Camelbak is one of those brands that has become ubiquitous – and sort of a catch-all phrase. In the same way you don’t “look something up on the internet”, you Google it. Everyone has a “CamelBak”. The brand is still going strong and making quality packs for all athletes in outdoor sports. One of their new packs, the Octane 25, is their day-use, mid-sized pack, great for a variety of adventures.
I got my hands on this pack at the start of the pandemic, so it sat, fresh with the tags on, while I stayed at home. For weeks I was dreaming of getting out to the Gorge for hikes with wildflowers, or getting some vert on some beautifully lush Mt. Hood trails. While those miles will have to wait a few more weeks (months?) yet, I’ve decided to give this pack a go on some smaller scale adventures. Hello, urban hiking!
User-friendly capacity in a pack is key and CamelBak has it dialed in here. Anyone with a deep backpacking bag, or a beach tote, or a giant handbag, or a school backpack know’s that one big pocket holds all your stuff, but your time, and patience, slides away when digging blindly for that thing you needed two minutes ago. Although the Octane does have the larger pockets to easily fit jackets, food, water bottles, cameras, etc. (and also have internal organizing pockets) it also has thirteen (13!) exterior pockets! Keys, lip balm, phones, snacks, gloves…accessible! Finally! With a variety of zippered, mesh, stretch, chest, and waist pockets, it’s the convenience of an ultralight vest coupled with the capacity of a day pack. It also has trekking pole attachments for easy storage, a 70oz bladder (with quick-release hose attachment) (or opt to use bottles or flasks, there are multiple pockets for those, too!), an integrated rain cover, and oh yeah, it’s reflective.
My only reservation with this pack so far is that it is designed to be a one-size-fits-all. I have a smaller torso and typically wear a S or XS pack, so I was skeptical that this could work for all body types. It’s incredibly adjustable with straps everywhere and found that it’s comfortable and properly fitting with some fine tuning. Like any pack, with weight in the back it’ll slip down, so loosening all the straps, filling the pack and putting it on before making adjustments is key here.
The back is padded and the shoulder straps are a nice mesh for ventilation. The zippers are nicely molded to be glove-friendly, and the waist strap offers a bit of extra support and storage.
I’ve been walking all over Portland with this thing just for fun, filling it with unnecessary and arbitrary items like hand weights and cans of beans to try to get some weight it in in an attempt to keep up my backpacking fitness. I’m already deciding this pack will also make a great commuter backpack when I’m able to return to my office, as well as a great carry-on bag for future travel. It still looks brand new, but hopefully one day soon it’ll see some mountains.
- Octane™ 25 ($145)
Specs (from website):
Unisex | One size
- Fits torso size 17-21 in / 43-53 cm
70 oz (2L) water capacity in BPA-free Crux reservoir w/quick link disconnect
22L / 1,340 cu in gear capacity
610g / 1lb 6oz pack weight
- 13 exterior pockets
- 3D Vent Mesh: For lightweight comfort and air flow
- Dual Adjustable Sternum Straps: Offers a range of adjustments for a custom fit and increased stability
- Fuel and Gear Storage: Multiple stow options, easily accessible
- Essentials Org Pockets: Keeps your small essentials organized and secure
- Stretch Overflow Pocket: Quickly stash or shed an extra layer
- Secure Phone Pocket: Keep essentials safe and easy to access
- Ventilated Hip Belt with Cargo: Transfers weight to hips and offers additional storage
- Trekking Pole Attachment: Easily attach and remove poles when needed
- Quick Stow™ compatible: Carry soft flask, extra hydration
- Tube Trap Management: Keeps your tube secure and accessible when you need it
- Integrated Rain Cover: High visibility cover shields your gear from the elements
- Reflectivity: For low light safety
More about CamelBak:
“We give a ___” is one of CamelBak’s core company values. (We only have four, and each means something important to us.) This one stems from our belief that doing the right thing isn’t just good business sense, but common sense. We pay close attention not only to what we make— but how we make it, for whom we make it and the way it impacts people’s lives and the environment.
WE ARE INVENTORS
We pioneered hands-free hydration and introduced the first BPA-free bottles to the world. We crave challenge and answer with innovation.
BETTER IS NOT ENOUGH
We’re driven by the ever-changing needs of our tribe and push to be the first to meet them. We get excited about solving problems and taking on seemingly impossible challenges.
REMEMBER THE WHY
We are obsessive about what we make, how it’s made and for whom we make it. We care about the way our products impact people and the environment. We understand our consumer, and our designs are deeply connected to market insights.
WE ARE INSPIRED
Our consumer, our customer and our colleagues are fuel to to the fire. We do what we do because of them.
Just as we’re committed to our own employees, we also care about the health and well-being of our partners’ employees. Our partners must pay a living wage, provide safe working conditions and adhere to all local employment laws. To that end, we post a Code of Conduct in our partners’ facilities. The Code includes contact information so that employees can anonymously report rights violations. Additionally, we conduct regular third party compliance audits.
Whenever possible, we work with businesses that are providing employment opportunities to historically under-represented groups, including women-owned, veteran-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged organizations.
Thank you to the CamelBak for providing us with a sample pack! Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.