The CAMELBAK Podium Flow 4 is a generously sized hip pack with space for a water bottle, promising to make your backpack superfluous without being overly bulky. We put it to the test to find out whether it really can carry everything you need for a day trip. It goes for € 59.99 including the water bottle.
The Podium Flow hip pack is one of the first offshoots from CAMELBAK’s new collection, designed specifically for bikers. The hip pack is available in plain black or striking gold colour for € 59.99. We’ve worn the hip pack on almost every ride since we got it and tested whether it’s big enough to carry everything you need for a successful ride or whether you have to limit yourself to the bare essentials.
The CAMELBAK Podium Flow 4 has a clearly structured pocket layout. With the two triangular-shaped wings on the left and right and the centrally positioned bottle, the hip pack is nice and compact. It has two symmetrically arranged zipped pockets, which are further subdivided internally. The two pockets on each side have zippers closing in opposite directions, so you can avoid accidentally opening both compartments at the same time and also know which pocket you’re accessing without looking.
The internal subdivision of the pockets makes it easy to keep your things neatly ordered: your multitool, spare tube and CO2 cartridge on one side, snacks and car keys on the other. When the weather’s unpredictable, you’ll even find space for a lightweight rain jacket in one of the big main pockets. The two front compartments aren’t subdivided and are rather narrow, perfect for thin gels or your gloves on the climbs.
The CAMELBAK Podium Flow 4 is close-fitting. Even when packed, it doesn’t sag or bounce around on your back. The channel in the mesh padding is intended to provide ventilation, but you’ll still find yourself getting sweaty underneath it on warm days. Some testers also found that the water bottle pressed directly onto their spine, causing some discomfort. So it’s best to try it on for yourself beforehand or position the hip pack slightly to the side. In case you fall on your back, the position of the water bottle directly on the spine is generally questionable. You’d rather not take a tumble on the bottle’s hard lid.
The CAMELBAK Podium Flow 4 is a generously sized hip pack that comes with a water bottle and enough space for everything you need on a long post-work ride. The two internally subdivided compartments keep everything neatly ordered, and thanks to the bottle and pump holder, bulky objects are stored externally and are easy to reach. That said, the central position of the bottle leaves us with some question marks regarding comfort and safety.
- good subdivision of the storage compartments
- space for a water bottle
- external pump holder
- water bottle sits directly on the spine
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Words & Photos: Julian Schwede