A backpack is among the most useful inventions ever, following closely behind the hammer and an airstrike on my list of favorites. Camelbak has been in the military backpack game for quite a while and they do it better than most. It might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think tactical, but it should be. Their products have always been well thought out and tough as nails.
This week, I got a chance to test out the Rubicon version, a 47-Liter monstrosity that goes a step beyond the 72-hour ruck. The Rubicon features plenty of space divided across two main pouches, a small outer pocket on the front for smaller items, and two outside zipper pockets for convenience. If you need to carry more than what fits in the Rubicon, it’s likely to include mortar rounds.
- COLLECTION: Hydration Plus Cargo
- ACTIVITY: Hydration Plus Cargo
- USER: Unisex
- HYDRATION CAPACITY: 3L/100 fl oz
- HYDRATION TYPE: Mil Spec Antidote Lumbar
- BPA/BPS/BPF FREE: Yes
- QUICK LINK DISCONNECT: Yes
- GEAR CAPACITY: 47L/2868 cu in
- PACK WEIGHT: 2.65 kg/5 lbs 10 oz
- DIMENSIONS: 56 x 37 x 33 cm/21.9 x 14.5 x 13.1 in
- HARNESS: 10 mm EVA foam shoulder harness
- NUMBER OF EXTERIOR POCKETS: 5
- MSRP: $383.00
- Mil Spec Antidote 3L Lumbar Reservoir stabilizes the water weight on your hips
- Composite MOLLE webbing on shoulder harness and internal panel allows additional gear carry
- Internal composite MOLLE panel allows you to customize the location of essential gear/pouches
- Contoured back panel and fully-adjustable padded waist belt
- Full clamshell opening for easy access to main compartment
- Low-profile, padded side pockets protect critical gear
- Lower access zipper allows you to quickly stash or grab an item from the main compartment
- Deployable internal panel enables the creation of upper/lower compartments in main cargo
The front of the Rubicon, as well as the shoulder straps, feature a composite MOLLE webbing. This is much lighter than traditional nylon MOLLE, and every ounce counts in this game. There is another MOLLE panel in the main compartment near the top, a perfect solution for small, mission critical items. The two largest compartments also have mesh zipper pockets, a feature found on several Camelbak products. I have always found these extremely useful since you can see what is in them without having to zip them open.
The real breakthrough in the Rubicon isn’t the nifty pocket system or the comfort of the straps. Camelbak has always had that. The new hotness is the lumbar reservoir for water. The new system manages to fit 3 Liters of water right at your lower back, which makes carrying it a lot more comfortable.
I was a bit skeptical that this lumbar reservoir would change much, but it did. I took my 6.5 Creedmoor on a walk across the desert, in the 105-degree heat no less, to test this new system. My pack weight was right at 30 pounds, and it performed admirably. The reservoir system does make moderate loads a lot more comfortable, and the chest and waist straps rode great.
This is a very well designed pack, and it is going to be hard to beat at its price point of around $300 (MSRP is $383 for the coyote tan version, but I found street prices much closer to $300). Available in Coyote and Multicam, this pack is worth every penny.
For more details or to purchase the Rubicon, visit Camelbak.com.