Camelbak Crux Review

  • The Camelbak Crux has a wide mouth and substantial tube.
7.4
7.4 score
[Editors rating (7.4)] = (WalkJogRun) score (7.4)/10


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Editor rating: 7.4 / 10
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Hydration packs are integral for being able to keep up during an intensive workout. They help to eliminate the need for a “water break” since you are easily able to drink from the reservoir without interruption. A good reservoir is the heart of the hydration pack and it can’t be overlooked. Runners, cyclists, and hikers all depend on their performance. It’s all about details with products like the Camelbak Crux and some of those details are concerning. Its features can help determine if it is the right choice for you when you’re looking to purchase a reservoir.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extensive Durability Testing
  • 20% Increased Flow
  • Various Capacities
  • HydroGuard Technology
  • Different Pack Styles
  • BPA-Free
Cons
  • Leaking Issues
  • Lack of Tubing Compatibility
  • Awkward Design

Convenience

Working with a reservoir can be extremely tricky. Many bladders have very little access to their mechanisms once actually in a bag. This can obviously pose serious accessibility problems when on a hike, ride, or run. Camelbak’s Crux tries to nip this issue in the bud, so to speak. They have closures and securing technology that can be reached even when the bladder is fully placed in a bag. Their leak-proof cap is far easier to open and close, making filling a breeze where it was previously a bit more difficult. An on-off lever on the hose allows you to close the tubing that delivers you water with just one hand. This makes the whole design of the Camelbak Crux angled towards quick and easy usage. It can be filled, accessed, emptied, refilled, and secured with complete ease. The design has faults in other areas that may be somewhat due to their reorientation of the reservoir. However, they did achieve a more convenient use with the Crux, even if it lacks some practicalities. Your priorities for a bladder will have to come into play when purchasing this from Camelbak considering its shortcomings.

Durability

Camelbak takes product testing seriously when it comes to their materials and hydration packs. Their goal is to create items that won’t fail on the trail, especially when relying on them to keep properly hydrated. This Crux went through extensive testing to ensure the material’s durability, and it is available to the market shows that it passed with flying colors. The way Camelbak tests products for durability is truly putting materials through the wringer to see if they become broken or cracked. It can perfectly expand to accommodate your liquids you are trying to bring on your outing, whatever you may choose to do. To make filling the bladder easier without slipping and further risking damage to the Crux, Camelbak added an ergonomic handle. This helps to feel secure holding and filling this reservoir, decreasing the wear and tear on the device over time. There are problems with the actual build that cause leaking, but the material itself is not at fault for that. The durability of Camelbak products is one of the biggest redeeming factors, considering the other problems that some of their newer lines run into. Longer life on the trail is something everyone appreciates and Camelbak making that possible for your gear is one of their biggest aims.

Leak Resistance

Reviewers had a lot to say about this device’s leak-resistance. Though the Crux claims to be a pioneer when it comes to leakage, even calling it “leak-proof”, customers felt that the opposite was true. Full disclosure, most reviewers had a complaint about leaking. Those who thought the Crux worked perfectly in its intended capacity were few and far between, in fact, they were far outnumbered by those complaining about its leaking. This has serious implications for the effectiveness of the Crux, if it constantly leaks, it is hard to imagine it performing to its best ability on the trail. The source of the leaking, many found, was its “leak-proof” new cap, ironically enough. They said that the threads were incredibly difficult to align just right. This doesn’t sound like too much of a problem, except if the threads were just slightly unaligned, major leakage would result. Reviewers said that their packs would often get damp with every use, if not fully soaked. If water is leaking out of your hydration pack, it isn’t able to hydrate you, regardless of how much it holds. This is a serious design problem and poses a risk to anyone interested in purchasing this product.

Materials

Health is incredibly important to companies such as Camelbak, and health generally starts with what you’re putting into your body. In recent years, more attention has been paid to the materials used in items we drink and eat out of. Transfer to our food or drinks can allow us to unknowingly ingest chemicals that are bad for our bodies. This is a frightening truth, and luckily many brands have stepped in to prevent this kind of transfer. BPA, which generally refers to BPF and BPS, in particular, can mimic estrogen in the body and can interfere with its regulation of such hormones. While some have disputed its dangers, there is no concrete evidence saying it is completely safe. It eases the mind to know that the Crux is free of BPA, eliminating the free-floating threat of hazardous chemicals that could directly affect your hormone production and regulation. It is best to take precaution when you have the technology available to help you do so. This will be a great relief for plastic water reservoir users looking to avoid the use of plastics that have these freely transferred chemicals. Some reviewers did recommend a few rinses before use due to the plastic they used having a slight taste to it, regardless.

Pack Compatabilities

The Crux fits in a large array of bags and hydration packs, which is wonderful, however, there are some glaring problems that reviewers could not overlook. Camelbak made a move to increase their tubing's water flow, which allows more water to be taken with each sip. This is seemingly a great advance for hydration packs. To do this, they had to expand the size of the hose which is attached to the bladder. The new, larger hose wasn’t well thought out because it is incompatible with many of the Camelbak pack styles. The previous tubing was sized at the industry standard, so consequently, no products support it. Quick connect capabilities that are necessary for hydration packs, as well as an easy attachment to filters and assorted accessories. Quick connect attachments allow to fill directly from another water source without removing it from the pack. Not even Camelbak supports this larger hose with their products. There was a lack of thought in creating the Crux, made apparent by this glaring issue with the design of the bladder. Also, comparable to the other reservoirs of the same size, the Crux doesn’t fit in Camelbak packs equipped for the Antidote bladder. This makes it less desirable for people looking to replace their existing bladders in those packs.

Style Options

Camelbak did think one thing through and that was designing multiple Crux’s to fit their different styles of bags. Different athletes and adventurers have various needs when it comes to hydration packs. Some need something smaller and more compact, such as lumbar packs intended for cyclists. Hikers may need full 3L bladders to accompany them on their outings. It can be hard to find a line of bladders that has such a large range of styles and capacities. Their previous model, the Antidote, had a handle that certain bags were designed to hook over. The Crux will not properly fit in those models. The large mouth of the reservoir also makes it a tight squeeze when fitting it into other packs previously occupied by the Antidote.

Technology

Camelbak has a couple of pieces of technology that they use in the Crux. One is their on-off valve on the tubing. Some reviewers felt positive about this addition. To turn it on, you flip the switch down, to turn off, you flip it up. This makes it easy to use with only one hand, eliminating fumbling on the track, trail, or road. Hydroguard technology created by Camelbak intends to protect against the germs that can naturally form in enclosed, moist spaces. Hydroguard fights the growth of bacteria to give you a healthier environment in your hydration pack. While this is wonderful in theory, there is a piece that they left out when creating the Crux that is missed by Camelbak buyers. There used to be two small arms that kept the hydration pack open to dry when not in use. This alone helped to prevent bacteria because it could properly dry in between uses instead of staying moist and retaining bacteria. The maintenance was much harder with the removal of these two arms, and reviewers took note. It is worth mentioning though that the HydroGuard technology’s key focus is bacteria inhibition, so it is very possible that these arms were no longer necessary.

Updates

This Crux did have many updates from Camelbak’s previous go-to bladder, the Antidote. The problem with that is, a lot of the updates fell pretty flat. The larger mouth makes it less compatible with multiple other packs that it would be apparently intended for. Increased water flow and a larger hose make for less quick connect capabilities. The big-bite valve on the tube is meant to seal itself shut after each sip. Possibly due to its larger size, even the valve itself caused leaks for a lot of the reviewers. The updates on this Camelbak have very mixed feedback from the customers who bought it. In the previous model, it was also BPA-free and had very similar base abilities. Oddly enough, the Antidote struggled with leakage at the top of the bladder, similar to the issues with the Crux. This update might just not be quite there yet, unfortunately. Reviewers seem to think that this updated bladder may have missed the mark in technology for Camelbak.

Water Capacity

There is such a range of available capacities for this bladder due to its intended use in a variety of pack styles. They have lumbar and backpack styles, with one capacity being most likely functional in running or biking vests as well. The smallest capacity is a 1.5L pack. This could probably work in most running and biking vests, depending on their size and if they are bladder compatible. There is also a 2L and 3L bladder in a similar, longer style. Perfect for several backpacks. The lumbar pack is a whopping 3L, which is quite substantial for a lumbar pack reservoir. If you have a Camelbak lumbar pack, you might have to make sure this will fit properly despite if it fits an Antidote of the same capacity. Just ensure that this style will be accommodated by the shape of your bag and you should be good to go. Varying capacities add to the convenience of this product by Camelbak.

Water Flow

One of the biggest advertised features of the Crux is the enhanced water flow. Camelbak promises that this reservoir and hose will deliver twenty percent more water than their previous designs. This sounds great on paper, and reviewers said that the reservoir lived up to this promise. Most said that they got a full mouthful of refreshing water when drinking from the bladder. While this is great to have, especially during an intense workout, some reported that this enhanced flow created compatibility problems for the hose. Otherwise, this was a great addition to the Crux, if only Camelbak made more compatible equipment for it. Eventually, the brand will certainly make more products that are adaptable to the Crux. As of right now, there isn’t a huge availability of products that fit seamlessly with their new reservoir.

Bottom Line

Serious athletes generally believe in the quality of Camelbak. Some reviewers feel that this reservoir may be the one to skip from the brand. Though the Antidote has some problems with leakage, it seems that the Crux did not improve upon them. The increased water flow and extensive variety in styles aside, the Crux has some serious kinks that need to be worked out. Until then, it can't fully be considered a product deserving of the Camelbak reputation.