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By donkerr - Posted on 11 November 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Any thoughts on backpacks. I always used camelbak as nothing beat their durability but they have changed the material they use and frankly are rubbish now. What do people think is a good substitute. Sick of companies compromising quality.

They still do their Military spec range, you could try that?

Salomon and Deuter have some nice packs and Osprey have some nice looking ones but I don't know how well they are made, their hiking packs have a great reputation-

I have been very happy with my Osprey Raptor pack. Great quality and the most comfortable of the Camelbak, Deuter and Dakine packs I have.

I have 2 osprey packs. Both are awesome. Similar in quality to the older gen Cambelbak, AND, they have an awesome nifty magnetic holder for the bite valve. have them on sale sometimes. That's where one of mine came from.

Have you looked at Source packs?

I've got the VIM for racing and the Whistler for all day rides. Great quality and the bladder really is as good as it says. I have no problem putting an electrolyte drink in there as it's so easy to clean out.

I got mine from ebay, a bit cheaper than they are on this site.

I haven't got their pack - but the bladders are tops.

In terms of cleaning them... I did purchase a cheap cleaning brush, and used a wire coat hanger to insert for drying.

That is, get a cheap metal coat hanger, and rebend it into a shape that's inserted into the bladder to keep it open. The 'hook' can hook onto the clothes line. Usually dries in 2hrs or so in the sunshine.

The proper tools to clean/dry look great, but cost a fortune.

In the bladders that you can't open fully, use the sterilising powder that's for babies bottles. It's available from chemists and most large supermarkets. It doesn't leave any aftertaste and is cheap as.

... I take the bladder out between rides and keep it in the vege crisper part of a small fridge that I use for grog. Never have a problem with that black stuff building up. I very occasionally dismantle the bite piece and give it a good scrub.

Overall, it's avery simple routine - place water bladder in fridge, remove 1 x beer.........

Or just chuck it in the freezer, always good to go and will never grow anything in there Smiling just leave the lid unscrewed and empty the bite valve tube Smiling

Get a cheap aquarium air pump and put it up the tube of the bladder. Works a treat.

btw I've got Camelbak, Kathmandu and Anaconda stuff. tbh I haven't noticed much difference.

I don't think I've cleaned a bladder or tube for 6-7years, as far as I'm concerned if it can sit in a pipe it can sit in my hydration pack, keeps the immune system strong Eye-wink

Evoc make a great range of packs and hydration packs. I personally have the 6l and 3l and find the packs well designed, rugged and very functional.

I have not tried the enduro / free ride packs, but have hear great reports about these packs which in some case incorporate protective systems for spine and neck.

Anyway a good alternative to look into.


Those Source packs look really interesting, and the price is *very* attractive.

How does the VIM go in hot weather? My CB M.U.L.E NV gets unbearably hot when it's over late-20s and I usually go bareback with bottles for lap races.

Point-to-point becomes a bit difficult though with space for only one bottle on the frame. I've got a seatpost mount I haven't used yet but it's getting a bit warm at this point in the season and a third bottle for backup would probably be wise.

A couple of friends bought Source Packs when they were on clearance through T7(I think) and they were good for the money but they have a really really odd strap setup. I can't remember what was wrong but you were left with loads of strap that you couldn't do anything with. Other than that they were great value.

For my next one I'm going back to Deuter, so cool and comfy but they are pricey. Has enough room for a bunch of food and tools or for me a decent camera and has a rain cover.

EDIT- The Deuter packs with the springy back probably aren't the best if you also want to use it as a walking pack, pretty sure they are still slightly curved to suit a riding position.

I have one of the Deuter Compact Air exp bags and it is the least comfortable of the ones I own. The shoulder straps don't stay flat and dig in a bit.

Its the only hydration pack I have ever used let alone owned so cannot comment on it versus others - only my experience with it.

Firstly, it was massively cheaper than anything comparable in terms of capacity and size. I think I got mine from CRC at or below $50.

With regards the bladder, I have given it the odd rinse but never 'sterilized' in over 18 months of use. No muck or gunk whatsoever. I've only ever rinsed the bite piece as well. Again no problems at all.

I have only ever put water in it, but could imagine putting electrolyte in it no probs, as their closing mechanism on the bladder allows for complete internal access for a proper clean.

Comfort - My overall impression is that I quickly forget I am wearing this pack - even when it is full of gear. Hawkeye - the pack I have has deep channels running between the 4 pads on the back which provide for some fair airflow I've found. Not sure about their other models and it looks like my one has been superseded, but they all look very similar. I wear it virtually every ride and well into 20C plus days and have never noticed it being overly hot or uncomfortable.

Fairy1 - not sure if there are any different strap set ups or materials that might affect fit across the Source models, but I have not had any real issues apart from the usual mucking about to get it 'just so'.

The only criticism I have of it is that the drinking tube is quite long - longer than I think it needs to be - and so I tuck it through the bottom of the shoulder strap to keep it from flying about too much. Still easily reachable and usable.

I have a camel pac for riding and for hiking and find them fantastic, I've never had a problem. Had the bike one for over 4 years and use it 2 - 4 times a week, I've never cleaned the hose in all that time! But did replace the hose due to a leak a month ago, not bad for 4 years use.

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