Camelbak Motherlode Review

The Camelbak Motherlode backpack has taken the survival community by storm – producing a backpack that functions admirably as both a bug out bag and a general hiking bag. Camelbak is well known for producing high quality hydration packs and now has their hands in the backpack market. I got to say, the quality has transferred over quite nicely.

In this review, I take an up close look at the Camelbak Motherlode. I had a number of questions going into this review:

  • Can the Camelbak Motherlode handle a full blown SHTF situation?
  • Can it function as a bug out bag?
  • Can it store all of my gear?
  • Is it worth the price?

Yes, these are all crucial questions to ask. After all, you are trusting your backpack to hold all of your gear. Whether that gear is for hiking, backpacking, or bugging out, you need a pack that is going to handle anything you throw at it. Plus, quality packs will last you for years. I’ve cheaped out on packs before only to see the zippers bust within 6 months with light use. No bueno.


  • 100% Nylon
  • Made in USA
  • Hydration capacity: 100 oz/3 L
  • Total capacity: 2258 cu in/37L + 3L reservoir
  • Total weight: 4.9 lbs/2.2 kg
  • Torso length: 16.5 in/42 cm
  • 420D high Density Nylon on shoulder harness

Camelbak Motherlode quality

Loaded down…


The first thing you’re going to notice with the Camelbak Motherlode is the absolute quality of everything on this pack. Everything from the material to the zippers are extremely well built. Don’t be fooled by Camelbaks background as just a hydration pack manufacturer – this backpack is military spec in all the areas that count. It’s even got Molle webbing on the outside. This is a feature you only see in highly tactical military packs. And it’s not just there to look cool either. With the Molle webbing you can easily attach Molle compatible pouches to the outside. This would allow you to extend the carrying capacity of the pack in case you needed to go full blown pack mule status.

Super clean

Holy cow is this pack slick looking. It’s like they took a military spec bag and gave it a complete makeover. Don’t get me wrong – I love tactical military packs. But if we were completely honest with ourselves they aren’t the best looking packs around. Can’t we have military spec while still looking cool? The answer is yes with the Camelbak Motherlode.

Critical hydration

The Camelbak Motherlode with included hydration bladder


Being a true-to-form Camelbak, the Motherlode comes fully stocked with a 3L hydration bladder. If you have any experience with Camelbak you already have a good grasp on the sheer quality of the bladder. Lesser bladders bust wide open within months and barely pull any water when you go for a drink. The Motherlode delivers the same level of quality we know and love from Camelbak.

Comfort and Pockets

Inside look


The Motherlode is well padded in the shoulder straps and back area. The last thing you want is skinny spaghetti straps digging into your traps on a hike. The pack also comes loaded with enough pockets to store all of your gear. On the outside is a generous admin pocket with the main compartment totaling 37 liters. That’s a lot of space.

Concluding thoughts

So, can the Motherlode stand up to a full blown SHTF situation? Hell yes. Can the Motherlode handle a 3 day excursion into the bush? Absolutely. This pack isn’t going to have any problems with anything you throw at it. Sure, you aren’t going to be able to pack everything and the kitchen sink, but you can certainly pack all the essentials. The Camelbak Motherlode gets a big thumbs up from all the experts at DSK.

Pick one up today and see for yourself.


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