CamelBak Chase Bike Vest Review

The following is by Ben Delaney from BikeRadar.com

A Hydration Solution for Gravel Racing

Endurance running, gravel racing and the original premise of the CamelBak converge in the Chase Bike Vest. If you are riding gravel events and like the concept of being able to drink with both hands on the bars, then CamelBak hopes the 1.5L Chase Bike Vest works for you.

Yuri Hauswald, winner of the 2015 Dirty Kanza 200 in camo jersey here, helped design the Camelbak Chase Bike Vest for gravel racing

Hydration High and Tight

Of course, you can use the Chase Bike Vest however you like, but the concept came from Yuri Hauswald, winner of the 2015 Dirty Kanza 200 gravel endurance race. He liked the idea of having extra fluid-carrying capacity that didn’t feel like a backpack.

Starting from CamelBak’s Ultra 10 running vest, which sits high on the back and has storage on the chest, Hauswald and CamelBak fine-tuned the design for something that would stay in place while racing, wouldn’t feel hot or heavy, and of course would provide an easy way to drink while keeping both hands on the handlebars.

With a total capacity of 4L / 250 cu in, the pack is on the smaller side, but still large enough to carry a couple of inner tubes, tools and food in the back pockets, plus more food and/or your phone on the chest pockets.

The 4L pack sits high on the back, so you can still reach your jersey pockets

Two stabilizing straps across the chest slide independently up and down.

The material that touches the body on the back and under the shoulder straps is an open mesh with a fair amount of loft to it, to allow for more cooling than a solid material.

CamelBak Chase Bike Vest: How it Feels When Riding

As far as hydration packs go, the Chase Bike Vest is relatively light and airy on the back. It sits securely over rough terrain and can be adjusted for height on the back as well as tightness around the chest.

Still, 1.5L of water on your back plus supplies is a noticeable weight and presence. On a four-hour gravel ride in the Arizona desert, the Chase Bike Vest didn’t exactly disappear on my back, but it wasn’t annoying, either.

Basically a modified endurance run vest, the Chase Bike Vest has front storage and double stabilizing straps

After going through the two bottles on my bike, I was happy to have the extra water in the CamelBak. And, of course, it is convenient to be able to drink while navigating unknown terrain, both hands securely on the controls.

The hose has a quick disconnect to the bladder, so you can quickly switch if need be. and the bite valve has a lock switch too.

As with all CamelBaks, cleaning the bladder isn’t as simple as sticking a water bottle in the dishwasher. The large screw-on cap is wide enough to get a hand inside to scrub, but then you need to wedge something in the cleaned bladder (like the hose) to help the inside dry.

The main selling point, however, is what CamelBak has always offered — a way to drink with both hands on the bars

Ongoing Testing: Gravel Riding and Racing Ahead

As a roadie, I like to travel as lightly as possible, using the bike for carrying water, tools and spares, whether I am riding pavement or dirt. That said, I also don’t like to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without enough to drink.

As with some of my other colleagues, like multi-time DK200 finisher Josh Patterson, I’ll be doing more gravel events this year, where I will continue to test the Chase Bike Vest. I’ll report back here soon.

Specification

  • Hydration Capacity: 1.5L/50 Fl Oz
  • Hydration Type: CRUX™ Reservoir With Quicklink™ System
  • BPA/BPS/BPF Free: Yes
  • Quick Link Disconnect: Yes
  • Gear Capacity: 2.5L/150 Cu In
  • Pack Weight: 330 G/0 Lb 11 Oz
  • Dimensions: 33 X 32 X 14 Cm / 13 X 12.6 X 5.5 In
  • Fits Torso: 71-116 Cm/26-46 In
  • Number Of Exterior Pockets: 8
  • Price $100
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Never Forget Essential Camp Gear Again

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Anyone else feeling seasonally confused lately? There’s still fresh snow in the mountains, but the hint of springtime in the air has us itching for upcoming warm-weather camping escapades.

The slightly warmer weather and resurgence of your hay fever sneezing means it’s time to play storage closet Jenga and haul out your camping gear. But it can be easy to forget essential items when packing for your first car camping trip of the season. Season after season you end up having to get creative after somehow forgetting can openers, wine keys, or even forks. The solution: a camp cooking “go bag.”

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WHAT IS A CAMP COOKING “GO BAG?”

Also known as a “bug out bag,” “chuck box,” etc., it’s a container of your choice put together at the beginning of the season to make sure that you never forget essential camping items again. Keep it on hand in your gear collection, ready for anything from spontaneous weekend escapes to full-fledged bucket-list missions you’ve been planning out since you scored those permits back in January. A “go bag” means you can grab it and go, which makes your life much easier when it comes time to make like a tire and hit the road.

You want to pack your go bag with the items you usually forget but always need, like a lighter, wine opener, or GSI Kung Foon. The key to a go bag is to wash any camp gear when you get home from a trip (in a real sink–so luxurious!) and and put it straight back into your go bag once clean and dry – no one likes a go bag full of mold.

Note that this list is focused on camp cooking only–refer to our more comprehensive packing list here. It’s also based on the essentials, so think about any personal preferences you have and remember to add them to the list!

 

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HOW DO I GO ABOUT PREPARING ONE?

1. Obtain a “bag”, or a box, or bucket. We recommend a storage container that’s doesn’t dominate the car or make your dog feel cramped, but big enough to hold all your essential camp gear. (Unfortunately “storage container” isn’t as catchy as “go bag,” but you get the idea.)

2. Round up your current camp cooking gear and check it against the list below. Sometimes it’s extra satisfying to lay everything out on a table (or the floor if you have a massive gear closet) and gaze out at your hoard.

3. This is also a great time to take stock of any new gear you’ll need to purchase, or repairs to current gear that need to be made. Get these done, add them to your go bag, and you’ll be all set.

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THE GO BAG CHECKLIST

STOVE

Meet your new favorite stove! The GSI Glacier Camp Stove, with its downright sexy canister mount and powerful 11,000 BTU/h burner, you’ll be able to boil water with speed and style. You’ll also need:

  • IsoButane. Double check that it works with your stove, and determine if you’ll need to buy more.
  • Matches or a lighter. Pack waterproof matches to be extra prepared for any type of weather!

COOKWARE

There are a plethora of cookware options available depending on what kind of camper you are. Read our “GSI Cookware 101” post here, and learn about how to find your cookset soulmate here to choose what’s best for you.

If you’re looking for a cookset to do it all, the GSI Glacier Stainless Camper gets it done. Plus, its rugged stuff sack holds the set and doubles as sink/wash basin for easy clean up. It includes a complete set of cookware and tableware for 4:

  • 3 L Pot
  • 2 L Pot
  • Strainer Lid
  • 9″ Fry Pan
  • (4) 14 fl. oz. Mugs with Insulated Sleeves
  • (4) 14 fl. oz. Bowls
  • (4) 7.5″ Plates
  • 4 Sip-It Tops
  • Folding Pot Gripper
  • Welded Sink Storage Bag

Don’t forget:

 

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UTENSILS

Lucky for you, all your silverware and kitchen needs come in one convenient kit: the GSI Destination Kitchen Set 24. It’s compact, organized, lightweight, and has cutlery and utensils for 4, including:

  • Mini Cheese Grater
  • Collapsible Whisk
  • Pivot Spoon
  • Pivot Spatula
  • Utility Knife
  • 12 pc. Cutlery Set
  • Spicer
  • 2 Condiment Containers
  • Cutting Board
  • Scrubber
  • Camp Towel
  • Ballistic Nylon Case

Don’t forget:

  • Can opener
  • Wine key/bottle opener
  • Measuring cups/spoons

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Foil
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Trash bags
  • Tablecloth and clips
  • Cooler
  • Collapsible, reusable water container (GSI 20L Water Cube)
  • Vacuum insulated water bottle
  • Table lantern
  • Partyware
  • Playing cards

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How to Carry All the Gear You Need While Living on the Road

Or, in other words, an exercise in decluttering and organization necessitated by a 200-square-foot living space

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A decade ago, I’d have scoffed at the suggestion that fitting everything we needed for road life into a 23-foot travel trailer would be tricky. Back then, my wife Jen and I embarked on all manner of western adventures in a 1998 Volkswagen Golf, stuffed to the gills. How hard could it be to fit all our stuff into a setup that, along with a pickup, measures nearly 40 feet long?

Turns out, it’s harder than you think, even if you’re committed to simplicity.

The day-to-day infrastructure in an Airstream is mostly self-contained, but there are some bulky exceptions: camp chairs, a table, solar panel and battery, a generator, outdoor grill, etc. We also need work essentials, including laptops, backup drives, and photo and video gear.

Beyond that, our interests are wide ranging. We both ride on the mountain and road, which means four bikes and appropriate sundries. We hike and camp, so we always roll with a couple of packs, a tent, and a trail cooking setup, plus bikepacking gear for overnights on the bikes. Fly fishing means we need rods, tackle, and waders. Hunting necessitates bows, a rifle, and camo. Climbing demands shoes, harness, a rope, and a small rack. And that doesn’t even get into skiing, surfing, kayaking, or any of the really unwieldy stuff that’s currently relegated to storage back home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

But we’re somehow able to fit it all, thanks to some deliberate pruning—and a few carefully chosen accessories.

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Yakima Showcase 15

For extra storage and organization, we added crossbars on the roof and a Yakima Showcase 15 cargo box. I’ve used a lot of roof boxes through the years, and this one is the best yet. It solves my main complaint from past models—poor opening and closing—with a clearly marked key-lock system and a large button that works every time. As is standard, it opens from either side. Installation was simple, courtesy of locking levers that hold the feet in place and ratcheting knobs that clamp the feet onto any shape bars: round, square, or aero. Yakima makes a box with 30 percent more space, the Showcase 20, but this one is ample for our needs, providing storage for bulky items like sleeping bags, backpacks, bikepacking gear, and a tent that we don’t use every day. Best of all, we haven’t seen any real decrease in gas mileage with it installed.

Friends tease that we need less stuff, a bigger truck, or both. The less stuff is probably true, but honestly, we could fit everything into just the truck and trailer—no box or racks. The add-ons, however, let us spread out and keep organized. So instead of constantly packing, unpacking, and digging for gear, we spend more time out using it.

Read More

Stop by your Local Yakima Dealer to learn more about the Showcase series and other great Yakima products.

Aaron and Jen also use a tray style hitch mount bike rack and fork mount roof top bike racks. Check out the Dr Tray and HighSpeed to complete your optimal #AdventureMobile.