spine. 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 onto the 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.

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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  • MacBikePro says:

    I think you answered your own question. No squeezing necessary with this pack.

    I’ve had this pack since Feb. 2013. I bought the pack for an adventure race and it did very well on its maiden voyage. It has never leaked, or caused me any problems and I use it at least once a week. I even slammed the lower clasp in my car door. Cracked it a bit, but it still works!

    It never feels heavy. Straps often disappear and I feel like I’m not even wearing it most of the time. If I evacuate the air in the bladder before installing, it’s easy to drink dry.

    If there was a complaint, it’s getting a full bladder in or out. This is my 1st Camelbak, so I cannot compare, but it’s a little challenging to mount the upper hook, then the main hook. It just takes a few extra seconds to manage it and it has to be done blind because there’s not a lot of room. I LOVE the quick-release hose, though.

    There are larger storage packs, and occasionally I want to clamp on a pair of shoes, or an extra fleece, but this pack is very flexible and I would say that it has ample storage for anything just shy of a 12-hour adventure race.

  • neuregel says:

    past few years camelback is gone overboard with their backpacks. I use an army issue camelbackgreen canves with only two main chambers, two cell phone pockets, two zippers. 100ml. Holds everything. Bam done Im riding. When I see guys or gals riding up with one of these they are usually nooooobs and they look silly.

  • MissedThePoint says:

    How’s it look on the rider, on a bike?

  • wheel-addict says:

    Bought this pack just before a self-supported 300 mile road race this fall. Hardly noticed it on my back at all. I love the pockets on the hip belt–this is where I could access food, lip balm, electrolyte pills, etc while riding. Highly recommended.

  • Mr. Papagiorgio says:

    Do you know if the new lumbar resevoir without the wings will work with a pack that originally came with the 70oz resevoir with the wings?

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