CamelBak Classic Light 70 Review
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CamelBak Classic Light 70
|Price||$43.99 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightweight, creative storage, uncomplicated||Big volume, lightweight, great price||Lightweight, large storage volume, solid hydration system||Lightweight, hip belt pockets||Lots of storage, adjustable fit for a range of body sizes|
|Cons||Minimal storage, shoulder straps are snug for users with broad shoulders or larger torsos, shoulder straps can easily twist when putting the pack on||Fewer pockets, lacking breathability||Limited organization, poor back panel ventilation||Minimal storage, lacks breathability||Bite valve is hard to use, bladder is hard to clean, bladder is hard to fill|
|Bottom Line||A minimalist, lightweight pack with a highly rated hydration system for those looking to be able to stash a layer and carry the basics||A simple bag with a functional design and an excellent volume to weight to price ratio||An all-around pack that successfully blurs the line between hydration pack and daypack||A minimalistic pack best suited for those who are weight conscious and engaged in low exertion activities due to poor breathability||This pack’s highlight is its storage space, but its hydration system is hard to use and difficult to clean|
|Rating Categories||CamelBak Classic Li...||Gregory Nano 18 H2O||Osprey Skarab 18||CamelBak Octane XCT 70||Teton Sports Oasis|
|Ease of Drinking (20%)|
|Ease of Filling (20%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (10%)|
|Specs||CamelBak Classic Li...||Gregory Nano 18 H2O||Osprey Skarab 18||CamelBak Octane XCT 70||Teton Sports Oasis|
|Pack Size||2 L||18 L||18 L||5 L||18 L|
|Bladder Capacity||2 L||3 L||2.5 L||2 L||2 L|
|Measured Weight||14.5 oz||25.6 oz||25.5 oz||17.6 oz||32.0 oz|
|Mfr. Claimed Weight||7.0 oz||18.4 oz||17.6 oz||10.0 oz||32 oz|
|Waist Belt||None||Removable 3/4" webbing||Removable 3/4" webbing||Padded with two zipper pockets||Adjustable < = 60"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The CamelBak Classic Light is the updated version of CamelBak's longstanding Classic pack. It is the lightest and simplest pack in our line-up, and for minimalists, the Classic Light packs a punch. With a top-rated hydration system and smart storage solutions, the Classic Light earns one of our Best Buy Awards for its straightforward design, low weight, and affordable price. For those who prefer simplicity and appreciate saving grams, this pack should be on your shortlist.
Ease of Drinking
The redesigned CamelBak Classic Light comes with CamelBak's long-standing and well-designed Crux® Reservoir which features a Quicklink™ disconnect and Big Bite valve. During our testing, we found the Big Bite valve both reliable and easy to drink from. CamelBak claims that the Big Bite valve has an increased "per sip" volume compared to bite valves of the past. While we can't measure this, we can say that the CamelBak bite valves deliver fluids reliably and are easy to use, earning high marks in this metric.
The Crux® Reservoir system's Big Bite Valve features a large on/off lever that is easy to use, even with gloves on. Closing the lever shuts off the flow of water to the bite valve. This feature is especially handy when traveling to and from the trailhead as it prevents water from leaking out of the bite value if pressure is accidentally applied to the pack or bite valve (e.g. the valve is trapped under your pack in the backseat of your car).
Ease of Filling
Our testers find the CamelBak Classic Light Crux® Reservoir to be exceptionally easy to fill thanks to a Quicklink™ disconnect and large ergonomic handle. However, putting that completely filled reservoir back into its compartment is a bit of a struggle, and the pack loses a few points in this metric.
The Quicklink™ disconnect is an upgrade from previous Classic generations and makes filling the reservoir easier. By pushing the button the hose disconnects from the reservoir allowing you to remove the reservoir without having to move the hose.
Another feature that makes filling easy and comfortable is the ergonomic handle on the Crux® hydration reservoir. This large, easy-to-hold handle, allows you to fill the bladder with one hand. Just unscrew the cap and hold the reservoir under the faucet. As it fills, it is easy to adjust the angle to top it off. The large screw-top opening of the Crux® reservoir is large enough to easily hold under a kitchen faucet, dip in a stream or lake (and drop in some water purification tablets!), or hold under an outdoor faucet at the campground or trailhead. Some users state that the reservoir leaks from the lid, but we have found that by making sure the cap is threading onto the reservoir, it is reliably leakproof.
The pocket that holds the bladder has a zippered opening that easily fits the tapered bottom of the reservoir. However, the top of the reservoir is wider than its base and when completely full, required us to shake the pack to get the bladder back through this opening.
The CamelBak Classic Light scores below average in the comfort metric, in part because of its twisting straps and limited breathability. Although the mesh shoulder straps are airy and supportive, we found in our testing some nuances that affect its overall comfort.
During our testing the mesh shoulder straps twisted on themselves when our 185-pound 6'3" tester put on the pack, causing them to have to untwist them each time they wore the pack. On our smaller testers, this was not an issue. Our taller testers also found the shoulder and sternum straps were just long enough to fit their torsos, with not much excess webbing. Those with a larger torso, or larger lats or pecs, may want to try on the pack before purchasing it, as the straps may be too short to fit comfortably. The Classic Light Air Support™ Light Back Panel sits firmly against our backs, especially when filled with 2 liters of water, a phone, wallet, keys, and a snack, leaving our testers with a sweaty back, even in cooler temps.
The CamelBak Classic Light does not have a hip belt, and our testers gave mixed reviews on this omission with road cyclists and hikers feeling that the hip belt is unnecessary and some trail runners wishing the pack had one. For mountain biking on non-technical to lightly-technical terrain, and while hiking on moderate terrain, the pack stayed in place when the sternum strap was tight. But, for technical trail riding or hiking that involves scrambling, one may prefer something more secure.
The CamelBak Classic Light is a simple pack with minimal, yet smart storage. The 2-liter bladder fits into its own zippered pocket. Additionally, there is a single zippered pocket on the front of the pack, two bungee straps, and a clever helmet carry strap system.
CamelBak says the Classic Light has 2 liters of storage space, but the front zip storage pocket on our test pack does not hold 2 liters, although it does hold more than you might think.
The zippered pocket is large enough to hold a wallet, keys, a snack bar, a multitool, a small tire pump, and a few other small items. You can stow a superlightweight jacket in the pocket with the bladder and attach an additional layer using the bungee straps along the side. On the front of the pack is a small strap to clip a light onto and a helmet can be secured to the pack by threading the chinstraps through the webbing where the shoulder straps meet the pack's main body.
The Classic Light is extremely light, weighing just 14.5 ounces with an empty reservoir, making it one of the lightest packs in our review. As with most lightweight gear, there are trade-offs such as a low storage volume.
CamelBak describes the Classic Light as an everyday hydration pack. If you value weight savings, the Classic Light could be a great choice for your daily adventures.
Ease of Cleaning
The Classic Light's Crux® Reservoir has a large wide mouth opening that allows access for cleaning by hand or with a brush. We were able to easily insert a long handle brush and our tester with a small hand was able to fit their hand with a sponge into the reservoir for cleaning.
The hose features a Quicklink™ disconnect which allows easier access to the reservoir side of the hose for cleaning. To clean the inside of the hose you do need to remove the bite valve and hose barb, both of which are fairly simple to pull off. However, to completely clean the inside of the hose you'll need a flexible tube brush. The pack's exterior is easy to wipe down with a damp cloth to remove dirt.
Should You Buy the CamelBak Classic Light?
The Classic Light is a great choice for those who appreciate saving weight. It's also an ideal choice for road cycling, hiking, and mountain biking when not a lot of extra gear is required. The 2-liter Crux® Reservoir is dependable and the pack has enough storage capacity to carry the essentials such as your wallet, keys, phone, and snacks. The side bungee straps give the pack added versatility, especially when you're out in changing temperatures. For road cyclists, the Safety Yellow color, which we tested, stands out from a distance and helps aid in making you more visible to motorists.
What Other Hydration Pack Should You Consider?
Perhaps the Classic Light is a little too minimal for your needs, but it's ideal if you like the Crux® Reservoir system and enjoy saving weight. For a little more storage space, we recommend looking at the CamelBak Octane 18. For those looking for a great blend of storage, breathability, and a larger reservoir for all-day adventures the high-performing Osprey Syncro 12 should be on your shortlist.
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