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CamelBak Alpine Explorer

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Alpine Explorer has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best hydration packs for 2024.

photo: CamelBak Alpine Explorer hydration pack


  • Spacious
  • Nice mesh pocket in the middle
  • Organization in the front pocket


  • Not made for long torsos
  • Hydration compartment poorly designed
  • Hydration tube only designed for right hand side

I am not sure how people over 6' tall are giving this pack good reviews. They must be all legs and no torso.

I am about 6'4" — it IS NOT designed for someone with a longer torso in mind. If you never wanted to use the hip belt then you might be alright...but this pack is kinda big to be filling up and putting all that weight just on your shoulders...after about 4 hours of hiking this becomes painful to my back/neck. This pack is not what I would expect out of Camelbak.

Also, the hydration sleeve sucks. Instead of having a loop to hang the bladder from, there is this little "pocket" that the handle part of where you fill the bladder hooks into about 1/3 of the way down into the pack (not sure what that piece is called). This causes the bladder (and all its water weight) to 1. be lower in the pack than I'd like and 2. it's dropped down so far that the hydration tube doesn't have enough length. I had to turn my head to the side to sip water. It needs a loop at the top of the pack to hook the bladder on to.

Also, even though the port for the tube comes out in the middle (theoretically) you could run it down either side...there is only a clip to hold the tube on the right end of the chest strap. This wouldn't be a big deal if the strap were reversible. 

Also, Camelbak's customer service is awful. I asked a few questions via email (since they won't give a phone # to call about product support) and it never took them less than 6 days to reply. It took 10 days on one question and my most recent question still hasn't been answered almost 2 weeks later.

This thing is a beast! I purchased the Alpine Explorer in June for a Half Dome trip and it was outstanding. I had been using the H.A.W.G. which is an awesome bag in its own right. There is a little added storage space, more functional pockets, an internal frame, and a cover for the mouthpiece of the hydration system. All off these make the Alpine my go-to bag for long excusions.

Height of Owner: 6'4''
Price Paid: around $100

This was my first CamelBak pack purchase that I have made and I have never regretted it. One of the first things that you will notice is that the main zipper is super hefty, not a big deal to most, but I have had many zippers break at the most inopportune times.

The other thing you will notice (not so much in the picture) is that the back portion separates from the main portion in order to create a large pocket in the middle, which can be used for holding a 1001 things that you need quick access to. It came in very handy on a recent trip into the Boundary Waters, I loaded my tackle box into the large middle pocket and always had quick access when I needed it.

The final perk with this pack is that it fits like a glove. I had to take an overgrown, rock laden, up and down 180 rod portage a total of 8 time, never once did I feel like the pack was a burden. It didn't shift, it is well ventilated, and it doesn't dig in anywhere. Overall I was extremely impressed with this pack, the cost to quality ratio can't be beat.

Max. Load Carried: 20lbs
Height of Owner: 6ft
Price Paid: $70

Excellent! This has become my go-to day pack.


  • Lightweight
  • Generous volume, but compressible
  • Adjustable and comfortable fit
  • Versatile pockets, including hydration pocket
  • Comfort


  • None

Purchased this pack in 2011 and after much use it's still going strong. Is my favorite day pack. Has an easily removable waist strap (never need or use it). Shoulder/sternum straps are well placed and comfortable.

Pack rides very nicely. It holds plenty of gear for summer trips and most 3-season hikes. Pack has a several sections and a couple of nice smaller pockets (e.g., micro-lined pocket on top for glasses).

All in all a nice design. Should I ever need another day pack I'll start my search with Camelbak.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $74 on sale

Wow. I just got this out of the shipping box and have fallen in love with it. I like it more than my North Face packs so that really says a lot.

My past Camelbaks have all been small in size so I didn't know what to expect. It is actually larger than the North Face pack I've been commuting with and it has more pockets. The backing is really great because it allows air flow. Also, I was afraid the straps were going to be skimpy but they're more than appropriate for a day pack.

For the $$ this is a really good pack.

Price Paid: $99

Excellent pack with plenty of room for those all-day hikes. Room for everything you may need from a jacket and lunch.

The only downside is you are able to fit too much into it and pack it heavier than you really need.

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Price MSRP: $99.00
Historic Range: $59.93-$114.99
Reviewers Paid: $70.00-$100.00