Camelbak Lumbar bladders – Any experiences..

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  • Camelbak Lumbar bladders – Any experiences..
  • jimification

    I had a Camelbak Octane. The low bladder really does work well and you can hardly feel the weight even when full. Waist pockets are really handy for snacks etc. On the downside, the main tool pockets are high up and with the bladder around your waist, any tools etc. are right against your back, so they need to be arranged for comfort (and maybe safety in case you land on your back). Also, for some strange reason, they made the main hose very slightly too short IMO. Filling up is *slightly* more hassle than a normal CB but not worth worrying about – the hose is detachable, which makes it a bit easier.

    In the end I sold it and bought a Rogue. The rogue is small and sits higher up so you can still use your jersey pockets. If I didn’t like using my jersey pockets so much I’d probably have kept the Octane though, it’s very good.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    I have an Octane which I use for racing, and a Charge for all other times.

    Agree 100% with what jimification says about the Octane, plus to add that the material is faily easy to tear. I’ve torn one of my pockets at the top but don’t use it anyway (I ride light for racing as I said).

    The Charge is better, stronger material and more capacity for not much weight penalty.

    Yes, it takes longer to fill and re-position the bladder, but only 10-20 seconds more before you hit the trails, its not an issue. With regard to the side pockets you don’t lose much to the bladder TBH. I carry a tube, patches, levers and a multitool in one pocket for example.

    Premier Icon sweaman2

    Contemplating a Volt LR or similar but couple of questions to those that have them.

    Filling up – Easy or not? Have seen mixed comments on this for both inside and outside the backpack.

    Capacity – With the bladder full how much can you get in the wings?

    Any other comments positive or negative much appreciated.


    Opposite to Jim, I’ve just swapped a Rogue for a Charge LR (smaller version of the Volt) as I needed a bit more space, especially come the winter and wanting to stash an extra layer. Once you put pump, tube, tools, phone etc in it the Rogue is full.

    The Charge LR is a bigger pack but with the lumbar bladder it doesn’t feel it and slides around less especially donwhill. Easier to fill than the Rogue but only because the hose is detachable so you can take it out to fill. Also with more padding between you and the pack (vs the Octane I think) I haven’t noticed the tools when I’m wearing it.

    Premier Icon ChrisI

    Had the Charge LR first and now have a Volt. Charge is great for its size but the main pocket starts about 1/3 way up due to the bladder and you lose some side pocket space again due to the bladder. Volt is bigger and better IMO. Main pocket goes all the way down the back and the wings aren’t as wide so take less away from the side pocket.

    Material is thin but that means lightweight so as long as you lol after it will be fine.

    About to order a Spark for the missus as she doesn’t like the green of the Charge.

    Premier Icon Simon

    I’ve got a Charge LR. I like it but would like it more if it was a touch shorter it sits very low on my back. Side pockets are handy.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    …but the main pocket starts about 1/3 way up due to the bladder…

    Mine doesn’t. I have an inner tube and some old unused fluff right at the very bottom.


    have a charge LR and i’m very happy with it 😀

    Premier Icon mtbfix

    I have a Charge LR and it is very good. Small carrying capacity is outweighed by the improved comfort. If I needed a new pack I’d be buying a Volt without a thought as the 2l. bladder on the Charge is a bit small for bigger summer rides.

    Charge LR here. Comfortable, spacious enough for the 2 to 3 hour rides that make up most of my riding and easy to fill up. Recommended.

    Premier Icon sweaman2

    So far not a bad word said which is nice… Cheers All.

    Hob Nob

    I have a Charge LR too.

    I’ve tried a lot of different packs over the years & all of them ended up giving me backache, or bounced around when riding DH out in the Alps, racing enduro etc. Drove me up the wall, as the only way to stop it was having the straps crazy tight.

    Where the Charge sits a lot lower, it’s massively more comfortable (for me). All the weight sits on the hips so is all good. It seems to move around a lot less also.

    No issues with the bladder, filling it or in use. I’ve never had one of the 1/4 turn ones before so it’s a revelation compared to trying to open the old ones. It’s a little more awkward to put in the bag than the usual one, because you have to feed it into the wings, but it’s not difficult.

    The bag itself is light, and probably wouldn’t survive a decent crash as it’s a lot thinner than others. Storage is ‘very’ limited. I can get pretty much everything in there, but if out all day, food & a jacket makes it bit of a solid sausage on my back.

    Overall, I like it & would recommend one. I’ve had bigger packs & end up just carrying more crap I don’t need.

    I’ve a volt, on the plus side it’s stable and big enough for the kitchen sink but like all bags it’s sweaty, but that’s a complaint I’d have with most bags


    Charge here…great pack. Bladder can be a bit fiddly to get in and reattach the hose, but no loss of side pocket volume. I have the blue one but wish id got the black one as the white straps get bloody filthy…but fir £45 new last year from merlin i cant complain.

    I also get 2 inner tubes, all my tools, pump, rain jacket, troy lee pads and sarnies and jelly babies in the pack. Compared to the mule i get no back pain either.

    Was contemplating getting the larger volt but an extra bottle for additional fluids is the way im going for longer rides.

    Premier Icon ChrisI

    Should have said my Charge is the original one with the front loading bladder rather than at the rear. Perhaps the newer ones with the bladder entry on the back have the front pocket all the way down. That would make it the same as the Volt just a bit smaller and a better design. Will let you know in a few days when the Spark arrives as that’s the same layout as the new Charge


    Charge lr here too, very happy with it and same as mentioned I keep co2 inner tube and emergency lights on the bottom hard to reach part !

    Premier Icon tinman66

    I’ve used my Charge LR since May last year and haven’t got a bad word to say about it.

    For most trail centre or 2hour rides its perfect. In fact my old Mule hasn’t been out the cupboard since I bought it. I’ve never had a problem with space. With 2 litres of water there’s still plenty of room for tools, food and an inner tube.


    The only downside of the Charge is that the increased back coverage is hotter, but that’s not an issue for 9/12’s of the year!
    manage to get tools, tubes and pump in the main pocket, jacket for the iffy days and food, phone, wallet all squared away. I like the hip pockets as I get phone and food access without taking by pack off, so don’t have that cold sweaty feeling when I put back on!

    Premier Icon davosaurusrex

    My bad back isn’t getting any better so think I’m going to order a Charge after reading this. anyone seen a better price than the £64 Merlin is knocking them out for? Anyone know when the 2014 stuff hits the shops, joping that will trigger 2013 flavoured bargains!

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    I like my charge LR

    Low down weight is ace and I don’t feel it rising up when doing drops of jumps in fact, I’m hardly aware I’m wearing it.


    Early days with a Volt for me. I’m not sure it makes that much difference on the backache issue compared to the 10+ year old HAWG I had. When the bladder is full, you’ve still got the water weight, but pull it all tight (including the bladder compression) and it’s probably a bit better. Once the water weight decreases it does seem better comfortwise, but gradually increasing the bladder compression to maintain water flow is a minor additional ride task. On the plus side the side pockets mean it’s more convenient to eat without stopping. It’s not been hot enough to tell what the back will be like when it gets proper hot, but my old pack had no air channels so it should be an improvement.

    I chose to get a Volt primarily because I personally need the bladder capacity in the summer for 3+ hour rides. When it’s into the 30’s I carry a bottle too as a backup which I sometimes use to cool myself down. When it’s below 30 I carry less water and can choose bladder only, or share between bladder and bottle. I don’t really need that much storage capacity, but the bag is really light, about 700g IIRC so you’d maybe save 100-150g going with a lighter option but lose the flexibility. The only trade off there is that the wings give a sense of bulk when you initially put it on, but you pretty much forget about it otherwise, and the stability does seem better although I haven’t loaded mine much yet.

    My bad back isn’t getting any better so think I’m going to order a Charge after reading this

    Considder the volt, not much more £, but when I looked at them side by side there’s not really much difference, it just holds more which is always usefull.

    Just bought a charge LR but only used on one day-ride so far (good). Will report back after a couple more rides.

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