I prefer the Camelbak Volt 13 LR Hydration Pack. I know a lot of Mountain Bikers do not like to wear hydration packs. They can be hot, or they are heavy, or they flop around especially on descents, or they simply do not have the features that they are looking for. I have owned a bunch of hydration packs. Most all of them by Camelbak, one was by Blackburn years ago and it was primitive and basic at best. Camelbak makes a bunch of different style and sizes that will satisfy the majority of the looking consumers.
Because I do a lot of long hour rides in wilderness type locations, I wear a hydration pack. Water resources are typically not available. The latest two models I have owned prior to my Volt 13 are the Lobos and the Hawg. First I purchased the Lobos, and I used it for years. It’s a great spring/summer pack. It holds 100oz of water, very easy to refill, had a descent amount of space for tools, tube, spare stuff, and a place to stuff a compressible wind breaker jacket. But I was always finding I was running out of space. Thinking I needed a much bigger pack, I purchased the Hawg. One of Camelbak’s largest packs. I found myself swimming in it. This would be a better Bikepacking pack then anything else. I kept stuffing things in all that space and one day I realized the thing wore a ton!
Both of these hydration packs utilized a 100oz bladder that spanned from top to bottom placing added weight at a high center of gravity. So every corner or jolt from the trail was forcing that water to shift you while riding. Many have mentioned to me that the high center of weight hurt their backs as well. This made sense to me.
So I set out to find the perfect hydration pack scenario for me. I found it in the Camelbak Volt 13 LR.
PROS: Water Storage is at the bottom giving this pack a low center of gravity and places the weight on your hips, not your back.
CONS: Even as a mid size pack the Camelbak Volt 13 LR can still “trick” you into carrying more than you really need.
If I were Goldilocks this one is just right! Large enough to carry everything I need, summer or winter, and, small enough that it does not feel like I’m carrying Samsonite luggage on my back. Plus the bonus that it still carries a 100oz water bladder in it, but the bladder is located all in the bottom of the pack forcing the water weight to be at the lowest point of gravity on your back. Adjusting the straps to place the weight on your hips as oppose your back.
When I put my Camelbak Volt 13 Hydration Pack on, I almost forget it was even there!
With the Volt 13, I have more storage then I know what to do with, yet, it is compact and it feels unconfined on my back. Adjusting the straps accordingly, I have placed all the weight of the pack on my hips and not my back placing it in a position that I often forget I’m wearing my pack. The low center of gravity is a huge feature of this pack. Lowering the center of gravity weight is a huge advantage for carving corners and managing rough terrain. Keeping the weight low takes it off your back.
Side by Side Comparison of both Camelbak 100oz bladders
The Camelbak Volt 13 LR has plenty of storage beyond a one day trip, yet compact enough to feel like a 5 hour pack. Easy to store, all compartments are accessible. The lower waist strap even has wing storage. I place food bars and GoPro batteries in one wing, and my full size cell phone and car keys in the other. Handy.
Easy Access to water bladder
Having used the Camelbak Volt 13 LR now for 6 months I am sold on this design. Every time I get someone to try it on they love it. They can’t believe it’s holding 100 ounces of water! This is now my “go to” pack for short rides of 2 hours and multi day trips. I’m confident it will carry everything I need for my upcoming Kokopelli trip (3 days of 50 miles a day, all on singletrack and 4 wheel drive roads between Fruita Colorado and Moab Utah).
The only thing I would complain about is the color scheme. It would be nice if companies carried more options to make the rest of our gear. Riding a black and blue bike, it would be nice to have a black and blue pack. I have the color scheme within this article.
- Antidote Reservoir features easy open/close cap and low-profile design
- Lumbar reservoir compression
- Bike tool organizer pocket and stretch overflow storage
- Designed to Carry: Multi-tool, CO2 pump & cartridges, spare tube, extra layer, energy supplements, phone, wallet, keys
- CamelBak Got Your Bak Lifetime Guarantee
- Capacity: 10 Liters
- Dimension: 9 x 20 x 26 Inches
- Weight: 1.19 lbs
- Liquid Capacity: 100 ounces
I highly recommend this pack. If you have back pains, hate high center of gravity weight, want lots of storage space with the “feel” and look of a small pack, then this pack is definitely one to consider. I rate this pack currently a 5. Only time will tell how well it will last, but if it last as long as my previous packs this is a several year pack!