Well, I've done it. I've taken the plunge on the first, of what I
hope to be many reviews! Here are the urls and text to follow:
CAMELBAK ALPINE EXPLORER
BY BRETT HAYDIN
March 03, 2008
NAME: Brett Haydin
LOCATION: Denver, Colorado, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the
Boys Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp
leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now
generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous
terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as
well. I take one or to longer trips each year, where I typically
carry heavier loads in excess of 45 lb (20 kg). I prefer to be
prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "CamelBak
Alpine Explorer">>Manufacturer: CamelBak
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.camelbak.com
MSRP: US $100
Measured Weight - Filled Reservoir: 9 lb 8 oz (4.3 kg)
Measured Weight - Drained Reservoir: 3 lb 1 oz (1.4 kg)
Carrying Capacity: 1862 cu in (30.5 L), note that the 2008 model has
a larger capacity
Reservoir Capacity: 100 oz (3 L)
Measured Dimensions when filled: 10 in x 20 in x 9.5 in (25.4 cm x
50 cm x 24.13 cm)
The CamelBak Alpine Explorer is a versatile day pack suitable for a
full day of hiking. With 1862 cu in (30.5 L) of total storage
capacity, there is plenty of room for everything I need on trail.
The bladder holds 100 oz (3 L) which is enough to keep me hydrated on
most hikes. There are two mesh pouches on both sides of the pack
which can also hold additional water bottles.
The Alpine Explorer has two compartments; one large capacity and one
smaller located in the front. The main compartment unzips with two
zippers opening the pack about halfway either side. The zippers
have a cord with a plastic tip to grasp. There is also a small,
fleece-lined, zippered pocket at the top of the exterior of the main
compartment. This compartment has a picture indicating it is
appropriate for sunglasses .
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Inside of
front compartment">>The smaller, forward compartment opens the same
way as the larger one. Inside, there is a piece of webbing with an
attached clip for stowing keys. There is also a multifunctional
pouch that has one zippered pouch that measures 9 in x 6.625 in
(22.86 cm x 15.96 cm), an unsealed pouch 5.5 in x 6.625 in (14 cm x
16 cm), a hook and loop flap sealed pouch 5 in x 3.75 in (12.7 cm x
9.5 cm) and 3 pencil slots. On the exterior of the pack, there is a
piece of synthetic leather stitched to the front running vertically
creating 4 loops. On the bottom in the center of the pack is another
loop made from webbing to secure more gear.
There are four compression straps, two on each side of the pack, that
connect the front compartment to the rear of the main compartment.
In addition, there is mesh between the two compartments which can
hold additional items.
The bladder is stored in a compartment on the rear of the backpack
that is opened using one zipper that opens about one quarter of the
compartment. There is a slit at the top of the compartment to allow
the hydration tube out. The shoulder straps have a plastic ring to
hold the hydration tube close by. The straps themselves are padded,
with a mesh lining on the interior facing side and nylon on the
outward facing side. The waist straps are are similarly padded, but
each is shaped like a horseshoe reaching up until the hipbone, with
an un-padded piece of webbing extending the rest of the way and
secured with a quick-release buckle.
I have used this pack on approximately 20 day hikes, ranging from
just a couple hours to a 13 mile (21 km) hike that took 11 hours. It
has also accompanied me on warmer winter hikes as well as
snowboarding in below freezing weather. In addition to freezing
temperatures, I have used this pack in temperatures over 90 F (32 C),
thunderstorms, snow, sleet, and fair weather. The trips have been in
the mountains of the Colorado Rocky Mountains at elevations from
6,000 ft (1,829 m) to over 14,000 ft (4,267 m).
I purchased the Alpine Explorer in the early summer of 2007 because
my other day pack did not offer enough room for some of the hikes I
was taking and the gear I wanted to take. Since I was upgrading
gear, I figured a hydration pack was a great option for my needs. I
chose the Alpine Explorer because it had a large reservoir, 100 oz (3
L), and because it had a large carrying capacity.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "Air
Director and bladder">>
One of the first things I noticed about the pack was the number of
storage areas that it contained. There seems to be a place for
everything: keys, sunglasses, wallet, gear, extra water bottles. The
loops on the exterior of the pack even tempted me to clip extra
things to the outside as well, such as a thermometer. In between
the main and front compartments, there are mesh sidewalls with
elastic at the top of each side creating an extra space I found
extremely useful for stowing rain gear once it got wet. The pack
easily expands to the size I need, and once loaded, I found
tightening my load easy with the compression straps.
I find the shoulder straps and waist belt to be easy to adjust, and
do not come loose very often. The chest strap that connects the two
shoulder straps can be removed and relocated further up or down the
main straps for comfort. The excess webbing from most of the straps
can be tucked away thanks to hook and loop or elastic straps at the
ends. I did find these a little unnecessary, and the elastic bands
on the ends of the waist strap are a little bit of a nuisance for
me. I don't use an mp3 player when I hike, but if I did, I found an
opening from the sunglass pouch on the top of the pack that I could
thread headphones through if I wanted.
The bladder system used by the Alpine Explorer is the Omega Reservoir
with Hydro Guard and the bite-valve with the shutoff valve to avoid
leaks. I found the system to be easy to use. Even though I had
never used a bladder system, I was easily able to figure out how to
fill up the reservoir and load it back in the back. I even found a
little yellow cord that the bladder suspends from in its
compartment. Although there was a slightly odd taste at first,
either I have grown accostomed to it or it has subsided altogether.
Almost a year into using the pack, I have yet to perform any
maintenance on it or the reservoir. On the occasions where I have
used the pack below freezing temperatures, I have not experienced any
problems with icing up. I even took the pack snowboarding one night
and used it the whole time.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "abrasion
The back of the pack has the Air Director system to help deflect hot
air away from between the back an the pack. I found this to be a
great feature, especially in hotter weather and in canyon hikes. On
one particular hike, I encountered 80 F (26.67 C) temperatures, and
when the wind blew I could feel the air flow on my back. The backing
for the pads around the upside down "Y" Air Director system is a made
of stiff material that provides support for the pack.
The Alpine Explorer is constructed of sturdy nylon fabric and is
advertised as weather-resistant. Even in the several rainstorms I
have been in with this pack, my gear has stayed almost entirely dry.
There is a corner of my pack that has worn through as a result of a
slip I took scrambling down a particularly steep rocky area. The
fall was significantly treacherous, lasting only 15 ft (4.57 m), but
the rock was especially rough, not smooth or rounded. Besides this,
there is no other noticeable wear. This one spot does tend to allow
rain in, but not much despite the clear hole in the fabric.
The CamelBak Alpine Explorer has proved to be a versatile pack for my
needs. I absolutely love this pack, as I can take enough for me, my
dogs and just about anything I need for a full day of hiking. In
addition to being roomy, it is highly adjustable and fits snug
against my body. This pack is great for longer hikes where a lot of
water might be needed as well as extra gear.
Despite the tear in the fabric, I enjoy this pack and will certainly
continue to use it, although I may decide to have the fabric
professionally repaired to extend the longevity of the pack. The
padding is supportive in all the right places without adding a lot of
extra weight to the pack.
THINGS I LIKE
1. There is plenty of water to keep me going, no matter how long my
2. The abundance of storage is organized into separate compartments
and pouches to make things easy to get to.
3. The mesh padding and Air Director technology make this pack extra
comfy and reasonably cool, even in the heat of summer.
4. Although the pack is listed as weather-resistant, I noticed no
saturation even in rain showers.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1. I was somewhat disappointed that the fabric failed after only one
small slide down a rocky decline.
2. The elastic loop at the end of each waist strap is a little
awkward when pulled all the way to the ends. I would have preferred
to have just an elastic, unattached loop to secure the webbing from
- Brett Haydin
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.