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CamelBak Trail Blazer

rated 4 of 5 stars

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

photo: CamelBak Trail Blazer hydration pack

Excellent day pack for hiking summits or valleys. Ample interior space, large bladder for water and good exterior storage for last minute additions or items that need to be readily accessible.


  • Ample storage
  • Good exterior storage for extra items
  • Durable


  • Elastics for the side netting storage are not extremely durable

I've had this pack for the past four/five years and have worn it on many day hikes and snowshoe trips. There is ample space to store a wind jacket and extra layer, headlamp, first aid kit and water filter, in addition to the hydration system (completely filled) and snacks.

For those time when I over packed (hiking a summit in questionable weather) I was able to store extra clothes on the outside using the attached bungee cord system. The bladder is stored in its own sleeve, with an opening on the top for the tube to attach to either the left or right strap.  

There are two large interior pockets for storing items, the closest to the body is the larger of the two. There is also a small felt lined pocket on the top for storing sunglasses or a smart phone. The pack can be cinched tight using two straps on either side, these work great to keep items from bouncing around.  

There is a sternum strap on the shoulder straps to keep the pack close to the body, and two removable hip straps for those shorter hikes.  

The one issue that I have had (and it may be just my pack) is that one of the elastic bands on the two mesh pockets on the exterior sides has lost its elasticity, so that items may fall out while hiking. That being said, I simply don't use it or keep a Nalgene bottle on this side.  

Overall a very good pack that still looks new after a number of years of heavy use.   

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70 +/-

This CamelBak has what you're looking for, a nice all around option. From hiking the local springs,or hiking various trails and forks, to bagging 11- 12,000 foot peaks, this pack is light, holds a lot of gear, and is really functional on the trail or to the summit!

I've found that the molded airflow backpanel keeps my lower back dryer longer, but you'll still sweat. The sternum strap and removable hipbelt are nice features. That help keep the weight in the right places. My pack came with the 70oz (2L) reservoir and if you need extra water there are 2 water bottle pockets on each side of the bag. It also has a nice fleece lined storage area on the top, which I often use for my glasses.

I manage to fit all my rain gear, extra coat, lunch, first aid kit, bible notebook, camera, headlamp and more in this thing with room to spare. I don't load mine past 10 lbs though, since I have been unable to find a weight load limit anywhere for it. Might have to call Camelbak. But it is an internal framesheet.

I've used this on day hikes from 3 miles to 11miles, on the local trails and in the mountains. It's a great day pack. I image if you're an ultra-light hiker like me, you could maybe 1 night out of this with a bivay sack and a light weight bag and protein bars for food, lol. That'd be pushing it. Great for all day though.

I'd also say it's very rugged, I slipped recently and this thing didn't get a scratch on it.

Design: Internal Framesheet, Rear loading hydration, two front pockets
Size: 1400cu in (23L)
Number of Pockets: 2 Full zipper, 2 water bottle pockets, 1 small storage pocket
Max. Load Carried: 10 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'9
Price Paid: $70

This hydration pack is great. It has draw straps should you lighten your load, drink the water or eat the food you stored. This is great for the trail running or hiking that you might be doing. The tightening of the pack stops shifting of your belongings.

The pack has an air flow feature (air director) so your back and shoulders don't over heat. I used it for an 8 hour race, I sprayed it with water in the shower then let it hang dry. It turned out fine.

It is just like any backpack that you have at home, in terms of storage. The side mesh pockets allow me to hold a bottle or two of water, or a flavored drink - Remember it will compress with the straps.

It has waist/lower back support. This helps it to not shift so much.

It also has rings to strap thing to the outside of your pack, i.e. extra pair of shoes. You can use small bungies and or clasps to strap extra gear.

It has an IPOD or sunglass pouch near the very top.

Overall, a great buy. Become a member of an outfitter and get a nice 20%-25% savings coupon to lower the price.

Size: med to large ?
Number of Pockets: 6
Height of Owner: 5 11
Price Paid: $48 (discounts)

Bought this pack for XC skiing. It has been alright for that: small, compact, and holds enough water for a day's run. Plus, it fits over two layers nicely. Would not, however, recommend it for a day hike with only a T-shirt. The shoulder straps are quite thin, and any weight, especially filling the bladder, will put your shoulders to the test. Went on a fifteen mile hike, rough terrain, and by the halfway point, I was wishing I had brought my cheap Eddie Bauer with wonderfull shoulder straps. Straps too thin.

Design: Front-loading
Size: 1530 cu.
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 18 pounds
Height of Owner: 6.0
Price Paid: $59

LOVE this thing. I do field research and collect samples so needed a pack with sufficient capacity and an easy convienient way to carry water for one day. It is an excellent compact (narrow) design for going off trail and through bush. Very comfortable back padding and straps (waist could be a bit wider). I had some problems with the tubing disconnecting from the bladder but then again, this pack is used every day of the week.

Design: daypack
Size: Cargo 1406 cu, Reservoir 2-3 L
Number of Pockets: Cargo 2, Reservoir 1
Max. Load Carried: 10+ lbs
Height of Owner: 5'2"
Price Paid: ~US $69

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