CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM
Crankworx 2017

3 Ways To Hydrate With CamelBak 2018

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Aug 31, 2017

CamelBak 2018

The pits are silent, the lifts stalled and there's no lineup at the coffee shop. There isn't a lot going on in Whistler at 7:30am on a Saturday even when the Crankworx circus is in town. Most booths are empty but the folks at CamelBak are already good to go showing their wares. 

The category originator did a full overhaul of all their packs for 2017 to accommodate their new Crux reservoir so for the most part 2018 is a subtle re-imagining. Three exceptions are the brand new Chase Bike Vest, Kudo 10 & 20 packs with back protection and the Repack hip pack. 

Chase Bike Vest

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

CamelBak's BC rep Jared Walker walked me through and stepped up to model the lineup. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The Chase Bike Vest is low profile and designed to stay in place. Water on the back and snacks up front for a big day of racing or riding. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

Lots of venting and minimized back coverage for maximum breathability when the meat engine is redlined. The Chase sits high enough that jersey pockets should remain accessible for additional snacks. 

A tip of the water bottle to Marathon XC racers like Geoff Kabush and Katerina Nash the Chase Bike Vest is a direct result of CamelBak taking feedback from their sponsored athletes. The vest busted on the scene with wins in the men's and women's solo categories at BC Bike Race 2017 along with a number of other epic XC races. 

The Chase Bike Vest was adapted from a running product that mountain bikers had co-opted. All the water, food and emergency kit needed in a package that stays put and breathes very well. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The Chase Bike Vest is as vented as possible - back and straps - without adding the weight of one of CamelBak's more technical ventilation systems. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

There's a surprising amount of accessible storage. The Chase vest forgoes a waist belt but positioned on my back, wide straps, and double chest straps make for a very secure package. 

With easy access to a phone or camera and a well distributed load I'm very vest-curious. If it works for Geoff Kabush in the heat of BCBR 2017 then it has potential even for an engine that runs hot like mine.

The Chase will sell for $100 (USD) when it comes online closer to 2018. 

Repack

The 1.5L bladder Repack hip bag looks a lot like its predecessor the Palos but CamelBak feels the difference in performance warrants a new name and a category re-launch. The big change they're trumpeting is that the pack stays in place much better than its predecessor when the going gets technical.

The Repack also weighs about 1/2 of a PB&J sandwich less than the Palos. That's 1/2 of a PB&J sandwich that will fit nicely in the non-zippered side pocket. Go figure?

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The evolution across this category is going to be making the packs more secure on technical descents but it's also important to minimize the overall weight being strapped on. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

Jared is a hip pack user who needs a lot of water on rides so the Repack is in his ballpark. The magnetic connection holds the bladder's hose in place but easily detaches for a quick drink. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The magnetic hose lock pulls down to disengage so it can't be knocked loose by body English on the trail. It's quick and easy to remove and replace while moving. 

The Repack will sell for $75 (USD) and Cam will have a full review of the Repack coming up on NSMB in the future. 

KUDU 10 & 20

The KUDU 10 and 20 packs have a deceptively similar appearance despite one having twice the volume of the other (10L vs. 20L). This illusion is due to the back protection pads being the same dimensions on both packs. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The CamelBak KUDU 10 and 20 side by side. The 20 doesn't appear to be twice as large but it actually has more than 2x the stowage capacity of the KUDU 10. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

Protection, security and air flow: pick any two? I haven't worn the KUDU but my guess is it will run hotter than other packs like the MULE LR 15 I tested with CamelBak's Air Foil system. A worthwhile trade off for lift access or remote technical riding with a bias towards descending?

The KUDU is actually two products in one. A strap-on back protector with pockets for a snacks and a water bottle or a full blown pack when the outer sack is joined to the aforementioned back protection. CamelBak has spared no effort in the quest to make the KUDU packs stay in place when riding gets aggressive: with wide waist straps, double sternum straps and two different lengths (S/M & M/L) of back plate.

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

Mode 1: I only ride park! Back protection and room for a water bottle, snacks, a small first air kit or some tools.

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The low profile CE level 2 back protection will fit easily under a jersey for those avoiding the 'Joey' look. 

Selling for $200 and $230 (USD) the KUDU packs are premium systems. The price includes the Crux reservoir (easily the best I've used) and a good sized tool roll to keep everything organized. A rider looking for a 20L pack with back protection is likely looking to be prepared to fix mechanicals from technical terrain in the middle of nowhere. 

Both the 10L and 20L version of the KUDU use a 3L bladder so storage capacity for jackets, beef jerky and beers is 7L for the KUDU 10 and 17L for the 20 model. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

The KUDU 10 looks massive from the back for a 10L (3L bladder + 7L storage) pack. That's because of the width of the back protection panel. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

A double sternum strap, wide waist belt and the contact area of the back protection panel act to keep KUDU pack in place even when carving aggressive single track with a full load of water, food, tools and beers. 

CamelBak 2018 Crankworx AndrewM

For lighter days where back protection and bladder are still desired both models of the KUDU can be sucked down to a pretty minimal profile. 

Minimalism

More and more riders are choosing to carry the minimum level of gear for a given situation. For a ride close to home that might just be a water bottle and bumming a multi-tool if something goes sideways but as rides get longer a hip pack, Vest and finally a pack become the best product for the adventure at hand. 

I'm interested to see how riding vests evolve as CamelBak refines the product and the competition steps up. We currently have a repack and a KUDU 20 on test so stay tuned to hear how they are received.  

CamelBak's new products will be available closer to 2018 and more information will roll onto the website


Comments

shoreboy
+4
Shoreboy  - Aug. 31, 2017, 8:37 a.m.

This is more of an article layout/website function comment.  Its cool to have the scrolling pictures of the product, but a 3s interval is way too fast.  You cannot read the caption before it scrolls onto the next picture.  You also have alot of pictures scrolling by (above and below) when you are trying to read the text in between which is pretty distracting. Its difficult to take a good look at a picture and read 2 lines of captioning in the 3s window given.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Aug. 31, 2017, 8:46 a.m.

I don't know if every device is different but if I put my thumb (phone) on the images they stop scrolling. Same with the mouse cursor on my computer.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - Sept. 1, 2017, 1:22 a.m.

Safari on Mac scrolling over the pic causes them to stop auto scrolling

Reply

jonas-dodd
0
Jonas Dodd  - Aug. 31, 2017, 10:16 a.m.

I totally agree with Shoreboy on this.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Aug. 31, 2017, 10:37 a.m.

Very much appreciate the feedback! 

Would you guys prefer if the images scroll slower or if they are just static (no scrolling images)?

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+2
Merwinn  - Aug. 31, 2017, 10:44 a.m.

I'd prefer a manual scroll (click req'd) , rather than a timed scroll.

Reply

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - Aug. 31, 2017, 11:18 a.m.

I think Id prefer static too, but would want to make sure I knew that there were multiple pictures to view.  The little blue dot under the picture shows that there are more in the series, but because the blinding white background is so high, you cannot see that there are other pictures to see (normally the unviewed pictures have a 'hollow' circle to show how many pictures there are in the series).

Reply

coexist
+1
COEXIST  - Sept. 1, 2017, 8:54 a.m.

Totally agree here.  One other nit that I think needs picking is the * in the article being all the way at the bottom.  Can those be moved to the bottom of the paragraph instead.  I always read them but don't like scrolling all the down to see what they say.  I know this sounds like the ultimate first world problem but I love the content and want to see the pictures unfold as the author intends.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 1, 2017, 1:50 p.m.

Hi folks,

Apologies it took so long; the images are now static so hopefully a more enjoyable reading experience. 

Thanks for reading & for the feedback on how to make it more readable!

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 2, 2017, 10:47 a.m.

No scrolling pics. Just static pics please.

Reply

Poz
0
Poz  - Aug. 31, 2017, 11:41 p.m.

Agreed on this. Find it distracting and takes me longer to read the captions or look closer at pics. Would prefer manual.

Reply

Poz
0
Poz  - Aug. 31, 2017, 11:41 p.m.

Agreed on this. Find it distracting and takes me longer to read the captions or look closer at pics. Would prefer manual.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 1, 2017, 1:50 p.m.

Hopefully the static images work better - thank you for reading and providing feedback.

Reply

Timmigrant
+1
Tim Coleman  - Aug. 31, 2017, 8:44 a.m.

That bike vest peaks my interest. I'm always looking for a spot to stash my riding glasses during climbs. Not having to take the pack off to stash the glasses sure would be handy. One of those breast pockets looks like it'd be perfect. The other breast pocket for snacks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1
Andrew Major  - Aug. 31, 2017, 8:49 a.m.

It's the access without having to remove or rotate anything that interests me as well. It also seems to stay in place really well which is my issue with the hydration hip packs I've tried and a lot of backpacks.

Reply

Endur-Bro
+1
Endur-Bro  - Sept. 1, 2017, 1:26 a.m.

The Chase vest looks to be a combo of the Patagonia Nine Trails pack and a minimalist USWE

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 1, 2017, 8:31 a.m.

From my conversations it's easiest understood as a Camelbak running vest - they've making a long time - with the fit modified for cycling.

It is interesting how every brand in every sport is approaching efficiency/minimalism though.

Reply

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