In the winter, I find it more difficult to stay hydrated than during the warmer months. When the temps drop down to 30 or less, I have to be reminded to watch my fluid intake, especially when I’m out playing in the snow. It appears that I’m not alone, either. CamelBak will be coming out with a new hydration pack in September of this year, aimed squarely at skiers and snowboarders.
We were introduced to the Bootlegger at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, and it looks like CamelBak has hit all the key points in designing this pack. Unlike other systems, the Bootlegger is strictly hydration, no storage. The reservoir is the smaller 1.5 liter (50 ounce) Antidote model, which should be plenty for a day on the slopes. This allows it to have a nice flat profile that fits under your jacket, but outside your base layer. That keeps it lift-friendly, and your body heat prevents it from freezing. Instead of the padding you usually find on shoulder straps, they’re a thin but strong mesh that’s breathable, so you don’t end up with two long hot spots from being over-insulated. Two sternum straps keep it in place during skiing, boarding, and snowshoeing. Cinch straps go from the very back, through the harness, and back down to the base. These allow you to compress the pack as it empties, so there’s no sloshing. It’s also got a rear panel that’s been beefed up for extra protection. Naturally, the hydration tube is insulated. Pack weight without the reservoir is less than a half pound, and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is a very wallet-friendly $55.
Being fully hydrated probably gives you a bit of a performance edge, even in the winter. It could also be argued that having your water readily available will allow you to maximize your time on the snow. So whatever your winter sport, don’t overlook the benefits of this new pack. Because $55 is a small price to pay for extending winter fun. www.camelbak.com