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CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack review: a comfortable and durable hydration pack

The CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack takes risks to challenge conventional daypack design – and succeeds

CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack
(Image: © CamelBak)

Our Verdict

Overall, the CamelBak Fourteener 26 Hydration Pack is excellent for those looking for a straightforward daypack with great durability and a comfortable design.

For

  • Modernized rucksack design
  • Extra-large rear elastic pocket
  • CamelBak’s classic back-venting design

Against

  • Bare bones design lacks traditional elastic side pockets
  • Fit can be challenging for those with shorter torsos

First impressions

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.

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.

Specifications

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.