CamelBak Fourteener 24L Hydration Pack Review
The CamelBak Fourteener 24L Hydration Pack is a day hiking and peakbagging hydration pack capable of carrying lots of food, water, and extra layers. CamelBak has introduced a version of the Fourteener 24L which is a substantial design departure from the previous model with a very different look, more cargo pockets, and a unique two-layer “dual-wing” hip belt system that greatly increases the pack’s reachable pocket storage. The new hip belt will be of particular interest to hikers that use their Smartphones as cameras or GPS navigation units and want them easily accessible for frequent use.
Specs at a Glance
- Volume: 24 Liters
- Weight: 2 lbs 5.5 oz. without a reservoir
- Weight of 100 fluid oz. reservoir w/hose and valve: 8.0 oz (included)
- Hipbelt: Yes
- Hydration Compatible: Yes
- Insulated Hydration Compartment: Yes
- Torso Size: 17-21 inches
- Hip Belt Size: 28-46 inches
- Bite Valve Shut-Off: Yes
- Hydration Port: Center, between shoulder straps
- Quick Disconnect Tubing: yes
- Wide-Mouth Opening: Yes
- Gender: Unisex
The Fourteener 24L has two clam-shell pockets for storing a hydration reservoir, clothing, and gear. The pocket closest to your back is insulated and holds a 100 oz CamelBak Crux Reservoir, which comes with quick disconnect tubing and a bite valve lock to prevent accidental leaks. I’ve always preferred CamelBak’s bite valves and hose locks because they’re more secure and easier to use one-handed. The 100 oz reservoir is slightly larger than three liters, providing you with plenty of range for all-day hikes.
There’s another clam-shell pocket behind the reservoir pocket to hold layers and gear. It has plenty of space to carry loose layers, in addition to two zippered pockets, one mesh and one solid. The clam-shell design makes it easy to access the contents without a lot of blind groping, unlike a top loader which far less convenient for frequent gear access.
The front of the pack has an open shovel pocket, a zippered pocket on its exterior side, and fleece-lined pocket above it that’s good for storing sunglasses. There’s a beefy haul loop at the top of the pack and one mesh side water bottle pocket on the right-hand side. The new Fourteener does not have any side compression straps however, in a notable departure from the previous model. These have been replaced by elastic trekking pole/ice axe shaft holders positioned where the top compression strap was previously.
The new Fourteener 24L has a two-tier hipbelt, unlike any hip belt I’ve ever seen on a backpack (and why I asked CamelBak to let me review it). There’s a thin, lightly padded inner belt that wraps around your hips for load transfer (see below) as well as an oversized “wing” tier that houses three large pockets, one zippered and two open on top. They’re both connected and tightened using the same push forward-style webbing strap and feel perfectly normal when worn, although they behave quite differently.
The left hand zippered hip belt pocket is a giant 10″ long x 5″ high that’s large enough to stick “a pistol into,” according to the manufacturer. I use it for gloves, a camera, and a GPS or SmartPhone. The two pockets on the other side of the belt are open on top and split the same volume between them. The rearmost mesh pocket is large enough to hold a water bottle while the front one can hold a couple of snack bars. Both pockets are convenient for storing items you want handy, but it takes a while to appreciate them because they’re so much larger, functional, and different from the hip belts you find on other backpacks.
CamelBak has added substantially thicker padding to the back of the Fourteener 24L including a large lumbar pad. This creates deep air channels between the padding to help ventilate your back and quickly dry perspiration. The air channels are mounted to a flexible panel that adjusts to the shape of your backs and hips.
The thick padding extends into the shoulder harness which is substantially better padded than the hip belt. There are hose keeper loops on both shoulder pads as well as an adjustable sternum strap and hose clip.
The CamelBak Fourteener 24L is a high volume, insulated hydration pack good for long day hikes where you want to carry extra layers, food, and gear for an extended outing. A plethora of pockets provide lots of organizational options and flexibility for a wide variety of loads, while a 100 oz reservoir helps keep you hydrated. The Fourteener’s new dual-wing hip belt makes it easy to store and reach electronics including Smartphones when used as a camera or GPS navigation device. The improved back ventilation and pocket architecture also make the new Fourteener 24L an excellent option for hardcore day hikers and adventurers.
Disclaimer: CamelBak provided the author with a sample hydration pack for this review.