CamelBak Toro 14 hydration pack review£149.99

Spine protection and hydration all in one

BikeRadar score3.5/5

CamelBak's Toro 14 is a 3 liter (100oz) hydration pack with a section of back armor called Impact Protection. Along with the back protection, the standard CamelBak goodies are represented in a pack that's close to ideal for bike park days and heavy sessions way out in the boonies. 

CamelBak Toro 14 specs

  • 3 liter (100oz) Crux reservoir with Quicklink hose detach (sold separately in the UK for £39.99)
  • 11 liters (650 cubic inches) of cargo space
  • CE level II back protection
  • Helmet and leg armor carry straps
  • 48 x 26 x 24 cm / 18.9 x 10.2 x 9.4 in
  • 840 g/1 lb 13 oz

The back panel has some venting but doesn't let much breeze through
The back panel has some venting but doesn't let much breeze through

Fully featured

As per usual for Camelbak, organizing gear within the Toro 14 was simple with thoughtful pockets and durable zippers throughout. All of my necessary ride gear had an orderly place and the bright yellow insides kept interior visibility a non-issue.

On the outside, the helmet holder worked okay with open face lids, but full face helmets proved to be a bit too much for the small strap holders.

The shoulder straps are well vented and supportive
The shoulder straps are well vented and supportive

Securing body armor to the lower straps was simple and worked well however.  

Durability has been excellent. All of the zippers, buckles and material are still functioning as they should.

Organization is CamelBak's strong suit and the Toro 14 delivers
Organization is CamelBak's strong suit and the Toro 14 delivers

Added protection

What separates the Toro 14 from other hydration packs is the included back protector. While riding, it was unnoticeable with no weird stiffness or hard edges apparent. 

The back protector is accessible, but hard to remove
The back protector is accessible, but hard to remove

CamelBak claims the back protection meets CE Level II protection. To achieve that level, the average peak impact must be under 9Kn (917kg / 2,023lbs) and never exceed 12kn (1,224kg, 2,698lbs). In real-world terms, it should provide some protection when falling on a pointy rock or downed tree.

The actual protector spans nearly the entire width of the pack and measures 46 x 16cm (18 x 6.3in). 

Rides high on the back

When filled full, the included reservoir has a tall rectangular shape that aligns with the back armor. Because of this, the pack felt narrow and put more weight higher up on my back. 

The reservoir is tall and skinny which when filled puts a lot of weight up high
The reservoir is tall and skinny which when filled puts a lot of weight up high

The addition of CamelBak's Low Rider reservoir would lower the Toro 14's center of gravity and help it ride better. 

In spite of the high, narrow weight placement, the straps did a commendable job of keeping the Toro 14 solidly in place. Dual sternum straps helped with that. The waist belt did its job sufficiently but I'd like to see a bit more width on the straps. 

And while I'm nitpicking, I've grown to love the fleece-lined pocket in other CamelBaks for my camera, phone, or glasses. The Toro 14 excludes this pocket unfortunately.

The dual sternum straps combine with a waist strap to help to keep the high-riding pack in place
The dual sternum straps combine with a waist strap to help to keep the high-riding pack in place

CamelBak Toro 14 vs other CamelBaks

The Toro 14 is far from alone in CamelBak's vast line of wearable hydration. There's a smaller version called the Toro 8, as well as two more robust packs with back protection dubbed the Kudu 10 and 20. 

But again, none of those packs feature CamelBak's genius Low Rider reservoir that stores the heavy water low and around the wearer's hips. 

For longer rides where I need more gear, I do prefer CamelBak's excellent Mule LR 15. I also prefer the layout of the Mule pack, especially the wider waistband and the pockets on the waistband.

CamelBak Toro 14 bottom line

The Toro 14 is ideal for riders who are sending big terrain, charging hard, and/or simply riding the ragged edge, and as a result often crashing.

Do you always ride with knee armor and have a convertible full-face helmet such as Giro's Switchblade or Bell's Super on your head? The Toro 14 is calling your name.

If your bike park days consist of non-strop runs first chair to last, or you have some sketchy, big consequence natural lines miles from the trailhead, the Toro 14 is certainly worth checking out.  

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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