A good optionQuick and Dirty: This water bladder is a workhorse. I own the 2L version, and I’ve taken it on all my adventures over the past four years. It is particularly nice to have in spring and fall, because in winter the tube freezes without an insulation sleeve and summer the water heats up. All in all, it is a durable piece of equipment that I love
More detailed review:
How I tested it: I’ve had the Camelbak Crux 2L for about 4 years. I’ve taken in on several day backpacking trips, day hikes, splitboard touring, and freeriding. I’ve probably used it 100+ times.
Overall rating: I’d buy again.
What I like about it:
- Easily connects to most compatible packs
- Long tube
- Good locking feature to keep water in when not drinking
- Shape fits most packs
What I dislike about it:
- Hard to clean
- Water in tube heats up in summer
- Water in tube freezes in winter
The nitty gritty: Full disclosure, I don’t think I am a bladder person. I prefer carrying a nalgene or some other water bottle because I am constantly paranoid of the bladder breaking or the tube freezing. Plus, the water that remains in the tube gets hot and tastes like plastic in the summer.
If you do like bladders though, this one is hard to beat. It comes in various sizes, but I chose the 2L because I like to drink a lot of water, even on short day hikes. The 2L of water does come at a weight cost though (4.4LBS!!!). The Crux has been pretty sturdy over the past 4 years, I usually toss my packs around quite a bit, and the Crux has never ruptured. About 2 years in the bite tube did break, but Camelbak sent a free replacement within 2 weeks.
Like all bladders, the tube is prone to freeze in winter and heatup in summer, without proper insulation. The bladder is also hard to clean, like all bladders are.
The reason why I would buy this bladder again is because of it’s durability and its shape. The shape tapers down to follow the shape of your back. At first I thought it would be a small issue keeping more weight on top, but actually it balances quite well.
All in all, I do think bladders are useful in certain situations, so if I ever need to replacement my Crux, I would replace with the same model!