Camelbak is well known for their popular hyrdation packs. When you think of Camelbak you typically think of those low capacity hydration bladders you see on runners. Recently I discovered Camelbak has a line of military grade packs geared towards the serious hiker, backpacker, and prepper. The Camelbak BFM is well bolstered and padded in all the areas that count, perhaps too padded as I will illustrate in the review. Let’s crack straight in to the goods.
- Military grade
- 51 liter cargo pack
- Clam shell style opening
- Internal compression straps
- 3 liter hydration capacity
- 100% nylon
- MOLLE webbing
- 5lbs 2oz
- 7 exterior pockets
- Room for an extra 3L bladder
- Good fit even for larger guys
Pure ruggedness…Like Oliver Twist, this pack will always come back for more.
Starting off with raw carrying capacity we see the Camelbak BFM has 50 liters of storage available. 50 liters is a ton of space. With this space you can easily stow away 2 – 3 days worth of gear and food for any kind of trip you can think of. The pack is versatile enough to be used as a carry on for your luggage and also a seasoned backpacking companion. As you’ll see, the ample pockets and storage allow for creative packing configurations.
The main compartment is where the bulk of your gear will be stowed. This compartment opens up like a clamshell revealing massive storage space with internal compression straps to lock down gear. On the flap are 2 meshed pockets for organizing gear you need quick access to. I can tell you this – the zippers on this pack are pure bolstered insanity. One thing I ALWAYS look for in a pack is strong zippers. The zippers on the BFM are indeed military grade which is good – there’s nothing more frustrating than a busted zipper.
On the outside of the pack are 7 pockets of varying sizes. The 2 big pockets on the side are large enough to carry a liter of water or anything else you can think of. Both pocket setups are identical on both sides. Above the larger side pockets are 2 small pockets for extra goodies. On the front you have another generously sized zippered pocket with tons of MOLLE on the front. Inside this pocket is even more mini pockets – there’s a large meshed pocket and 2 separate pockets for additional organization.
On the top you’ll notice a special pouch designed for goggles or sunglasses. This pouch has a soft yet durable material to protect important gear from scratches. I keep my keys, glasses, and wallet in this pouch because it’s easy to get to.
You won’t see thin spaghetti straps on the Camelba BFM. Instead, well padded shoulder straps grace your shoulders making it easy to carry heavy loads with zero pain. The padding comes EXTRA thick. While some don’t like this amount of padding I prefer it because I know it will eventually wear down over time.
The same level of padding is felt on the back plate. We’re talking supreme comfort here. In fact, I’ve only worn a handful packs I would considerable comfortable. The BFM is one of these packs. This pack was designed for military personnel who would no doubt be lugging large amounts of gear.
Rounding off the support and comfort is the extra padded belt strap. The belt strap does its job taking the bulk of the weight and placing it on your hips. Carrying the bulk of the weight on your hips allow you to bear even the largest loads with relative ease. This is certainly not that old Jansport you had back in highschool.
The BFM comes ready to stow not one, but two hydration bladders. The bladders fit nicely in their designated section of the pack. The Camelbak has dominated the hydration market for years. Their bladders feature quick lock technology making it easy to disconnect from the feeding hose and refill. The mouth to the bladder is the largest in the industry and features a locking mechanism that refuses to leak. At the end of the day, the hydration pack makes it easy to rehydrate without taking off your pack and digging for water.
MOLLE and compression straps
Another feature I love to see in packs is MOLLE compatibility and compression straps. With the MOLLE you can add on additional storage space with compatible packs. Very cool to store your medical kit or other crucial gear in this way. Sometimes it’s conveniant to drop your pack and simply carry needed gear in a small MOLLE pouch.
The compression straps secure your gear and allow you to store additional gear on the outside. Things like tents and sleeping bags stow very well when compressed to the outside of the pack.
The Camelbak BFM is an overall solid pack. This pack is probably overkill unless you need something with this level of storage and durability. The BFM is the obvious choice for the serious backpacker who appreciates the Camelbaks genius hydration system. It’s also an easy choice for a bug out bag. Having this amount of storage space and hydration at your disposal in a bug out situation is priceless.
What do you think of this pack?