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If you are into cycling then you should consider whether a Camelbak would be a good investment for you. I have always hated having to remove my hands from the handlebars to struggle with a water bottle mounted on the fram of the bike and then have to look down to replace it. For me this was an issue of safety. A friend recommended a Camelbak and it has been one of the best purchases I have made.
The Lobo is one of the biggest Camelbaks on the market with a 3 litre fluid capacity and a 3.2 litre storage capacity. This is great for chucking a wallet, keys, phone etc in as well as a puncture repair kit. The bag itself is black in colour with grey trim and some snazzy reflective silver detail. It stands out well in the dark.
The padding on the straps of the Lobo make it a very comfortable accessory to wear, this is further enhanced by a series of grooves allowing air to flow between you and the bag. This reduces the sweat generated which is a welcome addition. To keep it in place there are 2 clipped straps that fasten across the chest and below the diaphragm ensuring that everything stays where it should no matter how aggressively you ride.
The drinking tube is guided up and over one shoulder leaving te mouthpiece within easy grasping distance and a short way from your mouth. Once in the mouth all you need to do is bite and suck on the Camelback's unique valve to ensure a steady flow of fluid. As soon as you stop biting the valve seals perfectly ensuring no leakage and no unwanted entry of foreign bodies.
3 litres of fluid is enough for the longest rides and using the Camelback feels very natural. Cleaning is a doddle with the anti bacterial finish to the internal bladder ensuring no problems. The extra pockets are handy for carrying your essentials and you know that the Lobo will not let you down.
As a regular mountain biker, I never leave home without this valuable piece of kit. In all the years that I've been hitting the trails I've only ever used this one backpack.
My Camelbak Lobo has an ample 2 litre water capacity. Even on hot days, I find that this is plenty for rides lasting over 4 hours. Filling the reservoir is easy, but it can be a little awkward getting a full reservoir into the backpack. The drinking tube is just the right length and does not obstruct you while riding. There is a neat little lock on the valve that prevents water from squirting out while you're threading the tube through the guides. I've never experienced any problems with leaks from the reservoir or the drinking valve.
The water tastes just like it does straight from the tap. It does not taste like plastic or rubber even after sitting in the bladder for many hours.
It is important to keep your reservoir well maintained otherwise you will inevitably get mould growth from stale water, especially in the drinking tube. You should really clean and dry all of the equipment after every ride. However, tiredness or just general laziness will inevitably lead you to not taking proper care of the hydration system. For this reason you can get replacement reservoirs, tubes and valves. But these can be quite expensive. You can alternatively get cleaning brushes to keep everything in tip-top condition.
The backpack itself is very light and is designed with an air director. This means that air can flow between you and the pack keeping you and your drink cooler. The pack also has some storage capacity for essentials such as tools, food and spare tubes. There is a flat pocket at the top, suitable for mobile phones or energy bars. There is a larger pocket at the bottom to house your larger tools and inner tubes. There is also a small mesh pocket on one side suitable for a small pump or something similar.
During a ride I find the pack is really comfortable to wear. Obviously you notice the extra weight when the reservoir and pockets are full, but the majority of time you forget it is even there. It fits really well and you can adjust the straps and the waist band for your own comfort. Drinking water while riding is really easy.
Overall this is a great pack suitable for most rides. It gives you plenty of water capacity and allows you to carry all of your essential items. When I bought mine a few years ago it retailed at about £50. This is quite expensive, but it will last for years.
As a keen cyclist (mountain bike of course!), a Camelbak is an essential item for me. I had a 1.5 litre cambelbak, but wanted a larger one due to doing more longer rides and having space for only one bottle cage (the downside to having a full-susser). I opted for the Lobo.
And it's a good job I did. The Lobo has a 3 litre water capacity, which, it says, is enough for 3 hours of riding. But that all depends on how thirsty you get! However, the big plus is that there is also 3 litres of cargo capacity. Handy for obvious reasons!
On the water capacity side, the Lobo performs very well. The external fill is simple to use and doesn't leak. Camelbak Lobo also keeps your water cooler for longer. It's designed with an 'air flow' grooving on the bit that's against your back. This allows air to flow over your back, keeping you and the Camelbak cooler. The bite valve is, as usual, excellent and doesn't leak everywhere.
As for the cargo capacity, this is brilliant. There is a pocket at the top of the pack (covering the fill cap), which I use to hold my wallet, phone and a copule of energy bars. There's also a hole in this bit for headphone to go through, so stil your iPod/MP3 player in there too. Then there's the larger lower pocket. In here, I carry a multi-tool, 3 gas canisters and a couple of spare tubes. Lastly is the external 'mesh' pocket. Great for a lightwieght foldable waterproof, and it also has a slot to slide a pump in to. Basically, there's enough space to carry everything you could needs on a ride of over 2 hours. (I also use a 'wedge' on the seatpost to hold extra stuff, but I don't need to.)
Comfort wise, even fully laiden with 'stuff', its a comfortable pack to wear. The straps don't dig into your shoulders, and there are waist and chest straps to stop it jumping about when you're on rough terrain. Oh, and did I mention the neat little pouch on the left strap for an energy gel... designed for quick release when riding!
Overall, Camelbak is usually a name you can rely on, and the Lobo is no exception. It's comfortable and highly practical. It comes with a price tag of around £50, but don't let it put you off! Your money will be well invested. Camelbak is a trusted name, with an excellent reputation, and they last years! The only thing is, buy a cleaning kit as well. And replace the bite vale every year or so. But seriously, if you ride for 2 hours or more, the Lobo is an essential bit of kit. The perfect amount of storage coupled with a good water capacity make this a must have item!