Hydration pack pioneers CamelBak are focussing on the all-mountain/ freeride crowd for 2010 with three new heavy-duty packs – the Don, Capo and Consigliare. All feature rugged fabrics, bold looks and other special features designed specifically for gravity-inspired riding.
The £89.95 (US$120) Don is the largest of the three with a 14-litre storage capacity and three-litre bladder. Specially designed flaps and compartments are included to carry full-face helmets and armour, and a plethora of other pockets easily swallow pumps, spare parts, food, and clothing.
There's an easy-access pocket on one side with room for a mini-tool, and a lift pass sleeve on the other. A shaped and padded back panel helps keep things comfortable and reasonably dry. There's even a water-resistant compartment for sensitive electronics and a fleece-lined interior pocket for eyewear.
The Don's outer flap easily swallows a full-face helmet
The midsized £69.99 ($100) Capo can be thought of as a gravity-oriented MULE with roughly the same storage and reservoir capacities as CamelBak's top-selling bicycle pack.
As with the Don, there's a large external flap for strapping a full-face helmet and lower straps for securing armour, special compartments for electronics and eyewear, plus a slew of smaller interior and exterior pockets for the rest of your gear, and a shaped and padded back.
The Capo is CamelBak's mid-range freeride offering
The smallest pack in the new range is the £59.99 ($90) Consigliare with a two-litre bladder and reduced storage capacity for when you just need to bring a few essentials. There are still strap-on points for your full-face and pads – just less room for other gear. All of the packs should be hitting stores right about now, just in time for prime autumn riding.
The Consigliare is the smallest pack in the range
UK distributors Zyro told us: "These three packs supercede the Havoc, Mayhem and Chaos of the last three years, with no changes in price. The new packs, besides the new rider-inspired graphics, have improved main compartment organisation and are also on average 12 percent lighter in weight, in keeping with the trend in all-mountain bikes. We should have stock into shops at the start of 2010."
Go with the flow (meter)
CamelBak also showed off a novel flow meter add-on, designed to work with all of their hydration systems. This inline electronic widget uses a tiny impeller with an integrated magnet plus an external digital LCD display to measure fluid flow – think of it as a wireless computer for your hydration pack.
Why bother, you ask? Fair question for sure. More casual riders will likely see the new £24.99 ($30) flow meter as a mere novelty but hardcore endurance athletes could well find use in some of the more advanced features.
CamelBak's new inline flow meter could be a valuable resource for endurance racers
In addition to displaying the amount of fluid ingested and remaining capacity (both in terms of volume and time based on current drink rates), programmable alarms can help users maintain a preset hydration schedule – a key to peak performance in longer events, especially for those who tend to forget to hydrate in the heat of competition.
CamelBak will add a few new bottles to their range for 2010, too. To complement last year's £12.99 ($12) Podium ChillJacket, a new $20 Podium Ice will offer even more insulative ability thanks to a new aerogel liner in place of the Chill's more conventional foam sleeve.
The Podium Ice (left) and Unbottle
More casual users can grab CamelBak's stainless steel Unbottles with a vacuum-sealed, double-walled construction that can keep liquids cold – or hot – for the better part of an entire day.