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I have used many portable water reservoirs over the years mainly in use both in training and in operational environments in the armed forces. It has always been very difficult to find one that you actually trust not to leak or burst and drench everything you are carrying.
Recently I invested in this new Camelbak Unbottle Reservoir to keep me hydrated in endurance sporting events. I used this reservoir in the Paras' 10 event in Aldershot which consisted of carrying 35Lbs of weight over a 10 mile course of 'undulating' terrain. The weight does not include water so I needed to store and carry my fluids efficiently. The 2 litre capacity and lightweight construction made this calculation very easy for me.
I decided to fill my Camelbak with a sports powder mix. This increased the risk, as if I suffered a leak there would not only be a wet, but a sticky mix over my kit! I was very pleased with the end-to-end results.
The large mouth for filling made this an easy task, also a handy ridge to hold whilst filling ensured that there was no spilling or mess. The lid locking mechanism is large and gives a re-assuring click once secure. Previous models have been very flimsy in this area, which has led to previous spillages in both filling and when in use.
The Camelback has a reasonably low profile and was very easy to fit into my rucksack around other pieces of kit. There are other loops for straps on the housing which means you could link it into straps on other rucksacks, over your shoulders etc...
When in use, the drinking straw was exactly the right length for me. I tucked it under a shoulder strap ensuring that it stayed in place and was easy to access throughout my race. The 'bite' mechanism for drinking is very well designed. I left the 'safety catch' off throughout and still experienced no drips. The liquid is literally bite and suck on demand with no issues whatsoever.
Maintenance of this equipment remains essential to ensure it lasts a decent length of time. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines with the cleaning regime. There is nothing worse than looking to use this item again only to discover that it is full of mould and unusable.
Overall, I can find little fault with this great item. Over years of evolution and trial and error, Camelbak seem to have found the correct equation. I look forward to using mine for a long time to come yet.
This review is of the Camelbak Unbottle, which is a water hydration system (a fancy name for water in a bag with a tube!). My Camelbak is the 2 litre version, but you can also get a 1.5 litre version or a 3 litre version.
In short, a water hydration system is effectively a replacement for a water bottle. You put water into the "bladder", which is then put inside your backpack, so you can drink it throughout your activity, such as walking or cycling, through a tube connected to the bladder. I got mine deliberately because carrying a water bottle has the disadvantage as it's more hassle to stop and get the bottle out than just drinking on the go.
I knew Camelbak as having a really good reputation for these hydration systems, and so given that they weren't much more expensive than other manufacturers, I thought best to go for them. The two litre version costs around 30 pounds including postage on Amazon. The three litre version is a little more expensive, the 1.5 litre version isn't on Amazon at the moment, but is available from some outdoor shops.
In terms of choosing what size Camelbak to get, you need to work out how long you will be out for, and also, how vigorous the activity is. For me, two litres is enough for any day activity, the three litre version has the disadvantage that carrying that much water can be quite heavy, so more isn't necessarily better. The Camelbak itself however, I did find to be lightweight itself, which was very helpful. If you're occasionally going to use that much, it's best to get the bigger size as you don't of course have to fill the product to the top.
The biggest problem with these pieces of kit is often that they leak, either from the water bladder itself, or from the mouthpiece. I didn't have this problem at all, everything seemed to be good quality. They do advise that to minimise leakage and sloshing about of water to ensure that you empty any excess air out of the product after filling it up.
The Camelbak is also insulated, so that if you want to put cold water into it, it will likely stay at least cool for a couple of hours. It's not a brilliantly effectively way of keeping water cool, but every little helps, and it's a satisfying feeling at the start to have cool water.
Do remember however to keep the bladder and the pipe clean, as otherwise the taste of slightly moulding water isn't a pleasant one. The product is easy to clean, and they give some advice how to look after it. Camelbak recommend putting lemon juice in with the water, to both flavour the water and also it helps keep the pipe clean. They also suggest that if the bladder isn't going to be used for a while, the best place to store it is in the freezer.
Overall, I was very impressed with this Camelbak. It cost slightly under 30 pounds, and has the advantage that it allows me to drink more, rather than fiddling about getting a water bottle out from a bag. It's well made, there are a choice of sizes, and if you're on the look-out for a water system, I'd definitely recommend this one.
I enjoy walking in the mountains. This is something I have been doing for many years with friends. About five years ago one of my friends purchased a camelbak, at the time I thought it was unnecessary as I could simply fill up my water bottle and drink that way. However, he has always been on at me to get one. So that leads me to this review, the Camelbak Unbottle. This camelbak really has been very impressive and has convinced me that this is the way to go.
If you are unaware of what exactly a camelbak is then it really is fairly simple. You slip a water pouch into your rucksack then a tube comes out of the pack over your shoulder and clips on near your mouth. This means when you are walking you can simply twist your head to the mouth piece and have a drink. So it saves you stopping, taking off your rucksack, messing about trying to dig out your water, then having to put it all back afterwards. This is a simple hydration system.
This camelbak is a pretty standard version. There are a few different ones you can buy either 1.5 litre, 2 litre or the large 3 litre. Obviously it depends on how far you are planning on walking and how much weight you want to carry as to which one you buy. The prices start at around £20 and go up accordingly depending upon which one you buy. I would say these are pretty good value as a good all round camelbak.
This camelbak, the unbottle is very easy to use. It slips easily into your rucksack, many modern rucksacks actually have a camelbak pouch and this easily fits into there. The tube easily fits over your shoulder and the mouth piece is comfortable to use. It's not the most expensive one on the market, it's just a good solid one that seems to be pretty reliable.
One thing you do have to aware of is cleaning it. When new the tube does not give off any taste which is obviously a good thing. If you keep it clean then it remains that way. However if you forget to rinse it out after use it can get clogged up with nasty things as the water or whatever you were last drinking starts to go a little stagnant. Then cleaning would become a real issue I imagine, as long as you keep it clean though there should be no problems with this one.
Overall I would say this is a very good piece of equipment. It looks good, it is strong and hard wearing and it does everything you would hope it would. If like me you have resisted getting a camelbak for years then maybe it is time to rethink your strategy. This really does make life much easier when you are out walking, it saves a lot of hassle and makes such you keep well hydrated at all times. This is something that I think every walker should really have in their rucksack at all times.