I was at REI a while back during a big sale and saw that they had Camelbaks on sale. Thinking it could come in handy on hot days in my Aerostich behind my K75RT heatsink fairing I picked up the big 72-oz backpack model and tucked it away. I found it yesterday morning while gearing up for a 350-mile day-ride exploration of Pennsylvania around the Rally site.
I had one a decade ago, before my post-accident sabbatical when I rode a lot in the summer. It was a bit unwieldy and didn't work very well. The new one has fixed every quibble I had, most particularly the chintzy harness/straps, the small fill opening and the poorly designed bite valve.
Back at REI, as I looked over the many new configurations Camelbak has added over the last decade I settled on a few things I wanted, namely (1) a tight-fitting form factor as I wanted to wear it under my Aerostich and didn't want too much of a hunchback; (2) a decent-sized capacity; (3) netted harness for coolness and a cross-chest strap to hold it in place.
The Camelbak Classic 70oz seemed to be just what I was looking for.
Camelbaks really seem oriented towards trail runners these days with most resembling backpacks, too much I think for wearing under riding gear. The Classic has one small pocket and a long form factor that follows the back (making for a great back pad by the way.) The harness is a perfect mix of substantial enough to keep it snug and in place but small enough (and netted) so as to be unnoticeable to the rider. The drink tube can be used on either side, and the bite valve is substantial, easy to use, and best of all -- it works perfectly. The pack itself is insulated to keep the ice from melting too quickly, but still was noticeably cool on the back. Lastly, the opening to the 70oz resevoir is B I G, big enough to easily shovel ice into yet still secured by a flat, low profile cap that does not leak.
I set out yesterday morning after filling the Camelbak with ice and water. I had the drink tube over my left shoulder and hanging out the collar of my Stich - seems like it might be annoying but it is not at all. Drinking from the Camelbak was easy, just direct the bite valve into the screen opening of the helmet, grab the bite valve with your mouth, and, well, suck.
It was, in a word, AWESOME. Where earlier this year on warmer rides I felt completely dehydrated and quickly wilted in the heat I was able to stay completely hydrated, cooled off, and never felt spent from the now considerable heat. I ran through the first 70oz by noon and refilled with a 2-liter bottle of Deer Park (and free ice) for the afternoon.
I give this product five enthusiastic thumbs up, it has made riding in heat much more bearable!