Table Of Contents

CamelBak Skyline LR ReviewBest Hydration Pack for Mountain Biking: MTB Hydration Pack Review

Best Lumbar Style Hydration Pack for Mountain Biking

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

Price: $150.00

Gear Capacity: 7l

Bladder Capacity: 3l

Weight: 995g

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

What We Like: Low Rider Technology is Comfortable and Stable, Best Water Flow in Test

What We Don’t: Average Weight, Not Terribly Easy to Access, Fill, or Clean Hydration Reservoir.

CamelBak was one of the very first brands to make hydration packs for mountain biking, and they are continuing to push the field in terms of innovation. Their “LR” for “Low Rider” series of packs functions like a traditional hydration pack, with shoulder straps, yet it carries the load much lower on your back, similar to the now popular “lumbar” or “fanny” packs. Our top choice from this line is the CamelBak Skyline LR 10l, which is a great option for riders who want the fit and feel of a traditional hydration pack, but with a bit of the stress taken off of their shoulders.

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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 Skyline LR is not the hydration pack for mountain bikers who like to hit the trail with an entire bike shop on their back. Instead, its seven liters of storage and 3l reservoir are perfect for the rider who wants to carry plenty of water, the essentials, and have enough room left over to stash extra gear for longer days.

The CamelBak Skyline LR’s main compartment is accessed via a large U shaped zipper, which is standard across most CamelBak hydration packs. Inside, there are multiple mesh pockets for those smaller items that you might not want in your quick access compartment but that you don’t want to have to dig for either. Inside the main compartment, the CamelBak LR includes a tool roll kit, which is one of our favorite new features that made for mountain biking hydration packs are beginning to come with. This kit makes it extremely convenient not only to find your tools, but also to swap them between bags, and to quickly and easily get them out and keep them organized whether in the garage or on the side of the trail.

The CamelBak Skyline LR features CamelBak’s fleece lined media pocket on the top of the pack, perfect for stashing a phone or sunglasses, as well as quick access zipper pockets on the hip belt. 

Interestingly, there is no real “quick access” compartment on the outside of the pack, aside from the hip belt pockets and the fleece lined media pocket. Instead, the CamelBak Skyline LR 10l opts for an extremely well thought out main compartment, with subcompartments that double as quick access compartments.

The front of the pack also features a stretch “overflow” compartment, which can be used to stash things like a rain jacket or a snack that you want easy access to. There are also straps to accommodate both full face and half-shell helmets, as well as straps near the bottom front of the pack for knee pads or other items that you could roll up to strap here.

Comfort

The low rider design of the Camelbak Skyline LR 10l will not be for everyone. However, it might be the perfect hydration pack for those who don’t like hydration packs, or for those who just want to take a bit of stress off of their shoulders.

The pack itself rides much lower than a traditional hydration pack or technical backpack, and it has a much more low slung, square shape, rather than the usual, long and narrow shape of hydration packs used for mountain biking.

In addition to the fact that the pack itself sits lower on your back, CamelBak’s Crux LR Reservoir sits low and rectangularly in the pack, which really helps to get the weight as low as possible.

The back panel of the Skyline LR uses CamelBak’s old school system of raised pads to create air channels, rather than the new mesh panel system used by most new high-end hydration packs from other manufacturers. While any pack will leave your back slick with sweat in high temperatures, we found that the CamelBak Skyline LR, like the CamelBak MULE, will leave it that way quicker than most. On the other hand, this is in keeping with the super tight center of gravity that the CamelBak Low Rider packs offer. Also, because it sits a bit lower on your back, and it is a smaller pack to begin with, your upper back and shoulder do get quite good ventilation while using the CamelBak Skyline LR 10l.

Meanwhile, the shoulder straps and hip belt are both extremely well ventilated. The shoulder straps themselves are fairly minimal, which adds to their ventilating capabilities, and extra padding is not missed on such a minimal pack. Furthermore, the premise of the Low Rider system is that the shoulder straps don’t do much of the heavy lifting. In keeping with this, the CamelBak Skyline LR uses a wide, breathable, mesh hip belt, which was one of our favorite hip belts of all of the hydration packs that we reviewed.

All in all, not everyone will get on with the feel of the low rider setup, but it does offer some unique advantages over traditional hydration packs, particularly for those who get sore necks, shoulder, or upper backs from traditional packs, as well as riders who frequent extremely rowdy lines, where the lower center of gravity and glove-like fit will be greatly appreciated.

 

Water Reservoir and Ease of Drinking

The CamelBak Skyline LR uses CamelBak’s Crux LR hydration bladder. This bladder features virtually the exact same features as the standard Crux hydration reservoir. The only difference is the shape, with the Crux LR reservoir being shorter and wider owing to its lumbar design.

Meanwhile, the Cruz LR uses the same Big Bit Valve as the standard Crux, which is the best on the market. It is significantly easier to get water out of the Camelbak reservoir than most others on our list, which is all the more important when your heart rate is above 190 beats per minute and every second spent drinking is a second not spent breathing. 

The Crux LR’s hose threads through the Skyline’s shoulder strap and attaches to a magnet on the shoulder strap as well. While this setup does mean that you have to unclip the magnet to drink, it is easy enough to do. 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.

Just as it shared the pros of the original Crux reservoir, the Crux LR also shares the cons. Namely, the twist off lid for the reservoir is just not as easy nor as convenient to clean or fill as the Osprey Hydraulics reservoir.

The reservoir itself is also fairly difficult to reach within the bag, requiring you to unbuckle one of the straps on the overflow pocket just to reach the reservoir’s compartment. 

All in all, the CamelBak Skyline LR 10l’s Crux LR reservoir system is a pain to fill and clean, but a pleasure to drink from. While doing both would be nice, we will take performance on the trail to performance at the sink when we are forced to choose.

Weight

As one of the larger “small to medium” volume packs on our list, the CamelBak Skyline LR’s weight of 995g is not terribly impressive. However, I have long been an advocate of the idea that sometimes features that add weight can make a pack feel lighter, and I do believe that is the case with the Skyline LR 10l, and CamelBak’s LR series of hydration packs for mountain biking in general. It seems that the LR packs run slightly heavier than their traditional counterparts, but if that tradeoff causes them to feel better and lighter on your back than I think that it is a good tradeoff. On the other hand, if you are out to set KoMs up every climb you come across, you might be better served by going ultralight with the ultralight CamelBak Lobo Hydration pack.

What Did We Really Think?

I’ll admit, I was not sold on the idea of low slung hydration packs. The idea seemed to go against everything that I knew about backpacks, learned over the course of countless hours of hiking, climbing, and backpacking. However, the CamelBak Skyline LR 10l made me a believer. The unique feel might not be for everyone, but I think that it will only be a matter of time until these low slung hydration packs are just as common at the trailhead as their traditional counterparts. And if you are looking to try one out, you can’t go wrong with the CamelBak Slyline LR, which is our choice for the best lumbar style hydration pack for mountain biking of 2020.

Finally, at around $130, the CamelBak Skyline LR 10l is $20 cheaper than our top overall pick, the Osprey Raptor, and it is not a bad value for one of the best mountain bike focused hydration packs on the market.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!