CamelBak Delta-5 Hydration Vest Part Dos

At BFE Labs, we’re doing things differently. We’re taking some unconventional approaches in what we review, and how. By using different environments and uncommon purposes for some items, we can offer a greater contribution to the community knowledge pool than if we repeated the circumstances and settings of every other review written for any given product. Taking equipment, tools and techniques to the limit, across a range of circumstances, is the only way to truly prove them. This is one of the driving reasons why we’ve been evaluating load bearing equipment during extreme wilderness use, primarily during abandoned mine exploration.
These evaluations, beginning with the 5.11 Chest Rig, and continuing with James Mac’s evaluation of the CamelBak Delta 5, are not the typical weekend on the gun-range evaluation that many readers are used to seeing in the popular tactical media. There is reason to this madness, and that reason is to provide a more complete picture of what these products can do, under a wider range of circumstance, than the typical evaluation.
We hope you find the same value in this approach that we do, and welcome your feedback!

Continuing this approach, we’re pleased to bring you the second installment of James Mac’s review of the CamelBak Delta-5 Tactical Hydration Vest.
James Mac is a technician at one of the premier weapons test facilities in the Western US, and brings a diversity of experience in engineering and the outdoors to the table.

CamelBak Delta-5 Hydration Vest Part 2:

After numerous trips into abandoned mines in the area, I remain pleased with how the CamelBak Delta 5 is holding up. I am impressed with this vest as a valuable option. It contains almost all of the bare-minimum gear that I want in just about any outdoors activity, be it hiking, camping, or subterranean exploration. What gear could not fit on the vest fits well in a thigh rig that I have setup as an addition to the vest. The Delta 5 holds enough water for a couple of hours of hiking or several hours of mine exploration. It also packs a blowout kit, a handgun, a pair of small binoculars, radio, compasses, MRE’s, E-tool, boo-boo kit, and climbing hardware.

In the previous review “CamelBak Delta-5 Tactical Hydration Vest”, the layout and construction of the PALS webbing was praised. I would reiterate those praises. This quality of build allows the possibilities of gear attachment and placement to be just about endless. I continue to play with the layout of my vest, and plan to continue tweaking it until it is as good as it gets. This will probably mean having an adjustable layout for each activity, subterranean (with and without rope), hiking, camping, etc.

I’ve placed the items, (handgun, blow-out kit, binoculars, radio, compasses), that I might need at a moments notice up front where they are easily accessible. The items that would likely require removing the vest or having a buddy access were placed on the back of the vest (E-tool, boo-boo kit, MRE, climbing hardware).
The little touches that Camelbak included have proven themselves also. In particular the metal D-rings that are attached to the vest at the shoulders – I attached a carabiner to one of the D-rings to assist in cleaning rope, while going up a rickety ladder in a mine. It was nice to have my hands free while not worrying about the rope falling back down the hole. The belt attachment system is also nice, allowing the vest to stay firmly in place no matter what angle my torso is at, even when ending up crawling on hands and knees or sliding face first down inclines.
During rappelling the Delta 5 does not interfere with the rope or rappelling device. It provides ample room for use with a climbing harness (it gets a little crowded around the middle, but that seems unavoidable if rappelling with gear). I look forward to testing the vest further on rope, particularly during ascents.

The overall vest is holding up very well to all of my use/abuse. There are no busted stitches or threads, no rips in the material, and nothing has just fallen off [We’ve experienced all these issues with inferior gear in the mines. Ed.]. The construction of the vest is impressive. I have been very impressed with how the vest wears and handles the various situations I have thus far thrown at it. It has been hiking, scrambling/climbing, rappelling, down mines and caves, and it performs flawlessly.

I would recommend this piece of kit for anybody who needs their gear close by but doesn’t want/can’t have a pack. The possibilities and situations that this vest can be setup for and used in are literally infinite. I am going to use this vest for a long time to come, and I plan to get at least one more for more urban uses.

CamelBak Delta-5 Specs:
Hydration Capacity: 102 oz. [3.1L] (OMEGA™ Water Beast reservoir)
Cargo Capacity: 500 oz. [8.2L]
MOLLE compatible front and rear
Ambidextrous, no-slip butt stock seating
Ambidextrous metal sling/accessory attachment points
Velcro for ID and patches
Adjustible to fit most sizes, with or without body armor.
Heavy-duty, low profile drag handle

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