Gear Review: CamelBak Octane 25

CamelBak has brought together the best of both the trail running and hiking worlds with the CamelBak Octane 25 hydration pack. It’s streamlined and sits close to your body to maximize your movement, yet is equipped with an insane amount of pockets and gear storage options to allow for all the essentials. In addition, CamelBak has integrated a system to keep your hydration hose tucked in and out of the way, which allows you to move quickly without your hose flapping around. This pack makes a great day pack when used with the hydration bladder, but can also be used for running around town when the bladder is taken out. It’s a versatile pack with multiple usage options.

CamelBak Octane 25 At-a-Glance

Price: $145
Hydration Capacity: 70oz (2.07L)
Pack Weight: 1lb 6oz (without water in hydration bladder)

Intended Use

This pack has speed in mind, and is optimized for hikers who want to stay light and move fast. It’s great for both trail runners and hikers who are looking to keep a quick pace or who want a streamlined pack to hold just the essentials.

Circumstances of Review

I used this hydration pack on numerous hikes throughout Colorado, as well as multi-hour walks, and a few shorter runs around Denver while social distancing measures were in place toward the end of my testing period.

Features

  • Cargo hip belt
  • Trekking pole storage attachments
  • 11 exterior pockets
  • 8 interior pockets
  • 2 chest straps

In-Hand Water Bottle or Hydration Pack?


There are pros and cons to each and, at the end of the day, the answer will come down to personal preference. 

Water bottle lovers will say that bottles are easier to clean and fill with water when out on the trail. They also make it easier to stay aware of exactly how much water you have consumed in a given time period. On the flip side, it sometimes requires taking off your backpack to grab your bottle, and you may require multiple water bottles depending on how much water you want to carry.

Team Hydration Pack loves how easy it is to drink while you’re hiking, and agrees that it’s nicer to carry a larger bladder than worrying about filling multiple bottles of water. Counter arguments state that it’s a hassle to clean hydration packs and they often require you to all but empty the contents of your backpack when filling up at a trailside stream.

Octane 25 Pros

Pockets Galore
I am amazed at how many pockets are in this pack – there is literally a space for every piece of gear you need. I counted an impressive 11 exterior pockets, and 8 interior pockets inside the pack, in addition to the giant compartment that is solely dedicated to the bladder. My gear felt organized and secure, yet the pack still feels streamlined and minimalist when loaded up. CamelBak did a great job of integrating the pockets into clever spaces to give you tons of room for storage, yet keep the pack thin.

Streamlined Fit
I often find that when I trail run with a traditional day pack my phone, snacks, etc., are usually bouncing around within the pack. This makes running less than enjoyable, and often deters me from picking up the pace sometimes on hikes. However, with the streamlined design of this pack, I felt like my gear was secure enough to move however I needed to. The pockets help keep things in place, and duel chest straps keep it all closely attached to my body. This pack would be an amazing option for those who like to bring a little bit of gear on their trail runs.

Hydration Bladder is Small & Easy To Insert
One of my main complaints about hydration bladders I have used in the past is that they’re bulky and end up taking the majority of space within your pack when full. However, I found the bladder that CamelBak used for the Octane was just as streamlined as the pack that held it. I barely noticed when the bladder was full, and still had more than enough room to easily grab gear from the main compartment of the pack.

Hose is Easy to Access Yet, Out of the Way
Another pet-peeve of most hydration packs is that I find the hose is almost always in the way. I hate when they get caught in my arms or trekking poles during a climb, and can’t stand when they are flopping all over the place (and almost inevitably end up in the dirt when I take my pack off). The Octane 25 never gave me any of these issues though. CamelBak seems to have integrated a new system that keeps the hose securely on the front strap of the pack, which means it’s easily accessed when you need it, but almost unnoticeable when you don’t.

Cons

Cleaning The Bladder
I have very few negatives to say about this pack. However, the biggest issue I had was that I found the bladder challenging to clean. I was able to use a water bottle brush to scrub the inside, but the bladder never seemed to dry completely. I tried a lot of my usual tricks for letting it air dry, but eventually had to attach a towel to the edge of my water bottle brush and wipe down the inside. This was just enough effort to make me think twice before using the bladder portion of this pack as it was far easier to rinse out a water bottle at the end of the day.

Overall Value

With multiple usage options, and the ability to take out the hydration bladder when it’s not needed, this pack can be used as an all-around hiking and trail running pack in a variety of conditions. The streamlined design makes it great to wear on your back all day, while the capacity allows an over-packer to pack whatever their heart desires. I plan on using this pack on everything from hour-long hikes to full day adventures, and it’s an overall great option for those who want a pack that can cover anything from shorter to longer hikes.

Shop the CamelBak Octane 25 Here

Comparable Hydration Packs

Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Pack
$150; 1lb 12oz

Patagonia Nine Trails 14L Hydration Pack
$139; 1lb 5.4oz

Salomon XA 15 Hydration Pack
$170; 12.2oz

Related

*This product was donated for the purpose of review.

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Comments 1

  • Avatar
    Russ1663 : May 14th

    I have two Camelbak bladders in two different packs; I love the convenient ube for water. I dislike the cleaning, that said, attention to detail. I have in my big pack(48L) a Geigerrig Hydration Engine 3L. Difference there is the ability to pressurize. It can be opened up and placed in a dishwasher for a normal cleaning cycle to include heated drying. I have LifeStraw water bottles but also GRAYL Geopress. So fit the hydration system to your mission/trek to suit. Lots of wonderful options.

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