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Published on January 20th, 2011 | by Rita


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 quick­drawsYou 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!

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About the Author

Professionally in healthcare, and semi-professionally a photographer, former student at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, and full-time student of human nature, Rita has been writing for Truly Net for many years. Born and raised in the Midwest, she spent years on Oahu, and has formed some very strong opinions about all things knitting, pie, and the best places to climb. She really enjoys good food, music and friends, and is perfectly willing to write about, and photograph any or all of those things.

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