I think of pieces of gear as owning mentalities. With that consideration, the attitude that CamelBak’s latest all-mountain/freeride hydration packs brings to a day on the trails is: hardcore. My hucker counterpart and Diamondback Pro rider, Billy Lewis has been riding with the Camelbak The Capo, the mid-sized pack in the line that includes The Don (large) and The Consigliere (small). Since he’s more of a rider than a writer, I’m going to give you the lowdown as he sees it.

This member of the mob brings all the right features for the fight: proper storage, efficient hydration, better comfort and durability. Here’s a rundown of The Capo:

  • Hydration Capacity: 100 oz (3 L)
  • Total Capacity: 854 cu in (14 L)
  • CamelBak® Got Your Bak™ Guarantee: If we built it, we’ll Bak it™ with our lifetime guarantee.
  • Reservoir Features: Quick Link™ System, quick-seal cap, lightweight fillport, dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening
  • BACK PANEL: Air Director™
  • HARNESS: Independent Suspension
  • BELT: Removable 1 in (25 mm) stability
  • Additional Features: Full-face helmet carry, MP3 + media pocket, Stash pocket
  • Designed to Carry: body armor, goggles, extra layer, lunch, tools, pumps, spare tube
  • COLORS: Black Robot, Lime Green/Peacock Blue (tested), Racing Red/Paint Drip
  • MSRP: $99

Camelbak The Capo Review

First, key features to highlight right off the bat, Billy says, are the ventilated shoulder straps, and the perforated cushions — sweat protectors — that line the pack’s interface between you and it. Even in the NW, yes, we sweat, sometimes, and a pack that reduces that discomfort, wins big time.

The Capo is light — 1.65 lbs –and compact. Still it’s got the 3-liter bladder for all-day rides, and 14 liters of storage space — organizational. The main compartment is divided into cargo and mesh pockets (for tools, goggles, keys, etc.), and a no-scratch sunglass pouch. A media pocket above is waterproof thanks to taped seams.

The Capo’s kangaroo pouch is evidence of CamelBak’s efforts. Most such pouches are stiff and serve only to carry a helmet. The sides on this stiff pouch are made of stretchy material, so you can bloat the seemingly small pack with various gear. Buckle straps at the pack’s sides and along the bottom will carry any combination of large and small gear: kneeshins, elbow amour, helmets… braces. If you can’t find a place to attach or stow something, you’ve got too much for a day on the trails.

Other appreciated aspects are the Velcro strips that keep the extra strap material from unsafely dangling. The one design improvement, Billy says, would be a wider, more supportive hip strap — for greater comfort and security while hauling.

Obviously, The Capo is a freeride pack: evidenced by the clear park-pass holder on the side (accessed from within).

Billy doesn’t treat his packs lightly, but The Capo will withstand the abuse. The fabric is 600D poly + 600D Poly Ripstop with DWR + 1000mm. Translation: it’s tough; snags won’t spread; it’s water-resident. I.e., the green and blue of this pack might be festive, but the party’s hardcore. Or, as Billy quips, the bright colors just help you keep track of him when he’s ripping way up ahead. There’s a clip for a light — night rides — and no-slip tags on the zippers for gripping with gloved fingers.

And there’s the Antidote Reservoir, CamelBak’s current point of pride. With it, CamelBak addressed the frustration with their bladders’ screw caps. Now, a simple quarter turn unscrews the lid of the fillport, which itself has been widened. Among other enhancements, a “Quick Link” mechanism unclips the hose from the bladder to allow for easy cleaning. And a quick-seal lock caps off water flow when you’re not hydrating. That’s a great feature for people like us. (True story: I lost an entire bladder of water into the backseat of my car because of a pinched-open mouth piece while driving to ride.)

How does The Capo ride? Billy says, “Fully packed-up, it rides really stable. For having a ‘big bag’ on my back, it doesn’t feel that way when I’m riding.”

Bottom Line: Camelbak The Capo

Overall, The Capo is dialed. With quality features for all-day freeride pursuits, it’s helping to up the ante in CamelBak’s tried-and-true family of hydration packs. In sum: there’s nothing mid-sized about CamelBak’s dedication to building packs for the hucker/shredder scene.

Buy Now: Camelbak The Capo Hydration Pack

About Author

Originally from So. Cal, Adrienne Schofhauser found her natural habitat in the corner of the Pacific Northwest. Here she plays amid snow-caked mountains and down the muddy singletrack. She dispatches stories from the field and reviews of gear. You can find those critiques here and more of her scribing at MountainTracksMedia.com.

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