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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: CamelBak Vantage 35/Vista 32 Hydration Pack

Carry up to 100 ounces of hydration power with this comfortable daypack.

by: Steve Howe

CamelBak Vantage 34 (Brooks Freehill)
CamelBak Vantage 34 (Brooks Freehill)

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Best Hydration Pack
After two weeks of dayhikes and scrambles in Alaska and Utah, our Southwest-based tester did not want to part with this pack. It combines the standard-setting 100-ounce Omega Hydrotanium reservoir (included) with a packbag made for drinking and hiking. A separate zippered bladder compartment simplifies loading and allows easy refilling on the trail. And a semi-rigid backpanel—made of deeply-ribbed, closed-cell foam covered by soft mesh—is breathable and supportive.

“My back never sweated out on a hot, 3,000-foot climb on the Harding Icefield Trail,” he says. “And it proved exceptionally comfortable even when carrying 20 pounds of camera and cold-weather gear.” Later, during a week of guiding in Zion Canyon, our tester stuffed the simple, top-loading packbag with first-aid kits, group lunches, and emergency water. Thick shoulder straps anchored to the pack by C-shaped fittings allow the straps to cant snugly to a variety of body shapes, giving a custom-fit feel to multiple testers.

Quibbles: The top pocket is too small for lunches or bulky layers, and testers would have liked a second hipbelt pocket. $150; 2,440 cu. in.; 2 lbs. 12 oz.

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