Monday, February 1, 2010
I. Give. Up.
My art teacher in high school had a rule for all critiques that sometimes proved more difficult than others: However much you struggle, find something nice to say about the piece in front of you before you start in on the negative. Often this helped to soften the blow, and make you think about what you were going to say in as constructive a way as possible.
So, here's my nice thing to say: Camelbak bladders are a pretty blue color. And they're lighter than some other hydration options on the market right now. And it sure is convenient to have a tube with water right by your mouth when you're in the middle of a long day on the trail and you don't want to lose momentum. See, 3 nice things.
And.........I'm done. No, really, I'M DONE. I believe that even might be part of what I screamed as I chucked one of my Camelbak bladders into my back yard Saturday morning with the hopes that I would hit something sharp and metallic.
I've been trying to use their products on backpacking trips and hikes for about 1.5 years now, so i think it's safe to say I speak with experience. We're way beyond the classic "3 strikes, you're out" game. I've had not-readily-evident puncture wounds in a BRAND NEW bladder, I've had to cut a hole in a brand new bite valve so I could use it, I've had slow leaks in the back of the car or down my legs as I hike, I've had gushing waterfalls...the only thing I've yet to experience is a frozen valve, but I'm sure that was coming soon as I've talked to many people who have. Add that to stories of broken bite valves, other varieties of slow leaks, and freezing issues *with* their cold weather accessories, and you'll find I'm not the only displeased consumer. I've talked to many folks who share my distaste, in fact.
I'm sorry, but there's nothing funny about an unreliable water reservoir on a multi-day (or even single day) trek. It is downright dangerous. This doesn't even touch the difficulty in keeping them clean; good times, coming back to find you've got a new science experiment even after you think you've done a great job of drying and hanging it for the next trip.
Grade: F for FAIL.