3 Ways To Hydrate With 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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.