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Hands-on Gear Review
CamelBak Rogue Review
Cons: Less comfort for wider shoulders, minimal storage
Bottom line: A light and sleek pack for road riders.
The CamelBak Rogue, our Top Pick for lightweight packs, is a bare bones cycling hydration pack with simplicity in mind. At its core is a Crux 2.5 liter water reservoir to keep you hydrated on those long grinder road rides. A lightweight pack keeps the bladder secure and easy to fill with a quick release flap and provides minimalistic storage with two small zippered pockets. If minimalist hydration delivery is your style, keep reading to see how the Rogue weighed in against other packs like the CamelBak Classic.
CamelBak's Rogue is a sleek and simple hydration pack, primarily at home on the backs of road cyclists. Riders are provided ample hydration for hours in the saddle while allowing them to carry the essentials in secure pockets. When compared to other lightweight packs like the CamelBak Classic, the Rogue retains a slim profile but also has enough additional storage to appeal to a broader range of users and uses. With all of these characteristics, it's easy to see why after testing, we chose the Rogue as our Top Pick for lightweight hydration packs.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Rogue is a sleek and lightweight pack for minimalists seeking to keep the weight of their hydration packs down while still allowing more storage than other ultralight models. If your motto is "light is right", then look no further. Take a look at how the Rogue (shown in blue below) compared to the other packs in our test lineup, and you'll see why we chose this model as our Top Pick for a Lightweight model.
Ease of Drinking
CamelBak has long been known for being a leader in hydration system designs, and a significant portion of that reputation is earned through easy-drinking bite valves.
The Rogue carries on that tradition and with the updated Crux design, their bar even higher. With the Crux bladder system, CamelBak claims a 20% increase in water delivered "per sip" over past models. Actually comparing "per sip" quantities between the current generation and our trusty 10-year old CamelBak H.A.W.G. proved a little abstract, but we can definitely attest to a higher flow rate in new versus old packs. In comparison to other models in our test lineup, like the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12, the CamelBak bite were easier to drink from by delivering a higher flow rate. Like the other CamelBak products in our lineup, the Rogue includes a handy on/off shutoff valve to prevent accidental water loss through the bite valve.
This easy drinking pack was in a three-way for first place with a perfect score of 10 out of 10, tying with its relatives, the CamelBak Classic and CamelBak M.U.L.E.
Ease of Filling
When it came time to fill up our Rogue, our testers found it was straightforward to top off the pack's 2.5-liter bladder, with this award winner scoring a final 9 out of 10.
While several of our test packs have convenient quick-disconnect drinking tubes, the Rogue doesn't have this feature.
Initially, we wondered if this may hinder our ability to quickly fill the pack up, but after opening the quick release flap on the outer section, we found the entire wide-mouthed bladder opening staring us in the face, a feature shared with the CamelBak Classic. Another convenient feature for filling is the ergonomic handle on the Crux hydration bladder. At first glance, we were skeptical of how functional this is but were pleasantly surprised to see the handle does make filling up easier. When holding the bladder's opening under the faucet, the handle keeps the wide opening horizontal and allows for complete filling without much spillage.
If you've used older hydration packs, you'll remember how awkward and messy fill-ups were tear the entire backpack apart to access the bladder, pry it out, then try to fill it through a pinhole-sized opening and finally try to cap it off without squeezing half your water back out. With designs like the CamelBak Crux hydration systems, those days are thankfully long gone!
CamelBak includes features to improve your comfort, like light overall pack weight at 12.8 ounces and a breathable air mesh back panel. The Rogue is high on comfort if and that's a big if you don't attempt to overfill and overstuff this minimalist bag. Our testers found that if you keep the load to a slightly less-than filled water bladder and just a couple small items in the pockets, like a phone and keys, that the Rogue provided a comfortable hydration experience. Once we filled the bladder past roughly two liters, the pack's flexible mesh back panels become a bit deformed and distended, creating the sensation of having a semi-soft two-liter bottle strapped to your back.
Keep in mind that this is short-lived, as you hydrate yourself back into a more comfortable carry. The breathable mesh shoulder straps provided adequate support and comfort, but some of our broader-shouldered testers found the fit somewhat restrictive.
Here at OutdoorGearLab, we push our test subjects into crossover uses that the gear isn't necessarily intended for. The Rogue was no exception. We found it performed well while doing some casual hikes on easy to moderate trails, only suffering in performance when we picked up speed on rougher downhill sections; this was due to the lack of a waist belt which allows for excessive movement of the pack when things get rough.
Next, we decided to hit some of our local Tahoe trails to see how it would perform in harsher conditions. We filled up the water bladder to a comfortable one and a half liters, squeezed in a spare tube, tire lever, multitool, and a light ripstop wind shell, then hit the trail. Even without a waist belt, the Rogue felt decent while riding flat, uphill, and non-technical downhill terrain.
Once it came time for a 1200' sometimes rocky downhill, things got a bit rougher. As our wheels became airborne, so did the Rogue. Similarly, as our testers leaned into corners and back, the pack had a mind of its own, swinging dynamically back and forth with momentum. Is the Rogue the hydration pack of choice for trail riders? Nope, but keep it on the smooth, and you're in for a comfy ride. We found the Rogue performed reasonably well while trail running, especially if we didn't fill the pack's hydration bladder up completely. While we would have preferred a light waist belt to keep the pack from moving as much, overall movement wasn't too exaggerated for the majority of our run.
As you might imagine, this category's description is smaller in keeping with the smaller storage capacity of this lightweight pack.
In keeping with its minimalist design, the Rogue has just 2.5-liters (150 cubic inches) of storage space, with a couple of small pockets for carrying just small essential items. The Rogue can easily carry things like phones, keys, wallets, and small bike tools, CO2 cartridges, etc.
The stretchy overflow compartment on the lower portion of the pack also carries things like light rain jackets or arm and leg warmers.
Without much more weight or bulk than the CamelBak Classic, the Rogue has a significantly larger carrying capacity, 150 cubic inches versus 30 cubic inches. Depending on your typical use, that little bit of extra space may come in handy. For even more space in a lighter weight hydration pack, you may want to check out the Wacool 2L and its 8 liters of carrying capacity.
As you may have assumed, the Rogue is indeed a light pack.
At a measured 12.8 oz, the Rogue tied with the Teton Sports Trailrunner for the second lightest pack in our lineup. At a measured 11.2 oz, the CamelBak Classic was the lightest pack we tested. With a relatively insignificant weight savings, we preferred the function of the Rogue over the Classic and the Trailrunner, and it scored a near perfect score of 9 out of 10.
Ease of Cleaning
The Rogue's design allows for relatively easy cleaning, especially the water bladder itself. With a wide mouth design, it's easy to squeeze your cleaning device of choice into the bag.
While easy, this task is not quite as smooth as other models in our test like the Osprey Raptor 10 and Osprey Syncro, or the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12.
We also found the quick disconnect feature found on the other test packs made cleaning the drinking tube easier as well, allowing access on both ends of the tube. The other lightest weight pack in our test, the CamelBak Classic performed similarly when it came to cleaning, and the Teton Sports Trailrunner was significantly more challenging.
The Rogue is a top performer in the lightweight category, providing a smooth and efficient ride. If your uses typically include activities like road cycling, hiking, or non-technical trail riding, the Rogue is a pack to consider.
At a retail price of $70, the Rogue seems a good buy overall. We felt the extra functionality made the Rogue worth the additional $10 over the CamelBak Classic. While the Teton Sports Trailrunner has an easy-on-the-wallet price of $24.95, the higher quality of the Rogue justifies the price difference. The Rogue, like the Classic and the M.U.L.E., has a limited lifetime "Got Your Bak" warranty.
Do you spend multiple thirsty hours in the saddle? Does the thought of carrying more weight than you need drive you crazy? Are you someone who likes the move light and fast whether on wheels or your feet? Sleek and comfortable carry check. Enough space for just your essentials check. Dehydration-busting water capacity done! The CamelBak Rogue could be your hydration pack of choice!
— Jason Cronk
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