While most hydration packs are based on traditional backpack designs optimized for hauling weight, Cotopaxi’s Veloz packs were designed with free motion as the top priority. With outdoor gear design experience in their past, Cotopaxi’s founders decided to create a cross-strap system that allows for better motion, keeps your load stable and secure, and fits men and women equally well.
Veloz’s straps extend from the pack’s upper body and clip together in the middle of your chest forming an ‘X’ pattern. The Veloz is intended as a multi-sport pack, but the unencumbering design certainly makes sense for cycling- in fact we’ve already seen something like this from a major bike brand. Shimano’s X-Harness straps, which we saw on their Unzen 4 hydration packs in 2014, are quite similar in design.
The Veloz packs are on their way to production, having secured well over their funding goal in the first few days of their Kickstarter campaign…
Cotopaxi says their cross-strap system offers several advantages over traditional backpacks. To improve comfort, the top straps take the weight off the outside of your shoulders and moves it inwards towards your collarbones. The body-hugging straps also keep the pack from bouncing around while riding rough trails (or jogging). The Veloz’s creators say the design eliminates the need for a waist strap, but by comparison Shimano’s Unzen packs do include a removable one.
Since the Cruz Harness’ top straps are basically extensions of the pack’s outer shell, they naturally compress your cargo and help distribute weight evenly. This sounds great, but does beg the question- while the pack is easy to put on, (just slip one strap into the aluminum center buckle and go), would you have to adjust the straps to maintain a snug fit as you added/removed cargo?
To the delight of the fairer sex, where other brands have to offer men’s and women’s designs with different straps and ergonomics, the unisex Veloz works equally well for anyone.
The Veloz hydration packs come in 6L or 3L sizes (there’s also a Belt that fits a 250ml soft flask but that’s probably more interesting to runners). If you’re a packhorse there are much larger offerings from cycling-specific brands, but even a 3L pack can carry the essentials for shorter loops or riders who pack light.
Both pack models come with 2L hydration reservoirs which sit in their own external sleeves, and the elastic-loop hose retainers on the shoulder straps allow you to drink from whatever side you prefer. The Veloz packs are constructed from abrasion-resistant 70D Robic Nylon, and utilize Airmesh padded back panels to keep you cool.
The 6L pack features two main zippered storage compartments plus an outer stuff pouch for rain shells, gloves, etc. A see-through pocket at the bottom of the pack carries a blinker light and keeps it clean and dry. While the top straps are thin to allow mobility, the pack’s lower straps include zippered pockets for carrying small stuff.
The simpler 3L Veloz has a single zippered storage compartment with an internal mesh pouch for keys or other small items. It loses the external stuff pouch from the larger model, but retains the pockets on the lower straps.
The Veloz packs come in S/M and M/L sizes, which are determined by your chest size. Check out their Kickstarter page for sizing info, but the packs should fit anyone that measures between 31”-59”.
Kickstarter supporters can currently snag a 3L Veloz for $85 USD and a 6L pack at $100, but those prices will eventually rise to $120 and $140. Both models come in Aqua or Grey colors. Shipping is available worldwide, but it’s only free within the USA. With their funding already secured, the first Veloz packs are expected to ship in April. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.