Skyline LR 10 Review
Camelbak Skyline LR 10
Outside of minor gripes related to a lost magnetic tube trap mount, a little premature wear, and final stages of the bladder mounting process, I really like the Skyline LR 10 from Camelbak.
It’s easy to adjust, takes the weight off shoulders while lowering the center of gravity, and delivers plenty of hydration for longer rides.
- Competitive price
- Camelbak is a highly reputable company who offers a lifetime guarantee on their packs
- Great firsthand experience
- Helps lower center of gravity and reduced weight load on shoulders to maximize comfort
- Easy compartment access and strap adjustability
- Some rides might require more storage or reservoir capacity
- Showing some early signs of wear
User Review( votes)
Camelbak’s Skyline LR 10 hydration pack has helped take a lot of weight off my shoulders. Here, we’ll discuss what else I’ve experienced, how it compared to similar packs, and whether or not I’d recommend.
About the Skyline LR 10 Hydration Pack
The Camelbak Skyline LR 10 hydration backpack is designed to shift weight and support to your lumbar region, which lowers center of gravity, maximizes stability, and allows your upper body to move more freely.
Other features include a tool organizer roll, the ability to carry your helmet and pads on the underside, a 3-liter reservoir, ventilated back panel, zippered trapdoor, and magnetic tube trap for one-click storage.
Camelbak also offers a 30-day refund policy on the Skyline LR10, along with a Lifetime Guarantee against manufacturing defects that includes a pre-paid return label for easy return of your merchandise.
But, is it necessarily the ultimate hydration pack, based on your needs? I’ve regularly used the Skyline LR 10 since September 2017, so—combined with details from the company and third-party feedback—my experience can help you decide.
Let’s start with the basics.
Taking a Closer Look at the Skyline Low Rider 10’s Specifications
Skyline LR 10 Storage
The Skyline LR 10 features a total of six exterior pockets, along with a roomy interior that provides up to 7 liters (420 in3) of capacity for storing your gear.
Areas include a soft-lined pocket for storing sunglasses or electronics, along with a stretch overflow pocket on the right hip belt for keeping an extra layer handy, or for storing a recently shed layer or rain shell.
Camelbak advertises these wide waist belts optimize fit and are ventilated—as is the back panel—for increased riding comfort. You’ll also find a removable bike tool organizer roll for stashing essentials.
Let’s continue discussing straps in the next section.
Skyline LR 10 Straps
The Skyline LR 10’s waist straps are designed to fit torsos ranging between 17” and 21”, below which you’ll find compression straps that can help keep gear—and the internal water reservoir—close to your body. They also work to store your helmet and knee/elbow pads(?) if needed.
Up top, Camelbak implemented an adjustable sternum strap that can provide a comfortable fit for a variety of chest sizes. Between your shoulder blades, the stabilizing yoke ensures the Skyline maintains a central position on your bike, while also maximizing the range of movement.
In back, the LR10 features reflective material for early mourning or late night rides.
Related: Cygolite Hotshot Review
CRUX™ Lumbar Reservoir
At the core of the Skyline LR 10’s ability to maintain a low center of gravity is Camelbak’s Crux BPA/BPS/BPF-free reservoir, which positions its 3 liters (100 oz) of water lower down your back for improved stability and balance. As mentioned above, external compression straps also help keep the liquid close to your body and prevent excess movement.
At the other end is their Quicklink™ System, which the company advertises delivers a faster flow rate (20% more water per sip) via a Big Bite™ valve. The system also allows you to detach the hose from the reservoir, without removing the entire hose from your pack.
Once you’re properly hydrated, the LR10’s tube quickly snaps back into its magnetic trap, without taking your eyes off the trail.
|Weight||1 lb 6 oz|
|Dimensions||16.9” x 11” x 8.3”|
|Gear Capacity||7L (420 in3)|
|Water Capacity||3L (100 oz)|
|# External Pockets||6|
Here’s the thing: As of this writing, you can pick up the previous version of the Skyline LR 10 (2017) from some online retailers for as little as half the price. But, will you have to give up any essential features to save some cash?
Skyline LR 10: 2017 vs. 2018
Despite their meaningfully different design approaches, the 2017 and 2018 Skyline LR 10 versions from Camelbak share many of the same core features. These include:
- A stabilizing shoulder yoke and load-bearing hip belts
- Side panels with cargo areas
- Zippered compartment with gear organizer and tool roll
- Magnetic tube trap
- Dual reservoir compression straps
- Bottom helmet/armor storage
- Crux reservoir w/Big Bite valve and Quicklink system (30” tube)
With this said, based on the specifications listed on the Camelbak website, there are some differences—primarily related to overall size and weight, along with gear capacity to a lesser extent.
The 2018 version’s shoulder straps also appear wider, although we didn’t encounter any verification of this during our research:
|2017 Skyline LR 10||2018 Skyline LR 10|
|Price||As low as $57 from third-party online retailers||$130|
|Dimensions||15.16” x 7.87” x 7.95”||21.06” x 9.84” x 3.74”|
|Weight||1.5 lbs||2.2 lbs|
|Gear Capacity||7L (400 in3)||7L (420 in3)|
|# External Pockets||5||6|
My Experience Riding With the Camelbak Skyline LR 10
Before purchasing my previous-version Skyline LR 10 REI in 2017, I rode with a Camelbak MULE for more than a decade.
However, I fractured my collarbone in two places earlier that summer and needed something that shifted weight away from my shoulders. In an effort to find a solution, I previously tried out Camelbak’s Repack LR 4 waist-mounted system while riding the Monarch Crest IMBA Epic route, with frustrating results.
On the other hand, I’ve used the Skyline LR 10 (Black and Laser Orange color scheme) across much of the western US on singletrack, road rides when I need to carry a lot of gear, as well as a couple of short-term bike tours.
And overall, I’ve had almost wholly positive experiences:
Despite its smaller size than some other Camelbak models, as well as third-party competitors, the Skyline LR 10 is roomy enough to pack everything I need, even for a full day of riding.
In addition to a bladder full of water, this includes a spare tube, mini pump, tire levers, extra Chamois Butt’r, small pliers, a multi-tool, my Accu-Gage PR160BX air pressure gauge, elbow pads, and snacks.
I place most of these smaller necessities inside the organizer roll, which packs away neatly and allows me to know exactly where everything is when needed. I think it’s a really nice touch.
I don’t ride downhill or enduro, so I haven’t yet taken advantage of the Skyline LR 10’s helmet and armor carrying capabilities.
Compared to my old 2006 version, I’ve found the Skyline LR 10 centers its weight approximately 6” lower than a standard Camelbak reservoir, which is quite noticeable when it comes to reduced shoulder pressure.
As the bladder empties and food and other goodies dwindle during longer rides, I can quickly make small adjustments to its fit using the side straps underneath my armpits, in combination with the sternum strap. Once adjusted properly, there’s little-to-no movement or shifting during rides.
Pro tip: Unless I take the time to roll these straps up and cinch them down using the attached Velcro, they fly around while riding and drive me crazy. It’s a bit of a slow process, but in my opinion, it’s worth taking the time after adjustments.
I’m a water hog, and the Skyline’s 3L Crux reservoir provides enough for all but my longest rides.
Filling up beforehand is easy on the hands and wrists, especially as it becomes heavier since it features a contoured plastic handle just below its opening. This unscrews in just a few turns, and I’ve yet to cross threads or experience any noticeable leaks.
And with Camelbak’s Quick Link System, I’m not required to hang the bladder and my bag over the sink as I refill, which was a big complaint with my (admittedly ancient) 2006 version.
At the other end, Camelbak’s Big Bite Valve provides excellent water flow and has yet to fail on me. They’re also inexpensive to replace once they inevitably wear out.
The thumb switch just behind the valve makes it simple to completely stop the flow of water, which I think is especially useful for avoiding wet spots on rougher trails.
The magnetic tube trap is another small Skyline LR 10 feature that I appreciate, which makes it easy to secure the tube against my right strap, without even having to look.
Comfort & Ventilation
The Skyline LR 10’s back padding keeps me relatively comfortable on even the hottest rides, which slightly raise the pack away from my body to maximize airflow and minimize heat retention.
With this said, I imagine the ventilated side straps found on the 2018 Skyline LR 10 version (more soon) might provide even greater air movement and heat dissipation.
Let’s quickly discuss some additional items on my ‘wish list’ when it comes to the Skyline LR 10 before moving on.
Minor Complaints When it Comes to the Skyline LR 10
The bottom line is that I’m quite impressed with the Skyline LR 10’s ease of adjustment, lower center of gravity, ample storage, 3L Crux reservoir, and thoughtful touches like the tool roll and magnetic tube trap. Like any other cycling product, though, it’s not perfect.
First, my magnetic tube trap recently fell off its strap, leaving me to wedge my water tube between my chest strap and me. Camelbak doesn’t sell these replacements on their website, so I’ll have to contact their Warranty department instead and see what I can do.
Next, based on existing wear and tear, I’m not sure my 2017 Skyline LR 10 will last as long as my old MILE. Granted, it’s also used more often, and in more rugged conditions, so I still consider it money well spent.
I think Camelbak also designed a relatively odd bladder mounting process for the Skyline, which involves turning it completely around once it’s filled, and then sticking the handle into a special ‘pocket.’ With this said, it remains firmly in place while riding.
Finally, items placed at the bottom of the pack get ‘folded under’ the reservoir compartment, which can hide them from view—or from prying hands when you’re trying to locate something.
Consequently, this is where I store my emergency tube since it’s rarely (if ever) accessed.
Admittedly, this is more of a nitpick than anything else. In fact, perhaps it’s less of a design abnormality than Camelbak simply maximizing every square centimeter of storage space.
Skyline LR 10 vs. Camelbak MULE LR & Osprey Raptor 10
While there are hundreds of different hydration packs out there, surprisingly few exist that offer the same combination of low centers of gravity, along with similar storage and reservoir capacities, as the Skyline LR 10.
Like the pack in question, these competitors also share stretch mesh pockets, roll out tool pouches, helmet attachments, front stash and hip belt pockets, back panels maximized for airflow, blinker light attachments, and zippered trap doors for hydration reservoirs.
Here were some of the closest competitors at the time of our research, along with a comparison of their meaningful differences:
|Model||Skyline LR 10||MULE LR 15||Osprey Raptor 10|
|Size||16.9” H x 11” W x 8.3” D||20.9” H x 9.1” W x 9.8” D||20” H x 9” W x 7” D|
|Weight||1 lb||2 lbs||1.41 lbs|
|Cargo Space||420 in3 (7 L)||730 in3 (12 L)||610 in3 (10 L)|
|# Exterior Pockets||6||5|
|Bladder Size||3 L (100 oz)||3 L (100 oz)||3 L (100 oz)|
|Amazon Customer Rating||4.5 stars||4 stars||4.5 stars|
In addition, it’s worth noting that the Osprey comes with Atilon foam framesheet construction (Camelbak doesn’t provide these granular details on their website. I should also point out that their larger MULE pack features a differently designed raised back panel that could allow for greater airflow than the Skyline LR 10.
Coming to a Final Conclusion About the Skyline LR 10
Bottom line: No single bag will work for everyone. Based on my long-term experience, though, if you don’t require maximum storage space but do require minimal weight load on your shoulders, the Camelbak Skyline LR 10 offers a lot of bang-for-the-buck.
It’s all about your specific needs, though. For example, for about $20 more, you can pick up Camelbak’s MULE LR 15, which delivers a similar low center of gravity, but offers 2/3 more storage for longer rides, along with a raised back panel for potentially better airflow if you tend to run hot on the trail.
However, this larger size and weight could act as an impediment if your goal is to carry minimal gear and maximize your time in race environments.
Finally, if you want the same price, hydration capacity, and average Amazon rating, but with meaningfully more storage, make sure that you at least check out the Osprey Raptor 10 and see if its setup matches your preferences.
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