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CamelBak Octane LR Hydration Pack – Trail Running Gear Review

For 2011 CamelBak has added a new member to the Octane family. The run friendly pack is called the CamelBak Octane LR. I first checked out this pack last November at The Running Event down in Austin, Texas. The biggest feature that caught my attention at first glance was the non-typical fluid reservoir. Instead of the IV bag-like reservoir, the Octane LR uses a reservoir that is positioned along the lower back and is appropriately called the Lumbar Antidote Reservoir.

The folks at CamelBak were kind enough to provide a pack to test and review. After nearly three months of dirt, rocks, roots, races, and a few diggers, it was time to share my thoughts on this pack and also provide some  comparison with a favorite pack of mine from the Octane family – the CamelBak Octane XCT.

Glamour Shot

CamelBak Octane LR

Most Groovy Features

What aspects of the newest member of the Octane family caught my attention like a revolving disco ball on a Saturday night?

Full figured shape

This pack isn’t a 70 ounce water bottle attached to your back. The pack has a handful of storage options to fill a variety of possible needs and adventure while still supporting your ability to run.



Junk in the trunk…and the front

How much storage? The Octane LR has 549 cubic inches of available storage space. I would consider it a moderate amount of room and contains over double the space available on the more minimalist Octane XCT (200 cubic inches).

Where can you store nutrition, clothing, lights, maps, a soprano ukulele, and other adventure goodies?

Two waist pockets. (One on each side)

External kangaroo storage

Two zippered storage pockets towards the upper area of the pack. (One open pocket shown above.) The pockets overlay on top of one another. One pocket has more storage space than the other.

Additional small harness kangaroo pouch. Can fit a gel flask, thin/small cellphone, etc.

I did mention there were some storage options, right? 😉

Funkadelic bladder

The Lumbar Antidote Reservoir has as its own unique style. The hydration bladder sits low in the pack along your hips/waist which allows you to pack a bit more up-top.

General position of the lumbar reservoir in the pack.

Dual zippered access.

The final most notable feature of the Antidote reservoirs is the Quick-Link System. Simple click-in connectivity allows you to swap out tubes if desired (ex – insulated tube for cold weather).

Quick Link System

Keepin’ it real

The Octane LR has all your standard feature you would expect from a run pack:

  • multiple points of adjustability
  • A dash of reflective safety

We cannot forgot one of my favorite cool points feature…the key clip. The Octane LR has it (in a waist pocket)!

The Groovin’ and Movin’ Experience – Plus Share and Compare versus the Octane XCT

I have worn the Octane LR pack on many trail adventures including a fun race down in Bandera. As is typical with other CamelBak packs I have worn, comfort is not an issue. I am a huge fan of the waist pockets and similarly to the Octane XCT, they are positioned more towards your back-side and require a bit of access-by-feel or an extremely twisty upper body. Not a big deal (to me), plus my arms are able to swing freely near my body without having to arc around the pockets.

The most notable pack observations revolve around the Lumbar Antidote reservoir.

The first is pack pressure. When the reservoir is filled, the majority of pack pressure is around your waist/lower back along the reservoir. The typical CamelBak reservoir pack pressure runs along your mid-back/spine. The waist pressure isn’t uncomfortable, just noticeable. Of course, as you drink the pressure dissipates as well.

The second observation is the art of the fill (when out of the pack). Compared to the standard reservoir, it requires a bit more elegance and grace to fill up the Lumbar Antidote Reservoir due to those fillable wings on each side of the cap. It is even more of a challenge to completely fill the reservoir when it is in the pack due to the pack pressure on the wings of the reservoir. The pack fabric and any items you may have in your waist pockets will reduce the ability to fill the reservoir up completely. I would recommend taking the bladder out of the pack completely if looking for a full fill.

For those interested in the Octane LR and the Octane XCT, here are the big diffs.

  • Octane LR has quite a bit more storage space. (549 cubic inches versus 200 cubic inches – significant)
  • The LR has 70 ounce reservoir, the XCT (2011) 100 ounce.
  • In a race environment, the standard XCT bladder is easier to fill.
  • The LR reservoir does push out some into the waist pockets especially when the reservoir is full.
  • Pack pressure with full reservoir: LR – waist/lower-back, XCT – mid-back/spine.

Final Thoughts

I really dig the CamelBak Octane LR’s flexibility to support both basic and more complex running adventures. As with the XCT, I am a big fan of the waist pockets. The x-factor for some will  be the reservoir system which can be awkward and slow(er) to refill under certain situations.

Trail runners that would be most interested in the Octane LR pack:

  • Desire 70 ounce reservoir capacity.
  • Desire a moderate amount of storage possibilities in a wide range of configurations.
  • Is OK with pack pressure alone the waist/lower-back when the reservoir is full.
  • Don’t require quick on-the-fly reservoir refills.

Anyone else use this pack? What are your thoughts?

You can purchase the CamelBak Octane LR at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

[The pack was provided by CamelBak but the review is purely my own. ]


[This article contains links that may support Endurance Buzz.]

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

6 Responses to “CamelBak Octane LR Hydration Pack – Trail Running Gear Review”

  1. on 21 Apr 2011 at 11:57 pm Bill Schreiner

    Thank you for the great review and comparison XCT to LR. Just placed my order for an LR for my marathon prep long runs and, if all goes well, an ultra in the next year. Since I live in Alaska near the West coast, weather is often cool/cold and rain is common in the summer, and this pack’s low center of gravity and ability to store enough water, fuel and a rain/wind layer make it the perfect fit. Thanks again!

  2. on 22 Apr 2011 at 8:06 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Bill – You’re welcome! Enjoy the pack. I will never forget my trip up to Alaska for my Aunts wedding in Anchorage when I was 10 or so. Loved it. I will never forget Glacier Bay National Park and walking on top of glaciers. Cool experience.

    Happy Running!

  3. on 23 Apr 2011 at 7:06 am Sandy Powell

    David – Great review. I love this pack as well. Not a fan of bladders, so I can store a couple water bottles in the big back pocket horizontally, along with my Steri-Pen. has plenty of room leftover for food, rain gear, etc. for an all-day unsupported run. Also really like the two waist pockets and the soft-lined smaller back pouch, where I can keep a camera or sunglasses without scratching them.

  4. on 26 Apr 2011 at 10:06 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Sandy – Thanks for the insightful feedback on the pack. Interesting non-bladder way of carrying your hydration. Great to hear the LR has worked well for you.

    Happy Running!

  5. on 24 Jun 2011 at 3:03 pm Paul

    David, what did you think about the XCT’s traditional bladder system layout vs LR’s? My main attraction to the LR was that the bladder ran along my waist, and therefore (theoretically) would help keeping the pack from bouncing around. I’m not sure if this plays out like it does in my head in the real world. If that’s not the case, I’m going to get the XCT, because I do like the slightly slender design of it (plus the cheaper cost).


  6. on 27 Jun 2011 at 9:21 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Paul – Thanks for the question! I don’t have bounce issues with the XCT or LR. Periodically during a run you may have to snug up the straps (easy to do) to keep a nice snug fit. In terms of general fit sensations between the XCT and LR with *full* bladder…you will feel the most pack pressure against back with the XCT and your waist for the LR.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you want more insight.

    Happy Running!