When it comes to hydration, there really is only one name that every mountain biker knows: Camelbak. The crew were out in force at Presscamp, both to show us through their 2014 line, and to also host an informative seminar about hydration and why it is such a vital part of mountain biking. The new range of packs has gone bolder and brighter on the colours, whilst adding a couple of new models and continuing to expand the women’s specific line. Here we take a sneak peek of some of the key models of the 2014 Camelbak range.

volt

“Power up with the new Volt 13 LR™, designed for mountain bikers who want an ultra-light pack with some heavyweight features. More carrying capacity, more hydration than the Charge or Spark packs, this ultra-light features our comfortable, stable Antidote™ 3L lumbar reservoir, well-ventilated LV™ back panel and room for all the gear you carry on an all-day ride. Fleece-lined media pocket to protect your smartphone, iPod or other device.” – Camelbak

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Camelbak Volt

  • Ultra light materials
  • Storage volume: 13 litres
  • Harness: Ultra Light 3D Mesh Independent Suspension
  • Sliding sternum strap & buckle
  • Adjustable waist strap & buckle
  • Antidote bladder
  • 3 litre water reservoir
  • Torso length: 43cm
  • Pack weight: 725 grams
  • ERP: $175

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Built off the back of the success of the Charge LR, the new Volt pack pumps up the volume to 13 litres, making it a more suitable option for bigger and more epic days out. The ‘LR’ range (Volt, Charge, Spark) is centred around the new style Lumbar Reservoir, that changes the shape of Camelbak’s traditional bladder system to a shorter, wider and more stout shape that better positions weight lower down on your hips.

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The Lumbar reservoir comes in 2lt and 3lt options, with the Volt coming stock with the bigger size. The Lumbar Reservoir has been redesigned for 2014, with the shape being tweaked and a new central baffle being introduced to keep the bladder flatter even when full.

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It still utilises the same key features as the standard Antidote bladder – Big Bite Valve, the PureFlow tube, the 1/4 turn locking cap and the HydroGuard lining for taste-free drinking. But just in a more compact shape.

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The LR range utilise lighter materials than the equivalent Mule, HAWG and Rogue packs, with 40D Ripstop Nylon allowing for a durable exterior that still keeps the pack light and flexible. As a result, the 13 litre Volt comes in at just 725 grams for the pack and bladder.

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Of course, the weight is achieved by using a more minimalist back panel, in the form of the LV harness. Along with its wider hips and lightweight materials, the Volt contours to the shape of your back easily. However, if you’re carrying lots of heavy loads and awkwardly sharp objects (such as trail-building tools), the heavier duty Mule and HAWG packs are still the better option.

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The Spark is another new model for 2014, representing the womens-specific version of the Charge LR. It utilise the new Lumbar Reservoir, and places more of the pack weight around the hips for better support and reduced strain on your shoulders and upper back.

spark
Materials come from lightweight Ripstop Nylon, and like the mens version, it utilises a flexible mesh back panel system to allow circulation of air without piling on the weight. This means the Spark comes in at 635 grams including reservoir, making it one of the lightest full-featured packs on the market – and that’s with 9.5 litres of storage space!

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“Hard-charging women’s ultra-light pack with a low center of gravity. The Antidote™ 2L lumbar reservoir keeps your hydration comfortably stable whether you’re up out of the saddle during a hill climb or flying down a trail. And the lightweight LV™ back panel, with vertical ventilation chimney, will keep your back cool and comfortable on hot days.” – Camelbak

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Camelbak Spark

  • Ultra light materials
  • Womens specific design
  • Storage volume: 9.5 litres
  • Harness: Ultra Light 3D Mesh Independent Suspension
  • Sliding sternum strap & buckle
  • Adjustable waist strap & buckle
  • Antidote bladder
  • 2 litre water reservoir
  • Torso length: 38.5cm
  • Pack weight: 635 grams
  • ERP: $160

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The womens-specific Camelbak models utilise a unique harness with S-shaped shoulder straps to better fit the female form. Another unique aspect of the packs is the use of a soft felt material around the edges of the harness so that the pack is comfortable when worn directly on the skin.

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Everybody’s favourite pack, the Mule, returns for 2014 with brighter colours, lighter weight and the option of two different harness systems. The Mule NV utilises the bizarre-looking ‘pods’ that you can see below, which allow for better flexibility against your spine, while also being more effective at ventilating air. It may look strange, but it is supremely comfortable and is the coolest-running pack that Camelbak has ever produced.

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“The trailblazing M.U.L.E.® gets a first-class upgrade with more room, D-Fit suspension and a revolutionary new back panel that carries your load in all-day comfort. The NV™ Back Panel utilizes individual pods that articulate independently so the entire pack moves in sync with your back, whether you’re crouched in the saddle, charging an uphill section or hucking over rocks. And by keeping the pack elevated off your back, the NV™ system provides multi-directional airflow for maximum ventilation. Inside, the M.U.L.E. NV™ has ample cargo room to hold everything you need for 3+ hour rides over any terrain – and 4-point compression to cinch down your pack when coming home empty. Fleece-lined media pocket protects your smartphone, iPod, camera or other devices while keeping them close at hand. Dual waist-belt pockets and integrated rain cover for all-weather riding.” – Camelbak

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Camelbak Mule NV

  • Sturdy construction for high-load capacity
  • Storage volume: 15 litres
  • Harness: NV Back Panel with articulating pods
  • Sliding sternum strap & buckle
  • Adjustable waist strap & buckle
  • Antidote bladder
  • 3 litre water reservoir
  • Torso length: 38.5cm
  • Pack weight: 1000 grams
  • ERP: $175

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One of the new features you’ll see on the 2014 Camelbak line includes the new ‘helmet hooks’ that are integrated into the side of each pack. No need for additional carriers or mesh holders, the hooks allow the straps of any helmet to sit securely into the provided clips for a quick and easy storage solution.
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Alongside the Mule NV, the HAWG NV also utilises the new harness system with the articulating pods, but in a much bigger volume that takes it into multi-day riding territory. You can also get the Mule without the NV back panel system, which is expected to retail around $40 cheaper than its alien-like sibling.

The LUXE is a new pack for 2014, essentially a womens specific version of the venerable MULE. It’s the first womens Camelbak to receive the NV panel system, and will be a big step up compared to current ladies packs on the market.

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“The women’s standard for mountain-bike packs gets a first-class upgrade with more room, D-Fit suspension and a revolutionary new back panel that carries your load in all-day comfort. The NV™ Back Panel utilizes individual pods that articulate independently so the entire pack moves in sync with your back, whether you’re crouched in the saddle, charging an uphill section or hucking over rocks. And by keeping the pack elevated off your back, the NV™ system provides multi-directional airflow for maximum ventilation. Inside, the L.U.X.E. NV™ has ample cargo room to hold everything you need for 3+ hour rides over any terrain – and 4-point compression to cinch down your pack when coming home empty. Fleece-lined media pocket protects your smartphone, iPod, camera or other devices while keeping them close at hand.” – Camelbak

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Camelbak L.U.X.E. NV

  • Sturdy construction for high-load capacity
  • Womens specific design
  • Storage volume: 11 litres
  • Harness: NV Back Panel with articulating pods
  • Sliding sternum strap & buckle
  • Adjustable waist strap & buckle
  • Antidote bladder
  • 3 litre water reservoir
  • Torso length: 38cm
  • Pack weight: 907 grams
  • ERP: $175

The Camelbak cycling range is newly distributed in Australia by Jet Black Products, who will be expanding their lineup this season to include many of the packs we’ve featured here. We will have some of the new gear on review, but in the meantime you can check out www.Camelbak.com for more info, or get in touch with your local Jet Black dealer to pre-order yours.

Jet Black Products
Website: www.JetBlackProducts.com
Phone: (02) 4560 1200
Email: info@jetblackproducts.com