Published on January 20th, 2011 | by Rita0
Hydrate in Style with CamelBak and prAna
Here at Truly Outdoors we are always in favor of gear that has multiple uses. Backpacks that go from city to forest without breaking a sweat always land in our favor, as do things like shoes that perform equally well in urban or wilderness settings, or dishes and cook wear that perform as well in a kitchen as they do on a campfire. When the opportunity to give a couple of new CamelBak bags and some new clothes from prAna a try, we immediately started looking for ways to use both outside if their intended purposes.
Clothing is easy. prAna clothing is exceptionally easy. Everything they design is meant to be used in a whole array of activities; things like yoga, hiking, climbing, and urban exploration. Specifically we tried out the Bliss Capri Pants, which are touted to be for climbing (okay, hiking and travel too.) Believe me, they were absolutely used for climbing, and we loved them for climbing. Ours are black, and they have this nice crisp, stretchy feel to the fabric that makes them easy to get chalk off of, as well as appropriate for an evening out on the town instead of the crag.
The pants are a bit roomy, both of our testers wear a size 2-4, and both agreed that the XS would have been a better fit. Even with the extra room the pants still looked very nice on, and one of the beautiful things about capris is that inseam is less of a concern. $50 or less on Amazon, these are certainly versatile enough to make that a great buy!
Also from prAna we tried out the Lucia Sweater in the lovely espresso color. There are a lot of things to love about this sweater. It’s a wool blend, which makes it very warm, without being scratchy. It’s lined with a very light fleece, which lends itself to hikes very nicely. The neck is higher than a mock turtleneck, but not quite as tall as a regular turtleneck. There are interesting design details that keep it from being a plain sweater. Once again, this sweater goes from the outdoors to indoor settings like movie theaters or dinner as seamlessly as the pants do. You can find the Lucia Sweater on Amazon for around $100.
Our one gripe about this sweater is that the sleeves are not anywhere near as generous as the sweater’s description makes it sound. For most people this won’t be a problem, and for some the sleeves will undoubtedly be too long. However, for those who have very long arms be prepared for the same plight as all of your other long sleeve shirts. Fortunately, the sleeves are pushed up easy enough. We’d hoped that a company that is geared to some degree to climbers would have sympathy for the very long-armed consumer.
This brings us now to one of our favorite kinds of bag, the CamelBak. What is not to love about a bag that provides a means to always have water with you? We tested out two different bags, both new to the CamelBak lineup, and both using the new Antidote bladder. Before we get into the specific bags, the bladder is really the unsung hero of both bags. The new bladders feature a quick-snap cap, once you line it up it tightens entirely in just a quarter turn, and the open and closed positions are both clearly marked, so it’s easy to see and feel if you’re not locked in. The new bladders are low-profile, and they’ve managed to cut even more weight off of the overall total, which is impressive.
First is a bag that we specifically requested for the purpose of wearing while climbing. It was a tall order, and while CamelBak (or any other hydration company) does not make a bag specifically to wear while climbing, they did their best to accommodate. What resulted was the 2011 Aurora Women’s Bike Hydration Pack.
This small, sporty pack is designed specifically for women, with narrow shoulders and a higher waist than a pack for men. The bladder holds a generous 70 oz. of water, and there is still room for a couple of pockets which are big enough for phone, wallet, keys, etc. We found that it’s still a bit bulky for single-pitch sport climbs, but would probably work quite well for a longer multi-pitch climb. In addition to being a great bag to wear while biking, it’s also fantastic for carrying around town on a daily basis and for short hikes. The small size makes it almost completely non-intrusive, and even with a full bladder it weighs very little. It comes in three different color combinations, ours is blue shadow/dream blue. The Aurora is available on Amazon for $54 in all three colors.
In addition to the Aurora, we also had the pleasure of testing out the 2011 Women’s Aventura, which is bigger than a standard backpack, and smaller than a full-size camping bag. Again, this is a women’s bag, with narrower shoulder straps, and an “S-curve” harness. Honestly, there are almost too many things that we love about this bag to list. The highlights include the dry pocket for sunglasses, phone or small point and shoot camera, the generous side pockets, a semi-load bearing belt and best is the N.V.I.S (say it outloud: envious, which is what all of your friends are going to be when they see it) mesh back that keeps air moving across your back regardless of how hot and humid your hike is. We’ve tested this bag repeatedly in the jungles and rain forests here in Hawaii, it’s a dream to hike with.
The bladder, again a new Antidote, is a 100oz. or 3L bag, and you really have to work pretty hard to drain the entire thing. The best you can hope is that your friends all have their own 2 or 3L bags, or they’ll be hounding you for your water by the end of a long hike. Designed to carry food, water, extra layers, media and trekking poles or an ice axe. We’ve yet to take it on a flight, but our guess is that this bag will easily pass carry-on standards, which will also make it a delightful bag to travel with. The Aventura comes in two colors, our is a beautiful blue. We love it to bits, it matches our new quickdraws! You can find the Aventura on Amazon for $112.
Drop us a line, let us know your favorite outdoor gear, especially if you use it in an unconventional way! As always, be safe and have fun in anything you do!