Overall, the CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack is excellent for those looking for a straightforward daypack with great durability and a comfortable design.
Modernized rucksack design
Extra-large rear elastic pocket
CamelBak’s classic back-venting design
Bare bones design lacks traditional elastic side pockets
Fit can be challenging for those with shorter torsos
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The CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack is a panel loader that draws inspiration from classic rucksacks, meaning there is one large compartment to store your gear. Because the unique side pocket can hold gloves and hats, the single large compartment works just fine for larger jackets, snacks, and other layers.
- The best daypacks for lightweight hikes
- The best hiking backpacks you can buy right now
- Keep your kit safe from the elements with the best dry bags
There is an accessory pocket three-quarters up the back of the pack that works well for snacks or sunblock, but I’d be reluctant to store a smartphone in there considering the habit many hikers have of laying their packs on their back.
• RRP: $155 (US) / £119 (UK)
• Weight: 41.6oz / 1179g
• Volume: 26L
• Compatibility: Day hiking, mountain hiking, all-season hiking
• Colors: Charcoal Koi/Burnt Olive
On the trails
Our testers were able to take the CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack on several of its namesake mountains (Colorado's collection of 58 peaks over 14,000 feet / 4,267m of elevation). The straightforward, no-nonsense design proved to be a great way to organize gear. Pack fit was solid for medium to long torsos, though shorter torsos had issues with the waist belt creeping up over time.
CamelBak is the king of MTB hydration packs and, thankfully, a lot of their best ideas for bike packs found their way into the hiking-specific Fourteener 26. Extra attention has been paid to the inner hydration sleeve, which can comfortably hold a large (100oz / 3L) bladder without any shifting as your water supply decreases.
Interestingly, long side pockets are built into the support straps of the waist belt, creating oversized, accessible compartments that rest above the hip. These proved to be a nice addition in contrast to traditional side pockets, which can be difficult to reach and even tougher to place a water bottle back in without disengaging shoulder or waist buckles.
The best-selling author of five Colorado mountain hiking guidebooks, including Best Summit Hikes in Colorado, James’ work has been published in National Geographic, Backpacker, Outside, Discover Magazine, and many more. He's climbed in Greenland, the Canadian Arctic, Japan, and Antarctica. James lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Sheila and their two rescue collies, Mystic and Fremont. As of 2021, he's only had one of his tents trampled by a moose.