Get your H2O On
When you are out in the field or playing CQB for extended periods or on scorching hot days, having a hydration system is a must. All players should look into making this investment. After all, it is important to keep hydrated while playing to ensure you don’t feel the tiring effects of hot temperatures and sunlight. If you have seen or even used hydration systems in the past, then you’ve probably heard of Camelbak. They are well known in the outdoor sports, cycling worlds and, yes, they even offer products applicable to our sport. There are a number of Camelbak packs that this gear enthusiast wants to get his hands on, but for this first issue, I was drawn to the Camelbak ArmorBak with included Antidote Reservoir and I nabbed it to give you details.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Camelbak
PRODUCT: ArmorBak Carrier and 3L Antidote Reservoir
MOLLE COMPATIBLE: Via four quick-attachment pressure straps
MATERIAL/ PATTERN: 500D Cordura (ArmorBak), Meets Mil-Spec guidelines (Antidote)
OVERALL CONSTRUCTION: The ArmorBak is made of 500D Cordura with four quick attachment straps to connect it to your plate carrier. There are also four straps that allow the user to tighten the pack during use to help keep the Antidote reservoir “charged”.
CAPABILITIES: Antidote is a 3L/100 ounce water reservoir.
WEIGHT: 5 lbs.
When the ArmorBak arrived, the first thing that I noticed was how low profile it was and that it narrows down toward the bottom to help with clearance when carrying your weapon or gear at your side. The pack is extremely small and fits perfectly on the back of a plate carrier or vest. Attaching the ArmorBak is very easy; you take each one of the four quick-attachment pressure straps and clip it to one of the rows of MOLLE. Once all four are attached, you cinch them down to secure your compact hydration carrier. The pack itself is made of 500D Cordura with thin inner foam padding and nylon lining. It is available in several different colors. The Antidote reservoir fits perfectly into the ArmorBak with room for small items (i.e., Nutrition Bar, BBs). The Antidote has a Quick Disconnect (QD) on the connection to the bladder for easy filling and one on the Hydrolock Bite Valve for easy use or for replacement if you gnaw on it like a beaver. The valve has a cover that keeps it clean so you don’t end up drinking dirt with your water. A huge cap twists off easily to allow you to fill the Antidote and a seal prevents liquid from spilling out once the cap is secured with a simple quarter-turn twist.
+Low profile design
-Reservoir can be difficult to clean
I drank from the ArmorBak and it worked. Review done, right? I guess I can’t get away with it that easily. To test the ArmorBak I started by clipping it to one of my plate carriers. The clips snap in with authority and I tightened the pack down with the straps so it compressed and added pressure to the Antidote. I zipped open the pouch and removed the Antidote bladder easily from the lower Quick Link that connects to the tube. I was then able to easily fill it up and tighten down the sealed, low-profile cap with a quick turn. That’s when I noticed the baffling inside that cuts down on the water sloshing while you run or maneuver; nice touch! With the Antidote reconnected and zipped up in the ArmorBak, I was ready to hit the field. I ran this setup for several training sessions and it worked great! I ran the tube and bite valve over my shoulder on my rig and found it easy to use, drinking and getting back to the action without getting soaked. Over the day I noticed that even with the filled Antidote in the ArmorBak it still felt light. I also noted that since you can tighten the straps, it always stays low profile which, again, is perfect for keeping the system from interfering with your other gear. It was easy to get in and out of doorways and under low obstacles and if I ever needed a quick way to add pressure other than using the straps, I’d just back up into something to squeeze it. The Armorback reservoir did its job and I was able to stay hydrated during each training session.
Hydration is essential to keeping on your game and being alert and Camelbak’s ArmorBak is certainly a product that delivers. It is compact, lightweight, and easy to use, plus, the pack’s low-profile design keeps it from interfering with your other gear.
The ArmorBak with Antidote makes an excellent hydration system that a player can wear and with adding more bulk to their equipment. For the price, you are getting a Mil-Spec product that will last you many years.
CamelBak, camelbak.com, (877) 404-7673
Words: Eric Fine of www.thegearlocker.net
Photos: Walter Sidas