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CamelBak PowderBak

rated 5 of 5 stars

The PowderBak has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best hydration packs for 2024.

photo: CamelBak PowderBak hydration pack

The PowderBak, the latest addition to Camelbak’s line of hydration gear, is a wearable, full-zip mid-layer with an integrated reservoir. Now, you can use your core body temperature to prevent the water from freezing instead of a shot of vodka.

PowderBak is made with QuickFit, CamelBak’s proprietary compression fabric that offers optimal moisture-wicking and quick-drying capabilities in a lightweight, breathable material. It also acts as a comfortable, zip-up mid-weight base layer for added warmth. A 72-ounce hydration reservoir sits inside the HydroPouch, a compartment that comfortably supports and stabilizes the reservoir.

I’ve been testing the PowderBak this winter for both downhill skiing and cross-country skiing. I love it for downhill skiing because not only does it add an extra layer of warmth, but even when the reservoir is full, you can still lean back into chairlift. You can’t really do that comfortably with the traditional hydration pack. You also don't feel it when you wear it other then it feels like an additional baselayer. The hydration bladder itself is fully removable from the vest, for ease of laundering and the neoprene tube cover keeps water within the tube from freezing.

My neutrality for the PowderBak for cross-country skiing is completely vain. Does it keep me warm as another mid weight baselayer? Yes. Does it keep water from freezing? Yes. Does it make me look like a hunchback under the more form-fitting cross-country clothing? Yes. (The bulkier downhill ski jackets hide the hunch)

If you don’t care that complete strangers on the trail, people whom you’ve never met and presumably will never see again, could think that you spent your formative years with bad posture, you’ll like the PowderBak. I can also see it working well for winter hiking, snowshoeing and camping.

The PowderBak will be available in September 2010, in both men's and women's versions.

Design: Wearable hydration that also functions as a midweight baselayer
Size: Medium
Number of Pockets: No pockets
Max. Load Carried: NA - but carries a 72 oz bladder of water
Height of Owner: 5' 6"
Price Paid: Sample from CamelBak

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