Tony Apuzzowrote a review of CamelBak Octane 18X Hydration Pack - 823-1098cu in on September 22, 2013
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I bought this pack after trying out several similar packs. Most "endurance" packs have too many gimmicks and end up weighing a ton empty. Not this one, it's dramatically lighter than many similarly capacious packs.
Camelbak seems to have targeted the "minimalist" niche with this pack. It is light, spacious and fits close to the back. Yes, this does lead to it being a bit warm, but for mountain biking, having the pack tight and low on your back is key for maintaining maneuverability over technical terrain.
The suspension in this pack is excellent, it holds a heavy load better than most of the beefier packs. I went to a local outfitter to test this pack in comparison to several others. This pack held more beanbags more comfortably than any other similar pack.
The waist-belt pockets are fairly spacious and don't dump their contents immediately if you forget to re-zip them. I like the "phone" pocket on the shoulder strap for holding 2 or 3 gels at the ready, but it's too small to hold a modern smartphone.
The superior Camelbak bladder helps to justify the cost.
The only improvement, I'd suggest is to supply side-load water-bottle pockets.
(Edited to remove specific competitor brand names.)