Saturday, June 10, 2023

Review: Camelbak Octane 22 Hydration Hiking Pack with Fusion 2L Reservoir

Article by Jeff Vallliere

Hydration Hiking Pack with Fusion 2L Reservoir

890g / 1lb 15oz




Jeff V:  The Octane 22 is Camelbak’s updated version of the Octane 25 that we reviewed back in 2020.  Since we first reviewed it, the Octane 25 has become a favorite for long day hikes in the mountains and for trips.  It is an excellent pack for travel and for whatever comes my way when I get to where I am going, or, just when I want more capacity than the Zephr and/or want to carry a lot of water.  

The Octane 22 is very similar to the Octane 25, essentially the exact same design, layout and pockets, but with a few nice upgrades that improve the comfort and functionality of the pack such as a ridged EVA back panel with air channels, a fusion 2L reservoir and nicer, more vented mesh materials.

Features and Specs:

The Octane 22 is loaded with features for comfort, organization, stability and optimal hydration. The most notable change over the previous model is the addition of the vented back panel that further adds to the structural stability of the pack, as one of my observations from the previous version was that when loaded down, it could feel a bit “slumpy” and unstructured.  

The shoulder straps of the 22 are a bit wider than the 25 and have more structure to them, which adds to the comfort by distributing the weight/pressure over a larger area.  Additionally, the mesh used for the shoulder straps, waist belt and back panel are now a more breathable open mesh.

It even has a built in rain cover.

Full Features and Specs List:

First Impressions and Fit:  

I immediately noticed the structural back panel, which is a much needed upgrade for the Octane, as well as the wider shoulder straps and upgraded, more vented mesh.  Otherwise, the overall design of the pack is identical to the previous Octane 25, with the exact same pockets, compartments, adjustments, key clip and rain cover. See our review of the Octane 25 here for a deeper dive .

The ridged vented back panel offers great structure.

The 22 on the right now has slightly wider and better structured shoulder straps, the previous version's being just thin mesh.

Left: Octane 25, Right: Octane 22 right

While the Octane has lost 3 liters of capacity by spec, it does not seem smaller and in daily use feels about the same to me. I am not really noticing that there is any compromise as to how much I can stuff into the main compartments or other pockets.  If anything, I almost wonder if the "22" naming here is a mistake.

Like the Octane 25, fit is excellent and easy to adjust, with two sternum straps, a waist belt and side straps linked to the bottom of the shoulder straps to side waist area for easy adjustment over layers or when compensating for varying loads.

Because of the multiple, easy adjustments and sliding sternum straps, I can easily find and maintain the optimal fit no matter the load, or what I am wearing for layers underneath, it is always secure and stable.


The Octane 22 performs very well as a medium day pack for hiking and is stable enough for some running, though not ideal or designed to be a pure running pack.  As mentioned above, fit is excellent and when at full carry capacity, the Octane 22 is stable no matter the terrain (even more so now with the back panel). I never feel any shifting, awkward weighting, nor ever get off balance.  While I find the Octane 22 to be good for running, it carries more than I typically would want to carry on a run, so I view it more as a hiking pack that you can use for running.

I appreciate the attention to details, including the new included Fusion 2L reservoir with its wide easy to use “zipper” (like a slider zip lock bag), that provides a wide opening for ice, easy filling, or cleaning, a detachable hose, a flip switch for bit valve (no more unplanned leaks when placed awkwardly). Finally there is easy placement in the pack with a hanger and easy hose routing and secure clips as to not bounce around while hiking or running.  

The pack materials are thin, yet durable, soft to the touch and the new improved mesh back panel is comfortable, breathable and protects even better from whatever harder objects in the main compartment you might be carrying.  The pockets are well laid, with easy access to items from the zippered hip pockets, the front shoulder strap drop pockets and zippered water resistant phone pocket that can accommodate all but the very largest XL sized phones.

The main zippered compartments on the back are of good size, with the one closest to your back intended for the bladder, then another zippered pocket for jacket, food, gear, etc…  I do find that with a full bladder occupying the main/bladder compartment, the other zippered pocket quickly becomes a bit crowded and I need to practice efficiency in packing.  Because of this, I most often forego the bladder in order to have more carry capacity and use soft flasks up front and if I need more, use a Nalgene bottle in the side pockets.

Conclusions and Recommendations

I have used the Octane 25 and now the 22 for a variety of activities, from long days hiking in the Grand Canyon, light trail running, snowshoeing and mountain biking, as well as my go to travel pack when we go on vacation, as it keeps travel essentials very much in order and is great to have for whatever adventures await.

I am very impressed with the versatility, utility, quality, functionality and the all around usability and attention to detail.  Fit, comfort, access, organization and ease of hydration are all absolutely outstanding and I really like the Camelbak has added the back panel for structure, as well as improved the mesh to be more airy and breathable.  The Fusion reservoir is really nice too, but I am not sure it is an advantage over the Crux reservoir (just different).  

The only downsides I have found is that the Octane 25 is a bit heavy feeling such that every time I pick it up out of the closet I wonder what it was that I forgot in there that was weighing it down, and ended up being nothing. I wished that the 22 was lighter, and in fact it weighs more now than the 25.  I am sure it has to do with the new back panel though and I think it is worth it. It is just not an ultralight run/race sort of pack and is more a hiker and fast hike pack, something to keep in mind.  And the price has also gone up $25.  One other wish I had for the 25 was a lighter color that would not absorb the sun as much on hot days and they delivered with a white color option.  I would highly recommend the Octane 22!

The Camelbak Octane 22 is available at our partners





Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Used guns said...

Are those straps durable? I know they usually make 'em breathable, but then if you load - it gets really wonky...

Sam Winebaum said...

Straps are extremely and surprisingly durable. I have a version from a couple years ago and have used it a lot for everything including travel carrying laptop and they have held up just fine.
Sam, Editor