If you’re anything like me, opening a box full of new shiny kit is just like being a kid at Christmas! I had that excited feeling recently as I opened up the delivery of new Camelbak 2013 Hydration Packs that had just arrived at the warehouse. Reaching inside I pulled out the first of a batch of bags ready to put onto the Ae7 website. Camelbak have been around for a while now and it was at some point in the 90’s when I first came across them. I can’t even remember who it was that first had one amongst all the lads but I do remember one bloke in the military rocking up at the start of a little expedition into the hills proudly standing with the tube coming out of his bergan (rucksack). He was very pleased to have discovered a new way of staying hydrated only to be shot down by one of the Sergeants “What the f**k is that thing? … a f***ing what? … get yourself back to planet earth … f**k all wrong with your standard issue black water bottle … now get down and give me 50 press ups … Camel f***ing hump … maniac” or words to that affect!!
Times have moved forward and now the military is probably the biggest user of this great system that was designed & refined for cyclists.
2013 has seen Camelbak tweek as opposed to overhaul a range of their bags. We’ve just took hold of Classic 2.0L, M.U.L.E. (MULE), MULE NV, H.A.W.G. (HAWG) NV, Aurora, Agent and Alpine Explorer packs and we’re waiting on several more lines including the kids Skeeter packs to come in soon.
The Classic 2L is perfect if you are all about minimalism. Fill it up, stick it on your back and go. Perfect on your bike or even if your heading out for a run.
The MULE and MULE NV are well designed, well though out packs, ideal for a day on the trails. Probably my favourite feature on this bag is the back pocket which zips open to give easy access to an area designed to keep spares/tools/snacks in handy individual pocket compartments … neat. The NV is more expensive, slightly bigger and has a built in rain cover and waist belt pockets amongst the features. Colours are always important for those fashionable types amongst us and Pirate Black and Poppy Orange are among the choices with the MULE. It’s been a hot debate in the Ae7 office as to the difference between Pirate Black and normal black! We’re no further foward really, if you have an insight into colour schemes perhaps you can share this knowledge!
The Aurora is built for the ladies. It’s been around for a while and it’s nice and simple. You won’t get much equipment inside but for a few spares, snacks and of course your fluids, it’s ideal and lightweight.
The Agent is made for full day big mountain/downhill riding. It’s genuinely well designed and you’ll get a s**t load of kit inside this pack, way more than you think when you initially look at it. It’s feels sturdy as well and sits really well on your back.
The Alpine Explorer is a new one for Ae7. We got it because its a sweet bag that’s designed for the Alpine environment yet it’s small enough to be able to able to throw on your back when you jump on your bike. Camelbak Mountain Bike packs are generally built for anything from a quick spin to a day out and sometimes you struggle for space if you’re going on a fairly big adventure or an overnight trip and want to carry a lightweight shelter/sleeping bag. The Alpine Explorer fits this perfectly, giving you a pack that you can get kit inside and still be able to ride without feeling your about to topple over the way you would carrying a full on 40 litre + mountain pack. Compression straps let you crank it in if your not carrying as much or when you put extra layers on.
The HAWG NV is the pack for me, I have to say. It’s comfortable to wear and Camelbak seem to just get it right in terms of size, fit & design with this bag.
Everyone has there own Camelbak of choice though, some people carry less, some people carry more and some people just can’t get a bag big enough! Each to their own and thankfully Camelbak will have something to suit your needs. If not there’s always standard issue British Army Black Water Bottles … fit into any bag!
www.Ae7.com … Scotland’s Online Bike Store!