This pack wasn’t purchased for triathlon training. A few years ago my wife and I started hiking and camping quite a bit and this was one of my first purchases for long hikes. I was attracted to the Lobo because it combined a massive hydration system with decent cargo room for snacks and cell phones. I still use it for hikes, though less frequently now since I’ve started triathlons. Now, the Lobo pack gets most of it’s use on long runs where my REI Double Shot isn’t sufficient for hydration.
Camelbak Lobo Appearance:
The first thing you’ll notice is the sturdy construction. You won’t find any loose seams or frayed edges inside this pack, nor will you find improper stitching. The next thing you’ll notice is the abundance of pockets on the Camelbak Lobo. There’s an upper and a lower zippered pocket and a few additional storage pockets on the sides. The top pocket features a web pocket inside to separate the space. I’ve found you can carry a small first aid kit, a cell phone, and a few Clif Bars in this seemingly small pocket. This top pocket zips down to conceal the 100 oz. reservoir and secures with a clip. The bottom pocket also features a web divider that can hold quite a bit of stuff, including a strap for keys.
Just in case this isn’t enough space for you, there’s also a slash pocket behind the bottom zippered pocket. I’ve tried to put more junk in this area, but found that it is more useful to store maps and papers. The Lobo also has small side pockets that can hold gel packs, a banana, or other snacks.
Camelbak Lobo Comfort and Fit:
The Camelbak Lobo features the Camelbak Air Director back panel. The Air Director is a system of raised pads that create channels to allow airflow under the pack. Honestly, these channels are a cool looking feature, but there is no noticeable difference in heat and sweating versus a standard pack. The straps for the Lobo are padded though a bit thin and feature a small velcro pocket for gel packs. If used for long hikes or runs, this lack of extensive padding can be a bit taxing. The straps do feature numerous adjustments that ensure a pretty solid fit. The pack has a chest strap that can be adjusted for height and width, waist straps that can be adjusted for width, and the shoulder straps that can adjust for height. Once you have the pack fully loaded, you should spend about 10 minutes getting the pack fully adjusted. Spending a bit more time on this step will save you quite a bit of discomfort later.
Overall Thoughts on Camelbak Lobo:
As I said before, this pack was purchased for day hiking. For a hiker, this is a great pack. It can hold enough food and supplies for a day hike for two people. I had no trouble sticking two packs of tuna, crackers, two Clif Bars, and 100 oz. of water, plus maps and my cell phone. The pack distributes the weight effectively and is generally comfortable. If your shoulders often get tired or you’re sensative to pack straps, you will probably find this pack to be a bit uncomfortable after 10-15 miles of hiking.
For triathletes and runners, this pack isn’t as ideal. The extra space that’s useful for hikers adds weight and bulk to the pack. I started using this pack because I had it and didn’t feel the need to purchase another pack. The pack has plenty of room for nutrition and the 100 oz. bladder provides quite enough hydration for all but the longest runs. However, the pack is heavy when fully loaded and can be uncomfortable after 12-14 miles of running. I continue to use this pack on long runs because it keeps me from having to cache water and nutrition on the runs, but I can understand how many people would prefer to do the caching versus carrying it all with them. This isn’t really a criticism of Camelbak or the Lobo pack, since it isn’t designed for triathlons/running. I would recommend, if you’re going to go with a hydration pack for your runs that you look at the lighter offerings from Camelbak or another manufacturer.
If you’re going to use this pack on your bike, go for it. It’s an awesome pack, for all the reasons listed under the hiking section of my article. You can carry a ton of food, gear, and hydration with little trouble. If you’re on a bike and not dealing with the jarring action you get on a run, the pack is significantly more comfortable. I’ve done 50+ miles with this pack and never got close to running out of room for my nutrition, cell phone, etc.
The Camelbak Lobo is a well made, reasonably priced pack. Ideal for hikers and long distance cyclists, the pack is helpful to runners, but may be a bit heavy and uncomfortable on longer runs.