The CamelBak RePack is a simple and effective hip pack that performs well-enough but lacks the design features of our favorite options. This bag does its job but feels a lot less refined than the best packs in our test. CamelBak has been in the game for some time by delivering reliable and functional products, even if they lack the exciting features or attractive styling delivered by other brands. This is exactly how the RePack slots into our test class, as a functional, but far from exciting, hip pack. With just 2.5L of gear storage, this is a minimalist option for shorter rides. The RePack is relatively inexpensive and is largely available at a huge number of retailers as CamelBak is a popular and accessible brand.
CamelBak Repack LR 4L Review
Cons: Poor storage layout, cheap feel, poor ventilation
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The RePack is not a bad hip pack. It works well-enough and will keep you hydrated and will carry your tools and snacks without fail. The CamelBak hip pack simply can't stand up to the competition. Ease of drinking is a strong suit while comfort, ease of filling, and ease of cleaning were low points. CamelBak is a widely available brand. Despite its relatively low scores in our comparative analysis, it is still completely functional and will likely serve most riders well enough.
Ease of Drinking
The RePack posted a respectable score in the ease of drinking metric. It has a 1.5L water bladder which should be adequate for rides in the 2-3 hour range. We did hit a couple of notable speedbumps with this pack. Chief among them is the Magnetic Tube Trap that fell off the hose. This forced us to get a little creative to secure the hose to the bag while we were spinning away.
The hose of the RePack is of appropriate length. Even the tallest riders shouldn't have much of a problem getting the nozzle to reach their mouth. In the saddle, standing up on the side of the trail, no problem. The nozzle itself is quite well designed. There is an on/off lever that controls your ability to pull water out of the system. We would save the off position for when you are traveling with a full bladder. Otherwise, there is really little need to use it. If you leave it in the on position while riding, there is no risk of water dripping onto your legs. The nozzle itself has the fastest flow among the packs in our test. With the nozzle in a horizontal orientation, simply give the nozzle a little bite to open it, and then start consuming.
This bag features what CamelBak calls a Magnetic Tube Trap. This is a magnetic clamp on the waistband that holds the hose in place. This is a nice feature as you can take a swig of water and set it on the holder and continue riding. Unfortunately, we lost the piece that sits on the hose. It was there, we transported the bag around the west coast, and it was gone. This forced us to get a little creative to secure the hose to the waist. This could have been a user error or a weak design, its hard to say.
Ease of Filling
The RePack scored towards the bottom of the class in terms of ease of filling. This bag uses a traditional screw-on cap which can be difficult at times. In addition, a fixed hose/bladder interface makes it more difficult to remove the bladder to fill it.
When you are loading up your hip pack prior to a ride, you will encounter an important decision. Do you take the bladder out of the bag to fill it? Or, do you leave it in there and deal with the potential unwanted spillage. There are pros and cons to each system. About half of the packs in our test use a bladder with a quick-connect system. This makes it very easy to detach the hose from the bladder without/ pulling the hose out of its routed path. This makes removing the bladder exceptionally easy and then you can fill it without the risk of spilling. The RePack does not have this feature. The hose is fixed to the bladder. This means, to remove the bladder for filling, you have to pull the hose out. This isn't a huge deal, but rerouting it through the bag is time-consuming. Before a couple of rides, we rolled the dice and filled the bladder while still in the bag. We experienced small amounts of spillage as the pack is exerting force onto the bladder, which pulls on the hose, which makes the whole process a bit more difficult than it should be.
The RePack uses a traditional screw-on cap to seal the bladder. A flat, broad, cap that is approximately 3-inches in diameter. The majority of packs in the test use a newer closure system where the bladder doesn't have a screw top, you simply fold over the opening and slide a clamp over a track to seal the bladder. The screw-top is pretty simple, however, its surprisingly easy to botch. It is common for you to feel like the screw top is secure and flush only to find water spilling out. This means that the screw top isn't flush and you put it in crooked. This happened more than once during testing.
Despite the lack of fancy design features, the RePack is a reasonably comfortable pack. We wore this hip pack while riding, we wore it around the house, and we wore it while compiling this review. It never felt irritating and there are no pressure points. It should be noted, however, that it has the least structure of all the models we tested. It goes out shape quite easily and when it is fully packed it bulges and becomes notably less comfortable.
The material that sits against the body is quite soft. CamelBak used the same material throughout the backing of the bag. Other models used a variety of materials and panels to try to regulate heat and promote airflow. The RePack takes a more simple approach and uses one soft, low-tech, material. It feels great on the hips and while it may not ventilate as well as other bags, it's comfortable. We have noticed this bag is a bit wetter and sweatier after a ride, a result of the less refined ventilation system.
The strap system is simple and effective. We didn't experience any twisting or bunching of the waist strap. We did feel a little interference with the waistband of our shorts, but it wasn't crippling. Hiking the hip pack up a little higher is a nice way to combat this.
The storage system and capacity were underwhelming but effective with the RePack. With 2.5L of gear storage, this pack is relatively minimalist and is best for riders who don't bring more than the essentials. It can hold the necessary items for a 2-3-hour ride, but it seems like there is some wasted space in the pack that could have been better utilized.
The tool storage compartment is a horizontal flap located at the front of the bag. You need to release a vertical strip of velcro, and use two zippers to open the compartment. Upon doing so, you will reveal an oddly small storage area. On the backside of the flap, there is a zippered mesh pocket that works well for a credit card and small-mid-sized cell phones. On the main part of the compartment, there are two tall and somewhat narrow elasticized pouches that will work well with a multi-tool, CO2 cartridges/shooter, and maybe some tire plugs.
The main storage compartment holds the water bladder against your back in a nylon sleeve, with additional room to store a tube, a small pump, some snacks, or other slightly larger items. You could probably squeeze a very small wind layer into this compartment in a pinch, but there are better options for riders who require more storage capacity.
On the waist wings, there are two smaller pockets, one on each hip. These are great for a small GPS unit, trail snack, and maybe some keys. Most cell phones are too big to fit in this space. These pockets are important as you don't need to remove the hip pack to access them. This makes them a great option for things you'll need to grab on the fly.
The RePack weighs 316 grams empty without the bladder. This is the second lightest model we tested after the super lightweight Bontrager Rapid Pack.
Ease of Cleaning
The RePack scored in the middle of the pack in the ease of cleaning metric.
It is more difficult to clean the bladder of this pack compared to ones with the quick-connect system and those that open wide with a slider closure. We all know that you are more likely to clean an item if it is easy to access. With the RePack, to pull the bladder out of the bag you also need to pull the hose. This isn't a huge deal, but re-installing the hose is tedious and a hassle. Bags with the quick-connect systems, you can easily detach and pull the bladder while the hose is still in place. If we flip that logic on its head, you are more likely to clean the hose out if you are forced to pull it out of the bag. We also found that the opening of the bladder on the RePack is smaller than those that open with a slider and have a larger opening making it easier to fit your hand inside.
If your bag gets sticky from a melted candy bar or an orange explodes in there, it is easy to clean. The material will do well when blasted out with a hose or a kitchen faucet. In addition, it is easy enough to get a soapy sponge or rag into every compartment.
We found the RePack to be an okay value. Yes, this hip pack functions as it should and it won't break the bank. That said, we think you can do a lot better by spending a few extra dollars.
The CamelBak RePack delivers serviceable on-trail performance. Hip packs are supposed to be able to carry water, tools, and snacks. They are supposed to be a cooler, more breathable alternative to carrying a full-on backpack. The RePack does both of those things. Unfortunately for CamelBak, this bag can't stand up to the more refined competition. While the RePack gets the job done, the design and execution are less impressive than other hip packs in this test. At $75, this pack is an okay value and is widely available at bike shops and online retailers.
— Pat Donahue