The Lobo has been in the CamelBak range for years and has been tweaked again for 2014. If extended expeditions are your thing, it probably isn’t for you – while it has a 3l reservoir, that’s accompanied by just 3.28l of storage space. But with two zipped pockets, helmet hooks and a stash compartment with room for a mini pump and wind shell, we’ve grown to love it for shorter rides.
That hefty fluid resource is stored in a bladder that sits neatly as part of the top of the bag. Strapped in tightly it can be a pain to remove in a hurry, but with so much water in there it’s not likely to need refilling more than once or twice, even on a raging hot day.
Well-padded shoulder straps, chest and waist belts and a deep, thickly-insulated back keep everything in place, while several zip pockets (one with cable port) deal with kit and a rubberised back panel keep the worst splashes off. This is one of the longest backpacks we’ve tested, so it won’t fit every back, but it’s also one of the narrowest and feels beautifully unobtrusive when contorting yourself through tight and twisty trails.
If you pack strategically you can fit tools and a tube in the lower pocket and keep energy bars and a phone out of harm’s way higher up. The webbing straps are comfy and light – the pack weighs 570g with an empty bladder – and the optional stability strap keeps it firmly in place even when caning it on the descents. Concerns that the mini pump might be vulnerable in the stash pocket have been proved wrong, though it does collect a lot of grime.
The Lobo is ideal for two to three-hour blasts and we’ve only exhausted the three-litre capacity once, draining the bladder with 15 minutes left of a four-hour slog. Our only criticism is that the hose can be a faff to tuck away when drinking on the move.