CamelBak is part of the furniture in the hydration pack world, being one of the first brands to introduce the product to the cycling market.
The nine-litre Lobo has been part of its line-up for some time, and has continued to evolve with improved and streamlined designs.
The latest iteration doesn’t disappoint thanks to the impressive construction and class-leading reservoir, although care and attention are required when it comes to cramming kit inside.
CamelBak Lobo 9L specifications and details
Described in its literature as an ‘everyday ride’ pack, the Lobo has enough room for two litres of water and seven litres of cargo. That should be just about enough to pack some food, a waterproof jacket, the water and not a whole lot else – perfect for days out where you aren’t too far from civilisation.
The front tool pocket has plenty of mesh dividers to organise your tools and spares, and a pump strap is a nice finishing touch – nothing is left to roll around.
There is a small pocket for your phone or mountain bike glasses above this, while the main compartment that can take a jacket alongside the reservoir pocket, along with some food.
There are a few mesh pockets in here too, helping to prevent small items rattling around in the compartment.
A mesh-backed padded back panel and mesh shoulder straps are designed to help keep things cool, while a narrow, removable waist belt stabilises the whole package.
The reservoir is a two-litre CamelBak Crux that comes with a quick-release hose and lockable bite valve.
CamelBak’s magnetic ‘Tube Trap’ helps secure the reservoir’s hose to the pack in a bid to prevent it flapping about while riding.
Two slim, mesh pockets either side of the pack provide additional stash space externally, while a reflective light clip at the base finishes the Lobo off nicely.
CamelBak Lobo 9L performance
I got on very well with the Lobo, as you would expect from such an established product, finding it stable and fuss-free to ride with.
However, it wasn’t without its frustrations.
While I loved the tool pocket and organiser – a place for everything and everything in its place, and all that – I found the seven litres of quoted cargo capacity pretty tight when it came to loading the essentials in place.
Other hydration packs with similar quoted capacity feel a lot more roomy – even packing a lightweight waterproof into the Lobo was an exercise in stuffing and squeezing.
It was the same for loading and unloading the reservoir, the process requiring a lot of jiggling and pushing, and for the phone pocket that wouldn’t take a full-size smartphone without a good shove.
While the Lobo has a nine-litre total capacity, it wasn’t terribly easy to access.
On the upside, refilling the water was made slightly easier by having a quick-release hose, so it could be left in while the reservoir was removed and filled, negating the need to take a manky pack to the sink.
With such a small pack, the load was kept tight to my back. Consequently, it was very stable and a pleasure to ride with, especially when the waist strap was snugged and the shoulder straps adjusted.
This is very much appreciated when tackling steep, technical terrain where packs are liable to shift around and distract from the task at hand. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case here.
Similarly, I appreciated the handy magnetic Tube Trap on the chest harness to keep the hose under control. It’s quick and easy to reconnect the hose to the pack.
CamelBak Lobo 9L bottom line
Although I would be wary of buying the Lobo based purely on the quoted nine-litre capacity, it was otherwise an excellent little pack with a superb reservoir and lifetime warranty.
I’d recommend trying one out in the shop to assess whether the cargo capacity meets your needs. If not, you might be better served looking elsewhere, or further up the CamelBak food chain.
If you think you can squeeze all your essentials into the Lobo, though, its a solid choice with some nice features and one of the best reservoirs going.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $220.00EUR €105.00GBP £100.00USD $100.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 460g – w/out reservoir, Array, g|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Camelbak|
|Features||br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Comes with 2L Camelbak Crux reservoir
9L capacity (inc reservoir)
Quick-release hose on reservoir
Locking valve on reservoir
|Bag capacity||br_bagCapacity, 11, 0, Bag capacity, 9l, Array, l|
|Bladder capacity||br_bladderCapacity, 11, 0, Bladder capacity, 2l, Array, l|