For long, hot days of gravel grinding, when aid stations are few and far between and the nearest fountain spigot is another town away, hydration packs can be a lifesaver—but they can also be downright bulky. The Camelbak Women’s Chase Bike Vest offers 1.5 liters of hydration, while providing just enough storage space to pack along the essentials, but nothing superfluous. The name of the game is having ample hydration on hand like a camel, not getting loaded down like one.
With a 1.5-liter bladder, the Chase provides the additional hydration of more than two bottles, effectively doubling the amount of water on hand. Having the ability to take a swig of water always mere inches away, thanks to a hydration hose—which hooks conveniently out of the way to the cheststrap buckles when not needed—is a good reminder to drink early and often. Plus, it’s easier than reaching for a bottle every time you’re feeling parched. If racing a big gravel grinder is in the cards for you, we recommend practicing refilling the Camelbak’s reservoir on the go before your big event arrives so that you’re not losing precious time fiddling with it at aid stations.
Everything about this pack is designed specifically for the needs of a cyclist, from the elastic pump loop down to the reflective accents and the loop for a light. Plus, a zippered pocket provides extra peace of mind for your valuables.
For a fit that’s comfortable all day, Camelbak designed the back and straps with 3D Vent Mesh, which both cushions and offers multi-directional airflow. And it works. This pack delivers breathability that’s up for long, hot days. To keep the pack comfortably in place, even if mountain biking is your jam, two adjustable sternum straps secure the front.
This version of the Chase bike vest features a women-specific design, with enough adjustability for a wide range of body types, that distributes weight in an unnoticeable way—you never feel like you’re carrying extra gear where you’re not used to it. Though Camelbak designed the pack to sit higher on the back for pocket access, it still sits a little bit lower than we would like, slightly inhibiting pocket access.
With just 2.5 liters of non-reservoir storage, this pack holds what you might need for a long day—including valuables like wallet and keys, extra layers, a flat kit and food—and not too much extra. Additional pockets on the shoulder straps provide convenient access to mid-ride essentials like nutrition, but it takes a little bit of practice to reach into them quickly. Overall, for $100, this 330-gram vest delivers all-day comfort and breathability at a price we like. $100; 330g; camelbak.com