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PC15: Camelbak Gets Low with new Skyline Lowrider and Palos Hydration Equipped Fanny Pack

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More and more we are hearing about bicycle designs that result in a lower center of gravity. Having the weight closer to the ground results in better stability and balance. Along those same lines, Camelbak has been creating packs with the weight as low as possible under the Lumbar collection.

With the introduction of the Skyline hydration pack, Camelbak is renaming the Lumbar collection the Lowrider Collection to better illustrate what it does – getting your gear as low as possible. Allowing plenty of water and storage for most rides, the Skyline joins the new Palos fanny pack in an attempt to lower your center of gravity…

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Technically the design of the Lowrider packs is two fold – getting the weight low is important, but it also allows Camelbak to allow more ventilation for the upper section of your back. That should result in less sweaty back syndrome and more comfort on long, hot rides.

Using contoured shoulder straps with sternum strap along with a heavily padded waist belt, the Skyline 10L hugs tight as illustrated by Camelbak’s willing model, Seth Beiden.

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Storing all the water in the lower section of the pack, the 3L/100oz lumbar reservoir is easily accessed through a zipper around the XV back panel. The semi trapezoidal shaped bladder tucks into the small space and uses the standard wide mouth quarter turn screw cap and quick disconnect hose which can be run over either shoulder.

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One key feature of the Lowrider packs is the reservoir compression system which utilizes two pull cords on either side of the waist belt. In this case, the bright yellow pull tabs above cinch down behind the bladder keeping everything snug and firmly in place. Up top you’ll find Camelbak’s magnetic hose clip which allows mutiple ways of use. Able to be used just like a normal hose clip, you can also unlock the magnetic clip from the base for quick and easy drinking and storing. The magnetic mount also rotates while still clipped in which means you can just pull up on the hose to drink without the hose kinking.

Along with the reservoir compression straps, the waist belt features easy access to food with one zippered pocket, and one a stash pouch.

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To add the ability to carry a half shell helmet without adding too much complexity, the Skyline uses two small hooks on the side of the bag. Simply slip the straps from your helmet into the hooks and it should stay in place for transport.

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Inside the 7 liter bag you’ll find a tool roll for easy organization of your ride saving devices in its own pouch, a large main compartment, and another zippered pocket on the front. A large valuable pocket sits on the top of the bag which is big enough for most modern smartphones. Also sold as the women’s Solstice 10L, the ladies’ model gets more contoured shoulder straps with soft touch accents for improved comfort on bare skin. Otherwise, all of the features between the Skyline and the Solstice are the identical.

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Both the Skyline and the Solstice will retail for $130 with the Skyline coming in 3 color options and the Solstice in 2.

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If you want even less pack covering your back, Camelbak is taking the fanny pack to the next level with the Palos hydration hip pack. Instead of providing storage for water bottles, the Palos uses a specially made 1.5L reservoir that tucks inside the 2.5L storage compartment. Features include a large quarter turn reservoir cap, and ergo bite valve. Note that the production bladder will not include a quick disconnect hose – the bag above uses a custom set up for Seth’s liking.

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Rather than including a separate tool roll, on the Palos the tool wrap is basically built into the outside of the pack. In the event of a mechanical you can take off the pack, place it on the ground and open it up to easily access all of your gear. The velcro flap with a buckle closure also acts as a way to secure clothing items like a small jacket or pair of kneepads.

Additional storage is found on the waist belt like the Skyline with two large pockets for easy feeding. Due to the lack of shoulder straps, the hydration hose runs across your waist and clips into the other side with the magnetic tube trap which can be run on either side. The blue pull cords above are part of the reservoir compression system as mentioned on the Skyline.

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Providing a true hydration option for those looking for a fanny pack, the Palos looks like it has been well thought out for riding. Available in two colors, the Palos will sell for $75. All of the packs above will be available starting in January 2016.

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Over on the Podium water bottle side of Camelbak, since their last major update, the only changes come in the form of new colors and graphics. Still using the newer giant removable nozzle, the caps are easier to clean and offer easy flow. Offered in 21 and 24oz standard bottles and 21 and 25oz insulated bottles, all models come in classy new colors to add a little style to your hydration.

Camelbak.com

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27 Comments
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JBikes
JBikes
8 years ago

beer belly = low cg

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
8 years ago

That’s super, except wearing a load there destroys your back.

craigsj
craigsj
8 years ago

“More and more we are hearing about bicycle designs that result in a lower center of gravity. ”

No bicycle design results in a lower center of gravity without lowering the rider since that’s 90% of the total weight. If you want a low center of gravity, ride a recumbent.

This approach has been tried many times with little success. What’s different this time?

Larasmile
Larasmile
8 years ago

@eric hansen
Ovious you dont know what you are talking about.

Brian S
Brian S
8 years ago

Lowrider sounds a lot like a Wingnut pack.

Jeb
Jeb
8 years ago

If you have never used a pack with the water carried low you owe it to yourself to try it once. On steep technical stuff regular packs screw up your balance not to mention hitting your helmet and sending it over your eyes. On rides shorter than 2 hours I run a bottle with shit strapped to my bike but on big rides i use a Camelbak Charge.

matt
matt
8 years ago

I’ve been using wingnut packs for awhile and really like having weight lower on my back. One thing to consider is, even after drinking a small amount, the wingnut can get unwieldy and want to bounce around. If these packs do a better job of staying stable, or are even just easier to cinch down on the fly, they’ll be great. If the design allows good air circulation on your lower back, I’ll be buying one.

Another thing to consider is, when you really crash hard, low slung packs don’t give you the back coverage that a taller pack does. Fyi.

big mike
big mike
8 years ago

If carrying a pack is throwing your center if gravity off that much, you either carrying way too much or very weak.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
8 years ago

@larasmile – I was in the military for 9 years, carrying packs, and have commuted exclusively by bike for 4 now. I know exactly what i’m talking about.

jeb
jeb
8 years ago

(deleted)

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
8 years ago

I have been wanting to try a lumbar reservoir type pack for a while now, but haven’t been able to justify replacing my perfectly good standard style pack yet.

Having said that, the hype machine is at work as always, so we only hear about the upside.

“No more sweaty back” actually translates to “Trade your sweaty upper back for a sweaty lower back”. Similarly, the weight redistribution will move down AND back. This is good to help prevent going OTB down steep stuff, but will also make it harder to keep the front end on the ground going up steep stuff. Again, it is a trade off, just like a longer stem and higher bar vs. the opposite.

Regarding back pain, depending on the individual’s structure and sensitivities, I could see this either helping or hurting, however there do seem to be more people with lower back issues than upper, so caution may be warranted when putting a significant load directly on that area.

craigsj
craigsj
8 years ago

“Similarly, the weight redistribution will move down AND back. This is good to help prevent going OTB down steep stuff, but will also make it harder to keep the front end on the ground going up steep stuff.”

3 liters is about 6 pounds out of what will be 150-250 pounds of total weight typically. It’s moving over a small range and will be of no noticeable consequence to bike handling. People love to overthink this stuff, like the claims of a lower shock mount improving the center of gravity. Dumb.

Weight on the upper back puts a load on the lower back too. Seems people like to forget that.

Turbo Jenkins
Turbo Jenkins
8 years ago

I use a Mountainsmith fanny pack. Best thing I’ve ever done. Hydration packs are only necessary for rides that are longer than 4 hours. I love seeing people on 45-minute rides carrying 80 liters of water, seven spare tubes, and a couple of shocks. You don’t need to play the all-mountain backcountry gladiator at the local flat loop by the mall, dudes.

Get a fanny pack. Your friends will make fun of you, but who cares. This is mountain biking, not posing at the local speakeasy.

Handsome Dick Manitoba
Handsome Dick Manitoba
8 years ago

Using a wingnut pack that carries the weight low like this pack is exactly what solved my lower back pain issues.

Putting the weight up higher like normal packs while leaned over puts more strain on your lower back to hold you up.

Wearing packs while riding a bike is a lot different to hiking around upright with packs.

Though still get a sweaty back but that doesn’t bother me.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
8 years ago

@Handsome Dick Manitoba, yeah, it seems like the load placement on the back would really vary highly from one individual to the next. If you support your upper body mostly through use of your core muscles, with minimal tension/weight on your hands/arms (ala Lee McCormac) then moving the weight down toward your waist effectively shortens the cantilever arm, lowering the load on the lumbar region.

If, on the other hand, you put a lot of weight on your arms, then loving the weight to the middle of the span between hips and shoulders could increase the load on the lumbar region as it is now less directly above one of the support structures.

Additionally, leverages aside, some people with disc or nerve issues in the lumbar region may find that the mechanical pressure and movement of the pack directly on the area causes further irritation.

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
8 years ago

The lever arm is going to be from where your back pivots near your pelvis to where ever the load is placed, no matter how you support yourself.

Name Required
Name Required
8 years ago

I’ve used a Wingnut for about three seasons in the past and was very happy with it. I would have bought another one but the customer service and availability wasn’t great. I’d be very interested in trying this pack.
The only negative thing that I found with the Wingnut, as Matt stated, was that once you start to drain your water supply the pack did bounce around a bit. If Camelback solves this issue with those cinch pulls then it might just be the cat’s arse!
I’ve been using an Osprey pack the past couple of seasons and like it. I do notice the coverage and hence a sweaty back.

hellbelly
hellbelly
8 years ago

The Camelback folks already have this:http://shop.camelbak.com/flashflo-lr/d/1364_c_130_cl_5952 for your fanny pack infatuations.

KT
KT
8 years ago

After breaking my back mountain biking (T1-L2, with fusion at T8-T10), and bikes getting bigger and bigger, I think back protection in a hydration pack is becoming more and more of a necessity. Carrying a helmet on a pack while riding seems like a huge disaster if you do fall. Well you say I’m not doing jumps, but how many times have you tried to ride up a steep section and you loop out or almost loop out.

dank
dank
8 years ago

I have one of the camelbak charge with the low down water resevoir like this. The weight does not sit on your “lower back” the weight of the pack is supported by your pelvic bone. It’s a huge improvement over having the weight sitting on your back.

Speedbump
Speedbump
8 years ago

Pretty sure Ultimate Direction did all this 15+ years ago. It worked well and was very comfortable and stable when riding.

maz-o
maz-o
8 years ago

I don’t know if it’s just me, but the skyline backpack looks very uncomfortable when it hangs so low on your back. I’m not really buying the whole “lower center of gravity” argument there.

purpleano
purpleano
8 years ago

Seems like moving the weight down while still mostly supported by the shoulders is going to make the pack swing like a pendulum.

scott gibson
8 years ago

Been “Low ridin” since 2005. Handsome Dick Manitoba, I’m glad to hear wingnut helped with your back and your still riding! I just love these stories where dropping the weight allowed people to ride again with a pack! (I’ve helped alot of people) It’s a true difference you doubters of the benefits of dropping the weight can not just brush aside. I appreciate those of you giving kudos to wingnut as well as the constructive comments. I have a compression system for wrecking crew members but never put it into the line. Yes I am Wingnut, and I am glad to see the market is finally acknowledging the reality that the ergonomics of riding are different then hiking, and your worth providing the right solution to. Bout time, our numbers must be growing. Casual riders usually don’t appreciate the low rider benefits, this is for those who carry too much gear, ride to work, or just live on the bike and are one with it.

Leonard
Leonard
8 years ago

“Note that the production bladder will not include a quick disconnect hose” – this is a step back! what were they thinking???

Kboss
Kboss
8 years ago

Does anyone know what the quick disconnect hose is? The one on Camelbak’s web site looks different, without a shut-off valve.

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