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CamelBak Rogue Review

A light and sleek pack for road riders.
CamelBak Rogue
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $70 List | Check Price at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, affordable, easy drinking
Cons:  Less comfort for wider shoulders, minimal storage
Manufacturer:   CamelBak
By Jason Cronk ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 15, 2017
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • Ease of Drinking - 20% 10
  • Ease of Filling - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 5
  • Storage - 20% 3
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • Ease of Cleaning - 10% 6

The Skinny

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 sleek and simple, 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.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and 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.

Performance Comparison


The Rogue on the trail.
The Rogue on the trail.

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. 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 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 valve was 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.

They even use handy pictures!  This position=no drink.
They even use handy pictures! This position=no drink.

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, CamelBak Cloud Walker 18, and CamelBak M.U.L.E.

Camelbak Crux hydration systems were the top performer...even in the late Spring snows...
Camelbak Crux hydration systems were the top performer...even in the late Spring snows...

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.


You won't find a quick-disconnect drinking tube attached to the bladder, as found in many hydration systems these days.

The Classic and Rogue don't include quick disconnect drinking tubes.
The Classic and Rogue don't include quick disconnect drinking tubes.

Luckily, this pack is still a breeze to fill. Open the quick release flap, and the wide mouth of the bladder looks right up at you, just like on the CamelBak Classic. Remove the lid and fill up the bladder without even removing it from the pack. Convenient.

The Classic and Rogue share the same wide mouth and convenient handle to make filling up quick and easy.
The Classic and Rogue share the same wide mouth and convenient handle to make filling up quick and easy.

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!

Comfort


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 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.

The pack takes on a bulging  cylindrical shape when filled to capacity.
The pack takes on a bulging, cylindrical shape when filled to capacity.

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.

Not just for cycling and running  day hikes are also in this pack's repertoire.
Not just for cycling and running, day hikes are also in this pack's repertoire.

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' 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.

The Rogue  one of our top minimalist packs (along with the Camelbak Classic)  is light on the back while running.
The Rogue, one of our top minimalist packs (along with the Camelbak Classic), is light on the back while running.

Storage


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 small, essential items. The Rogue can easily carry things like phones, keys, wallets, and small bike tools, CO2 cartridges, etc.

The interior of the main compartment.
The interior of the main compartment.

The stretchy overflow compartment on the lower portion of the pack also carries things like light rain jackets or arm and leg warmers.

Enough storage space for just the essentials.
Enough storage space for just the essentials.

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.

Small  sleek  and lightweight describes the Rogue from CamelBak.
Small, sleek, and lightweight describes the Rogue from CamelBak.

Weight


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 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 2.0.

Trail running in our Top Pick for lightweight hydration packs
Trail running in our Top Pick for lightweight hydration packs

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.

Best Applications


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.

The low profile design is ideal for hiking.
The low profile design is ideal for hiking.

Value


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 model 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, Cloud Walker 18, and the M.U.L.E., has a limited lifetime "Got Your Bak" warranty.

Conclusion


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 to 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!

Our Top Pick for Lightweight Hydration Packs.
Our Top Pick for Lightweight Hydration Packs.


Jason Cronk