CamelBak's product range has always been expansive, and has often been innovative too – remember the sleek hydration packs seen under roadies' jerseys in a few TT's a couple of years ago? At Eurobike 2017 it was showing a couple of interesting new products, for two very different sets of riders.
Mountain bike packs
First off is an updated Kudu pack, joined by the smaller and all-new Toro pack.
The Kudu is the brand's all-mountain / enduro pack which came out in 2015. This year sees the pack updated with a couple of neat features. As with the original, there's integrated back protection. While it's not a hard protection, the multi-layer, multi-density foam padding is said to offer decent levels of back protection in case of a fall.
The protection sits inside its carrier, and is held against the body with a wide waist strap and two chest straps – CamelBak says that if the pack isn't held stable, it's less likely to do its job in a crash, so a snug fit is necessary.
The pack itself has many of the features we've come to expect from CamelBak's packs – internal dividers mean easy and efficient access to your kit, the reservoir is one of the best on the market, and there are rain covers and volume controllers aplenty.
What we really like about the Kudu, though, is that the luggage part of the pack can be removed from the protection part, so you can effectively ride with just the back protector. The luggage part simply zips off the protection part, which has a couple of small pockets attached, so you can still just about carry the basics with you.
The Toro takes many of the same ideas, but puts them in a smaller package. It's more aimed at trail riders, as well as e-bike riders, apparently. This is because e-bikes mean more people are able to ride farther and faster, and so can benefit from the additional protection. The smaller Toro pack's protection is a slimmed-down (in width) version of that found in the Kudu, but it doesn't have the removable storage concept.
CamelBak has always been strong on the running hydration side of things, and it has taken this knowledge and applied it to the growing gravel sector, with the Chase Bike Vest.
As the name suggests, it's a simple vest system with a 1.5 litre reservoir in the back and two pouches on the front of the chest. These can carry food and spares, and/or an additional Quick Stow flask.
The idea is that gravel riders are likely to want additional water and nutrition supplies, but without the bulk of a traditional riding pack, when travelling longer distances on rough terrain, where bottle cages and frame bags might not be quite appropriate.
The wide shoulder straps look well ventilated and should be pretty comfortable, and are secured with a pair of chest straps.
There's a neat chest/sternum protector coming, too, for users of GoPros (other action cameras are available), made of the same protective foam used on the Kudu and Toro.
While chest-cams offer some of the best visuals on the bike, there's always the odd story knocking about of someone cracking chest bones during a stack. The added protection should help with this, while the substantial strapping should, we hope, offer a stable fit.