I mentioned before that I’d been researching packs to wear for the Tough Mudder I have in less than 3 weeks (OMG!!!). My trainer at Unleashed suggested the Camelbak XCT LR. When an Elite racer suggests something for you, you listen. Well, no matter how much I Googled around, I couldn’t find the XCT with the “LR” version. The LR stands for Lumbar Reservoir – basically instead of going up and down your spine, the water bladder stretches across your lower back, making you more stabilized through obstacles. This feature was probably the most important to me.
I ended up finding a pack at REI that I thought was like what he said – the Charge 10 LR. It was a smaller profile Camelbak and it had the LR. It was on clearance for $81 (from $110) so I grabbed it and brought it with me to my next class after that. He told me that it was bigger than the one he was talking about, plus it didn’t have drainage holes. I still couldn’t find the exact one he was looking for, but then I found the Octane LR. It was smaller and had drainage holes and was even cheaper than the other one at $49 – SCORE!! I sent him the link and he said it looked close enough so I jumped on it and returned the other one to REI.
I needed to do a longish run this weekend, so yesterday was the perfect opportunity. I planned on 5 miles and figured that would be a good first test. We had some rain in the forecast, so I also wanted to test out the dry bags I bought at REI. I got these for the race to keep my snacks/salt packets dry when submerged in any obstacles (which I know I will be). They were the smallest ones sold and, once wrapped up, fit perfectly in the side pockets of the Camelbak.
This pack is incredibly light and when empty you wouldn’t even notice it on your back. The bladder sits across the lower back and into the sides of the waist. There are pockets on each side for storing a phone or snacks. I ended up putting my phone in one of them and some Shot Bloks in the other side. There is room above the bladder to store other things as well, if needed.
One of the arms has a small pocket you could put a couple of gummies in and the opposite arm has a safety whistle on it. They’re very comfortable when worn and didn’t cause any issues while running. Of course, I run in t-shirts at all times, so I’m not sure how you would fare if you wear a sleeveless shirt of any kind.
The LR was easy to fill and insert into the pack. There is a hook on the top of it that slides in to a yellow rope to keep it steady, plus a small “pocket” at the bottom. One thing I did learn is that the way I had the tube should have actually been the opposite and that is something I will test out the next time. I had it come up and over my shoulder so it was facing down, but next time I will have it come up the arm band so it’s facing up and easier to use.
One other feature, that I purchased separately for $6, was a valve cover. If I’m going to be submerged in who knows what and mud and gunk, I want my water valve clean. I think it was totally worth the extra few bucks.
Here you can see the way that I positioned the tube, over my shoulder (which I never noticed while running which was probably lucky). Next time, I will have it come up the arm with the valve facing up.
It’s so low profile, I hardly noticed it on my back, even with the bladder filled. The only issue I had was that it was VERY muggy out when I ran and around mid-70s so my back got pretty sweaty, but it’s not a deal breaker.
After only one run so far, I’m definitely in love with this pack and will continue testing it out in the weeks leading up to the Mudder. I would definitely recommend it though!