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CamelBak vs. Osprey vs. Gregory vs. REI Co-op Hydration Pack: Which is the Best Option?

CamelBak vs. Osprey vs. Gregory vs. REI Co-op Hydration Pack: Which is the Best Option?

    No matter the length or location of your hike, hydration is one of the keys to staying happy and healthy on the trail.There are a number of ways to ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day.Water bottles are good, but hydration packs are better,A hydration pack does more than just carry water. They also store food, spares, layers, and even biking tools.Unfortunately, narrowing down your search when it comes to choosing the best hydration pack can be daunting since the market is literally flooded with options.

    However, there are four brands that stand out due to the high quality of their products - CamelBak vs. Osprey vs. Gregory vs. REI Co-op.All of the four brands design and manufacture premium-quality, well-designed hydration backpacks,but which one is the best of them?CamelBak vs. CamelBak vs. Osprey vs. Gregory vs. REI Co-op:which hydration pack is best?What is the best hydration backpack for hiking?Does CamelBak fit in Osprey?Are CamelBak hydration packs worth it?In this article, I will take a detailed look at the differences among these four brandsto help you identify your ideal choice.

    Since CamelBak,Osprey,Gregory and REI Co-op make a number of products that suit a wide range of users and activities, I’ve decided to focus this comparison on four of their most comparable models – CamelBak 12 M.U.L.E.,Osprey Manta 24,Gregory Nano 18 and REI Co-op Flash 15.


Introduction of CamelBak


CamelBak is an American outdoor equipment company based in Petaluma, California, best known for its hydration products, such as hydration packs and water bottles. CamelBak is also a supplier of protective gear and other products to the U.S. military.

Since 1989, CamelBak has been offering innovative hydration systems. amelBak has grown its offering to include hike and bike hydration packs, running vests, water bottles, and more.

No matter what adventure you seek, CamelBak hydration packs offer the convenience, comfortable fit and storage options you need for all your outdoor adventures and travel.  

Where to Buy CamelBak Hydration Packs?

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CamelBak M.U.L.E. 12 Hydration Pack Review

CamelBak: $120

Amazon: $79.82 - $93.23

Built for Medium to Ultra Long Endeavors, M.U.L.E. is the most recognized name in bike hydration. First designed for mountain bikers back in ’95, the M.U.L.E. has a history almost as long as the brand itself.The M.U.L.E. has grown from the lone leader in packs to a full family of hydration solutions, including the Kids’ Mini M.U.L.E.

The updated CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack is not the best Camelbak for running but great for accompanying mountain bikers, cyclists, hikers, and climbers to the day’s summit.The integrated tool organization features, front helmet and armor carry, and elastic pump loop make it an excellent hydration pack for mountain biking. Camelbak Air Director back panels have channels for cool airflow, and the ventilated harness keeps the weight distributed over the shoulder girdle and back while staying cool. Adjustable sternum straps and a removable stability belt around the hips allow users to find the perfect, snug fit.Included attachment points let you secure your helmet, pads, or other gear.CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack offers impressive stability even on rough terrain.

  • The bladder is BPA-free.

  • Lightweight and easy to get comfortable.

  • Plenty of storage compartments

  • Made with recycled materials, safer chemicals, and reduced resources.

  • Updated body construction provides a smooth fit.

  • Includes a 3 L reservoir for hydration on the move.

  • 3D Vent Mesh Harness: Lightweight and breathable with added cargo. 

  • Helmet carry: stow and secure helmet.

  • Ventilated Air Support back panel with body mapping technology keeps you cool and comfortable.

  • The bite valves are very soft to the point of potentially puncturing if you bite too hard. 

  • Helmet mounting options are limited and it fills up quite quickly, especially with a full bladder

  • Faffy hose retention.

  • Buckles don't engage perfectly everytime.

  • No weather-sealed zips.

The MULE rocks for hiking, too, but we think if you want a dedicated hydration pack for hiking the CamelBak Rim Runner 22 and Helena models are more functional. They carry more and have hip belt pockets, which are perfect companions for a hike. That said, the MULE excels as a smaller backpack that performs really well for many activities, so if you’re the type that wants a single pack for your hikes, bike rides, treks downtown, and on-plane carry, this may be the one.

Introduction of Osprey


Since Osprey was founded in 1974,every single product design has passed through the hands of owner and founder Mike Pfotenhaue. Osprey aim for backpackers and travelers. Innovation, integerity, quality, respect and stewapect are Osprey's values. 

Osprey makes a lot of great hiking and camping equipment,.Today, Osprey is a melting pot of diverse personalities, backgrounds and abilities. All share the common belief that adventure is open to everyone and found anywhere. 

Where to Buy Osprey Hydration Packs?

Osprey Manta 24 Review

Osprey Packs: $180

Amazon: $167.52 - $180


Manta 24 is a member of Osprey’s premium line of hiking backpacks.According to the Osprey website, the Manta 24 is "A confidence-inspiring hike hydration pack adorned with the quality features you’ve come to expect".The Manta 24 features an included 2.5-liter reservoir in its own dedicated hydration compartment, a highly ventilated trampoline-style AirSpeed backpanel and more than four inches of adjustability in its harness so you can tailor the fit to your specific needs. Toss aside any fears of wet contents—the Manta comes with an integrated raincover.Their Stow-on-the-Go holder lets you attach trekking poles to your pack in seconds, while zippered hipbelt pockets and mesh side pockets keep your smaller essentials within reach. From comfort and fit to functionality, Osprey really thought of everything.

This is a panel-loading daypack for hikers and mountaineers, with a bonus Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir 2.5 L included. It is stored in its own separate compartment which is behind the harness, so you have the main compartment free for your day-gear.So, whether it's a supported trek up Kilimanjaro or a long day of bird watching in Everglades National Park, the Manta 24 has features that a variety of outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate.

  • Incredibly comfortable.

  • Highly ventilated.

  • 3D-tensioned open mesh AirSpeed backpanel with adjustable harness.

  • Integrated raincover.

  • Lots of attachment points.

  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment.

  • Adjustable torso size.

  • Separate reservoir compartment.

  • Non-AG design.

  • Water reservoir included.

  • Dual access side stretch mesh pockets.

  • Dual zippered hipbelt pockets.

  • Heavy.

  • It can be a challenge to get the bladder back in after filling it if you have the main storage section full. 

Introduction of Gregory


One of the best hiking hydration packs on the market, Gregory created a pack that can hold all of your necessities for spontaneous adventures.Gregory’s packs are famous for their ergonomic and comfortable fit. Gregory was also the first company to build packs in different harness, frame, and waist belt sizes.

Most Gregory packs boast a meticulous design and durable fabrics. The company has also significantly reduced its carbon footprint by developing 40 to 50% recycled yet high-performance materials.Their packs are designed with hand-crafted prototypes made by skilled artisans at our headquarters in Salt Lake City, USA. They use cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking backpack solutions to make the most streamlined and reliable technical packs on the market.

Where to Buy Gregory Hydration Packs?

Gregory Nano 18 Hydration Pack Review

Gregory: $59.95

Amazon: $59.95


If you’re looking for a lightweight pack with a convenient hydration system and an affordable price tag, the Gregory Nano 18 is an excellent choice. For just $59.95, you get a 3-liter quick-drying 3D Hydro reservoir (a $43 value), along with a lightweight 18-liter pack that comes with a range of storage and features. Unlike designs with bulkier suspension systems, the Nano is streamlined enough to fit inside a larger pack and pull out for quick summit missions, and it’s versatile too: You can remove the hydration reservoir (the pack alone weighs about 1 lb.) and fit a 13-inch computer in the rear stash instead. The Gregory Nano 18’s reservoir compartment includes hydration routing (for the hose) and doubles as a laptop or tablet sleeve when you don’t have a water bladder inside.Overall,The Nano is a versatile little pack with a killer hydration system, and it won’t break the bank.

  • Affordable.

  • High-quality reservoir.

  • Reflective webbing loops for visibility.

  • Independent zippered pocket for hydration reservoir with routing to harness, or space for your tablet.

  • Padded airmesh shoulder harnesses with one-handed sternum strap buckle and hydration routing loops.

  • Custom comfort-grip molded zipper pulls.

  • Weight is concentrated on shoulders with frameless designs.

  • Minimal support, capacity, and organization.

  • Reservoir not included.

Introduction of REI Co-op

REI Co-op, Go to Home Page

Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. It is organized as a consumers' co-operative. REI sells camping gear, hiking, climbing, cycling, water, running, fitness, snow, travel equipment, and men, women and kids clothing.

REI Co-Op is REI’s own brand of outdoor gear,Its history dates back to 1938.At its core, REI promises “gear born from and built for an outdoor life — part of experiences that transform lives.” It’s billed as a more accessible alternative to high-end (and high-priced) outdoor gear, but with the same quality and innovation.Affordability is one of REI Co-Op’s best selling points. To be sure, it’s pricier than the sort of bargain-basement off-brand gear you might find at, say, Walmart, but often less than more recognizable brands. However, the quality is surprisingly on-par or better than many of those brands. 

Where to Buy REI Hydration Packs?

REI Co-op Flash 15 Hydration Vest Review

REI Co-op: $120

Combining the on-the-go storage of a running vest with a hiking-inspired design, the REI Co-op Flash 15 is a great tool for the job. At the back, you get a streamlined main compartment,including a sleeve and hanger for the 1.75L HydraPak reservoir and two dump pockets, while the vest-style front features multiple stretch pockets on each side and one large zippered pocket for essentials (it fits our large smartphone).The REI Co-op Flash 15 hydration vest holds 1.75 L of water snug to your core while keeping you well supplied for your day hike.Like most vests, the Flash rides high on the torso and forgoes a hipbelt, but underarm adjustments and two sternum straps effectively cinch the load close to your body. 

Finally, unlike other packs here, the REI comes in two sizes to accommodate a range of body sizes.All told, if you like the style of a running hydration vest but prefer a bit more features and durability for hiking, the Flash 15 is a solid pick.

  • It is absolutely perfect for a half day hike.

  • The extra storage would be nice for a race/run in variable weather conditions.

  • Made using bluesign-approved materials, which conserve resources and protect the health of the environment, workers and wearer.

  • Top lid with adjustable strap lets you stash more gear.

  • Zippered chest pocket fits most cell phones.

  • 4 stretch-mesh chest pockets hold quick-grab items.

  • Adjustable waist and sternum straps dial in the fit to keep your load tight and balanced.

  • 4 removable Packmod bungees can be moved to any loop on the pack to keep your load tight or to attach extra gear like trekking poles.

  • It's not a great vest for most running situations. 

  • With the floppiness factor, the accessory webbing and loop attachments are already fraying and wearing thin. 

  • The metal hook and cinch closure on the top will really hot when it's been under the sun.

CamelBak vs. Osprey vs. Gregory vs. REI Co-op Hydration Pack: Comparison Side by Side


CamelBak M.U.L.E. 12 - The storage area of the Camelbak MULE is broken up into three main pockets. With nine liters of storage for your gear and a three-liter water reservoir, the Camelbak M.U.L.E. 100 OZ strikes a nice balance between some of the higher volume hydration packs, and those that carry your water and virtually nothing else.The Camelbak MULE also features a convenient helmet storage solution. Between the quick access pocket and the main compartment, compression straps open and compress the perfect place to stash a helmet while you are not riding, a rain jacket, or the chin bar of your convertible mountain bike helmet.

Osprey Manta 24 - There is plenty of options for storage with the Manta 24.It starts with a dedicated hydration pocket. This large pocket houses the 2.5 liter water bladder that comes with the pack. The bladder is equipped with a quick release so to refill you can just push a button and remove the bladder and not have to take the tubing out.There is additional room in this dedicated pocket around the bladder.If you need a bag to carry more than just the water for hydration and your tiny valuables, you would want to go for the Osprey models.

Gregory Nano 18 - With 18 liters of storage space,Nano has our favorite storage design, with a large no-frill main compartment, easy-to-use drawstring closure, large zipper pulls, separate bladder compartment, and two external zippered pockets.The Nano 18 comes standard with the company's 3-liter 3D Hydro bladder.

REI Co-op Flash 15 - At the back, you get a streamlined main compartment,including a sleeve and hanger for the 1.75L HydraPak reservoir and two dump pockets, while the vest-style front features multiple stretch pockets on each side and one large zippered pocket for essentials.2 internal slip pockets and a key fob keep you organized.Top lid with adjustable strap lets you stash more gear.


These bags come with a unique design that allows them to hug on to your back and fit comfortably as you cruise the roads out there. Even with plenty of items in the bag, the bag is well balanced to distribute the weight evenly on your back.


CamelBak M.U.L.E. 12

Osprey Manta 24

Gregory Nano 18REI Co-op Flash 15
Hydration Capacity3L 2.5L3L1.75L
Hydration CompatibleYesYesYesYes
Reservoir IncludedYesYesNoYes
BPF FreeYesYesYesYes
Pack Weight580 g / 1 lb 1.31 kg / 2.89 lb454 g / 1 lb

S/M: 396 g / 0.8 lb

L/XL:411 g / 1 lb

Best UseCyclingHiking and MountaineeringHiking and ClimbingHiking


When picking one, ensure that you find a bag that will serve you accordingly based on your riding needs.

If you need a genuinely reliable hydration pack that works just as advertised and that won’t let you down no matter where you go, make sure to get the CamelBack M.U.L.E. The model’s water reservoir system is, in our opinion, way too good to pass up. 

On the other hand,the Gregory Nano 18 offers great performance and value for a fraction of the price.A simple yet effective design, solid construction, and lightweight materials make this a solid pack for everyday use or your next adventure.

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2022-11-02 20:47930