Single Track Review: CamelBak KUDU Protector 20 Backpack

The following is a review by James Vincent from SingleTrackWorld.com

Redesigned for 2018, the new KUDU range from CamelBak combines a back protector and a hydration backpack all in one. We gave the big 20L version to our main man in the Lake District, James Vincent, to put to the test during some big days out on some of the steepest, rockiest and gnarliest terrain he could find in Cumbria. 

First spotted at PressCamp earlier this year, the Camelbak KUDU 20 sits at the top of Camelbak’s extensive range of cycling specific packs, in both size (20L) and spec (lots of bells, one whistle). While there are other packs in the range of a similar size, the KUDU series feature integrated back protection, and for 2018, has been simplified to just a 10L and 20L model (that’s water capacity + storage), with several key features of the packs getting a bit of an overhaul at the same time.

The KUDU is all-new for 2018. James however, is not.

The CE-certified Impact Protector slides into a sleeve to sit close to your back.

As the bigger of the two packs, the KUDU 20 is most definitely on the larger end of the scale for cycling packs, with numerous straps and expanding pouches covering the surface of the pack, along with the obligatory rain cover buried at the bottom. Unloaded, CamelBak claims the pack weighs a not-inconsiderable 1.5kg (3lb 4oz), which means it needs to be designed well to distribute it’s weight as broadly as possible.

Unzipping ¾ of the way round to allow unfettered access and running the full length of the bag, the vast main compartment also has a small zippered mesh pocket for phones, keys and other essentials.

The soft-lined top pocket is ready for your phone, glasses or goggles.

Ready for a 3L reservoir – though the KUDU doesn’t include one as standard.

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CamelBak Hot Cap

DESCRIPTION

Give lukewarm the cold-shoulder with the new Hot Cap bottle. A leak-proof 360° cap allows drinking from any side so you can sip subconsciously. Sweat-proof, vacuum insulation keeps the outside of the bottle dry and your beverage hot for up to 6 hours or cold for up to 24 hours. Hot Cap can accommodate contents up to 195⁰F, 90⁰C. For easy cleaning, the rotating valve twists apart and can be removed completely. This cap is compatible with only Chute Mag bottles only.

FEATURES

  • 360° Cap: Allows drinking from any side of the bottle
  • Leak-Proof Rotating Valve: Twists open for easy sipping and twists apart for easy cleaning
  • Vacuum Insulation: Keeps beverages cold for 24 hours and hot for 6 hours
  • Stays Dry: Sweat-proof insulation ensures a no-slip grip
  • Dishwasher Safe Cap: Cap assembly is top-rack dishwasher safe (hand wash vessel)
  • This cap is compatible with only Chute Mag bottles only.

 

 

DOUBLE WALL INSULATION

 
 
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Capacity: 0.6L/20 fl oz
  • Cap Material: BPA-Free Polypropylene
  • Closure: Leak Proof 360 Cap
  • BPA/BPS/BPF FREE:Yes
  • Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 26 cm / 2.8 x 2.8 x 10.2 in
  • Material: 18/8 Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 311 g / 11 oz

What to pack in your Camelbak : w/ Rebecca Rusch

 

Learn what Rebecca brings with her on every ride. Be prepared! What are the deal breakers? Things to keep your body and bike functioning. Links for all of the items below.

REBECCA’S SURVIVAL KIT

  • Camelbak Rogue Pack

BODY FUNCTIONING

  • GU Roctane- Sea Salt Chocolate
  • GU Chews
  • Electrolyte tablets- for cramping, electrolytes and a little ginger to help your stomach
  • Stroopwafel
  • Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight and Waterlight .7 Kit
  • ASSOS Ultra Light Rain Jacket
  • Sea to Summit Sea Ultraist Dry Sack
  • Beyond Coastal Sunscreen Stick

BIKE FUNCTIONING

  • SRAM Rockshox Shock Pump
  • Crankbrothers Sterling S Tire Pump
  • Crankbrothers CO2 inflator & cartridges
  • Maxxis tire tube with correct value stem length
  • Maxxis Tire lever
  • SRAM Eagle Derailleur Hanger (one specific for your bike)
  • SRAM Eagle Powerlock Chain Connector (quick link specific for your chain)
  • SRAM disk brake pads
  • Extra Crankbrothers Bike Cleats (multi-day events)
  • WD-40 Bike chain lube
  • Crankbrothers m19 bike tool with chain breaker
  • Genuine Innovations Tire Rope Plugs for sidewall tear
  • Duct tape
  • Tire boot (or use a GU wrapper)

EXTRAS AND REBA’S SPECIAL TIPS

  • Surgical gloves
  • Shower cap
  • Two zip lock bags (for feet)
  • Thin rain jacket

GOPRO BONUS

Did you catch Rebecca’s dog trouncing around with a HERO5 Session and Fetch Dog Mount? Rebecca’s HERO5 Session is mounted with a Helmet Front and Side Mount.

 

CamelBak Phantom LR 24 – Ski and Snow Pack

@n8greenberg spending his share in the BC backcountry. Photo @ken_etzel

It’s not just the weight of your pack—it’s how you carry it. The Phantom 24 LR™ features a Crux lumbar reservoir that keeps water weight low and close to your back. That means more stability and a smoother ride through changing snow conditions and rough, moguled terrain—all in a pack that offers 3 liters of hydration and an insulated drink tube that won’t freeze in chilly weather.

It’s not just the weight of your pack—it’s how you carry it.

This year, CamelBak has updated the pack with more storage capacity and a new Crux reservoir that delivers 20% more water with every sip. When you’re loading up for a full day on the mountain, the Phantom is designed to easily carry your skis or snowboard, helmet, shovel and goggles (the pack includes a fleece-lined pocket to keep them from getting scratched). There’s also a separate compartment for storing your wet gear, and dedicated gear pockets that keep your avalanche tools organized and accessible. The load-bearing waist belt features extra storage pockets for keeping your essentials close at hand, and the Phantom’s extra-large zipper pulls make it easy to open the pack when your gloves are on.

FEATURES

CamelBak’s @n8greenberg in the winter wonderland of Fairy Meadows. Let’s hope this winter is just as epic. Photo: @ken_etzel #earnyourturns

  • The brand new Crux Reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for easier refilling, and an on/off lever that makes it easy to prevent leaks.
  • Snowshed Back Panel: Back panel repels snow and keeps it from sticking to your pack
  • Therminator Harness: Drinking tube zips into an insulated sleeve in the shoulder strap to protect your water supply from the elements.
  • A-Frame & Diagonal Ski Carry: External straps give you multiple options for carrying skis
  • Vertical Snowboard Carry: External straps let you carry a snowboard vertically
  • Ski Helmet: Helmet hooks make it easy to carry a ski helmet on the back of your pack
  • Avy Gear Organization: Includes storage compartments designed specifically for avalanche gear
  • Load-bearing hip belt stabilizes your load and features cargo pockets to keep essentials within easy reach
  • Secure zippered pocket keeps your smartphone in easy reach
  • Large zipper tabs are easy to grab while wearing gloves

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Gear Up For Winter with CamelBak

FIGHT THE FREEZE 

GEAR UP FOR WINTER

The new Crux Reservoir takes hydration to your highest peaks

SKI & SNOW HYDRATION PACKS

Our winter hydration packs feature the new Crux reservoir. The Crux delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for painless refilling, and an on/off lever that makes it easy to prevent leaks. Our therminator harness helps protect the reservoir from freezing temperatures so you can hydrate on your rides down the slope.
Stay tuned and subscribe for more details on the winter packs from CamelBak.

CamelBak: Riding Bikes

 

The Lords of Loam

Sometimes you just want the freedom to ride a line without racing the clock. Mark Weir, Marco Osborne and Matt Koen spend a weekend taping and riding fresh trails on a 1,000-acre ranch in NorCal.

CamelBak: Ride, Sleep, Repeat – A day in the life of Dane Petersen

The massive wildfires in CamelBak’s backyard are laying waste to Northern California, our thoughts are with all those affected. CamelBak is using their event equipment and volunteering in the community to ensure evacuee’s have fresh water.

Stay safe!

CamelBak: Ride, Sleep, Repeat – A day in the life of Dane Petersen

Take a mental vacation with us back to happier times in the California with filmmaker Zach Youngberg and mountain biker Dane Petersen. Zach brings us some fast-paced footage of a day in the life of Dane Petersen. Follow Dane as he hits a variety of trails through the Sierra foothills.

 

 

ZACH AND DANE

Filmmaker Zach Youngberg and MTB pro, Dane Petersen have been shooting and riding together for the past four years. Dane picks the zones that he deems perfect for filming, and Zach follows with a camera in tow.  “Dane is super talented on a bike, which makes my job that much easier.” says Zach. They both have busy schedules, but they manage to collaborate once a year to create a compelling video that riders will get excited to watch. Videos always take place on a new trail and in a new area, which keeps things that much more interesting.

After you watch the CamelBak video “Ride, Sleep, Repeat” below, be sure to check out Soil Searching for a taste of how Dane can rip it up on all types of terrain.

Zach tells us, “I’ve been able to see Dane’s riding progress leaps and bounds through my lens. When I was in middle school, Dane was the free rider in our community, and I always saw photos of him throwing x-ups and no handers over big booters that he built. Fast forward to today and here I am working with him. It’s pretty cool to see how much things have changed. I’ve never been too talented on a bike, but I really enjoy the sport as a whole and filming it is my way of tying into the community.”

CamelBak Stories: Gravel Less Travele

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MEET SIOBHAN

Everyone remembers their first race. It makes a vivid impact on each rider’s relationship to the sport for years to come. Whether you bonked hard, crashed out, crushed it, or just surprised yourself with a solid performance, an endurance race will undoubtedly test your mental resolve and physical stamina.

Siobhan Baloochi has been in the saddle for years, but has yet to take on the challenge of a long distance gravel race. Rebecca’s Private Idaho, in the sagebrush strewn high country of Idaho proved to be quite the challenge.

Hosted by its namesake, CamelBak Athlete Rebecca Rusch, Rebecca’s Private Idaho offers a unique gravel riding experience, chocked full of events, activities and camaraderie. Get a taste for it here and follow Siobhan as she faces challenges yet pedals on with grit and determination. We present to you, Gravel Less Traveled.

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CamelBak 2018 – K.U.D.U., TO.R.O., Repack, and Chase

The following is a sneak peek at the 2018 Bike offering from CamelBak for 2018.

From MTBR by Saris Mercanti

Hydration pack leader update popular packs, add riding vest to line-up

Chase Bike Vest

At first glance, the CamelBak Chase bike vest looks like something that belongs on the back of an ultra-runner. It’s kind of dorky — until you put it on. Then, in my opinion, it becomes the most comfortable hydration pack you’ve ever worn.

It may look dorky, but it’s comfy.

It’s designed for maximum stability, so the front and rear loads are balanced. Unlike the running versions, this mountain bike specific pack uses tougher materials, more zippers, and larger storage pockets. As an added advantage, it’s short enough so you can still access your jersey pockets. Price is $100.

The Chase isn’t just a running pack with a mountain bike label slapped on; it’s a careful redesign.

K.U.D.U. 10/20

For 2018, CamelBak has completely redesigned the K.U.D.U. The new pack sells for less, while adding a number of new features. The removable tool roll, integrated rain cover, helmet/armor straps, and side pockets all carry over. Items such as the belt, sternum straps, and back protection have all been redesigned.

The K.U.D.U. is the ultimate bag for enduro-style events. It meets CE2 levels of certification and offers impressive storage capabilities.

The new back protector meets the stringent CE2 motorcycle safety standard and is designed to be more flexible. This allows it to better conform to your back, making it more comfortable on long rides. The pad also receives additional perforation for improved airflow.

The K.U.D.U. comes in a 10 and 20L.

Perhaps the coolest feature is that the back protector can work without the cargo pack. If you want to go light weight, the entire back zips off to reveal a stand-alone back protector with jersey style pockets. The pack is available as either a 10L or 20L. Price is $200 and $230 respectively.

Want to go light? CamelBak gives you the option of unzipping the bag and using just the back protector.

T.O.R.O. 8 and 14

Don’t want to drop two bills on a CE certified backpack you’ll only wear at the bike park or when required at races? CamelBak’s new T.O.R.O. features a CE2 certified back protector, but ditches some of the bells and whistles found on the K.U.D.U.

Both the T.O.R.O. 8 and 14 carry a 3L (100oz) reservoir. The 8L (pictured left) offers an additional 5L of storage, while the 14L (right) offers an extra 11L.

If you can live without the rain cover, zip off design, and removable tool roll, you can pick up the T.O.R.O. 8L for $160 or the T.O.R.O. 14L for $180.

The T.O.R.O. uses a narrower back protector than the K.U.D.O. Both meet the same safety certification, but the slimmer pad helps reduce costs.

Repack LR 4

If hydration packs aren’t your thing, then the new Repack might be more your style. Based loosely on the Palos waist pack, this new bum bag resolves many of the complaints Mtbr had with the previous design. Read MTBR’s review of the Palos here.

The new Repack resolves MTBR’s minor complaints with the Palos.

The key is the new compression system, which should keep the bag from flopping around. CamelBak also reconfigured the pockets, so the new pack is sleeker. It will still tote a 1.5-liter reservoir, plus 2.5L of gear (or 4L of stuff and no reservoir). Price is $75.

A new compression strap system helps reduce bouncing.

Podium Dirt Series

When you’re headed on a shorter ride, sometimes you don’t need to carry a pack. A water bottle on your frame and some basic tools are enough. The only downside with a water bottle is that the nozzle can get covered in gunk. Enter the new Dirt Series. It’s basically the bottle and bite valve we’ve come to love, but with a silicone dust cap. The water bottle is also a touch shorter, so it’s less likely to rub on your shock.

The Dirt Series is available in standard and insulated versions. Both hold 21 oz. Retail is $11 and $15. That’s a $2 up charge over the standard Podium, which does not come with a dust cap.

The Podium Dirt series retails for $2 more than the regular version.

Sternum Protector

On a non-hydration related note, CamelBak was showcasing a new Sternum Protector with an integrated GoPro mount. This CEII level protector is made from the same material as the back protector in the K.U.D.O. and T.O.R.O. series and is cut to work in conjunction with a backpack. The Sternum Protector is available in one size (28-47” or 71-116 cm). Retail will be $100.

For that ultra clean look, you could wear the sternum protector next to your skin and cut a hole in your jersey for the action camera. This look has become widely adopted in motocross.

Tour de France Hydration with CamelBak

636da8c4ed667f00c11b5cac2ff4c5ceHow Riders Hydrate For The Tour de France

The annual pilgrimage through the roads of France for the world’s best cyclists is unquestionably one of the most demanding sporting events in the world. More than three weeks of grueling racing through every imaginable weather, terrain and challenge places physiological and emotional stress beyond what most of us mortals can begin to imagine. Beyond being highly trained for the demands of the racing, the sport also requires massive thought and focus on several other supporting components of performance, including equipment, recovery, fueling, nutrition and hydration. None of these components will make a champion, but if ignored they can certainly destroy dreams and opportunities for a champion. Today, I will focus on hydration, with a focus on why it is important and how, if executed correctly, can facilitate optimal performance and recovery.

Podium_InUse_Global_6The Importance of Hydration in Endurance Events:
Let’s first consider the role of proper hydration in endurance events. Most of us have some grasp on the fact that proper hydration is preferable over dehydration, but do you know what proper hydration will accomplish? Well, a few of the positives of proper hydration are:

  • A delay of the onset of fatigue during training and competition
  • The ability to maintain focus during hard exertions
  • Improved recovery process to facilitate repeated performance
  • The maintenance of the immune system and health status

If we can keep an athlete hydrated they can stay focused, delay fatigue, recover well and have the potential to maximize their fitness and performance readiness.

The Tour Puzzle:
In an event such as the Tour de France, which challenges athletes to compete at their peak day after day, we are interested in elevated daily performance and prevention of a negative physiological and nutritional status. The athletes must do all that is possible to support the physical riding with enough calories during and between the competition hours, minimizing dehydration during the riding, and restore hydration status each day. If they can achieve these areas they will limit any additional assaults on their immune system through accidental “athletic starvation,” or highly dehydrated states. Both of which are highly corrosive to the immune system and athletic performance.

You can almost think about the best performers being the riders who suffer and slow down the least relative to their competition, or another way to look at it is damage limitation. Hydration is a key part of this damage limitation strategy.

Podium_InUse_Global_1The Sciency Bit. How Does It Work?
You will likely know that water is key to cellular function and life, but let’s consider how it helps endurance performance. It is key to realize that you cannot remain fully hydrated on any single day of an event such as this. Every athlete will get dehydrated throughout the course of a day riding at the Tour.

The key is to get less dehydrated.

The reason for this focuses mainly around the volume of blood in our body. To simplify the role of blood in our body we should consider two primary roles of our blood in endurance exercise:

  1. Blood is the delivery method of oxygen and other nutrients to our muscle for energy production (and the removal of nasty waste products)
  2. Blood delivery to the skin dissipates the corrosive heat that is generated with work (exercise).

When riders begin the Tour, in their fully hydrated state, their blood volume is optimal, so there is ‘plenty to go around’ and the muscles receive plenty of oxygen and generated heat is easily dissipated. As the race continues the rider will become more and more dehydrated, and as the blood is made up of plenty of water, our blood volume begins to drop. As the blood volume drops, coupled with increasing heat production as the work rate continues, the competition for blood increases. In this battle the skin will always win as increasing heat can be life-threatening, but how fast you ride has little consequence to your brain and vital organs. This means more of your ‘lowered blood volume’ will get pushed to the skin, leaving less for the muscle consequently generating an early onset of fatigue. Not a good thing for elite athletes, hence it is easy to understand why hydration status should be preserved as much as possible.

But this isn’t all! In addition to maintaining hydration status the athlete must also continue to fuel with calories, and hydration has an important role in this process also.

When you sit at your dining room table and have a meal your absorption of ingested calories in highly efficient, and unless you gorge yourself or eat too quickly, you shouldn’t experience too much gastrointestinal distress. When you are exercising hard, or racing your bike through the mountains of France, the same cannot be said. Much of the blood normally used to facilitate absorption is being rushed to the muscles or skin, hence absorption is severely limited, yet the athletes still require calories to fuel the work. To achieve this, athletes need to ‘micro-dose’ caloric ingestion with small, yet frequent, feedings. To maximize absorption these calories need to be diluted down to around 4 to 6 % solution of calories relative to hydration. We get our athletes to think of their hydration as the transporter of calories, and the shuttle that will keep them not only hydrated, but well-fueled.

Recovery:
Of course, once the days’ racing is over, they have to step up and do it again the next day. The game now shifts to maximizing recovery and restoring hydration status. This is absolutely key to success, and all riders will make a habit, or ritual of rehydration following the day of racing. It takes many hours to properly rehydrate following a day of racing, so frequently drinking fluids throughout the afternoon and evening is critical. If the rider does a good job of rehydrating they will maximize muscular recovery, restore status back to ‘normal’ (as close to it as possible) for the next day, and open up the opportunity for a good night sleep.

The key message is that, in events such as the Tour de France, the daily racing is already a massive stress. The key for the riders is to do all they can to minimize the negative effects of that stress, as well as prevent adding any additional suppression of their immune system and health through a lack of follow through on a completely controllable factor such as hydration.

You might not be racing in The Tour this July, but the same concept absolutely applies. Life is already stressful enough; don’t add additional stress to your life by going through it in a dehydrated state! Find your performance and support your life through optimal hydration. Your body will thank you and reward you with your optimal daily performance potential.

By: MATT DIXON

The founder and CEO of purplepatch fitness, Matt is an exercise physiologist, elite-level coach and former professional triathlete who sees hydration as a critical part of the nutrition equation.

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