A quick reminder about two contests that will be wrapping up soon: one for a pair of Merrell Pace Glove women's trail shoes, and the other for a copy of Marshall Ulrich’s great new book. No, they’re not prizes of equal value … but they’re both pretty cool. Winners will be announced on Sunday.
Strange as it sounds, one of the main factors in determining whether our kids would be up for hiking in Yosemite was hydration packs. More specifically, we wanted to know if they’d be able to carry their own water.
Prior to this spring, whenever we did family hikes, I would typically carry my own hydration pack as well as a couple of water bottles for everyone to share – but I knew that the prospect of lugging enough fluid for three kids to spend a whole day on the trails and steep hills of Yosemite was more than I wanted to deal with. In other words, Daddy wasn’t playing the family camel anymore; sometimes you just have to draw a line.
|CamelBak Skeeter pack above Nevada Fall|
For my 12-year-old son, this wasn’t much of a problem, as he’s tall enough to use a standard hydration pack, and was already accustomed to using it for day hikes and bike rides. My younger daughters were more of a problem, however; even the smallest adult packs seemed either too wide through the shoulders or too long through the holsters or trunk to be worn comfortably for an extended period of time. That’s why I was relieved to find the CamelBak Skeeter pack, which is specifically designed for kids, and which my 9-year-old daughter has used extensively, including our Yosemite trip where most of the photos in this post were taken.
|On the Mist Trail, with Illouette Fall in background|
The Skeeter serves one very simple function: it holds a fluid compartment against your back. It doesn’t have pockets or cargo containers or media cord outlets or anything remotely fancy (except for a reflective stripe, if you consider that fancy). However, it incorporates some of CamelBak’s best innovations, and like all of the company’s products, it comes with a lifetime guarantee for durability. It’s also extremely lightweight and low profile – weighing just 3.8 oz (110g) without fluid, with an 11-inch torso length - so it rides very easily and is perfectly sized for smaller bodies.
|Lightweight mesh harness, comfort mesh back panel, Velcro reservoir pocket closure|
The Skeeter comes with CamelBak’s new Antidote reservoir, which is a noticeable improvement over the Omega reservoirs that were already pretty darn awesome. It has a wide mouth opening with a new quarter-turn fastening system that locks the cap in place without any doubt about security. Using two Omega reservoirs and one Antidote on our trip, it was easy to tell a difference in the ease of closing the new version compared to the former. Fluid capacity on this pack is 50oz (1.5L), or roughly three-quarters the capacity of standard adult hydration packs.
|At the edge of Vernal Fall|
All the other traditional CamelBak reservoir features are here, too: the Big Bite valve with lockout lever, HydroGuard technology to prevent microbial buildup on the interior surfaces, and a PureFlow tube for a steady volume of fluid with each drink. When the pack is filled, it sits very securely against the back, with very minimal bouncing when running or jumping from rock to rock.
|Rockhopping on the Yosemite Falls Trail|
Both my daughter and I are quite impressed with the Skeeter pack, and after comparing the utility of adult packs and childrens packs over multiple outings, I’d say there’s definitely a benefit to using child-specific gear. Truthfully, the only downside is that your kid will eventually grow out of it, but since the Skeeter pack is very affordably priced, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth if you use it for a reasonable amount of time.
CamelBak’s Skeeter pack retails for $26 from Amazon.com.
|Above the Yosemite falls overlook|
*Product provided by CamelBak
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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