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  1. #1
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    Hydration pack users.... what you like?

    I've never used a hydration pack thanks to a weight weenie attitude years ago, and frame that had two or three cage mounts (those were the days). Now I'm looking at several that carry no more than 70 ounces, maybe 100. No more. Any comments on the following or models or brands (what about Boise's PolarPak?) I may have not listed???

    CamelBak Rocket: Designed for maximum ventilation and hydration. This pack offers road and trail riders the best in comfort and coolness. Exo Air™ Soft Frame keeps air flowing and moisture off your back. Expandable peripheral pockets hold all your cycling essentials. Sternum strap and removable waistbelt for easy adjustability. Convenient external access to OMEGA 72 oz. reservoir.

    CamelBak Blowfish: The versatile BlowFish expands to meet cargo demands, depending on ride length and weather. Air Director™ ventilated back panel, expandable storage compartment, removable waist belt and sternum strap. Includes OMEGA™ reservoir. Fluid capacity: 100 oz.

    Camelbak Ares: The Ares™ raises the bar on design when it comes to modern styling and technical features. Built around the Exo-Air™ Soft Frame with 3-dimensional Air Mesh, it keeps air flowing and you comfortable. Easy fill, easy clean via the OMEGA™ Reservoir. Full-zip back panel access makes loading a full reservoir easy. Independent Suspension Harness™ and dual compression straps keep load stable as you move. Includes the patented HydroLock™. Semi-load bearing waistbelt adjusts to fit you perfectly. Includes waist belt and sternum strap. Strap management secures loose webbing. Fully insulated to keep liquid cool for hours. Machine washable. Capacity: 70 oz.

  2. #2
    Contagious Xian
    Reputation: Bombin4X's Avatar
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    i'm down wit tha blowfish

  3. #3
    Hi!!!
    Reputation: BelaySlave's Avatar
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    My main hydration pack is the Novara (REI) Big Buzz. It originally came with a 100oz bladder, but I mainly use a 70oz bladder. Yeah yeah I know when you ride any of the Dork Loops after work, you don't need THAT MUCH water, but believe me....middle of July...I'm sucking down ALOT of water. Anyhoo one of the BIG selling points is that I can detach the tube from the bladder unlike Camelbak bladders where the hose has to stay attached. I'm able to cram a light jacket, very minimal First Aid kit, R2R map, spare SPD cleats, patch kit, multi tool in there.

    I also have the Camelbak H.A.W.G. The GREAT thing about the pack is that the bladder is seperate from the main compartment. And the H.A.W.G. can pretty much haul most of your worldly possession. I hardly ever use it cuz it's capacity is way too big for most of my rides.

  4. #4
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    damm...

    Quote Originally Posted by westin
    I've never used a hydration pack thanks to a weight weenie attitude years ago, and frame that had two or three cage mounts (those were the days). Now I'm looking at several that carry no more than 70 ounces, maybe 100. No more. Any comments on the following or models or brands (what about Boise's PolarPak?) I may have not listed???

    CamelBak Rocket: Designed for maximum ventilation and hydration. This pack offers road and trail riders the best in comfort and coolness. Exo Air™ Soft Frame keeps air flowing and moisture off your back. Expandable peripheral pockets hold all your cycling essentials. Sternum strap and removable waistbelt for easy adjustability. Convenient external access to OMEGA 72 oz. reservoir.

    CamelBak Blowfish: The versatile BlowFish expands to meet cargo demands, depending on ride length and weather. Air Director™ ventilated back panel, expandable storage compartment, removable waist belt and sternum strap. Includes OMEGA™ reservoir. Fluid capacity: 100 oz.

    Camelbak Ares: The Ares™ raises the bar on design when it comes to modern styling and technical features. Built around the Exo-Air™ Soft Frame with 3-dimensional Air Mesh, it keeps air flowing and you comfortable. Easy fill, easy clean via the OMEGA™ Reservoir. Full-zip back panel access makes loading a full reservoir easy. Independent Suspension Harness™ and dual compression straps keep load stable as you move. Includes the patented HydroLock™. Semi-load bearing waistbelt adjusts to fit you perfectly. Includes waist belt and sternum strap. Strap management secures loose webbing. Fully insulated to keep liquid cool for hours. Machine washable. Capacity: 70 oz.
    you are almost as bad a eric with his old rigid bikes, doesn't everyone use a camelback? Heck I think have three or four busted up camelbacks just sitting around the house. And I have three camelbacks on the rooster ride now a 60oz with very little storage, a huge polarpak, and a camelback hawg. Do you have disc brakes yet?
    Live to ride!

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  5. #5
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Smiley, check your PM's!!!!
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook
    you are almost as bad a eric with his old rigid bikes, doesn't everyone use a camelback? Heck I think have three or four busted up camelbacks just sitting around the house. And I have three camelbacks on the rooster ride now a 60oz with very little storage, a huge polarpak, and a camelback hawg. Do you have disc brakes yet?
    Truth be known I had a PolarPak for one ride and it blew at the seams. That was a looong time ago. Minimalist design. Didn't hold more than a bit of water.
    Thinking I should buy a good smaller one, and one I can haul a bunch with, right?
    As for discs.... I have U-brakes on all my bikes. Kidding.

  7. #7
    Going for a ride......
    Reputation: energetix's Avatar
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    It wasnt that long ago that I took that step myself, got a Camelbak Mule last year. Would never go back to bottles & cages now, unless I had to. Just make sure you don't shut your bite valve in the car boot!

  8. #8
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    Blowfish or Mule.

    Now I carry a lot of stuff (pads and extra tools and parts) and use the Trans Alp. It seems like every year I got a bigger pack, but the Mule and Blowfish held a lot of stuff for the size. The Blowfish is a little bigger.

  9. #9
    Back of the pack fat guy
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    I'm on my third Blowfish. The first one lasted a couple of years, but ripped through at the shoulder, and the second I caught on a low hanging branch on Sinker Creek, ripping it wide open. I like the 100oz bladder for longer, hot weather rides, and the expandability of pack if you need to stuff a bunch of cr@p in it. More cargo volume than the Mule, and you can usually find the Blowfish for cheap on the web somewhere.
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  10. #10
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    I second that. On my 2nd or 3rd Mule, and the blowfish is the way to go
    and 100oz capability is the way to go too

  11. #11
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    The blowfish looks like a conventional backpack; does it fit and feel like a good hydration pack ala Mule? I'd probably use it in the slimmer mode.

  12. #12
    aaarrrggghh!
    Reputation: Ivan the Terrible's Avatar
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    Hawg!!

    The blowfish is nice, but I prefer the way the HAWG rides. It is the best pack I've ever put on my back as far as ride quality is concerned. Even if you not using all the capacity is cinches down really well and works good for all types of riding.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan the Terrible
    The blowfish is nice, but I prefer the way the HAWG rides. It is the best pack I've ever put on my back as far as ride quality is concerned. Even if you not using all the capacity is cinches down really well and works good for all types of riding.
    Does it get "hot" in the heat, ala back sweatin' up a storm? Is it heavy?

    What about the Sette? http://www.pricepoint.com/detail.htm...8&hprice=29.98

    Last thing I need is a good deal blowing it's bag in the middle of Trail 4.

    Ooooh: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/113...elBak-HAWG.htm
    Last edited by westin; 03-19-2006 at 06:56 PM.

  14. #14
    aaarrrggghh!
    Reputation: Ivan the Terrible's Avatar
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    Sette=garbage
    2004 HAWG...hmmmm, you get what you pay for. Meaning, every year Camelbak comes up with some pretty signifcant improvements to their lineup. I would personally pony up for a 2006 and get the improvements. What's the deal with you guys, do you have shopophobia? Are you afraid to spend a little extra money by purchasing from a shop? If you find a shop where the guys actually know what the hell they are talking about, they can sometimes save you money and headaches in the long run. Support the local economy, get some expertise, and don't be such a cheap bastard.

    Anyway, the HAWG does cover a larger region of your back so its going to be a bit warmer, however, this also lends itself to be a very stable pack while riding. Also, the newer packs have a very breathable mesh back that makes them alot more tolerable. It definately gets my vote. Best ridability, best storage compartments, and best bladder.

    Good luck

  15. #15
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    I don't have shopophobia. I have spendtoomuchphobia. Yes, I will support (do I feel another one of those VERSUS threads coming on?) local shops; I called every one on Saturday looking for a certain item, but it was either "we can order it for you" or the price was so much higher. Back to the hydration bag: Hawg locally is about $105 out the door, or $65 to my door via online shopping. Maybe I'll use that $40 savings to buy the next item at the local shop... if it's in stock.

    For the record, Reed's has an item that undercuts everyone else in town by 20% and it's just 5 dollars more than mailorder: I will get it from Reed's.
    And I could have ebayed or Speedgoated some wheels but Brian is doing them.
    See, not everyone who has shopophobia is a bad guy.

    But I ain't about to give a local shop $600 for a fork when you can buy it all day long for $350 online. Sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan the Terrible
    Sette=garbage
    2004 HAWG...hmmmm, you get what you pay for. Meaning, every year Camelbak comes up with some pretty signifcant improvements to their lineup. I would personally pony up for a 2006 and get the improvements. What's the deal with you guys, do you have shopophobia? Are you afraid to spend a little extra money by purchasing from a shop? If you find a shop where the guys actually know what the hell they are talking about, they can sometimes save you money and headaches in the long run. Support the local economy, get some expertise, and don't be such a cheap bastard.

    Anyway, the HAWG does cover a larger region of your back so its going to be a bit warmer, however, this also lends itself to be a very stable pack while riding. Also, the newer packs have a very breathable mesh back that makes them alot more tolerable. It definately gets my vote. Best ridability, best storage compartments, and best bladder.

    Good luck

  16. #16
    aaarrrggghh!
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    Ummmm.......Yeah. I don't think we need another VERSUS thread on this already bloated and mostly worthless message board. I think you are spending good money with Brian. He builds amazing wheels. I work at Reed's and am curious as to what we are selling at such a great bargain. As for the "we can order it for you". Well in some cases, and often frequent in our case because we are a small shop, it comes down to the simple fact that we try and stock what is very likely to sell. We do order things for people who understand why shops don't have everything in stock, inventory can put you under. Its funny, you all ***** about how you want your sh!t right now, but you don't like the shop that carries it all, in stock, ie George's. I would never blame you for purchasing a fork for $300.00 less than a shop can sell it to your for, unless its a Manitou and then I say, hahaha sucker, you got what you paid for. But otherwise, I like when people come into the shop, ask for some advice on gear, and then buy from us even if we have to order it because they understand what GOOD customer service is all about. The worst, some other a-hole who spends at least 1/2 hour of my time on which pedals he should buy simply so he can go on ebay and find a great deal on some used ones and then bring them into the shop so we can put them on for him, priceless.

  17. #17
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    Ivan. You are right...

    Manitou forks are awful.
    You're just a genetic material transport vessel. Nothing more...nothing less."

  18. #18
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    a: I would NEVER waste anyone's time trying on shoes/helmets/whatnot and then say "I'll be back" only to head home and click, click, click. If I just want 5 minutes of advice I will straight up say, "Do you have a minute... I have some questions about this and that." There are some great shop owners who recognize it's just 5 minutes of their time and not a promise on my part to buy anything then and there. Time is money.

    b: George's??? Hahahaha. Never. Ever.

    c: Manitous blow.

    d: I've spent probably close to $800 at Reeds since they opened. The most of any shop in town.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan the Terrible
    Ummmm.......Yeah. I don't think we need another VERSUS thread on this already bloated and mostly worthless message board. I think you are spending good money with Brian. He builds amazing wheels. I work at Reed's and am curious as to what we are selling at such a great bargain. As for the "we can order it for you". Well in some cases, and often frequent in our case because we are a small shop, it comes down to the simple fact that we try and stock what is very likely to sell. We do order things for people who understand why shops don't have everything in stock, inventory can put you under. Its funny, you all ***** about how you want your sh!t right now, but you don't like the shop that carries it all, in stock, ie George's. I would never blame you for purchasing a fork for $300.00 less than a shop can sell it to your for, unless its a Manitou and then I say, hahaha sucker, you got what you paid for. But otherwise, I like when people come into the shop, ask for some advice on gear, and then buy from us even if we have to order it because they understand what GOOD customer service is all about. The worst, some other a-hole who spends at least 1/2 hour of my time on which pedals he should buy simply so he can go on ebay and find a great deal on some used ones and then bring them into the shop so we can put them on for him, priceless.

  19. #19
    aaarrrggghh!
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    Well since your a Reed Cycle regular, introduce yourself next time your in, we can talk about pedals,

  20. #20
    Tracking up the place
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    I recommend deuter....I have had Camelbak Classic, mules, and alpine, and blowfish....

    The deuter Race X air is what i have it came with a naglene bladder, with a removable hose, like click in click out etc...

    http://www.deuterusa.com/racexair.html

    Its light weight, and stays off the back, and stays still....I have had mine for 3 years now, and the zippers still working good and with little or no wear... My camel baks, got sweaty, smelly and and I could never get the stink completely out...I had threading come loose on mesh panels, and tore on branches...It's my preference.. but give them a look.. Ride with what you feel more comfortable in...
    "Home of the Bearlodge Mtn Classic"



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  21. #21
    Contagious Xian
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    Epics

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan the Terrible
    The blowfish is nice, but I prefer the way the HAWG rides. It is the best pack I've ever put on my back as far as ride quality is concerned. Even if you not using all the capacity is cinches down really well and works good for all types of riding.
    I visit Spudhucksters quite often look at pics and read the stories of your 9 hour rides on freeride bikes with much food, pads, extra jackets, etc., so I bet the HAWG for those marathons to pack even the kitchen sink in is a good fit.

  22. #22
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    Hawg

    I ride with a HAWG as well and as Ivan said its the bomb! I can load it down for long rides or use the compression straps to cinch it down for a quick spin in the foothills. I have had many hydration packs in the years I have been riding and the HAWG is by far the largest and the best. I do not notice that it is drastically warmer on my back then any of the smaller ones that I have used but it does seem to be more secure. Like Ivan said maybe thats because of the larger contact patch on my back or maybe its the improvements of a 2005 bag over bags dating back to 1997 or so, when I got my first hydration pack. Basically if you want a bag that is comfortable and lasts get a quality one, look for one that will work for your longer rides and can be cinched down with the aid of compression straps for shorter rides. In my opinion you can't go wrong with the HAWG
    Everytime that wheel turn round
    bound to cover just a little more ground!

  23. #23
    King of the Barneys
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    I'll probably go to a Hawg or Blowfish after my Mule wears out, because there are times, like high-country all-day rides, where more space would be handy, such as for extra food, clothes, water, or gear. But for 90% of my riding, the Mule is fine.

    Had a nice Hydrapak that was stolen out of my pickup a couple years back, along with about $300 worth of stuff in it, including my yellow Rudy Projects.

    CDB
    May your trails be narrow, crooked, lonesome and dangerous, leading to the most outrageous adventures. Paladin

  24. #24
    aaarrrggghh!
    Reputation: Ivan the Terrible's Avatar
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    Indeed, last spring my old HAWG started to give up the ghost, I was in a pinch and picked up the Havoc. I don't like it as much but I'm committed to wearing it out before I get another HAWG. The HAWG is still my perennial favorite. And yes 9 hour rides on freeride bikes is truly epic. Not only are you way out there but its cool knowing the bike is ready for whatever terrain you come across, and usually we find some interesting lines or jumps, ie see our 20 mile creek write up. Big log jump just so happened to be there right in the middle of trail just waiting for us...... not really, but still.

  25. #25
    Back of the pack fat guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan the Terrible
    What's the deal with you guys, do you have shopophobia? Are you afraid to spend a little extra money by purchasing from a shop? If you find a shop where the guys actually know what the hell they are talking about, they can sometimes save you money and headaches in the long run. Support the local economy, get some expertise, and don't be such a cheap bastard.
    Ivan - I know you, you know me, and I'm probably as guilty as anyone on this board about purchasing bike stuff online, but as with westin, I (and my wife) have "spendtoomuchaphobia" when it comes to bike-related items. That said, I'm NOT trying to start a flame war or fill up this "mostly worthless" board with more "garbage," but I have a simple question - isn't a shop's profit margin higher on service than on products sold? It's my understanding that the profit margin on the sale of items, especially the bikes themselves, is fairly thin, and that the key to a financially successful bike shop is charging for service, much as it is in the car dealer world. I understand that a shop cannot survive on service charges alone, but I would imagine that the profit margin is higher on service (simply calculated by the amount charged over and above what the mechanic is paid) than on items, especially lower priced items.

    If this basic concept is true, does one "support the local economy" by having a shop perform service? I can see the point that if someone comes in and wastes your time with a bunch of questions, buys the product online and installs it themselves, the shop makes no money, and actually loses money because the shop guy has spent their time talking and not making money when they could be doing repairs or service for money. But, what about someone who does their own research without bugging anyone at a shop, buys a product online at a 40% discount over what it would have cost in the shop, and then has a shop do the labor, paying the shop for the labor essentially the price difference between the shop price and the online price? As I see it, if the person didn't buy it online and thus saved the money on the purchase price to have the labor done, there would be no purchase to begin with and no money to pay the shop for the labor, thus hurting the national and local economy. Usually, when I purchase bike parts, especially something I don't have the mechanical skill or time to install or tweak, I factor in the labor cost for installation in the total cost. Purchasing online usually saves me enough that I can afford to have a shop do the install/service, where if I bought it in the shop, I wouldn't have the money for the service. (Rarely have I seen the situation where I buy something from a shop and they offer to install it for free.) Hence, if I can't afford the total cost, I don't buy the item, hurting the national or regional online retailer and the local shop, because neither gets my money.

    Again, this is an honest question - no offense (or sarcasm) intended here.

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