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Camelbak LOBO ReviewBest Hydration Pack for Mountain Biking: MTB Hydration Pack Review

Best Ultralight Hydration Pack for Mountain Biking

  • Storage 60% 60%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Price: $44.95-$100.00

Gear Capacity: 6l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 480g

Dimensions: 18” x 8.3” x 7.5” / 46 x 21 x 19cm

What We Like: Lightweight, CamelBak Big Bite Drinking Valve, Sale Prices

What We Don’t: Not Much Storage, Subpar Ventilation

The CamelBak Lobo is a mountain biking focused hydration pack that stays true to CamelBak’s roots. It is small and simple. It is the type of pack that you carry water and the bare essentials in, and not much else. And for the rider who wants to shred as hard as she can for a few hours at a time without being weighed down by unnecessary gear, that makes it the perfect choice.

Osprey Raptor 14

  • Storage 90% 90%
  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Top Notch Comfort and Organization

Cons

Average Weight

Pricey

Gear Capacity: 11.5l

Bladder Capacity: 2.5l

Weight: 800g

Dimensions: 20” x 9” x 9” / 48 x 22 x 25cm

CamelBak Skyline LR 10l

  • Storage 80% 80%
  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Low Rider Technology is Comfortable and Stable

Best Water Flow in Test

Cons

Average Weight

Not Terribly Easy to Access

Fill or Clean Hydration Reservoir

Gear Capacity: 7l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 995g

Dimensions: 8” x 8” x 15” / 20 x 20 x 39cm

Platypus Duthie AM 10.0

  • Storage 90% 90%
  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Best In Class Ventilation

Great Organization

Cons

Only Slightly Above Average Water Flow from Reservoir

Gear Capacity: 7l

Bladder Capacity: 3l/100 fluid ounces

Weight: 800g

Dimensions: 9” x 6” x 18” / 23 x 15 x 46cm

CamelBak MULE LR 15

  • Storage 90% 90%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Low Rider Hydration Reservoir Positioning

CamelBak Bite Valve

Cons

Subpar Ventilation

Heavy

Gear Capacity: 12l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 990g

Dimensions: 21” x 10” x 9” / 53 x 23 x 25cm

Dakine Seeker 15l 

  • Storage 100% 100%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 60% 60%
  • Weight 40% 40%

Pros

Water Resistant

Tons of Storage

Comfortable

Cons

Heavy

Not the Greatest Reservoir

Gear Capacity: 12l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 1340g

Dimensions: 19” x 12” x 8″ / 48 x 30 x 20cm

CamelBak Lobo 9l

  • Storage 60% 60%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

Lightweight

CamelBak Big Bite Drinking Valve

Sale Prices

Cons

Not Much Storage

Subpar Ventilation

Gear Capacity: 6l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 480g

Dimensions: 18” x 8.3” x 7.5” / 46 x 21 x 19cm

CamelBak M.U.L.E. 100 OZ

  • Storage 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

“Everything You Need and Nothing You Don’t,”

CamelBak Big Bite Valve

Cons

Not as Comfortable as Some Newer Bags

Twist Off Water Reservoir Lid

Gear Capacity: 9l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 620g

Dimensions: 17.9” x 8.7” x 8.9” / 45.5 x 22 x 22.5cm

Thule Vital 6l

  • Storage 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 40% 40%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

ReTrakt Hydration Hose

Great Main Compartment Organization

Lightweight

Cons

J Shaped Zipper

Subpar Water Reservoir

Gear Capacity: 3.5l

Bladder Capacity: 2.5l

Weight: 540g

Dimensions: 8.7” x 3.5” x 17.5” / 23 x 9 x 44.5cm

Evoc Stage 18

  • Storage 100% 100%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 20% 20%
  • Weight 50% 50%

Pros

Top Notch Comfort and Storage

Cons

No Water Reservoir Included

Pricey

Gear Capacity: 18l

Bladder Capacity: Accommodates Hydration Systems Up To 3l (Not Included)

Weight: 965g

Dimensions: 8.25” x 17.3” x 4.75” / 28 x 50 x 12cm

Evoc CC 10l

  • Storage 90% 90%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking 50% 50%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Comfortable

Stable

Great Storage and Accessibility

Cons

Average Ventilation

Subpar Water Reservoir

Gear Capacity: 8l

Bladder Capacity: 2l

Weight: 690g

Dimensions: 7.9” x 19.7 x 3.9” / 20 x 50 x 10cm

Storage

The CamelBak Lobo is not for riders who want to carry a great deal of gear on their backs. It is a hydration pack that gets back to the heart of early hydration packs for mountain biking, before long travel suspension and dropper posts were the norm, and riders who wore hydration packs did so more for the ease of hydrating than because they needed to carry gear on their backs.

The Lobo holds six liters of gear, and three liters of water. While the gear capacity is not much, it holds everything that most riders will need for the average ride: snacks, a multitool, a spare tube and pump/Co2, etc. Additionally, we think the fact that the minimal Lobo accommodates 3l of water is a huge mark in its favor. Having spent years riding in the deep south’s 100 degree summers with humidity above 90%, we appreciate the ability to carry a maximum amount of water, even on rides where we want a smaller pack.

As for the storage compartments, they break down very similarly to the CamelBak MULE, without the main compartment. Instead, the hydration reservoir compartment is accessed via a large U shaped zipper, where the MULE’s main compartment would be. On the front of the pack, there is a subdivided quick access compartment, and above this, another small quick access compartment. Together, you can get all of the essentials in these pockets, but not much more.

Externally, there is an overflow compartment that can accommodate a rain shell, as well as a small mesh pocket, similar to water bottle holders on each side of the pack. While these are too small for a water bottle, they are great for smaller items that you want quick access to, like GUs or Cliff Bars.

Finally, the straps on the front of the CamelBak Lobo will accommodate a half shell helmet.

Comfort

Comfort is an area where the CamelBak Lobo’s minimalist style pays off. While it doesn’t go in too hard for comfort-related features, the pack’s small, narrow profile and light weight means that there just isn’t much there to be uncomfortable.

The narrow outline means that the pack doesn’t interfere with the movement of your arms or shoulders, and its straps are lightweight and well ventilated. While it offers only a narrow nylon webbing hip belt, anything more would have really been overkill on a hydration pack this small. What the hip belt really does is help stabilize the pack to make sure that it doesn’t bounce around on rough terrain, and between the hip belt and shoulder straps, the CamelBak Lobo stays very well planted even when the going gets steep, chunky, and fast.

If we have one complaint when it comes to the comfort of the CamelBak Lobo, it is the same one that we have with every CamelBak hydration pack that we reviewed. And that is that the Air Director back panel is just not on par with the Osprey Raptor’s Airscape or Platypus Duthie’s FloatAir back panel when it comes to ventilation.

Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking

The Camelbak Lobo uses the same Camelbak Crux Reservoir and Big Bite drinking valve found on the MULE. Together, these make for the best drinking experience of any hydration pack on our list, bar none. It is demonstrably and noticeably easier to get water out of the Camelbak reservoir than most others on our list, which is a huge benefit when you are breathing heavily on a difficult trail and you want to get as much water as you can, as quickly as you can, so that you can get back to using your mouth to gulp down air.

The Crux’s hose threads through the Lobo’s shoulder strap and attaches to a magnet, making it easy to reach one-handed. The hose also features a convenient shutoff valve, which anyone who has ever arrived at the trail with an empty water reservoir and a soaking wet backseat will appreciate.

While Camelbak’s Crux water reservoir is the clear favorite when it comes to its ease of drinking, the same cannot be said for its ease of cleaning or filling. The twist off opening for the Camelbak Mule’s Crux opening is just not as convenient to operate as the zip style reservoir found on packs like the Osprey Raptor. Furthermore, it makes getting a hand into the reservoir for cleaning much more difficult than zipper style reservoirs. On the plus side though, the hose does feature a painless quick disconnect, though only at the bottom of the reservoir.

As a positive for the CamelBack Lobo’s hydration compartment, it is the easiest to access of any CamelBak hydration pack that we have used, making it ideal for riders, like myself, who prefer to fill their water reservoir without removing it from the pack.

Weight

At 480g, the CamelBak Lobo is the lightest hydration pack on our list. While we gave the MULE a bit harder of a time for excluding some of the comfort features found on CamelBak’s LR series hydration packs, the Lobo is a small enough and light enough pack that we didn’t miss them on it.

What Did We Really Think?

If you are in the market for a hydration pack for mountain biking that you want to carry plenty of water and the bare essentials for your ride, then look no further than the CamelBak Lobo. If we could only have one hydration pack, we might choose something with a bit more room, just for the added flexibility that it offers on epic rides, but for riders who want to stay ultralight with a hydration pack, the CamelBak Lobo is a mountain biking specific hydration pack that was made for you.

Finally, with an MSRP of $100 and select colors available as low as $44.98, the CamelBak Lobo is a good value to begin with, and an epic value if you get it on sale.

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