Camelbak K.U.D.U. Protector Backpack

I now used my new(-ish) protector backpack for Grischa Muni challenge, and a few rides, so when I was bored on the train, I wrote this little review. It’s a Camelback K.U.D.U. 20 (no affiliation with the brand).

20l is a good size for me, enough to bring a jacket, water, tools, spare tube and a bit of food, and enough different pockets to keep them organized. Could probably go a bit smaller, but you can tighten down the compartments enough for it to not be an issue.

It took a while to figure out which of the 3 (three!) straps at the front needs to be tightened how much for me. But once I did, it doesn’t noticeably move around on my back, and the weight is very nicely distributed between shoulders and hip.

Now, the best feature (for me): integrated back protector. We all accept some risk of injury when riding, but I think the two part I would like to protect especially are my brain that’s why I wear a helmet for Muni), and my spine. Nothing will protect you 100%, and even with the best safety equipment, common sense is still the most important part of not getting injured. But I think a back protector could really save my ability to walk by keeping rocks out of my spine one day, so I think it’s a good addition to my safety equipment.

The back protector is detachable from the rest of the backpack, which I tried out for the first time today. It made me much more comfortable with rolling after a bail (compared to with a backpack, or without a protector) and also is barely noticeable on my back. I wasn’t so shure on how secure it would feel without the “bag” on it, but it stayed in place really well.

Other cool things: easy to strap a helmet to, phone pocket on the hip strap, provision for a drinking bladder (I don’t use one, but if you do, that’s probably nice).

Overall, I’d recommend it (although durability is yet to be proven.) I haven’t heard anything particularily bad about Camelbak products, so I’m not concerned

Thanks for the review. I like the idea of an integrated back protector. How is ventilation on the back? I guess it is getting quite warm as it need to fit tight? Can it take a 3L bladder?

Yes, ventilation is close to zero. I prefer a sweaty back over a backpack that moves around though, and any well ventilated backpack I’ve tried so far doesn’t feel very secure, so it’s not worse than any other backpack I’ve used before.

It will take a 3L Water bladder. I’m not sure if it will take any brand, or only the Camelbak reservoir though.

There are quite a few backpacks with protectors out there (thanks to the rise of all mountain/enduro mountainbike I guess), so it’s worth looking around. The fact that the K.U.D.U can be used as just a protector too is what made me buy it over other brands.