Camelbak Lobo – Long-Term Test
A little Lobo-tomy…
I like the Lobo a lot. It’s one of those pieces of gear that you never really think about, but it’s just ‘there’ doing it’s thing while you enjoy the trail.
It’s essentially a slimline backpack which houses a massive amount of water (100oz, 2.9L) in one of Camelbak’s handy bladders.
Not many frills are needed, but they still manage to pack in a neat zippered pocket with internal webbing perfect for keys, a snack bar, wallet, phone and small camera. If you’re a cyclist (it is designed for MTB riders), then there’s a mesh pocket perfect for a mini-pump, and depending on the age of the Lobo you buy either a bungee cord (see here), or a hypalon lashing area.
A zippered flap keeps the trail off the bladder’s access, which is nice (and also somewhat prettier).
The thing I like about Camelbak bladders is the bite-valve. It’s easy to use and intuitive. I also have bladders from Source and Platypus and both have dribbled when I’ve mistakenly left the valves open. It’s always down my front and embarrassing.
The Lobo is a well-constructed little bag. For my mind the webbing straps are a little flimsy and fly-away – they whip around in a high wind a bit too much, and if anything are a bit too long. That said, the rest of the bag is very comfortable. It sports a 6-pad back support, which keeps a reasonable air-flow over your back, and has breathable mesh on the straps where you’d expect it.
The bladder itself is easily removed for cleaning when the water starts to taste of cheese. If I was being really picky, I’d probably say that the twist-to-open bladder is a little difficult at the end of the day (it seems to self-tighten but that could be my girly wrists); I suppose rather that than a leak.
|Me and Lobo. 34C in France. Sweating.|
If there’s a downside to the Lobo it is it’s size. Being designed for MTB riders (to quote Camelbak’s site: “for 3+ hours of MTBing with essential gear”) it is maybe 20% too small to take account of a spare layer of clothing (a waterproof single-skin jacket for example) and I have on occasion found myself in need of a slightly larger bag. Perhaps that’s down to my poor planning though… The wife would be completely unable to leave the house for 3-hours with just the Lobo’s storage capacity.
Oh, and it’s not waterproof, which my phone has discovered in the past.
SUMMARY: The Lobo is an excellent, comfortable little bag whose emphasis is on carrying water and not ‘stuff’. You can pack in a few essentials (Note: I think they’ve slightly increased the carrying capacity on models later than mine) but it’s not a daypack, so on occassion I’ve transplanted the bladder into a bigger bag. If you’re after hydration for a 2/3 hour trail walk/ride on a sunny day, this would be perfect. Any more and you’ll be lacking.
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