Over the next couple weeks I plan on releasing reviews for some of my favorite, most used, and most abused gear. This is the first article of the series so be sure to subscribe to the blog so you dont miss the rest.
Item reviewed: Camelbak Ambush Backpack
Date of purchase: January 2013
Pros: Well balanced, lightweight, comfortable, durable, well thought out features
Cons: Minimal gear storage, short/ rides high on back, no strap to hold the bottom of the pack to your back
Full Review: When I purchased this pack, I was looking for something that I could carry while orienteering, hiking, and biking. I wanted some space for gear such as a first aid kit, repair kit, multi tool, and other small survival accessories. This pack fit the bill perfectly. It has one small pocket on the flap that covers the hydration bladder opening, and one more spacious one on the bottom half of the pack. The pocket on the bottom has stretchy mesh split into two sections, and molle webbing on the outside. There is a strip of Velcro on the top pocket, perfect for adding your Velcro accessories. The hydration bladder sits inside the main pocket, and the opening from this pocket is exposed but covered by a flap on top. I think this is brilliant- just pull back the zippers on the flap and open the cap on the bladder to fill it without even needing to remove it from the backpack. The hose comes out of either side and there is a series of plastic loops and webbing along the shoulder straps to secure it to pack. The sternum strap has a small amount of elastic on it that the hose slips into, keeping the entire package contained and close to your body. Simply tilt your head down and take a sip of water. The hose also has some interesting features built in including a on/off valve to control water flow and an end cap. The end cap covers the bite valve, which keeps it clear of dirt and other things when not in use. It flips on and off with a simple flick of the thumb. The durability of this lack does not stop amazing me. It is a military grade lack, so camelback ups its anti and makes it out of cordura fabric instead if the cheap nylon they make their commercial products from. Running through thorns, slipping down boulder fields, throwing around in camp- this pack has stood up to it all. The pack is also very well balanced, it rides high in the back which I dont like all that much bit it feels like ther is nothing there. With a full gear load (2 pounds) and three liters of water, I barley notice it even when running. If you are considering this pack, I would definatley recommend it to you. It has just enough space to bring what you need with out being too bulky and obnoxious.