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

CamelBak Crux Reservoir Review

This high value bladder with stellar performance for a decent price.
Crux
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Price:  $35 List | $34.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, great water flow, easy to fill and clean, versatile use, good price.
Cons:  Can't flip inside out.
Manufacturer:   CamelBak
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2019
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Ease of Use - 25% 9
  • Ease of Care - 25% 8
  • Ease of Filling - 20% 9
  • Quality and Durability - 15% 8
  • Weight and Packability - 15% 5

Our Verdict

An affordable classic, the CamelBak Crux Reservoir comes back from a redesign even better than ever! The newest design offers the same great handle that makes filling from most water sources a breeze. The larger diameter hose provides a higher water flow while the easy to use bite valve is one of our favorites. The bladder itself is durable, with a screwtop that is sealed, and doesn't leak. The exterior plastic polymer is quite durable and tough, ensuring that, with proper use, it'll last for a long time. While it's not our Best Buy Award winner this year, it was certainly considered for it. This hydration bladder is a top performer.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $34.99 at Amazon$36.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$34.99 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$39.00 at Amazon$26.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Durable, great water flow, easy to fill and clean, versatile use, good price.Durable, reliable, fast flow rate, easy to fillLightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to cleanMany innovative uses, slim profile, pressurized system, fairly lightweight, easy to fill, dishwasher safeLightweight, super packable, durable material, inexpensive, incredibly versatile
Cons Can't flip inside out.Wider profile doesn't fit narrow hydration sleevesNot as durable as other options, connections get gummed up without lubricationExpensive, small learning curve, no measurement on bag, initial plasticky taste, not our favorite bite valvePoor taste, does not come with hose or bite valve, doesn't pack easily into backpack sleeves
Bottom Line This high value bladder with stellar performance for a decent price.This favorite offers burly and reliable construction best for hiking and backpacking.A lightweight and slim bladder for any on-the-go athlete.This notable bladder offers a pressurized system and a great all-around hydration system.This reservoir is lightweight and durable with many functions.
Rating Categories CamelBak Crux Reservoir Platypus Big Zip EVO Shape-Shift Reservoir Geigerrig Hydration Engine MSR DromLite Bags
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Care (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
Ease Of Filling (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
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6
Quality And Durability (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
9
Weight And Packability (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
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9
Specs CamelBak Crux... Platypus Big Zip EVO Shape-Shift... Geigerrig... MSR DromLite Bags
Weight of Bladder & Tube (3L, *2.5L system,**4L system) 8.40 oz 6.90 oz 5.40 oz 6.40 oz 5.20 oz**
Bladder Capacity Options (liters) 1.5L, 2L, 3L 1.5L, 2L, 3L 2L, 3L 2L, 3L 2L, 4L, 6L
Dishwasher Friendly? No No Yes Yes No
Plastic Taste No No Yes Yes Yes
BPA-free? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bite Valve Bite valve with updated shutoff valve HyFLO Self-sealing Bite Valve Bite valve with shutoff twist valve Bite valve with shutoff twist valve None (Bite valve with lock arm shutoff valve in separate attachment kit)
Can bite valve be removed? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hose Connection Quick release hose (no swivel) Mid-tube, but can be changed to the base. Quick Release Quick release (no swivel) Quick release hose (no swivel) At the mouth of the screw top
Closure Type Screw top Zip top Slide top Slide top Screw top (3 in 1 spouts)
Warranty Lifetime Guarantee Limited warranty Lifetime warranty 30-day money back guarantee Limited warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

The CamelBak Crux Reservoir has been a Best Buy Award winner in the past, but with new price changes (an increase), it lost that spot. It offers great all-around performance with a durable design. Despite many online reviews reporting that this bladder leaks, the latest design seems to fix these issues. We've used it while hiking, biking, running, and more, and it works perfectly. This bladder is a top scorer and stands out for its large handle that makes filling easy, and super-fast water flow.

Performance Comparison


Whatever the adventure  the CamelBak Crux offers amazing performance for a great price. Here  we take in the views will sitting at a pass summit at 12 000 feet in the San Juan Mountains.
Whatever the adventure, the CamelBak Crux offers amazing performance for a great price. Here, we take in the views will sitting at a pass summit at 12,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains.

Ease of Use


This hydration system is super easy to use. It features a great wonderful bite valve and a tube that has a larger diameter. This facilitates a much faster water flow rate with very little work. The bite valve is comfortable to use and the locking mechanism offers more versatility than those without. We've used this bladder easily while hiking in the mountains, climbing, biking, and running. It's one of our favorites simply because the water flows freely with little to no effort.

A look at the high flow bite valve with a locking mechanism. Given the large diameter hose  the water flow is ample with very little effort.
A look at the high flow bite valve with a locking mechanism. Given the large diameter hose, the water flow is ample with very little effort.

The profile of the bladder is a regular size and is compatible with many different hydration sleeves in different types of packs. We had the opportunity of putting it into a super small running pack, and it's more narrow front to back profile did well. It also slipped easily into backpacks designed for hiking and fastpacking. Overall, it is versatile in its uses.

The hose connections are solid and well-crafted. They easily disconnect and are compatible with other hoses with similar infrastructure.
The hose connections are solid and well-crafted. They easily disconnect and are compatible with other hoses with similar infrastructure.

A look at the thicker hose construction that offers a faster rate of water flow than it has in the past.
A look at the thicker hose construction that offers a faster rate of water flow than it has in the past.

All the parts of this bladder disconnect. Other compatible parts can be substituted for ones that you might prefer or was apart of an old hydration bladder from the past. This offers great compatibility and versatility.

Ease of Care


This bladder is built with a huge screw top opening that is quite large. You can easily fit a scrub brush inside if your bladder gets super grimy. Though, we found that with routine care, even if putting sugary drinks into the bladder, we didn't need to scrub, even after using it every other day for the last few months. The wide mouth is very easy to dry, and with the appropriate tools, you can clean the tube with easy. Since all parts disconnect, you can do good work to take things apart and sanitize if needed. Overall, this bladder is pretty darn easy to care for.

Here we simply dry out the Crux. The opening is wide enough to get a sponge inside  but it can't be flipped inside out.
Here we simply dry out the Crux. The opening is wide enough to get a sponge inside, but it can't be flipped inside out.

Ease of Filling


Oh boy! With a massive handle, the filling is ridiculously easy. The handle itself can hold quite a bit of weight, and because of its design, it made filling at a sink, river, stream, lake — whatever! — incredibly easy.

The huge handle makes filling super easy.
The huge handle makes filling super easy.

If you want a bladder that doesn't take any additional work to fill, this wide-mouthed product is a wonderful option.

Nolan is always psyched  but here he gleams with an appreciation for great craftsmanship. The Crux is a very easy hydration bladder to fill up for adventures on trail.
Nolan is always psyched, but here he gleams with an appreciation for great craftsmanship. The Crux is a very easy hydration bladder to fill up for adventures on trail.

Quality and Durability


When doing some research online, we found several reviews on the CamelBak website complaining about screwtop of this model leaking.

The new Crux hasn't leaked on any of our adventures  despite reports of this being an issue with the previous model. Things are getting better for this product and high quality bladder.
The new Crux hasn't leaked on any of our adventures, despite reports of this being an issue with the previous model. Things are getting better for this product and high quality bladder.

When we received this bladder, we made note of these complaints and tested them directly. After 40+ hours of testing, while running, climbing, hiking, ect., the screwtop of this bladder didn't leak at all. The newest screwtop offers an insanely awesome seal and clicks together smoothly. When the bladder is inverted or squished or stuffed into a pack, it stays sealed.

The plastic is thick and quite durable. We appreciate the welded seams that are really difficult to pull out of shape.
The plastic is thick and quite durable. We appreciate the welded seams that are really difficult to pull out of shape.

The material its made of is pretty darn strong as well. The plastic seems to be impervious to punctures and the seams are welded together. We tugged at them, tried to pull them apart, and even froze and dethawed it. After doing this several times (it's a great way to kill bacteria after all), we have decided that this is a high-quality product. While we've been testing these bladders for a long time, the newest update seems more bombproof than ever. However, only time will tell as we keep testing it out. We'll keep you posted for the future!

it fits nicely into even the smallest packs. Here we put it into our running pack  where it sits and fits comfortably on a ten-mile mission into the mountains.
it fits nicely into even the smallest packs. Here we put it into our running pack, where it sits and fits comfortably on a ten-mile mission into the mountains.

Weight and Packability


A midweight bladder, we've used it for so many different things. While it's not our top choice for missions that require measuring and counting every ounce of your gear kit, we've still taken it long-distance running, hiking, climbing, and on alpine missions.

A heavier bladder in comparison to the rest.
A heavier bladder in comparison to the rest.

The bladder itself packs down, but because of the large screw-top construction, it can't be rolled up very easily to be stored. It's not the most packable, but it's not so bad either.

A look at the relative size next to a 12 oz can of summit suds.
A look at the relative size next to a 12 oz can of summit suds.

Value


This is a wonderful value for the price. This bladder was considered for the Best Buy aAard and has won them in the past. However, with CamelBak increasing the price (just by a little), another less expensive option stole its place on the budget podium. That said, this is one of the highest-scoring products in this review, and it isn't very expensive. The newest version of this bladder is an improvement. Based on our experience, we'd expect it to last for a very long time.

Stay hydrated! The CamelBak Crux is quite versatile. Despite its heavier weight  it offers great quality performance for all sorts of adventures. Whether hiking in the snow in the early season or running around on trails. Its burly construction and high flow offer great all-around performance.
Stay hydrated! The CamelBak Crux is quite versatile. Despite its heavier weight, it offers great quality performance for all sorts of adventures. Whether hiking in the snow in the early season or running around on trails. Its burly construction and high flow offer great all-around performance.

Conclusion


The CamelBak Crux Reservoir is a classic. Durable in design, the newest version is leakproof, with an awesome level of water flow. It became a favorite simply because it's so easy to fill, maintain, and drink from. It's the lower price is great too, almost winning our best buy award.

The CamelBak Crux offers versatile performance with a wider-tapered profile. It is affordable and durable  with a great rate of flow. Check it out!
The CamelBak Crux offers versatile performance with a wider-tapered profile. It is affordable and durable, with a great rate of flow. Check it out!


Amber King