As a person who hikes most days of the week doing trail patrol, leading hikes and volunteering at our local state parks in Sonoma, I need a technical pack. It has to have a lot of pockets and places to stash maps, snacks, first aid kit, trash bags and emergency gear. The Sequoia 22 hiking pack from CamelBak delivers on all the features I need.
I’ve been a fan of CamelBak ever since they came out with their revolutionary new way to drink water, through a tube connected to a large hydration bladder. I was a big mountain biker back then and the ease of drinking while riding was a no-brainer. CamelBaks accompanied me as I transitioned to being more of a hiker and backpacker, upgrading to the newer models along the way. However, this was my first integrated pack with hydration system and I liked it.
The 22-liter pack is well-designed and a lot of thought went into the pockets and compartments. With nine exterior pockets, there’s a place for everything. A medium sized zippered pocket in the front holds snacks and sunglasses while the larger middle zippered pocket holds my first aid kit, work gloves, extra hat, garbage bag, clippers and assorted other gear that I might need on patrol. In between these two pockets is a stretchy open pocket with no zipper that is handy for stuffing my buff and fleece beanie when it’s cold. A small zippered pocket in the front holds keys, name tag and other small objects, though these can also go in an inside pocket. A large pocket in the back is a dedicated compartment for holding the hydration bladder. On the hip belt are three additional pockets. On one side is a zippered pocket that is roomy enough for my phone with space to spare. On the other side are two stretchy open pockets that are perfect for stuffing last minute items. A daisy chain of loops runs down the front of the pack, ending in tool loops at the bottom. The Sequoia 22 is designed for women and has an S-shaped harness and shorter torso lengths suitable for most women. CamelBak makes a similar pack for men called the Fourteener 24 with a longer torso.
The reservoir compartment in the back had me stumped at first. The usual hook at the top was missing, where hydration bladders are usually suspended. I opened up the compartment more and found a band running across the pack about halfway down. In the middle of the band a firm loop stuck out. I thought maybe the tube was supposed to get threaded through it but as I examined the newly designed 3-liter Crux bladder, I realized that the long handle fits into the loop. I have found this new design to be very efficient, much more so than fiddling around to find the often tiny fabric loops to hook the bladder on. It slides right out when I need to remove it and once filled, I just slide the bladder in the pocket and the handle slips right in. There is a slit in the top for the tube.
I’ve been using the Sequoia 22 pack for the last three months and it has been performing very well. I like the big soft pods across the back—the three horizontal panels provide air tunnels for ventilation. This is greatly appreciated in the summer heat. The hip belt is very easy to adjust with a quick tug. Other packs use stiff webbing that can be very hard to adjust.
The pack keeps all my gear organized and I really like the stretchy pocket that accommodates last minute items and provides quick access. The hip and chest belts are sturdy enough to be effective, which is often not the case with day packs. The hip belt pockets are very well designed, being large enough to easily accommodate a phone, lip balm and other items. The stretchy material lining one side of the hip belt is wide, becoming even wider as it curves up to meet the pack, and holds a wide variety of large and small gear. Initially I didn’t think there was a place for a water bottle, but then I found a small stretchy pocket behind the hip belt with the zippered pocket that securely holds a bottle. I like the ergonomic curve of the pack that helps provide ventilation, but it does make it a specialized pack. When I’m leading hikes and need to have a clipboard, it doesn’t fit very well with the curved shape but that’s a minor complaint. The hip belt has a unique double belt design that feels comfortable and secure.
The CamelBak Sequoia 22 Hiking Pack is well-designed for hiking. There’s plenty of storage, including the dedicated pocket for a hydration bladder. The combination of zippered and open pockets allows for quick access for some items and secure storage for others. The curved back and soft wide pods allows for ventilation and comfortable carrying. All in all, it’s obvious a lot of thought went into every aspect of the design.
Note that the updated model I tested is due to be released in Q1 2018 so some features and specs may vary from the previous model.
Capacity: 22 L
Hydration bladder: 3 L
Pack weight: 2 lbs 3 oz
Fits torso: 15-19”
All photos by Inga Aksamit, unless otherwise credited.
Disclosure of material connection: I received a sample for testing purposes, but the opinions expressed are solely my own.