I have a history with Camelbak product that stretches all the way back to the early-90s original. Along the way I’ve worked my way through the Rogue, H.A.W.G and Cloudwalker. In recent years however I’ve been getting less use out of them. A combination of constantly evolving bike bags and bikes with umpteen bottle cages have made the rucksack capacity Camelbak less of an essential. So if your frame bag has robbed you of bottle cage space, the Camelbak Repack LR might just be what you’re looking for…
It’s not a bumbag
The Repack LR is a waistpack that’s part of Camelbak’s LR, or Low Rider range. As the name suggests, they all store their water at waist level. If like me you haven’t bought a new Camelbak in years then you’re in for a surprise! The faff of filling/drying a bladder has been greatly reduced with the new design. The hose can be removed with a quick-link while the bladder remains watertight. There is also a handle integrated into the filler cap mouth. If you’ve ever struggled to fill up at an outside tap and keep the mouthpiece out of the dirt you’ll appreciate this setup.
The Repack’s reservoir can store 1.5 litres (or 50 oz in old money) of water, comfortably matching a pair of bottles then! The bite-valve features an on/off valve and even when on no amount of rough riding lead to any leakage. The hose clips to the pack’s belt using a magnetic tube-trap. To begin with I found this tricky to replace when on the move but it soon becomes second nature. It’s certainly less trouble than trying to replace a bottle into a cage under a frame bag or on a fork leg!
There are handy pockets on both sides of your hips. On the left a zipped one that was perfect for keys and on the right one with just elastic and an overlapping flap. While I could happily fit a 700c innertube in them there was no way they’d take a modern smartphone. Both sides of the belt have the same ladder-stitched strapping so you can switch the hose-clip to the whichever side you prefer.
Another clever feature of the belt is that the main strap passes under the pockets. Whatever you’ve got stored won’t interfere with or get crushed if you cinch the belt tight. Another upside is that I found the Repack to stay in place with a relatively loose belt. There was no need to cinch the belt so hard you give yourself a beer-belly look-alike! The Repack stays put both when spinning a fast cadence or bashing down sun-baked ruts. There is plenty of padding around the lumber and belt and perforations prevent an excessively sweaty feel.
Inside the main compartment there is a central divider to separate the space for the water and other kit. Undoing the zip creates a wide opening so getting the reservoir in is a piece of cake. With the full 1.5 litres on board there’s an additional 2.5l for kit. Room enough for a tool roll and mini-pump without forcing the zips. There is an additional small pocket under the camelback logo. Inside are a series of dividers (So I could do away with the tool-roll!) and a zipped mesh pocket with a key-clip. The exterior zips move horizontally so the pocket opens like a book and velcro flap ensures the zip-pulls can’t catch and pull open inadvertently.
Camelbak Repack: Summary
I found the Camelbak Repack to work really well for a number of scenarios. For quick rides it holds all the essentials, and on longer rides it increases your overall capacity, conveniently returning what has been lost through fitting a frame bag. Compared to a rucksack there’s no sweaty-back or shoulder ache to contend with. The Repack can also be spun-around to access the pockets without having to remove it, handy for grabbing your camera or a snack in a hurry. The clever design shows Camelbak haven’t been resting on their laurels, if only the side pockets could take my phone! All said, the Repack looks set to join me on a lot more adventures in the future.
Last modified: 15th June 2020