CAMELBAK ALPINE EXPLORER PACK
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
April 22, 2014
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a light-weight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) and use a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Photo courtesy of CamelBak|
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.camelbak.com
MSRP: $115 US
Listed Weight (pack and reservoir): 2.6 lb (1.2 kg)
Measured Weight: 2 lb 10 oz (1.2 kg)
Pack Weight only: 2 lb (0.9 kg)
Dimensions: 21.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 in (54 x 26 x 26 cm)
Pack Capacity: 1,648 cu in (27 L)
Reservoir Capacity: 100 oz (3 L)
Size Tested: One Size Only
Torso Length: 19.5 in (49 cm)
My Torso Length: 18 in (46 cm)
Color Tested: Bamboo/Sprout
Other Colors Available: Brick/Soil and Dark Navy/Orion Blue
Assembled in Mexico with US and imported components
The Alpine Explorer is a 100 oz (3L) hydration pack that is listed on CamelBak's website under the 'outdoor' category. It is a meant to carry everything for a long day of hiking or for an overnight trip. The volume capacity on the website shows 1,648 cu in (27 L) but the hang tag shows 1,830 cu in (27 L + 3 L reservoir). It seems a little bit odd to include the reservoir but since it has its own pocket, I guess that's fair enough.
|Photo courtesy of CamelBak|
The pack portion is made of 70D Diamond Clarus & 420 Nylon with DWR + 1000 mm PU (polyurethane). On the back panel there is a zippered pocket for the water reservoir with a drain hole in the bottom. The zipper is color-coded with a blue sleeve to differentiate it from the other pocket zippers. The main storage area unzips about 2/3 of the way down both sides of the pack. Hanging inside of it at the top but with a separate outside access is a lined pocket for sunglasses or a small camera. Next is an organization pocket which has a key clip, a small zippered pocket, a small mesh pocket and two other open pockets. On the front is a large overflow pocket for things like an extra layer. There are several slots at the top for hanging carabiners or threading straps through. On each side there are mesh pockets. Compression straps are positioned over the mesh side pockets and at the top sides.
The shoulder straps aren't fixed at the top but rather they slide along a d-shaped ring to conform to the individual. The straps are nicely cushioned with thick foam with straps for routing the hydration tube down either side. The right-hand side has a small clip at the sternum strap for holding the hydration tube in place. The sternum strap has a slider on both sides to adjust the height. The waist belt is also cushioned with foam and can be removed completely if desired. The back panel features is cushioned and has ventilation channels.
At the bottom of the pack are two tool or ice axe straps which tuck away when not in use. At the top is a lifting strap. Attached to the top compression straps are cords with a barrel lock and hook for holding trekking poles. The other end of the poles can slip through the ice axe loops.
The 100 oz (3 L) reservoir features a large opening with a quarter turn cap that screws into the fill port. The fill port has an integrated tab to use as a handle when filling and an integrated hook at the top. Under the fill port there are two dryer arms that fold out to hold the reservoir in an open position for better drying. On the reservoir there are graduation marks every 16 ounce and 0.5 L. There is a baffle running length-wise down the reservoir to prevent sloshing and to make a lower profile.
The drink tube attaches to the lower part of the reservoir with a Quick Link connection. This makes it easier to fill the reservoir without having the hose attached. The bite valve is angled 90 degrees and has a lock.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
My initial impression was that the pack is a bit larger than I would expect for a day pack but it has compression straps that make it possible to tighten down the load into a reasonable size. It seems to be as advertised on the website. I was happy to see the 90 degree shut-off valve because I've just changed one of my other packs to include this valve and love it. Also, the quarter turn cap on the reservoir is welcome since my older CamelBak had the fully threaded version.
I tried it out for a mountain bike ride and loved all of the capacity. I was able to carry an extra layer, lunch, snacks, sunscreen, etc. and tighten it all down to keep it from sliding around on my ride. I was able to easily add ice to the reservoir which is a big plus for me. The hydration tube seemed shorter than what I'm used to but I was always able to find the tube and route it to my mouth without problem. The torso length feels a little long for me but the hip belt helped to keep it down even while riding.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
They recommend wiping the pack with a damp cloth to remove dirt. For heavier dirt, it can be soaked in cool or warm water with a very mild soap and rinsed with cool water. It should NOT be washed in a machine and will void the guarantee if it is.
They recommend cleaning and drying after every use. If mold or discoloration develops then hot water and baking soda or bleach or a CamelBak Cleaning Tab can be used to soak and then wash out the reservoir. Brushes can also be used. Then allow it to dry overnight.
There is a lifetime guarantee.
The CamelBak Alpine Explorer is a large hydration day pack that can serve for a full day hike with lots of convenient pockets.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
Removable hip belt
Lots of pockets
Large easy open cap on reservoir
90 degree shut-off valve
Top compression straps seem to interfere with pockets
Hydration tube is shorter than I'm used to
Torso length feels a little long for me
This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back in a couple of months for my Field report. Thanks to CamelBak and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
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Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith