Camelbak showed off a few new bags at Press Camp, but their real story was the new reservoirs. Apparently, I’m not the only one that bitched and moaned everytime I tried to wrench open the screw cap because they’ve completely redesigned the entire fill hole. Now, it only needs about a quarter turn to open, and from my own testing over the past week, it opens and closes quite easily whether it’s full or empty or anywhere in between.
But wait, there’s more! They’ve improved on virtually every aspect and introduced a few new features that are pure genius. Click on thru to see all the improvements and an explanation for that stealth bomber shaped bladder, too…
The new fill port screws open and closed easily, using just less than a quarter turn as illustrated by the two silver circles.Â You don’t actually have to line up the arrow with those circles either, it’ll insert pretty much anywhere.Â The fill hole is now 88.1mm wide, which Camelbak claims is the largest opening of any hydration bladder out there.
Notice that handle? It’s been perforated, and the material is a harder plastic than before. Overall, the changes made the reservoir’s cap 19% lighter than before (about 6% lighter for the whole reservoir, if you’re counting).
The next change is that the bladder is now wider with an internal baffle to keep it from “sausaging” out and creating a big round bulge, something sure to intimidate that lovely barista aprÃ©s ride. Now, the full bladder has a 24% lower profile:
You may have noticed that the hose isn’t attached to the reservoirs in these photos…
Camelbak has finally followed Hydrapak in this regard, making a quick release connection for its hoses. After a few clicks and connects, it actually feels like it disconnects slightly easier than Hydrapak’s, too, but time and usage will really tell. We have a couple of these new bladders we’re playing with for the next month or so.
Taking advantage of the new quick disconnect feature, they’ve created a new inline carbon taste filter. It’s not a purification system, it’s only intended to make water from lousy areas taste better, but it’s small, light and easy to use. Oh, and they say it creates no flow restriction. Hopefully, we’ll be putting that to the test soon, too.
Another great new feature are the integrated drying arms. They flip out from the handle and squeeze the bladder into an open shape. Just hang it upside down, flip the arms open and let it dry. (Or, if you’re just running water, simply disconnect the hose and throw it in the fridge and it’s good for at least a week or more…that’s what I do, try it at your own risk.)
Lastly, all their new packs for 2011 (meaning the ones you’ll be buying later this year) have integrated mini sleeves on the front of the reservoir’s pocket to hold the handle and keep the bladder upright. All packs have also been redesigned with “3D” stitching to create an physical pocket that allows for the full reservoir’s space without impeding on your cargo’s space as much as before. It’s not a rigid system, so it’s still going to compress things a bit, but because of the new flatter bladder shaping and the pre-molded space for it, the back of the pack stays flatter and cargo inside is more easily accessible.
So, about that new reservoir shape: It’s made to fit in the lower lumbar area of their new Octane LR packs, a lightweight race pack that puts the water weight low on your back. It’s seductively modeled here by Ron Koch at Bicycle/Mountain Bike (tempting, no? No.) and we’ll cover that and their other new packs on a separate post.