Gear Review: CamelBak Alpine Explorer

The CamelBak Alpine Explorer is a versatile day pack suitable for a full day of hiking.  The pack has a total capacity of 32 litres providing more than enough space for a typical day hike whilst the integrated hydration pack holds 3 litres. In addition to this, the pack has two mesh pouches on either side which can hold extra water bottles.

The first thing I noticed about the pack was the excellent storage provided. The main compartment provides enough space to store food, gear and the other essentials for your hike. The pack also has a smaller compartment and a number of pockets for storing maps etc. whilst a weather resistant zippered pocket proves ideal for stashing electronics and valuables. It appears that the pack designers really have put some thought into the design of the various compartments and pockets and no space is put to waste. Everything that needs to be close to hand is indeed close to hand.

The second striking thing about the bag is how comfortable it is. The harness seems to evenly spread the weight across your back and the padded shoulder straps mean that even after a long day hiking, your shoulders and back will still feel ok. I’ve had a number of back packs which struggled to keep my back cool but the back panel of the Alpine Explorer is designed to keep cool air flowing across the back and during testing proved extremely effective at this.

The hydration pack is accessed via a seperate large-zipper providing for easy access and the reservoir is east to fill via a 3.5 inch wide opening. On longer walks, the reservoir really comes into it’s own with the Big Bite value ergonomically positioned for easy drinking whilst on the move. On a 10.5 hour trek, the water kept a fresh taste throughout.

I’m very impressed with this pack and it has become my back-pack of choice for day hikes. It is an excellent and versatile product and is obviously designed for the serious outdoor user. The large bladder may add extra weight when full but it provides plenty of water for longer hikes whilst the abundance of storage and well thought-out design leaves all the essentials easy to access.

Highly recommended.