It’s not every day you let a man in a ‘Camelback’ shirt point a camera at your breasticles, but that’s exactly what happened when we visited the brand at a show in London today.
Camelback have produced a brand new pack for 2016 – the Solstice – and they were keen to show us the key differences between their men’s and women’s versions.
Camelback want to create functional cycling gear for women, that works and is comfortable.
Their spokesperson explained: “The women’s market is smaller, so if we’re honest it would actually be more efficient for us not to make women’s packs, and many brands don’t. But we want women to have a good experience. Everyone agrees a jacket fits differently on a woman to a man, and the same goes for a pack, so we invest in making women’s packs that fit.”
The brand’s reps were keen to ensure that we understood that Camelback are 100% not about ‘pink it and shrink it’ – all female variations are created to fit.
On top of making quality women’s product, they’re also working with downhill racer Tracey Hannah to promote women’s mountain biking.
So – what have they actually created?
Camelback have made an ingenious observation: most women have breasts. This fact is pretty important when creating a pack that is secured via a chest strap.
In addition, women also have narrower shoulders and necks, and according to their data, they genuinely have shorter torsos and longer legs (controversial, they do promise to send us the numbers!).
The key difference in a women’s Camelback is in the chest strap. The strap is attached to a plastic rail, which is the same in men’s and women’s packs, but in the men’s pack, the rail runs in a straight line. This means that the strap is always going to cut across the boobs.
In the women’s pack the plastic rails are curved, to cater for a woman’s shape – and you can secure the pack ‘over-boob’ or ‘under-boob’. The neck and shoulders also provide a closer fit.
On top of this, where back protection is provided, for example in the Camelback Magic, the pack is much shorter, so that it sits in the correct position on a shorter torso.
Aside from being boob friendly, the key selling point for the Solstice and its male version (the Skyline) is that it stores the 3-litre bladder low on the back, thus having minimal effect on the rider’s natural centre of gravity and allowing for greater breathability with little extra padding higher up.
The pack features a bladder compression system (not as painful as it sounds) which keeps the hydration system in one place, and there are helmet straps for easy storage as well as a handy pocket on the hip strap for an energy stash.
The Solstice will be available in December (perfect for Christmas) and retails at £100, with the bladder and a tool roll included.