CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 Hydration Pack Review

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Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8

In 1983, the world of hydration in sports changed forever with the invention of the Camelbak Pack. The early innovation has evolved into specialty hydration packs like CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 designed with the mountain biker in mind. The early Camelbak was nothing more than a tube sock and IV bag safety-pinned to a bike rider. Today the packs like the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 not only contain large hydration reservoirs but include many other benefits for the outdoor enthusiast. The Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 has everything a rider could want from storage for bike tools, rider crash protection, large hydration reservoir, and ample room for supplies.  

Fall in the Colorado Rockies is known for cool mornings with warm days but more importantly, it is known for some of the best mountain bike riding of the year. This fall I was fortunate to be wearing the new Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 for all my mountain biking. Let me share how it performed and why this pack should be part of your cycling arsenal.  

Features of the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8

The CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 was designed around the needs of the mountain bike rider. The main feature of any Camelbak Pack is the hydration reservoir. The CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 features the Crux 3 Liter Reservoir. The Crux 3L has a leakproof oversized fill opening that also doubles as a handle. The tube has a large bite valve as well as an on and off lever. Throughout the Crux Reservoir, Hydroguard has been incorporated which prevents bacteria from growing.

Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 Crux Reservoir

Capacity of the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8

The pack itself is good sized and has a 5-liter capacity. There are a total of three pockets with one main pocket and two smaller outside pockets. The large pocket houses the Crux Hydration Reservoir as well as the CE II Level protector. The two smaller exterior pockets are super versatile and can house many different items. The top pocket is made to carry bike tools, keys, and other small objects. It is subdivided into two smaller mesh pockets for easy organization. Additionally, there is a key tether that adds a little security for the really important items. Below the upper pocket, there is a larger exterior pocket that runs most of the length of the pack. This pocket is really creative. It can be accessed from both sides by a zipper or from the top by Velcro. This allows for access when carrying a helmet. In this pocket, there is also a mesh sub pocket that helps with organization.

Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 Crux main pocket

Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 Crux small upper pocket

Built-in Protection

Within the main pocket of CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 is a semi-rigid frame called the CE Level 2 Impact Protector. This frame is in place to protect the rider from minor crashes and spills. The CE Level 2 Impact Protector can also be removed if desired.  

Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 CE ll Protector

The Camelbak T.O.R.O 8 has three straps to keep it in place even on the gnarliest of trails. There are two color coded straps on the sternum and a single waist strap.

Field Testing the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8

What an awesome pack! I have owned quite a few hydration packs over the years, and I am thoroughly impressed by the comfort, innovation, and ease of use of the Camelbak T.O.R.O 8.  

Biking with the Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8

Perfect Size

For starters, this pack has all of the features that a mountain biker could want. I find that this pack is the perfect size for the mountain biking that I do around Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Most of my rides are from 5 to 30 miles and the 8 liter pack seems to fit the bill.

The 3 liter Crux Hydration Reservoir is a great size. This summer and fall have been hot and dusty here in northern Colorado. I have found that in these conditions I have been consuming much more water than normal, and on my longer rides I find that I go through most of the water but have enough to make it back to the trail head. Along with good functionality the Crux Hydration Reservoir has been easy to use.  Around the opening of the reservoir there is a handle which makes it easy to fill. Additionally the extra large opening allows water and even ice to go in easily. The large opening cooperates most of the time and seals without a problem. However, if the threads do get crossed when sealing you will definitely notice a wet back and butt!


The Camelbak T.O.R.O 8 is great for storage. All the bike tools that I had been strapping to my bike or cramming in my seat pack fit much more conveniently in the Camelbak T.O.R.O 8. The extra space has solved the dilemma on which tools I should take and which tools should stay back at the workshop. I feel much more prepared for when an inevitable breakdown occurs to have the right tool for the job.

While the smaller pockets are great for holding smaller items like keys and tools the large pocket of the Camelbak T.O.R.O 8 is adequate for holding clothing layers. An early morning ride in the fall can have temperatures in the upper twenties and by the time the ride is finished temps could be near eighty. These drastic temperature swings make shedding layers a necessity. With the Camelbak T.O.R.O 8 there is always a place to put the extra clothing when it is not in use.

Fit and Comfort

I absolutely love the the fit of the Camelbak T.O.R.O 8 pack. Even on the bumpiest of rides the three strap system keeps the pack in place. Initially I thought having two sternum straps would be a bit overkill but they are comfortable and get the job done.  

Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 Chest Straps

My favorite comfort feature is the CE Level 2 Impact Protector. This rigid back protector makes the pack feel great on my back. The extra bit of frame keeps the firm and fitting right.  Although I have not had the opportunity to take a spill that would test how well the CE level II protector saves my back, its comfort makes it well worth keeping the pad in.  Even when hiking with the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8, I choose to keep the CE level II pad in because of its comfort.

Camelbak T.O.R.O. 8 Staying in Place

There really is nothing to complain about with the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 pack. It is one of the priciest packs out on the Camelbak website, but it is an awesome hydration pack and I feel it is well worth the cost.  

Specs on the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8

  • Mountain Bike Impact Protector™
  • ACTIVITY: Mountain Biking
  • USER: Unisex
  • HYDRATION CAPACITY: 3L/100 fl oz
  • HYDRATION TYPE: CRUX™ Reservoir with Quicklink™ System
  • GEAR CAPACITY: 5L/300 cu in
  • PACK WEIGHT: 820 g/1 lb 12 oz
  • DIMENSIONS: 48 x 26 x 21 cm / 18.9 x 10.2 x 8.3 in
  • FITS TORSO: 43-55 cm/17-21 in

Final Thoughts on the CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8

The CamelBak T.O.R.O. Protector 8 is the perfect hydration pack for any biker. With a 3 liter reservoir and additional 5 liters of storage, this pack is the right size for nearly any ride. Additionally, the integration of the CE Level 2 Impact Protector frame adds extra protection and comfort for the rider. This pack should be on your next mountain bike ride. As a side note, I do plan on taking this pack up the mountain for skiing. I feel that all the features that make this a great pack for biking will also fit the bill for skiing and backcountry adventures. For more information or on the T.O.R.O. 8 or to check one out for yourself, visit

Bennett Colvin: Bennett Colvin lives in Steamboat, Colorado and is an avid fisherman, hiker, skier, and outdoorsman. Bennett instructs fly fishing and runs youth fly fishing programs. He also is a professional fly tier and ties publicly at fly shops and expos.
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