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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bladders > CamelBak UnBottle > Owner Review by Mike Wilkie

CAMELBAK UNBOTTLE 2.0 L HYDRATION PACK
BY MIKE WILKIE
OWNER REVIEW
June 18, 2008

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 148 lb (67.10 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and being a young Scout began my backpacking obsession. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I camp, hike or multi-day backpack through the Catskill or Adirondack Wilderness every weekend. As a mid-weight packer I'm always prepared and use a tent for overnighters. Being an aspirant of the Catskill 3500 Club and Adirondack 46ers, peak-bagging is now my favorite outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: CamelBak
Year of Manufacture: N/A
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.camelbak.com
MSRP: US$30.00

Manufacture Details
Weight Empty: 0.74 lbs (0.33 kg)
Weight Filled: 5.14 lbs (2.33 kg)
Capacity: 70 oz (2 L)
Dimensions: 17x7.1x1.2 in (432x180x30 mm)

Other details/Features:
70 oz (2 L) OMEGA HydroTanium Reservoir with Lifetime Warranty
Fully insulated to keep liquid cool for hours
Durable exterior is abrasion-resistant and lightweight
Slick clips for attaching the UnBottle on the outside of your pack
Machine washable

Reservoir Details:
OMEGA HydroTanium Reservoir
Hydrolock Big Bite Valve
Taste-free PureFlow Delivery Tube
Durable & Leak-proof ruggedized, burst-resistant polyurethane reservoir
Large easy to fill OMEGA opening
Easy to clean Hydroguard Anti-Microbial Technology (eliminates 99.99% of bacteria)


** Above other details/features were taken from the product tag attached to the UnBottle when purchased.


Tester Measurements
Weight Empty: 13 oz (0.37 kg)
Weight Filled: 4 lbs 10 oz (2.10 kg)
Dimensions: 17x7.1x1.2 in (432x180x30 mm)


IMAGE 1
Image courtesy of camelbak.com


FIELD USE

When I first received the CamelBak UnBottle hydration system I was a bit concerned about its bulkiness and added weight of the outer pack. However this later proved to be no concern as you will learn as you continue reading this review. Before I made the purchase of the UnBottle I have always used just a naked reservoir that provided minimal pack space and weight.

I purchased the UnBottle due to my day pack at the time not having a hydration sleeve or pocket for a reservoir. In the past I used a naked reservoir in the front pocket of my pack that caused much annoyance as the water level decreased. When the reservoir was not full it began to sag and lump into the bottom of the pocket. This caused uncomfortable undistributed weight as well as unstable gear that flopped about when on the move.

The UnBottle's pack helps to hold the reservoir in an upright position without it sagging and can easily be compressed in the pack for stability. Also the outer pack can easily be attached to the outside of a backpack. Personally I like to keep it inside for better weight distribution.

I have owned the UnBottle for over a year and while receiving consistent use the system still appears and operates like new. The construction is strong and built to last. The outer material is abrasion resistant and all stitching is tight and accurate throughout. There are also many double stitched areas at the important seams. The pack contains an insulation that helps keep water cool for hours on some of the hottest days here in New York State and also helps to slow the freezing process of the water during the coldest days.

On the outer sides of the UnBottle are four Slick Clips to attach it to the outside of a backpack. I found it easy to mount the UnBottle to the tool loops on my day pack. There is also a ladder lock handle on the top of the UnBottle pack that makes hanging the system a snap. This handle also allows this backpack hydration system to be used alone as a camp hydration system. When setting up camp I try to find a low tree branch to hang the UnBottle from. Then I can easily fill my mug or cook pot from the water tube. I also use the hanging hydration system when brushing teeth and other hydro needs.

The reservoir has a thick heavy duty skin that is puncture and leak resistant. The material is anti-microbial and eliminates most bacteria. The drinking tube is taste free and I can honestly say my water never tasted plastic like or had any other funny tastes to boot.

The fill hole is equipped with a screw cap that contains a rubber O-ring to stop water from seeping out. The large opening makes filling the reservoir easy and quick. The bite valve allows for easy access to the water with a simple and slight bite onto the rubber valve. On the back of the valve is the Hydrolock that cuts off water supply. The Hydrolock is a plastic 90-degree bent tube just below the bite valve. This places the valve in a ergonomic position for drinking. With just a flip of the switch on the bottom of the Hydrolock water can be activated or shut off.

While in the field the UnBottle always performed well. The 70 oz (2 L) capacity always supplied me with plenty of water on my long day hikes in the summer months. The insulated pack always kept water cool throughout the days and I never experience any condensation. The insulated UnBottle prevents condensation from wetting other packed items.

When hiking in below freezing temperatures the insulated UnBottle also helps to slow the freezing process of my water. With the Hydrolock on the bite valve I was able to keep water from icing or freezing solid. After I would take me sips from the drinking tube I would blow any water left in the tube back into the reservoir. With a quick flip of the Hydrolock water would be kept from entering back into the tube. This keeps the exposed tube water free and eliminates a frozen line.

I always carry water in my UnBottlle so I have not been forced to thoroughly clean the reservoir. Soon as I return home from my outing I hang the UnBottle upside on a hanger allowing excess water to drip down and collect at the top of the fill hole. On the following day I wipe out the excess water by inserting a paper towel and wiping out the top wear most of the water has collected. I also disconnect the drinking tube and bite valve to allow for a faster drying process and I always keep the UnBottle open and hanging upside in my gear closet once completely dry. If I ever start using a drink other than water I would invest in the cleaning kit sold by CamelBak for an easier thorough cleaning.

SUMMARY

Besides the extra worth while weight of the insulated UnBottle I really don't have any complaints about this system. However since I never use the UnBottle on the outside of my pack for better stability I would like to see CamelBak design an UnBottle system without the four Slick Clips. When the UnBottle is attached to the outside of my pack it seems to move about some when carrying a light load. By using the UnBottle internally I can stabilize it by the use of my packs compression straps. I believe when carrying a stabilized pack less stress is put on my body saving valuable energy. Since these four Slick Clips are attached to the pack with thick nylon straps that are double stitched removing them could eliminate much unwanted or for me useless weight.

Beside that I found the UnBottle to be a worthy hydration system. It can convert and non H2O compatible backpack into a hydration ready pack. The design is almost bulletproof and built with high quality materials and construction.



THINGS I LIKE

Upper ladder-lock handle for easy use in camp
Thick skinned burst resistant reservoir
Hydrolock bite valve with taste free drinking tube
Durable abrasion resistant and insulated outer pack

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Extra weight of the insulated pack (but does provide positive aspect)
Attached four Slick Clips (personally do not use)

SIGNATURE

Mike Wilkie

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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