The name Repack holds some pretty historic meaning in mountain bike culture. After all, the sport's founding fathers practically created the sport while sliding sideways down fireroads during a race called Repack. Some say it was because they had to repack their coaster brake rear hub, others say it had to do with repacking a popular herb in a pipe. Either way, the name is burned into the off-road legacy.
It's also a fitting name for CamelBak's second attempt at creating a hip pack (or fanny pack or bum bag). The Repack LR is aimed at enduro riders and any mountain biker who needs more than a bottle for hydration but doesn't want a full-on backpack.
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CamelBak Repack LR specs
- 1.5 litre (50oz) reservoir
- Six pockets
- Cargo capacity: 2.5 litres / 150 cubic inches
- Waist fit: 71-116cm / 28-46 inches
- 581 grams with reservoir and hose
A vastly improved waistband
Like many others, I expect any water-carrying device bearing the CamelBak logo to be first rate, with all the big and little details thought out. Sadly, CamelBak's first foray into the waist-mounted bag world, the Palos LR4, wasn't its best showing, with excess movement when fully loaded and a waistband that needed constant tightening.
The Repack LR remedies all of those things. The waist adjusters have an additional buckle design taken from hiking packs. They're cinched forward, which makes it easier to get leverage against the bag. The important thing is that, once adjusted, the straps stay snug. Even when jammed full of water and trail essentials, the Repack LR manages to ride well.
CamelBak Repack LR hip pack ride impressions
The size of the Repack LR is ideal for almost any ride up to four hours. There's a decent amount of storage for a tube, patches, tyre levers, multi-tool, a couple of energy bars, and a real, useable mini pump.
Even though the updated retention system is vastly superior to that used on the Palos, in typical bum-bag fashion it needs to be snugged down tight. Both of us agreed the snug fit was more noticeable before riding than while pedaling or moving around on the bike.
There are loops near the front of the pack to manage the excess adjustment strap ends to keep the pack tidy.
The hose is long enough to easily drink from while pedaling, and a small magnetic clasp keeps the hose secured to the pack and holds the bite valve in place through the roughest terrain.
The lockable bite valve is a welcome component that prevents leakage when the Repack is tossed into a vehicle to or from the trail.
It's been noted before, but it's worth repeating, CamelBak's reservoir, hose and mouthpiece are some of the best in the business — no funky taste, good water flow, non-leaky valve, and an easy-open lid with a mega-wide opening. The Repack's 1.5L (50oz) continues that tradition. Its bladder lacks the quick disconnect hose, and, because of the pack's small size, filling the reservoir up at the sink was easy.
On the trail, we loved the waist-belt pockets. Having one as zippered and one as a foldover pocket is a nice touch. The zippered pocket is ideal for storing a phone or multi-tool, while the easy-access foldover pocket is great for storing mid-ride nutritionals, such as an energy bar or gel.
Our gripes with the Repack are very few. It can be a bit tricky to find the magnetic hose clasp while riding. Also, one nice feature on the Palos, which was missed on the Repack, was the external tool compartment that folded down, rather than to the side. It's an easier way to access tools and other essentials than the side-opening pocket with its double zippers.
CamelBak Repack LR bottom line
The Repack LR is a return to form for the company that invented the hydration pack segment. It rides well, hauls and organises gear and water brilliantly, and maintains its fit no matter how many shapes you throw out on the trail.
Unless you need to haul a lot of water or gear, the Repack LR is the best way to get the bag off your back. Enduro, all-mountain, or plain, good old mountain biking, we recommend it to anyone who's in need of a new hydration pack.