Words by Andrew Lee // Photos by Chili Dog
Hydration is one of the most important yet overlooked things during a ride. Unless you have a water boy named Adam Sandler following you up and down every trail, you need an effective way to carry that sweet nectar to hydrate your medulla oblongata. For those who don’t have a water bottle mount on their frame and despise the thought of wearing a backpack, CamelBak offers a waist mounted hydration pack. The Repack is aimed at folks who prefer to keep the weight low, off of their shoulders and may not need a day’s worth of water for their 2-hour rides. Intrigued? I was, especially because CamelBak’s last attempt at the 80’s throwback water pouch was a miss in my book. I was hopeful that the new Repack would check all the boxes off and be the product I knew CamelBak is capable of producing.
The first thing I noticed about the Repack was an improved strap layout and overall design compared to the previous iteration. While fanny packs are traditionally wrapped around the waist, the Repack is built to sit just above your waistline and be supported by your lower back. Putting the weight there keeps the pack planted and offers good support to keep it stable while you get rowdy. There is a zippered pocket on the left side of the strap that is easily accessible, but did not fit my iPhone 6 with an Otterbox Defender case. While my case is on the bigger side, I feel that even with a smaller case an iPhone 6 would still not fit well and definitely wouldn’t be easily accessible while on the trail. The pocket on the right side is similar in size but is just a fold type pocket meaning there is no zipper. Again, while easily accessible, this pocket doesn’t fit large phones but could be used for other things like trail snacks.
Moving to the back, storage space becomes more abundant– four liters to be precise. Even while holding 1.5 liters of your favorite beverage, the Repack still has ample room to bring all your trailside necessities and a small divider to keep your contents and bladder separate. While testing I always kept it full of water but came to the conclusion that I liked it about 2/3 full. Once you take a good few drinks from it, the pack loses its bloated feel and conforms to your back. This ultimately led to a more comfortable and secure fit since it held tighter to my body. I was also able to carry a multi-tool, tire tool, 29er tube, mini air pump, quick patch kit and snacks. Some of you might wish to lug around more or less than I do and this pack will surely accommodate.
Last year I bought a Palos, CamelBak’s first fanny pack. It lasted three miles before I turned back to never wear the thing again. The Palos was in desperate need of a better strap system as it had too much movement and just did not hold adjustment. Needless to say, I was stoked to see that CamelBak ditched the Palos style strap for a simple, yet effective cinch system on the new Repack. The fit still relies on cinching the straps down a few times during a ride as the bladder gets smaller in size, but the much larger straps make for a far more secure fit when the going gets rough.
I’ve had a good few months with this pack now, riding everything from XC and enduro trails to laps at the bike park. I have yet to find a reason to not bring it with me. Filling it is OK and does take an extra minute compared to a bottle, but it’s only a minor setback especially on bikes that don’t fit a bottle cage. The Repack carries enough water for me to ride 2 hours in the SoCal summer heat but is light enough to never hold me back. The inner padding utilizes a mesh material to increase breathability and comfort. It does do a fair job of keeping the sweat to a minimum. The hydration hose is routed from the right and is hooked via a small magnet on the left. While this does provide easy access to water during riding, it is not the simplest to hook up when doing anything but slow, easy spinning. It’s easy to use when stopped although with a bit of practice it becomes more natural on the fly.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The issues I had with the Palos are now long gone and I couldn’t be more stoked on the the Repack. I simply forgot I ever had the pack on, which more than solidified its worth. The fact that I can forget I’m wearing it and focus on the trail is a dream come true. The largest beneft to the Repack is the comfort. Unlike larger shoulder packs that take some getting used to, the Repack feels natural and doesn’t hinder when shooting steep or techy bits. This will be my pack of choice for the foreseeable future. I am confident that I can carry everything I need and plenty of water for a 2-hour ride. Regardless of how you use it, the Repack is sure to be comfortable and secure. It has proven to be a loyal companion and a worthwhile investment that I highly recommend.
Available: January 2018
Perfect for 2hr Rides
Can’t Fit Phone in Side Pocket
Stuffing Full Bladder into Pack
Leave A Comment & Win Free Schwag
Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack