Review: Camelbak Fourteener 24

As run commuters, we often borrow products from other specialty areas, such as camping supplies, bike commuting accessories, or travel gear, and piece those items together to make the perfect setup for running to work. The Camelbak Fourteener 24 is marketed as a hydration backpack for hikers and has many of the features we look for in a good running pack, so we decided to try it out and see how it performs on the run.

Note: The model we tested was the 2017 version. Camelbak has since redesigned the pack and added some features that the 2017 model lacked.

Test Model

Camelbak Fourteener 24 (2017 model)

Size: One size fits all

Carrying Capacity: 24L, 1,280 cu. in.

Cost: US $150

Mods/Add-ons: Reflective patches, Nathan Orion strobe,

Hi-Vis Rain Cover (X-Small)

Performance and Evaluation

I have run approximately 120 miles with this pack so far, and I have found it to be one of the better large-capacity running packs on the market. The straps and waist belt are comfortable. The back padding allows for great ventilation. I can easily pack larger winter jackets and clothing in addition to all my other gear, so if I want to go out for lunch or ride transit home, I am ready for the weather. It does bounce around slightly even when all the straps are fully tightened, however the design of the suspension system distributes the movement in a way that is much less noticeable than on other backpacks. The added hydration system is perfect for long run or bike commutes on hot summer days, and is an essential addition if you plan to run an ultra-marathon or longer trail race with it.  Bonus: it doesn’t hold any bad smells, even after many miles and lots of lost sweat.  Let’s look at some of the features in more detail.

What I Liked

Carrying Capacity

Great Ventilation

Overall Comfort

Low Smell Factor

What I Didn’t Like

Straps loosen with movement

Only one, small, usable quick-access pouch

No rain cover

Backpack Details

Front

There is a LOT of front storage on this pack. The front zippered pouch is large enough to store two standard size water bottles and also includes smaller zippered and mesh pockets for storing small accessories like keys, wallet, pens, or flash drives. The back of the entire pouch is detached from the pack and serves as additional storage for things like a pair of shoes. They straps can then be tightened to hold everything firmly and keep it from falling out as you run. Underneath the front pouch are two loops for lashing additional gear, such as hiking poles or a rolled up jacket, and they can be tucked away into little pouches when not in use.

At the top of the pack is a zippered, fleece-lined pouch for carrying sunglasses, cell phone, earbuds, or work IDs.

Sides

There are large, stretchy pockets on both sides of the pack that can hold a phone, water bottle, or other hand-sized item. The pack’s external compression straps cross over the pouches, and when cinched down, will hold any items inside pouches tightly in place.

Main Compartment

There’s not much to say about this aside from the massive amount of space.

Back Panel

The back panel includes three raised areas as part of Camelbak’s “Integrated Ventilation” system. I did not think I was going to like the running feel of this at first, as most packs that include ribbed or raised areas tend to slightly rub my back or are just generally downright uncomfortable. However, I was very surprised that the system is not only comfortable, but the ventilation system works much better than another favorite design of mine – Osprey Packs Airspeed system.

Suspension System

Straps

The shoulder straps are generally unremarkable. In addition to the standard lower buckles used to tighten the pack against your body, there are upper buckles as well, to change the top angle of strap to better fit on your shoulders. The straps are fastened together horizontally with a single sternum strap, and once everything is cinched down and tight, the pack is tight and comfortable to wear.

Waist band

The waist band is wide and almost entirely padded, save for the area where the buckles fasten together. On the right side, there is a small, zippered pouch. It’s not quite large enough to hold a phone, but is perfect for a wallet or a set of keys. On the run, the waist straps tended to loosen and I had to re-tighten them every 10 minutes or so.  The waist band was quite comfortable overall, and created no noticeable chafe or irritation on the run.

Hydration System

The Fourteener comes with a sizable 3-liter reservoir. The entire system is pretty standard, with tube holders on the shoulder straps and a bite-valve mouthpiece. The bladder is quick to open and easy to fill.

Conclusion

This bag is probably overkill for most run commuters, but it really is fantastic. I prefer the Camelbak Fourteener over my all-time favorite Osprey Rev (discontinued) and another great – the Osprey Manta. The carrying capacity is insane, and I have lost items inside this pack more than once, only to find them again days later at the bottom of the front pouch. The additional space is perfect for those fall/winter transition days where the morning is perfectly comfortable for running in tights and a short sleeve shirt, but the afternoon lunch break or transit ride home requires a heavy winter jacket. Or, you decide to pick up a bag of groceries on the way home. Don’t worry – they’ll fit.

Additional Pictures

By |2019-08-28T09:14:21-04:00August 25th, 2019|Categories: Gear, General|0 Comments

Noisy Backpacks

Do you mind the sound of keys jingling?  No?  I bet you would after you heard them make that noise over 5,000 times in 45 minutes.  That’s how many times the loose keys in your backpack could make noise on a 45-minute run to work.  How’s that for some early morning ear candy?

Well, fellow run commuters, we’re going to show you how to silence your commute.  No more key jingle.  No more water sloshing.  No more tink-tink-tink sounds from your zippers – just a nice, quiet pack for your run to work.  Let’s tackle them in the order of annoyance:

Top Noise Makers

  1. Keys
  2. Belt Buckles
  3. Zippers
  4. Hydration Bladder/Liquid
  5. Loose Items/Food

Solutions

 

1.  Keys

I have a lot of locks to open, so I have a lot of keys on my key ring.  And, key ring cards.  And, doodads.  All of those together make for a baseball-sized bundle of noise.  I’ve found that there are two ways to effectively silence keys.

Camera Case

I had one of these lying around unused, so I tried it out one day and found it worked very well.  As a bonus, it has a small zippered pouch that my metal watch fits into nicely.  You can easily find one that will fit your keys, no matter what size they may be. Simply go to a camera case display at any store and try it out with your own keys to find the best fit.

Key SilencerRubber Band

For the especially frugal or minimalist run commuter, you can use a rubber band.  The one pictured here was holding some store-bought vegetables together (either asparagus or broccoli).  It’s wide, short and durable, making it an ideal combination to bind your keys together.

 

Belt Buckle Silencer2.  Belt Buckles

There is one particular type of buckle that will annoy the crap out of you when you’re running – the web belt buckle.  There is a little metal bar inside the metal buckle that will bounce around clanging and jingling, almost like the sound coins in a cup make.  For this solution, we turn to our old friend rubber band.

Once again, it does the trick.  Just be certain to pin the metal bar down under the rubber band or it won’t work.  You can also secure the entire belt by wrapping part of the rubber band around the coiled belt and buckle.

3.  Zippers

These pics should be self-explanatory.  There are probably a few more techniques I missed, but these are the main ones (and pretty simple and low-cost.)

 

Add a Zipper Pull

Use Some String/Cord

String Monkey Fist

Tie whatever works – just remember to burn the ends of the string so the ends don’t come unraveled.

Wrap Them With Tape

Tape Zipper

I used easy-to-remove painter’s tape here, because, hey – you might want to hear that noise again and don’t want to hassle with a difficult removal. (Note: the blue tape was used for the pic – choice tape is electrical or the king of tapes…DUCT TAPE.)

4.  Hydration Bladders

This one is pretty simple.  Turn the bladder upside down and suck out all of the air.

5.  Loose Food/Items

This one is sort of simple, too.  The key is to eliminate the empty space.

Loose Food

Loose Items

The first thing you can do is to ensure that the items in your pack are arranged properly.  One of our favorite companies, Osprey, created a handy graphic that shows you how to pack items based on weight.

Osprey Packs - "How to Pack Your Pack" http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/web/how_to_pack_your_pack

Osprey Packs – “How to Pack Your Pack”

When run commuting, however, we don’t always run with a full load.  So no matter how well you arrange things inside, there may still be plenty of empty space for things to bounce around.  That’s why we recommend a pack with compression straps:

Stratos Compression Straps

Top and Bottom Compression Straps

Compression straps allow you to change the size of your pack by squeezing the outside layer of material closer to your back, which in turn pulls items inside together tightly.  No more bounce!

———

Hopefully you found some of these tips useful.  If you have any other suggestions, let us know!

Review: Osprey Stratos 24

I finally picked up a new pack and retired my Osprey Revo after 2 1/2 years.  The Revo worked just fine as a simple run commuting backpack, but I was in the market for something a bit larger that had a chest strap for additional motion-control.This past summer when I was sweating more on my runs, I started to get some chafing action on my lower back from the Revo’s slight side-to-side motion.  Just a little bit of irritation can turn into a larger, more painful issue when you run twice a day, everyday, so it kept me from running a few times.

In addition, I couldn’t quite fit my work clothes, lunch and a pair of shoes in the pack, which I occasionally need to bring in when I need a different pair.  Also, every once in a while I will stop and pick up a few groceries on my way home and 1300 cu in. was just a bit too small.  And so began a long obsession with finding the perfect run commuting backpack…

(more…)

By |2019-03-11T09:47:15-04:00October 21st, 2011|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , , , , |21 Comments