The CamelBak Arete 18 is a light, minimalist bag that…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $32


The CamelBak Arete 18 is a light, minimalist bag that keeps your water accessible and also has room for a few items to take along on your venture.


  • Lightweight
  • Minimalist
  • Roomy interior


  • Hydration tube accessed from right side
  • Shoulder straps too narrow
  • Back of bag not rigid

I got this bag at a great price. There were actually a lot of CamelBak packs available when I got this, but I chose this one because of the lightweight design and minimalist look. I also liked that I had room for a few items that I like to take with me, such as a packable rain jacket, small bottle of OJ, glucose meter, and keys. A little extra room isn't a bad thing to me. 

There is a zippered compartment on the lid, for items you might want to access without going in the bag. I kept a bandanna, my ID, and some cash inside, with a lot of room to spare. The main compartment is very roomy. If you're into packing light there is enough room for a day's worth of stuff. 

I filled it almost completely for a walk. I didn't really need 2L of water but decided to fill it anyway, just to see how it felt. The shoulder straps are light and adjustable. There is an adjustable chest strap I didn't use on this trip. Over time the shoulder straps felt like they were digging into my shoulders… I believe this is because they are pretty narrow. I was wearing a tank top so I wonder if this would feel the same way wearing a t-shirt or hoody.  

The back of the bag is not rigid. I do believe a rigid insert would feel a little more stable when it was full of water.

The Arete pack I have is not like what is shown in the photo. Mine does not have a zippered side compartment. Mine has two mesh pockets on the outside, one left and one right. The only zippered compartment is on the lid. This bag doesn't have a lot of extras, but that's what made me choose it. 

The reason I give this four stars is the hydration tube can only be fitted on the right shoulder. There is no exit port on the left shoulder. I think it would be nice to have the option of having the tube on the shoulder the user prefers. It doesn't take away from how it performs, and doesn't mean I will use it less. I'm left handed so, I notice things like that.

Overall I like the bag… will be taking it out more, might have to update this review.


Thanks for the review, J. Roc. Do you know about what model year your pack is? Got any pictures to show yours and its features?

3 months ago
J. Roc

I'm still trying, unsuccessfully, to add pics! I must be doing something wrong!

3 months ago

No problem, J. Roc. Here you go: To add a picture, click the yellow button at the top or bottom of your review to “Edit this review.” While in the main “Detailed Review” section of your review, click on the photo icon (a little green tree, third from the right) in the menu bar at the top to "insert/edit image." You’ll be able to upload images or link to pictures you’ve posted elsewhere.

3 months ago