Camelbak Unbottle Review

Three-liters and Cool Water Insulation

Camelbak Unbottle...Get it!
Camelbak Unbottle...Get it!

By Rick Shandley

Camelbak’s new Unbottle insulated hydration reservoir offers three liters of water storage and tons of versatility. As with each of the current generation of 100 oz. Camelbak hydration systems based on the three-liter Antidote reservoir, we like the innovation and quality each of these products bring to the backcountry table.

In addition to being outfitted with a sturdy insulated sleeve, the Unbottle also features Camelbak’s new Quick-Link Pure Flow tube disconnect and the Big Bite mouthpiece valve. We see these latest features as being very helpful improvements to the Camelbak hydration system lineup.

For an investment of about $50, you get the three-liter capacity hydration system encased in a rugged, insulated, exterior sleeve. Our test Unbottle has withstood the effects of abrasion for almost a year, now. Whether our Unbottle was loaded into a backpack, clipped on outside of the pack, or hanging from a saddle horn or from 550 Para-chord from the back of my pickup truck seat, the Unbottle has proven to be a hardy water source.

Yep, between hiking excursions and overnight trail trips, our test Camelbak Unbottle resides behind the driver’s seat of my truck as my hydration supply on daily commutes and road trips. There have been no problems with mold buildup or taste infractions in the bladder itself, the connection points, or the water tube. Our test Unbottle has been in constant use and has been cleaned once in the past year.

Four composite, spring-steel clips offer attachment points.
Four composite, spring-steel clips offer attachment points.

Unbottle is easy to clean. The three-liter (100 oz.) Camelbak Antidote reservoir does, indeed, come out of the 420 Nylon/70D Diamon Clarus insulation sleeve easily. We mention this because we have seen product reviews that indicated the Antidote reservoir would not come out of the insulation sleeve. Just know that it does, and it’s a precise fit. When cleaning the reservoir or changing the Quick-Link Pure Flow water tube to an insulated one for winter use, this Unbottle hydration system goes back together just fine.

When attaching the Unbottle to the outside of a backpack, you can secure the Unbottle in a variety of ways. There are four composite/spring-steel clip mechanisms (two on each side) positioned vertically on the exterior of the insulation sleeve.

On overnight or multi-day pack trips, one hydration reservoir would occupy its usual position inside the pack, with the water tube threading through the top of the pack and being accessible for hydration on the trail. The second reservoir (Unbottle) was clipped to the utility straps on the rear exterior of the pack. In this configuration, the Big Bite mouthpiece and water tube was secured so as not to dangle or snag.

One suggestion we would like to see on the Unbottle is a hose clip. With a hose clip exactly like the ones provided on Camelbak and other pack makers, the ability to use the Unbottle as a secondary water reservoir is that much more useful.

Camelbak Unbottle Quick-Link system is accessible through zippered panel.
Camelbak Unbottle Quick-Link system is accessible through zippered panel.

By using the Unbottle as a secondary water storage reservoir, it eliminated the pair of one-liter aluminum water bottles I typical carry on hikes in arid terrain. This extra water storage is great for cooking the evening meal, not having to limit your water intake late in the evening, and having plenty of water for early morning coffee and oatmeal.

Even in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, water is a factor one needs to plan for and keep in mind. Water is not necessarily bubbling out of the ground along every trail. Oftentimes water sources are limited. And if you are planning on covering more than 10 miles a day, your water supply is going to be critical in keeping your body hydrated. So before you have to hit the “survival” button and start digging holes deep into the bottoms of dry stream beds, it’s not a bad idea to carry more than enough water with you. Sure, water adds significant weight to your pack. But there are plenty of items you can do without. You can’t do without water.

Unbottle works well on horseback just as well as in a backpack. Using the adjustable nylon-strap at the top of the Unbottle, you can suspend it over the saddle horn and latch it to the side of the saddle with the composite/spring-steel clips attached to any number of d-rings or leather lash points on the saddle. Unbottle rides well on horseback, and it doesn’t take much effort to take a drink of water when you need it. Again, the versatility of the Unbottle is not limited to riding on the inside of your pack.

With the Quick Link attachment system, you can switch out the water tube assembly with an insulated Camelbak hydration tube for winter use, and any combination of climate/elevation scenarios where the daytime/nighttime temperatures can freeze things up.

Overall, the Camelbak Unbottle is highly recommended for a primary water reservoir, a backup, or merely three-more liters of water you can count on being contained and accessible on any kind of activity where you must bring your water with you. Similar to the way feathers on a bird insulate it from extreme temps, the Unbottle insulation sleeve insulates your water from cold in the winter and heat in the summer. This insulation suggests the Camelbak Unbottle is a wise choice for most outdoor pursuits year round.

MSRP: $50

Features:

Hydration Capacity: 100 oz (3 L)

Includes the new 100 oz (3 L) Antidote reservoir with Quick Link™ System, 1/4 turn – easy open/close cap, lightweight fill port, dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening.

Pack Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)

Dimensions: 18 x 8.5 x 4 in (45 x 22 x 10 cm)

Overall Specifications:

Hydration Capacity: 100 oz (3 L)

Includes the new 100 oz (3 L) Antidote reservoir with Quick Link™ System, 1/4 turn – easy open/close cap, lightweight fill port, dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening.

Fabric Specs: 70D Diamond Clarus & 420 Nylon with DWR & 1000 mm PU coating

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