My CamelBak L.U.X.E., of Privateer’s “In The Bag” fame, has already had one dose of internet lime light. But here I wrote about what it holds, not how. And it does the ‘how’ part very well indeed.
The L.U.X.E. shares many chick specific features with the CamelBak Magic. The straps, shape and material are designed around a woman’s anatomy, not a man’s, and many of the finely tuned features designed for high performance on the trails–and after–are also seen here. What the L.U.X.E offers that the Magic has shed is more water carrying capacity and extra stashability. If the Magic’s what you take when you’re travelling light, the L.U.X.E is what you reach for when you’re heading out for a bigger one.
Extra compartments in this larger model pack are also designed with a snug fit and fast riding in mind. The bladder has its own pocket in the rear of the pack and provides an extra buffer between your body and your gear. There is a large main pocket for carrying a day’s worth of riding goods, a larger front pocket offering additional room for spares, and the expandable middle section is obviously larger as well. A small, soft-lined pocket up top makes a nice second home for MP3 players or your phone.
With a claimed weight of less than 200gms over the Magic, this larger pack is hardly a weight penalty or inconvenience on the trails. Compression straps on the side of the pack pull everything in nice and tight when it’s just the 3L water carrying capacity you want. Both packs are designed to offer easy access to jersey pockets while you are bent over on the bike. Like many women’s specific features, this tends to be something people miss until they use a product that isn’t as well thought-out. The only word of advice I’d offer is to be careful with how you stash stuff in the main pocket so you don’t push the rear of the pack into an overly-rounded shape.
I was originally attracted to the L.U.X.E for its larger load capacity for races where water fill-up points are few and far between. Bikes in my size usually only allow space for one water bottle so a pack like this quickly becomes a race necessity. Lately I’ve been using it a lot on road commutes as well. It easily holds everything I need for a day at work, including shoes and a change of clothes so people take me seriously at the office. This commute includes a road bunch ride with a good crew from the Bicycle Garage – my local shop. There’s nothing like racing a bunch of men up a hill climb to test out the go fast factor of a pack. I’m pleased to say that this one passes the test in style.
For more info on the CamelBak packs, head over to their website – I recommend the videos, they’re entertaining and well-put together. I get the feeling these guys don’t do anything by halves. I also have a feeling that by wearing one, neither will I. I’ll drink to that!
Photos: Kath Bicknell and Gaye Camm (thank you!).