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.