ok so im looking at getting a camelbak for scenario and big game play. i wear a valken v-tac echo pack and i want to just wear the camelbak underneath it. anyone have any suggestions for which camelbak to get? i've been looking at the thermobak im just wondering if the profile is goingto be too high on my back. i know there is a pouch for a water bladder on the pack but i dont really wanna use that.. so any suggestions i would love to hear. thanks!
I used to wear a Camelback Mule with a belt pack (never found a vest I liked) but I think the Mule would be too big to wear under your vest. In fact, I think most Camelbacks would, unless you got one of the really tiny ones. At that point, you would probably do just as well to put a sport bottle in one of your pod slots.
I'll echo robot0ninja's question - why not use the hydration features already built into the vest?
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Check on ANS gear, they actually have some Pod Shaped water bottles that will slip right into your pod pack. It's what I plan to use for Scenario games, as I don't like to have to carry more then 4 pods at a time, but I have a 6+1 holder (yay BST )
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I own a Valken Echo Vest. The main problem with this pack is the fact the water bladder pouch is small. According to Valken a 1 liter pouch fits in there. However, I have not been able to obtain a 1 liter bladder from a number of local outdoor stores. The largest one which caters to a large camping and hiking scene doesn't carry anything smaller than 50 oz or 1.5 liters. This is ironic since a Valken rep at an event told me 32 oz or 1 liter bladders were common and were able to be purchased anywhere. That is my biggest peeve with the Echo vest. Overall it is comfortable to wear but lacks in hydration.
If I try to fit my MULE pack under the echo vest, it is not comfortable. Then again the MULE is more of a stand alone hydration and day pack and I have used in paintball with a standard 4 3 or 5 4 packs as well as the 6 or even 8 and one packs. I don't see any of the camelbak products fitting under the Echo vest.
I'm retooling for this year. Personally, I'm going the Valken Tango vest route. I will get the modular set up for pods and pouches as well as have a 70 oz or 2 liter bladder capacity built in. This should be a better experience than when I had a NXe scenario Vest which was a pain to use IMHO. The only thing that was nice was the fact I could use the 100 oz bladder from my MULE pack.
Good Luck with your quest. I hope my input helps you with your decision.
I hit up Walmart, spent $10, and got a bladder which slips into the hydration pocket in my Valken vest. You don't have to spend a ton of money to get something that works just fine. I try to remember to wear it every weekend to make sure I'm staying hydrated because it gets ridiculously hot here in Central Florida. My only gripe is the pocket for the bladder isn't as deep as it should be, but it works. You may want to have a buddy help you hold the top of the bladder while putting the vest on so it doesn't fall over. Once your vest is on, it works like a champ.
For those echo vests, there were a couple of guys I ran with at several events who modded the bladder pouch. They cut out the stitching and added more mesh/fabric to the pouch and restitched. They were able to haul a 2 L bladder for games.
That is one reason I would suggest getting a vest with a larger bladder pouch.
Best thing I could recommend would be to buy a Camelbak Sabre pack if you want to wear it under a vest. It has one of the lowest profiles of any Camelbak system. And it is cost-effective and not like a cheap Walmat piece of junk.