Monday, April 26, 2010



Women Specific Low Profile Pack MAGIC™ and New Wearable Hydration Top

Words, Images Judith Eocchard
Stock Images from Camelbak website

Our hiking buddies always give us a hard time for our beverage of choice when we tackle the mountains…coffee or some souped up energy drink.

Now that the type of physical challenges we endure…has changed for now, meaning putting in the hours for a triathlon finish that won’t embarrass us…

We totally GET the need for portable hydration systems that can crush the thirst …but won’t crush our time.

CAMELBAK® is dominant in the hydration system category…and lucky us, we got to try out two products that are women specific…meaning designed/engineered to fit a gal’s torso with a slimmer harness that narrower and curvier than the guy’s versions. 

And this makes a huge difference when one of our goals is to go really fast without any impediments--- but with water on demand.

The MAGIC™ (MSRP $75) external fill hydration pack is appropriately named…

It’s a low profile aimed at mountain bikers going on 2+ hour jaunts. What we loved…


The adjustable straps, particularly the repositioned sternum strap allowed for a snug, contoured fit. Although we just wore a base layer, clearly this pack adjusts over anything we might be wearing up top. 

Plus, there are ‘strap management’ straps so that the other straps aren’t flying around.

The Magic ---also is shorter in length and the lower profile insured that we never encountered a bump up with our bike helmet. We probably could use this pack to rock climb in=== as the waistband is adjustable…and removable.

Smartly, there’s mesh padding for cushy, breathable comfort, specifically a proprietary Air Director™ back panel with Air Mesh and Velvetex lining that keeps us on the go without annoying, sweat inducing or chafing discomfort.

And two roomy outer zipped u shaped pockets with inner mesh nets to keep all our electronic gizmos and repair kits secure (200 cubic inches)…and extra mesh netting on both sides perfectly sized for energy bars and/or a portable air pump.
NICE---the easy access 72 oz OMEGA™ HydroTanium™ Reservoir is quickly sourced via a lift up, top outer pocket, and is totally spill proof with a secure cap. The water was super cold on our two-hour ride as the reservoir is insulated. We figure when it gets insanely toasted, we can toss in a few ice cubes too.

On the company website, we noticed several models of portable hydration packs for specific outdoor adventures in addition to gender specific designs.
There’s also an entire selection of external packs for the military that we thought beyond cool, let alone functional!!!!


Talk about genius!!!  As we are a tad wobbly on our new tri bike, the idea of grabbing the water bottle and sipping away while maintaining balance at lightening fast speeds--- is not an option at the moment.


We were very motivated to try out the new wearable hydration tops that are for bikers (the one we tried) and for runners.

Right off, the idea of wearing our water is smart…we have done long distance runs and hate wearing those running belts with bottles…so we just carry a bottle…a technique we find less annoying.

But on a long bicycle ride this morning, we tried the Camelbak Velobak (MSRP $130)…

We liked the fit…like a second skin that felt comfy snug similar to chafe free compression wear…but (mercifully) yielded up when we filled the reservoir with water and that slid it into the upper back pocket.

And the top was easy to get into, as there are two zippers for access.

Plus since there’s a removable air mesh/insulated insert in the reservoir pocket (one of three!!!), that can be removed and used for stashing a jacket…but also securely encapsulated the filled 72 oz /2.1 liter capacity bladder…even as it slowly deflated (we drank)…the moisture wicking textile really retains it shape/self adjusts---and that serves a valuable purpose on many fronts.


The reservoir hauls 72 oz. and is made of OMEGA™ HydroTanium™ a super strong polyurethane film for tensile strength and burst resistance should we take a nasty spill.

Nice---two openings to swing the Big Bite™ ergonomically flawless valve to either side and a HydoLock™ that can shut off the flow.

During a bike race…we think this top is a no-brainer.

INFO: CAMELBAK does not do e-commerce but their site has links to on and offline retailers.