The 2014 Camelbak hydration packs get lots of bright colors to match the vibrant clothing collections from most mountain bike gear brands.
They’ve also added new lighter Mule XV and Lobo XV packs that slim down the features slightly to drop weight. XV stands for Cross Ventilation and refers to the new lightweight padding system on the back.
We also got our first look at the excellent new Jet Valve on the revised Podium bottles spotted at PressCamp this summer, and they finally made an insulated mug specifically for hot beverages…
More colors and models.
The Lobo (left) gets a revised “beaver tail flap” front fill access. That makes it good for 24 hour races and such, speeding up pit stops by not requiring the pack to be removed for a crew member to refill it. The old style had an outward facing fill, too, this one just adds a bit more volume to the upper pocket and a more coherent look.
The NV pads are pretty soft and look like they should vent well enough. The shape and idea is modeled after the articulating NV pod pads they introduced last summer.
The XV models have thin removable waist straps and lose the side pockets.
The Mule NV on the left looks overbuilt compared to the Mule XV on the right, but gives you more storage options in the same capacity. The XV lack of the front slot zip pocket on the outside and those aforementioned side pockets on the waist belt. The material is thinner, too, so if you’re rough on your packs, the NV will take more abuse.
The new bottles won’t start shipping for at least a month, and we can’t wait. The shape of the bottle itself is streamlined by losing the indented ridge and replacing it with twisted “Velocity” ridges. Those help it maintain shape and give you something to grab when pulling it out of the cage. They also make it easier to squeeze.
Even more exciting is the new Jet Valve cap. The original trapped the blue valve under a secondary cap that was very difficult to remove and tended to build up funk. The new design has a larger diameter opening and contains the valve within the top. It’s much easier to pull off and will make cleaning both easier and more likely to happen. Considering many of us use these around our offices on a daily basis, that’s welcome news indeed.
The new Forge stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee cups are also welcome news. Ready to geek out? I spent an inordinate amount of time talking to Seth and Kevin about these, and it’s really interesting all of the thought that goes into designing something like this:
- The slope and shape of the top is designed to let the coffee slowly come to your mouth so you can test the temperature, then flow quickly enough for proper drinking when you tilt it a bit more.
- To drink, grab the cup at the top and squeeze the blue lever (under the carabiner clip). That slides the top blue piece backward just enough to open the port. The spring rate on these preproduction samples was a bit high, meaning you had to squeeze a little harder than you might want to over the course of a full mug. So, they’ll drop the spring rate down by about 2/3 so it’s super easy to squeeze but still strong enough to seal properly.
- The fluid port is wide open and not moving fluid through any intricate valves or channels that could trap liquid and lead to funk.
- When you remove the lid, the blue valve slides further back and lets the seal fully escape the port, at which point it will automatically flip up for easy cleaning. When the lid’s on the mug, the lever can’t travel far enough for this to happen, so it won’t accidentally pop up and cause a spill.
- A soft impact cap was placed on the base so it won’t dent as easy and possibly bust the vacuum if you drop it.
- The 12oz will fit under a Keurig and is good for Euros that like petite coffees. There’s a 16oz for the rest of us.
Retail is $29 (12oz) and $30 (16oz), available in March or April.
The Mud Cap is a little item they’ve offered for a while but we hadn’t seen. If you routinely ride in foul conditions or on trails shared by horses and dogs, this little guy will keep the crud/crap from spraying into your drink hole. They’ll eventually have a version for the new Podium bottle Jet Valves, too.