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CamelBak Arete 18

rated 3.0 of 5 stars
photo: CamelBak Arete 18 hydration pack

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.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $32

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Price Current Retail: $41.25-$449.99
Historic Range: $31.93-$449.99
Reviewers Paid: $32.00
Product Details from CamelBak »

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