More and more outdoor gear companies are trying to cover more and more bases these days, moving beyond their core product in a bid to grab a larger share of the market.
CamelBak was founded in 1989 and quickly made its name on hydration systems for hikers and backpackers, and remains king of that hill. It has moved beyond systems for hikers and backpackers, too, creating products for mountain bikers, road bikers, paddlers, the military, and runners. And it has a range of water bottles, filtration systems, cleaning products, and even winter-specific products in the form of daypacks.
Those products go beyond just hydration bladders and hoses, as the company realized the need to create packs to carry those systems. And if you look at the company's website or its product manuals, you'll see a lot of product.
A product that caught my eye at the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show back in August was the Octane 22 LR, a 1,160-cubic-inch daypack that carries a 100-ounce bladder. That's a lot of water for a dayhike, unless you're out from sun-up until after sun down. Or you're hiking in Death Valley National Park on a mid-August day.
The focal point of the Octane 22 (MSRP $130) is the bladder, which goes from hip to hip, as opposed to neck to waist. While this can provide some lumbar support when the bladder is full, it also can lower your center of balance put a little stress on your frame due to the water riding so low on your back.
The pound-and-a-half (empty) Octane 22 -- 1.9 liter storage volume, 3-liter bladder -- has two main pockets, one that runs top to bottom and a second outer pouch that covers about half of the pack. There is a small zippered mesh pocket inside the main pocket for keys and your wallet, another that can be accessed from the top of the pack without opening the main pocket, and mesh zippered pockets on each side of the hip belt, which are perfect for holding munchies and, in a squeeze, a GPS unit.
Safety-wise, there's even a small whistle attached to the left shoulder strap. And you can rig up straps on the back to carry some light additional gear, if needed.
The somewhat shallow size could be a negative if you're planning a full day in the outback, but for half-days this could be just what you need.