CamelBak Cloudwalker Review
Name: Wyatt Freeman
Email address: wyatt.freeman@...
Backpacking Background: Began backpacking as a Boy Scout when I was young, and recently got back into it over the last couple of years with my move to Asheville. Usually going on day hikes, overnighters, or 5-7 day trips in and around the NC/TN/VA area.
Model: Cloud Walker
Year Made: 2012
List Weight: 1.23 lbs/ 560 g
Delivered Weight: 1.24 lbs
Weight with filled water bladder: 5.03 lbs
Water Capacity: 70 oz/ 2 L
Pack Volume: 1098 cu. In/ 18 L
Dimensions: Height 19'' / width 9.5''/ depth 8''
The CamelBak Cloud Walker makes for an awesome, and versatile daypack. At nearly half the price of many other hydration systems and daypacks, the Cloud Walker is lightweight, provides plenty of pack space, and holds what is usually for me, a more than adequate supply of water for the day. The CamelBak bladder itself is of a new design, at least to me it is (my old Camelbak was very, well
old), called the Antidote Reservoir. The lid opens with an easy quarter-turn, and is attached to the plastic handle of the bladder so it doesn't get lost. I can't even begin to say how much easier this is to open from my old bladder which had to be approached with pliers on several occasions in order to gain access to the reservoir. The Cloud Walker also has a slightly insulated, zipper access pouch for the bladder, which is nicer than the old Velcro pouches, and there is a strap in the bladder's pocket for the handle of the bladder to sink into which keeps the bladder well locked into place.
The main compartment provides ample space for whatever one may need on a days worth of hiking: food, a rain jacket, maps, compass, stove/small pot etc. I have been on many hikes with this pack, and never have I encountered a time when I was cramming items into this pack to make them fit. There are also compression straps on the sides of the pack which can help keep this secured and also hold a rolled up jacket, or set of trekking poles rather nicely. Elastic mesh pockets on either side offer more pack space as well, and can accommodate a "Nalgene bottle-sized" object without feeling like the elastic is being compromised. A front vertical zipped pouch provides a little space for a pair of light gloves, or your map, and maybe an energy bar or two. All in all, there is plenty of space in this pack, which makes it suitable for very diverse conditions.
The back of the pack is well ventilated and padded, so that when the chest strap (which is elastic on one side, and can adjust vertically about six inches on your chest) is tightened, your back stays cool and comfortable. There is a clip for the drinking straw on the shoulder strap, which can be adjusted as well.
My day hikes with the Cloud Walker have seen elevations anywhere from 1,500 ft to 6,000+ ft. A day hike up Mt. Mitchell saw changes in temperature from 70 degrees F at the trailhead to low 40's atop the mountain where we stopped to picnic. All necessary layers, food, and equipment fit with room to spare. I have also used it while skiing on several occasions, which worked well because the low profile of the pack added little bulk, and limited no movement. And it is always nice to be able to whip out some snacks on the ski lift, or shed your hat into the pack every once in a while. Warm summer hikes around the south-east have been no problem with a couple pounds on my back because everything stays well ventilated (still probably wouldn't hurt to be wearing a synthetic shirt to assist the coolness).
In the year that I have had this pack, it has probably seen about 50-60 day hikes, and several ski trips. I have yet to see any of the fabrics or materials begin to compromise, the bladder has never leaked, and light to moderate rains have been unable to penetrate the nylon fabric. All in all the CamelBak Cloud Walker is a great hydration pack that as far as I can see, would suit any needs for most any conditions during a day's worth of adventure.
-Lightweight (I have taken it backpacking to have as a day pack from base camps. Clips nicely onto my Osprey Aether 75)
-Comes with lifetime warranty (as do all CamelBaks)
-"off" position on drinking straw is with the switch sticking out which makes it hard to feed it through the hole from the pack to the strap. The straw will leak a bit if you attempt to feed it through in the "on" position.
-Straw also comes through the pack between the shoulder blades, and may work better if it were coming through the side of the pack.
-A regular half circle zipper on the front-most pouch would make it easier to locate items within that pocket.
-only two pockets