The ‘Bak On My Back

The weather hasn’t been deathly hot since the ride that prompted me to get a Camelbak, but that hasn’t stopped me from testing it out here and there.

I tested it out on my trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park, a small trip to nowhere along 5th Avenue, and then another trip to Newtown Barge park (the starting point for Epic Ride).

On an ice cream break here, but the Camelbak is a wonderful piece of gear… so far.
One of the surprising things I’ve noticed from the get-go is how light the pack is, even with a fully filled 2L reservoir, and other quick bike essentials are packed into the various small pockets located on the pack. It’s also not an awkward shape, which I find to be a general problem as someone of a 5’2″ frame and a small back. But this pack fits nicely (thanks to the various reviews of other short women who highly recommended this!).

The back is designed to supposedly let air through so that you don’t sweat… or something like that, but let’s be honest here. You pedal. It’s sunny. It’s hot. You have something on your back. You’re going to sweat, period. There’s just no getting around that. And who gives a shit. You were on a bike, exercising your body, which is trying to cool itself via sweating. Deal.

The two zippered pockets do appear to be quite small at first glance, but a Crank Brothers bike tool, a wallet, a phone, eye drops, sunscreen stick, Nuun tablets, and some granola bars later, it’s pretty roomy. There’s even a meshed, “open” pocket for added storage for, say, stuffing the crap out of a rain jacket. I haven’t done that yet, but I have put my phone and some granola bars in there for accessibility and it’s been pretty good.

I’ve never owned a hydration pack until now, so you can imagine the awkwardness of trying to fill this thing up. The first time: I filled the reservoir up, and tried to close it. Pushed on the pack too much and water went everywhere. The second time: didn’t cap the flow tube with the mouthpiece so as I was filling it, water just spilled out all over the floor. Filling and closing the pack is something that I’ll have to get really good at after a few trial and error sessions.

Good news though! Despite preliminary water spillage before embarking on my rides, I have not experienced leakage from the pack itself while on the rides. So the gear seems solidly built.

Drying it is also pretty neat. This particular reservoir comes with little arms that you can extend to keep the sack open. Optimal drying right there, folks.

The biggest awesome factor, at least for someone who apparently is not very good at staying hydrated while biking, is the fact that the water is literally right there in your face. You cannot miss it, and because it’s always in your periphery, you get a constant reminder to hydrate. Now to properly fuel myself.

So far I have not emptied the entire 2L in one ride, but the small rides, in relation to the temperature and weather, has given me a preliminary look at how much water I drink with the pack, and how much I could be drinking on a longer ride.

The pack on my back is still in its experimental phase, so I may come back to writing a bit more once I get a longer ride in with it on. We shall see.

‘Til then, stay hydrated and pedal on.

camelbak
Three views of the Camelbak Aurora from L to R: In all its glory; pockets opened; top flap open to show reservoir hold.
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