The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

CamelBak Sequoia 22 Review

A versatile daypack that can hold a lot of gear.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $150 List | $111.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, lots of good features, water reservoir included
Cons:  On the heavy side, expensive
Manufacturer:   CamelBak
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 5, 2018
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Comfort - 30% 9
  • Features - 30% 9
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Adjustability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 9

The Skinny

Our testers loved the CamelBak Sequoia 22 — it was one of our favorite packs that we tested and topped our score charts overall. This daypack is comfortable, breathable, can hold a lot of gear, and even comes with a hydration bladder, the only one in our test group to do so. It is on the expensive side for a daypack, and also a little heavy, but it carries well when full, and the back has good ventilation. It received an update in the spring of 2018, and we like some of the new changes, like the dual-wing hip belt with roomy pockets. If you're hunting for something easier on the wallet and don't need the extra bit of awesome this pack provides, check out our Best Buy-winning pack, the REI Co-op Trail 25 - Women's. Or, for those frequently hiking under suspicious cloud activity, the Osprey Sirrus scored very close to the Sequoia but comes with an integrated rain cover. Otherwise, if you're carrying a lot of gear on your day hikes or are tired of uncomfortable, poorly padded daypacks, check out the CamelBak Sequoia 22.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The CamelBak Sequoia 22 received a facelift for 2018. We've tested the new version and like it as much, if not more than the older one. They updated the hip belt, using a dual-wing design, which offers the best and biggest side storage pockets in this review. No more deciding between your phone or GPS or anything else, you can fit it all and more in your side pockets. The pack is made of 200D ripstop nylon and 400D plain-weave nylon in high wear areas, like the bottom and sides. It comes in one size and has an 18-inch torso length. CamelBak states that this bag has a 19-liter volume, with three more liters available in the outer pouch. You can also fit things in the separate reservoir pocket, even with a full hydration bladder, and stuff the outer mesh pocket full too, so this pack held as much as the 24-25 liter packs in this review.

Out in the Spring Moutains  Nevada  in our Editors' Choice winner. This daypack was comfortable and had great features  and was our go-to choice for long days on the trail.
Out in the Spring Moutains, Nevada, in our Editors' Choice winner. This daypack was comfortable and had great features, and was our go-to choice for long days on the trail.

Comfort


This was one of the most comfortable packs that we tested. The shoulder straps and hip belt have some nice padding, and the lumbar area has the best padding in this review. Along the back, two padded sections provide cushioning and support, but the space between them helps keep you cooler on hot days. While not quite as ventilating as the mesh backs on the Osprey Sirrus or Deuter Futura 22 SL, those packs don't provide as much cushioning, so it can be a bit of a trade-off. Want more cushioning? Go with the Sequoia. Need more ventilation? The Sirrus is a better choice.


While there's no internal frame on the Sequoia, the back has a lot of rigidity, so even when it's packed full of gear, and you have the hydration reservoir in there, the reservoir doesn't push against your back uncomfortably. The shoulder straps are curved and shaped for a woman's narrower shoulders, but not so narrow as to be uncomfortable, like we experienced on the Patagonia Nine Trails. The Sequoia is designed to keep you comfortable mile after mile while laden with a full day's worth of gear.

The padded sections help keep you supported and comfortable  while the cutouts encourage airflow and ventilation.
The padded sections help keep you supported and comfortable, while the cutouts encourage airflow and ventilation.

Features


We liked the featured on this pack. Leave it to CamelBak to know how to stow their reservoirs. The bladder goes inside its own zippered and insulated pocket, away from the rest of your gear, and the pads on the back of the pack prevent it or other bulky items from pushing into your back. The shoulder strap has a quick release clip for the tube, and there are two side pockets if you prefer to use water bottles instead of the reservoir (and/or if you need a lot of water).


The new hip belt design provides a lot more storage on the side pockets. They fit a full-sized cellphone even in a bulky case with room to spare! One side is zippered while the other side is open. An open side pocket seems like a bad idea at first, but if you want to stuff a bandana or hat in there, it won't fall out easily. Then you can keep your valuables in the zippered side. Other features include an ice axe holder, side compression straps, and some organizer slots and pockets in the front compartment. The only thing it didn't have was a rain cover that stows in the bottom of the pack like the Osprey Sirrus 24. CamelBak does sell them separately for $14.

The zippered pocket on the left side can hold a smartphone and other items simultaneously.
The zippered pocket on the left side can hold a smartphone and other items simultaneously.

Weight


This pack weighs 37 ounces, which makes it one of the heavier packs in our test group.


Part of that weight comes from the extra padding on the back that makes it more comfortable, along with the heavier material on the bottom and other high wear spots. While this pack is about a pound heavier than the Mammut Lithia Speed 15, it was also the most comfortable for hiking heavy loads over long distances.

It's nice to go light in the mountains  but we like being comfortable too. The Sequoia is a bit heavier but offered great padding and durability in return.
It's nice to go light in the mountains, but we like being comfortable too. The Sequoia is a bit heavier but offered great padding and durability in return.

Adjustability


This pack only comes in one size with an 18-inch torso length, and it does not have a ton of adjustability. The previous version had load-lifting tensioners on the shoulder straps and side adjusters on the hip belt. CamelBak did away with both of those features in this version.


We don't think the load-lifters accomplish that much on a daypack anyways, and the new hip belt design does have a wide range of adjustability. The Sequoia fit our 5'6" tester very well, but if you're much taller, it might not work so well. Look for a model that comes in different sizes, like the Patagonia Nine Trails 26 or The North Face Aleia 22.

The "dual-wing" hip belt design. The outer section has large pockets that let you store a lot of gear or gadgets for easy access.
The "dual-wing" hip belt design. The outer section has large pockets that let you store a lot of gear or gadgets for easy access.

Durability


We gave this pack a high score for durability thanks to the 200D ripstop nylon used in the body of the pack and the extra thick 400D nylon used on the bottom.


We do a lot of hiking in the desert southwest, and the sharp cacti and rough rocks destroy thinner packs here, so if you live in an area with spiky plants and sharp rocks, you should consider that when purchasing your next pack. The Sequoia held up without a fuss.

The thicker material held up well in our sharp desert environment. While it may not last as long as the ancient Bristlecone pines behind it  you should get a lot of use out of this pack.
The thicker material held up well in our sharp desert environment. While it may not last as long as the ancient Bristlecone pines behind it, you should get a lot of use out of this pack.

Best Applications


The Sequoia 22 is a great choice for all kinds of day hikes; be it a quick jaunt with the kids (and all of their gear), or a big peak objective where you'll need 3-plus liters of water and many layers. If you're covering long distances with a lot of gear, this pack is comfortable and supportive. It is also useful for a wide range of outdoor activities, including paddleboarding and long hauls on a mountain bike.

Want a comfortable pack AND hands-free hydration? Our Editors' Choice winner is hard to beat!
Want a comfortable pack AND hands-free hydration? Our Editors' Choice winner is hard to beat!

Value


This was one of the most expensive bags in our review ($150), but it does come with a 3L water bladder, which by itself retails for $20-30, so that does increase the value of this pack. Considering how comfortable it is, and also how large, you can get a lot of use out of this pack.

Conclusion


The CamelBak Sequoia 22 is a great pack and our Editors' Choice winner. It's spacious and comfortable, with some great features and a large 3L water reservoir. It's a little on the heavy side, and perhaps a bit big if you're only going on a one or two-hour hike, but for longer all-day missions, this pack is a great choice.


Cam McKenzie Ring