Camelbak Chase 8L Vest Hydration Pack Review with 2L Fusion Bladder – Hydration Packs – Accessories

The Chase 8L Vest hydration pack from Camelbak adds to the limited capacity of the four-liter version that I was a big fan of.

The lightweight and relatively minimalist Chase 4L vest proved stable while riding and extremely convenient to use, but lacked load capacity, especially if you’re looking to do bigger trips.

That’s where the latest Chase 8L vest comes in. Once you factor in the two-liter capacity of the Fusion bladder, there’s still six liters of thoughtful storage.

That might not seem like a lot, but believe me, you can really fill this kit pack when you need it.

Can the Chase 8L vest live up to the performance of its smaller counterpart? Keep reading to find out.

Details and specifications of the Camelbak Chase 8L vest

The wide straps have plenty of adjustability and quick access pockets, which are incredibly useful while riding.
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Most of the Chase vest is made from lightweight but strong Dimension-Polyant LS07 sailcloth.

This material has a glossy finish, much like some waterproof jackets, and offers some weather resistance. However, don’t expect the contents of the bag to stay dry in a downpour.

There are stretch mesh panels on either side of the front pocket, which help create the overflow pocket (more on that later) and thicker mesh breathable mesh used across the extra wide shoulder straps.

Although the back panel is padded, it is much less rigid and much more malleable than many of the best hydration packs. Like the back of the suspenders, the back panel uses a thick mesh material designed to help airflow and keep you from overheating.

Due to its design, however, the Chase 8L Vest sits flat and close to your back, so it’s hard to avoid a sweat.

Misleading storage quantities

Mesh storage pockets in the small front pocket provide safe storage for small items.
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Like the Chase 4L vest, this larger version allows you to pack more kit than you initially think.

The front pocket uses a zipper on each side, allowing easy access to the kit stored lower, which is convenient. It also features three mesh dividers that help keep tools organized and keep them from shifting around while riding. For long rides, I kept spare SRAM AXS batteries, a multi-tool, and bug spray/sunscreen here.

The next step is the overflow pocket. It is unzipped and relies on the stretch mesh panels on each side, as well as the anchor points for the shoulder straps, to keep the contents well packed.

There is plenty of room here for a decent sized jacket and thin elbow/knee pads if you don’t want to wear them for the climbs.

The zippered main pocket gives you almost the full depth of the bag to store the necessities inside. I kept a tube, tool roll, first aid kit, food and my phone here for the big days.

Camelbak’s lockable bite valve is easily one of the best on the market and can be locked/unlocked with one hand while driving.
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Camelbak includes a separate zippered pocket for the two-liter Fusion bladder. Unlike the Chase 4L vest, there is no snap at the end of the zipper. A small fabric loop at the top of this compartment allows you to hang the bladder and prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the bag as it empties.

There’s ample routing for the drinking tube, plus two secure clips on the right shoulder strap to keep it from flailing around while riding.

Finally, the two straps have important pockets. The left pocket is zipped and big enough to store a phone (although I use it for an easy-access tire plug kit and one of the best C02 inflators), while the other has two mesh openings extendable which are ideal for snacks.

Fit and size of the Camelbak Chase 8L vest

While some hydration pack brands offer different length back panels to fit different sized torsos, Camelbak only offers the Chase 8L vest in one size.

That’s not a bad thing though, as it’s quite a compact pack and, unlike more traditional packs, only really covers the upper half of your back.

In an effort to keep the Chase 8L Vest securely in place on your back, Camelbak uses its “3D Vent Mesh Harness” design. This refers to those extra wide shoulder straps, as well as the two height-adjustable sternum straps that can be used to securely lock the bag to your body.

Two-liter Camelbak Fusion bladder

Camelbak’s new Fusion Bladder has a two liter capacity, is easy to fill and features a quick release hose.
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Inside the Chase 8L vest is the two-liter Fusion Camelbak bladder. This uses a rubber zipper on the top (rather than the more common round, threaded opening of the cap) to seal out water.

You still get the same easy-release tube (which can be disconnected from the bladder by pressing a small sliding button) and locking mouthpiece, which is arguably the best on the market.

A reinforcement back panel on the outside of the bladder helps it retain its shape and lets you squeeze every last drop when your water supply is low.

Performance of the Camelbak Chase 8L vest

The main pocket is large enough to hold spares, tools, snacks and a jacket. There is also the Overflow pocket.
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Comfortable and stable

The Chase 8L vest is incredibly comfortable, even when fully loaded. However, you’ll have to be careful how you pack it, mainly because of the flexible back panel.

The bladder adds a bit of padding, but as you drink and it empties, if you’ve filled the kit at awkward angles, you’ll soon know. Pack smart, though, and that’s never a problem.

As for the back panel, it’s probably worth noting that the Chase 8L vest sits fairly flat on your back.

There’s no fancy structure to hold it on your back and increase airflow, so expect to sweat. The plus side is that its compact size means it doesn’t cover your whole back, so even if you get sweaty, it’s still cooler than many packs.

The malleable nature of the back panel means that it is able to adapt perfectly to the contours of your back.

There’s plenty of shoulder strap adjustment to help tailor the fit and make things comfortable. Although the shoulder straps are not exactly padded, they are quite wide, which helps distribute the weight of the bag well.

Being able to adjust the height of the chest straps is a plus and further helps with fit and comfort. These also have a massive impact on security and stability. Tighten them just enough and it’s impressive how “locked in” you feel and how little the Chase 8L vest moves around while riding.

When fully packed to the brim, it’s a little more prone to wiggle when tackling larger trail elements that require exaggerated body movement, but it’s still more stable than many. It moves very little and lets you focus on the trail ahead.

At no point in my time during testing did the Chase 8L vest rise up enough to hit me in the back of the head (even when I was wearing a full face helmet).

Heavy transport

The shoulder strap pockets will comfortably accommodate a phone or other easy to reach items.
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As for the kit, I managed to pack plenty for a full day in the hills (I put that to the test using the pack throughout the Stone King Rally, where the longest day by bike was about 13 hours).

In addition to two liters of water, I comfortably carried a spare inner tube, a C02 inflator, a kit of tire plugs, a first aid kit, an emergency whistle, insect repellent, cream sunscreen, a Leatherman, a jacket, elbow pads and food for the day.

On some rides I’ll store my phone in the zippered pocket on the shoulder straps, but on the run I kept a C02 inflator and tire plug kit there. It’s simply because you can access it so quickly and easily.

Although you have mesh pockets in the front pocket, there are none in the larger main compartment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth investing in a tool roll if you want to keep small spares organized and easy to find.

Where the Chase 8L vest is an asset is the Overflow storage pocket. As I mentioned before, this can’t be fully zipped up (there’s no zipper), but it’s deep enough and snug enough against the main bag that I’ve stowed a waterproof jacket in it for ages. months now with no problems.

It’s also great for storing thin elbow or knee pads if you’re up for a big day of uphill pedaling before you hit the main descent.

Great but not quite perfect

The loop that allows the bladder to be hung in its compartment broke after only a few days of driving.
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In many ways, the Chase 8L Vest has become my new favorite pack, but it’s not quite perfect. Why? Well unfortunately after only a few rides the fabric loop used to hang the bladder stretched and then finally broke.

This didn’t cause any major performance issues – thanks to the reinforcement panel used on the back of the bladder, it doesn’t just crumple into a heap at the bottom of the bag – but that’s a shame. happened, especially so early in testing.

And it’s not unique either, because I know someone else with the same pack and the same problem. I have since warned Camelbak and the brand is looking into the matter.

How does the Camelbak Chase 8L vest compare to other riding bags?

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The most obvious pack to compare the Chase 8L vest to is the smaller Chase 4L vest. The Chase 4L is more stable, but due to its more limited capacity, you might struggle to carry enough for an epic all-day ride.

If we’re comparing directly to a similarly sized pack, the EVOC Ride 8 is the most recent pack I’ve tested. The Chase 8L vest is more comfortable, stable and versatile thanks to the storage layout.

And although the EVOC I tested came without a bladder, in my experience the Camelbak bladder is superior to the equivalent offered by EVOC.

Despite the minor issue I had with the Chase 8L Vest, I still strongly believe it should be included in our list of best hydration packs.

Camelbak Chase 8L low-end vest

To help reduce weight, the back panel uses relatively thin padding, but it’s still very comfortable.
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

Overall the Chase 8L Vest is a great pack. It’s not cheap, but for the money you get a very comfortable and stable bag with thoughtful storage and one of the best bladders around. Above all, it’s really stable and barely moves while driving, which matters a lot.

It may be relatively compact and minimal compared to some, but it certainly packs a punch on the trail.

Wiley C. Thompson