Current Retail: $48.39
Historic Range: $2.83-$48.39
Reviewers Paid: $34.00
I'm not sure this is the antidote. While I appreciate a number of the features that Camelbak has added to this system, it has a persistant moisture problem that I have not been able to solve. Though the problem is more of an annoyance than a failure, it represents a decline in quality for me. There may be better options.
- durability of reservoir
- easy to open, close, fill, dry
- bite valve
- baffled so water does not slosh
- persistant leak or moisture buildup at hose/bladder connection
i purchased this bladder to accommodate family hikes. we have two other older-style camelbak bladders that have both been very good products. this one is good in many ways but has an annoying flaw.
The 3 liter size is great for longer hikes. for a full day hike in hot weather, i sometimes have to fill it mid/late in the day, but i sweat more than most. the wide mouth makes it relatively easy to fill. the top twists open in a quarter turn rather than a 3/4 to full turn, and it is marked on the mouth of the bladder so you match an arrow with a dot, then twist. this 'short twist' top feature is a mild improvement over the previous versions. i have experienced no leakage via the twist top in this or any other camelbak bladder.
the top also has a pair of folding 'feet' that hide around the mouth of the bottle. these are supposed to help you dry the bladder in between uses, apparently. because i hang the bladder to dry it out, i don't think the feet were necessary for me, and i have only used them once.
a significant improvement is a baffle placed inside the bladder. in general, larger water bladders can make a watery, sloshy noise and shift around while you walk; the bladder significantly limits this and also means this bladder has a slightly flatter profile than previous versions. i like this enhancement.
the bladder has a releasable valve at the point where the hose enters the bladder. you pinch the valve and can remove the hose. in theory, this seems like an improvement. it's easier to remove this hose than it was on previous versions of the camelbak bladder, an improvement for cleaning the hose. however, re-inserting the hose can be a chore — it isn't very easy to do, and it would be pretty easy to not seat the valve correctly and end up with a leak. i find reinserting the hose on this model to be pretty annoying.
a more serious problem is the amount of moisture generated by the bladder when it is inside a sleeve in my backpack. at first, i thought this was a leak, and it is possible that pressure is causing a small amount of water to leak from that valve. after much testing, however, i believe that the moisture is most likely condensation on the hard plastic surface of the valve, at the point where the hose hooks up.
i normally fill the bladder the night before a long day hike so it's cold when i take off in the morning. i believe that cold water is what creates condensation on the outside of the valve. when i put room temperature water in the bladder, i don't generally get the same moisture buildup.
the moisture buildup is annoying. after a few hours of hiking, the bottom of the bladder sleeve and the bottom of my day pack feel rather damp — requiring me to hang the pack and dry it out. my old camelbaks did not have this issue. in the balance, i think the low-tech hose attachment on the previous models is simpler and more secure and less fussy, and that whatever convenience the new attachment might have offered is outweighed by its flaws and difficulty of use.
durability has not been an issue with this bladder or any other camelbak that i have used. the bladder and hose are built to last and have never failed for me. i occasionally experience bite valve failure, but it usually means my youngest daughter was using the bite valve like chewing gum! even the hose/bladder valve attachment, while it requires a great deal of wiggling and pressure to reinsert the hose, has not broken or bent in any way.
i have used this bladder on many hikes and over 200 workouts. i highly recommend emptying the bladder not long after using it and allowing it to hang dry. remember to squeeze the bite valve and empty any water from the hose, too. occasionally, i use a long pipe-cleaner (separate kit camelbak sells) to clean the hose. with regular drying, i have never had the clean the interior of the bladder.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: about $34