CAMELBAK SPIRE 22 LR BACKPACK
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
May 26, 2015
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
|Manufacturer: CamelBak, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.camelbak.com
MSRP: US $150.00
Listed Weight: 2 lb 8 oz (1.13 kg) - pack only
Measured Weight: 2 lb 10 oz (1.19 g)
Colors Available: GRAPHITE/BRIGHT FUCHSIA, CHERRY/TOMATO SAMBA
Color Reviewed: Cherry/Tomato Samba
Sizes Available: One Size
Listed Hydration Capacity: 100 oz / 3 L Lumbar Reservoir
Listed Total Capacity: 1160 cu in / 19L + 3L Reservoir
Listed Dimensions: 23.5 X 11 X 8 in / 57 x 28 x 20 cm
Listed Torso Length: 19 in / 48 cm
My Torso Length: 19 in / 48 cm
* Fabric: 70D Diamond Box Rip with DWR + 1000mm PU
* Materials: Independent Suspension™ with perforated foam and Slider™ Sternum Strap
* Antidote® Lumbar Reservoir with Quick Link™ System
|Day Hike in Breckenridge, CO on the Quandary Peak Trail
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
Over the winter months, I continued to backpack/hike and snowshoe as much as possible. I spent most of my time in the south central region of Colorado that I call home. Mostly, I hiked in the mountains of Fremont County, including the Wet, Fremont and Cooper Mountain ranges. This area's terrain runs the gamut of evergreen forests, to grassy plains to high desert rock and dirt/mud (as the moisture or lack thereof dictates).
I also spent some time snowshoeing in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and a wonderful week in the snow in Twin Lakes, Colorado, snowshoeing in and around the Colorado Trail. I also spent two wonderful weeks in early November 2014 in Breckenridge, Colorado, exploring trails there on day hikes. These three areas are environmentally similar to my usual haunts but had way, way more snow.
It's been a strange year for weather, so early on, winter was mild but snowy; then it became very bitter cold and snowy, to mild temperatures, to downright warm. All this in the time span of November 2014 to March 2015. As I write this, it's late May 2015 and it's been raining almost every day for the past two weeks and I'm back to wearing long-sleeved base layers along with wind and rain jackets! Wacky Weather!
Over these 6 months, I estimate I've covered 200 miles (320 km) hiking/snowshoeing and walking while wearing the Camelbak Spire 22 LR Backpack and that doesn't count the number of hours/miles I spent wearing the backpack on my treadmill during "training" sessions. But of course on the treadmill, there was little wear and tear on the backpack from the elements, though I did carry 20 lb (9 kg) worth of weight in the pack! This is a day pack, so I never used it on overnights. Even with summer time gear, it would not be large enough for my use requirements while backpacking.
OK, let me get it out right up front. The best thing about this Camelbak Spire 22 LR Daypack is the lumbar (more horizontal than vertical) placement of the included 3 L (100 oz) water bladder! It's fantastic in my humble opinion and I can't believe it took so long for me to have a pack with this feature! Having the water bladder more sideways across my lower back, resting more on my hips is wonderful! This is so much more stable than the usual, down-the- middle-of-the-pack standard placement of most day and backpacks. No more shifting of sloshing water back and forth while on the trail. The sloshing water isn't noticeable at all when it's cradled at the bottom of the pack. And it's so much easier to pack my stuff in when I'm not bothered by the big bulge in the middle of the pack. Very nice!
Also of note is how the bladder is accessed. Access to the bladder is through a zippered panel on the outside or the pack rather than the usual slide-in pouch in the interior of the pack. Not only does that make it so much easier to fill when the pack is already - well - packed, but it keeps water leakage, if I didn't tighten things up properly, away from the main compartment much better. The hydration tube threads into the main compartment from the bladder and out through a port on the right top side of the pack where I can thread it down through a loop on the right shoulder strap and then there is a plastic clip to keep the mouthpiece handy but out of my way.
The Spire comes with Camelbak's ANTIDOTE® Reservoir which I've used before and as with my other Camelbak ANTIDOTE® bladders, I find the fill cap easy to open and close with just a slight turn. And because of the wide mouth of the fill camp, the ANTIDOTE® is very easy to clean. Most of the time I have plain water in it (I carry water with energy supplements in the 1 L bottles), so I just rinse out the bladder, tubing and bite valve and hang up in the laundry room to dry on a specially bent wire hanger which keeps the bladder open to dry completely. Every once in a while, when I think of it, I add a little chlorine bleach to the wash water. To date, I have not had any nasty taste in my drinking water fresh from the ANTIDOTE® bladder.
The second best thing about the Camelback Spire is how it fits me. The Spire is women-specific, so the frame is a bit smaller with a harness system that keeps the pack closer to my body, but with a mesh panel that flexes outward a bit to permit air flow across my back. There are times when the wind is blowing hard, that I can actually feel a cooling across my back which is usually most welcome as I tend to get very sweaty when hiking no matter what the season or temperature.
|More Mesh = More Cooling!
|Open Mesh Shoulder Straps for Cooling
Also, because the Spire is women-specific, the sternum strap is comfortably placed to accommodate my bustline and even has about a 2 inch (5 cm) up and down "slide" for perfect adjustment. With the proper tightening of the sternum strap I am able to achieve the proper placement of the shoulder straps for maximum support and preventing slipping shoulder straps.
Thankfully, Camelbak has outfitted the waistbelt for a woman as well, with a sufficiently large, but not too large waistbelt and - glory alleluia - adjustment straps that can be cinched in tight enough for me. While I still have about 12 inches (30 cm) of dangling straps, usually, even pulled to the tightest end, waistbelts are too loose for my comfort! Thanks, Camelbak!
There is no shortage of storage space in the Spire 22 LR! It is outfitted with a large main compartment, a convenient good-sized (easily stash my hats and gloves there) top compartment, two side water bottle holders and a small (barely big enough for an energy bar) waistbelt pocket for stuffing and stashing. Great for an organization nut like me to keep everything in its place. There is even a stretchy pouch secured by a buckle on the back of the pack just for me to cram in tat last minute fleece, just in case. Lastly, there are two interior zippered pockets, one in the top compartment and one in the main compartment. The one in the top, I usually use for ID, some cash and my credit cards - hey, never leave home without it! The larger pocket in the main compartment is mesh and I like to keep an extra pair of glasses and my sunglasses when not in use, there.
Let's see. What do I have in my typical winter day pack besides the three liters of water in the wonderfully placed lumbar water bladder?
There's the typical list
1.) an extra pair of socks - I hate cold, wet feet
2.) the down vest that I took off when I got sweaty climbing that steep trail
3.) ditto, the fleece hat, the heavy gloves - liners are good enough on most treks
4.) the hard shell jacket I stashed in case of wet snow/rain/heavy winds & the wind pants
5.) two 1- L water bottles
6.) food - bars, gels, etc. (hubby's in charge of the stove, fuel canister, kitchen utensils)
8.) digital camera & extra (2) batteries
9.) extra "hotties" hot packs
10.) extra lip balm & sunscreen
11.) space blanket for emergencies
12.) pocket knife
13.) notepad & pen
14.) crampons when not on my boots - never know when they will be needed
15.) small folding camp chair - Big Agnes Helinox One
16.) extra prescription glasses
This whole kit and caboodle generally weighs in at 20-25 lb (9-11 kg) and the volume fluctuates according to the weather conditions. Sometimes, the Spire is pretty empty at the beginning of a trek because I am wearing most of the clothing that eventually I shed on the trail and stuff into the pack. By the middle of the day, the Spire is looking pretty full, only for the reverse to be put in play on the way back to the trailhead as the sun goes down and it starts to cool down. The Spire is well constructed with various compression straps so I am never feeling like I have a flapping pack on my back.
After these 6 months, the Camelbak Spire 22 LR is still in great shape. I haven't seen any signs of wear on the pack and what little dirt - remember, most of my time outdoors was on snowshoes! - there was, I was able to clean off with just a bit of bar face soap and warm water. When not in use, I keep the Spire hung up in my basement gear closet hanging from its handy top "hang" loop.
1.) Love, Love, Love the lumbar hydration bladder.
2.) Large capacity hydration bladder.
3.) Framesheet keeps my back drier.
4.) Side pockets allow me to store my largest water bottles (Camelbak Chute) easily.
1.) Nothing yet.
I don't generally gush about a daypack, but the Camelbak Spire 22 LR Backpack is going to be an exception. This pack is a GREAT pack for day hiking! The lumbar water bladder pouch just makes so much of a difference that even if the pack were mediocre in all other aspects it would still be a standout daypack. But the Spire is not lacking in any other department that I can see. The Spire is a standout backpack! I love the color, the way it fits, the comfortable waistbelt and sternum strap. I love everything about it! Okay, I'm gushing! Do I recommend the Spire 22 LR? You betcha! I only wish all my multi-day packs had lumbar water bladder pouches! (Hint, Hint!)
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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