*CAMELBAK BFM*
By: wvamedic
02 August 2006

I have purchased a Camelbak BFM pack. I was also issued one recently at work. I have had the time to play around with it and have found it to be a great BOB or 3 day pack.

The hydration system itself is a 100ounce / 3 liter bladder with CamelBak's usual drink tube, cut-off switch and bite piece. You are also able to add an additional reservoir internally and up to two more on external straps for a total water supply of 12 liters if you're in a situation where you need a large water supply. Also, the bite-piece is interchangeable to work with protective masks (HydroLink) - and the change can be done with one hand. Click off one and click on the other. Of course, the drink tube integrates an on/off switch known as HydroLock. The drink tube can be channeled either direction out of the top of the pack to suit your preference for having the tube on your left or right side. The shoulder straps have additional straps to help channel the tube and hold it in place.

 

Just like on some of the other CamelBak systems, the reservoir is removable through a zippered opening making it easier to fill. On some of the hydrations systems it's not always easy to completely fill the reservoir and, after all, what's the point of having a three-liter reservoir if you only put 2.5 liters in it? Being able to easily remove, fill and replace the reservoir adds to the ease of use for this system.

Now let's move on to the pack. With published dimensions of 21" x 13" x 10", the BFM sports more than 2500 cubic inches of storage space. That space is easily accessible because of the "clamshell" design. What that means is that the zipper to get into the cargo space unzips all the way down so that the flap is connected only at one end and the whole pack opens up. Additionally there are three external pockets that add another 200+ cubic inches of space. If that's not enough, attachments points make the BFM compatible with MOLLE pouches or STRIKE gear from Blackhawk according to Camelbak info.

Inside the pack there are pre-positioned straps to support many types of handheld radios and the top of the pack has antenna holes built in. The antenna holes are covered by Velcro-secured nylon flaps to keep them closed if you're not carrying a radio. To keep the pack secure and comfortable, CamelBak designed it with an internal aluminum frame and good amounts of padding to serve two purposes: one, to keep air flow between the pack and your back, and two, to properly position the pack on your back so as not to fatigue different muscles unnecessarily. The lower lumbar support is really built up nicely and is integrated into the waist belt that is also padded and is four inches wide all the way around the hips. Your waist size will affect how far around the padded part comes.

All of the storage spaces are equipped with cinch straps to keep your load more secure while on the move. Inside the pack are multiple zippered mesh pockets to carry miscellaneous items and on the outside of the back flap is a zippered map pocket that permits easy access. This pocket can hold many more things than just maps. In my uses with the BFM, I've found the exterior side pockets perfect for carrying food-stuffs, and CamelBak's info on the BFM says they fit MRE pouches. This pack is certainly sufficient for BOB or 3 day bag. There is also a carry handle that's on top of the bag - that could double as a drag handle if the BFM is being worn by a downed man/woman. With the pack being constructed almost entirely of abrasion-resistant 1000D Cordura (nylon), it should hold up well under the most extreme conditions.

The pack comes in many different colors with 3 different camo configurations. You can find the pack anywhere from $150.00-$189.00 from many different vendors. See pictures below from the Camelback website.

I would recommend the BFM as a great BOB, as I have configured mine to be just that.
wvamedic



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