Issue #052 News

The Lab: CAMELBAK Podium Flow 4

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.

CAMELBAK Podium Flow 4 | Tester Juli | Test duration 5 months
Price € 59.99 € | Weight 321 g (incl. water bottle) | Manufacturer’s website

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.

There’s a loop with a small hook to secure your keys.

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 pump is easily accessible from the outside. It isn’t more exposed to dirt here than if it were attached to the frame.
There are three large compartments for a multitool, tire levers and tire pressure gauge on the left, while the right pocket is divided into two smaller compartments.

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 high-quality bottle has a protective cap for the mouthpiece and a twist-lock to prevent leakage.

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 strap ends are held in place by a rubber loop, so they don’t dangle around.
Air Support: the channels in the mesh padding should promote ventilation. On strenuous climbs, you’ll sweat under the hip pack nonetheless.

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

About the author

Julian Schwede

Juli is used to dealing with big rigs. Besides working on his bike, he also tinkered and worked on buses after completing his training as a vehicle mechatronics engineer. Since the development of large-scale electric motors was too slow for him, he went on to study technical business administration while building carbon fibre tables on the side. Though his DJ bike is welded from thick aluminium tubes, his full-susser is made of carbon and it's already taken him to the top of numerous summits. Apart from biking, he likes climbing via ferratas or vertically on the wall. Nowadays, his personal bike gets ridden less as he tests the bikes that get sent to us, pushing them to their limits to see what they're capable of. In addition to bike reviews, Juli also takes care of the daily news and thinks of himself as the Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent.