Q. I’ve had a lot of people tell me I should get a CamelBak for outings. Can you help me pick the right one? How much water should it hold and how much space should it have?
—Thirsty Ty, Tyrone, Ga.
A. Your buddies are right, CamelBaks, small packs with slip-in hydration bladders and drinking tubes, are handy to have on outings. Keep in mind there are several different brands that also work well, including Hydrapak, REI, Nalgene and others, but CamelBak definitely makes great hydration packs. There are two things to consider: (1) you can buy a daypack already installed with a hydration pack; or (2) you can buy just the hydration reservoir and use it with your regular daypack as well as a larger camping backpack, as many packs are designed to be hydration-compatible.
I asked my buddy Seth at CamelBak regarding your specific questions and here’s what he had to say: “Bring at least 70 ounces of water for two hours or more of activity. I would suggest 100 ounces for 3+ hours. The nice thing is that you can always fill a 100-ounce reservoir to whatever volume you want, say just 50 or 70 ounces, if you don’t need the full 100 ounces. Cargo space all depends on what you need to carry, but something with 700 to 1,800 cubic inches of space is perfect for day hikes, where you would want to pack a lunch, sunscreen, eyewear, bug spray and of course a rain shell or shed layer.”