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 Post subject: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:59 am 
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Location: Altadena SoCal
Camelbak Pitboss

This is my fifth Camelbak and seventh hydration system. All I can say is when it comes to hydration systems, you get what you pay for. Camelbak is certainly pricy but worth every extra penny. It’s hard to put into words all the thought Camelbak put into the details of this bag. So I wrote an ekphrastic tome.

I really didn’t think you could make a better bladder but they did. The 2011 bladders feature a quarter-turn opening large enough for ice cubes and easy cleaning, Camelbak’s signature bite valve, a baffling inside the bladder keeping it flat, and a detachable hose. The Pit Boss’s bladder nozzle automatically shuts off once the insulated hose is detached; meaning you no longer have to monkey around fishing the hose though the zippable, insulated hose-sleeve before you can get a refill. All you have to do is open the insulated pouch, unclip the bladder (leaving the hose in place), refill, clip it back in, and you are good to go.

The arrangement of straps and clips on the outside is my favorite feature. Reinforced loops on the side allow for packing of skis in the A position. The compression straps make it possible to hold skis (or snowshoes) parallel on the sides. Retractable, adjustable, and reinforced straps on the upper left and lower right of the front allow you to carry skis in the diagonal position. Horizontal straps in the front allow you to carry a snowboard vertically and the bladder insulation flap (next to your back) allows you to carry a snowboard horizontally. Bottom line is there are plenty of straps and things to attach all the winter things you could possibly need.

The Tri-zip feature is great. I can open the top flap (which is actually a pouch) to access the main pouch without unclipping my skis or snowboard. The third zipper allows easy access to the whole main pouch; albeit by unclipping the two horizontal straps. The main pouch is HUGE. It can easily fit a day’s food, first-aid kit, parka, fleece, and a helmet. The top flap/pouch opens from the back (right next to your head) allowing access without removing attached skis or board. This pouch is just big enough for all the little knick-knacks that get lost in a big pouch (map, compass, knife, tools, wax, gloves, keys, wallet).

There is a designated shovel pouch in front fits a 10” wide blade. Another nice feature is the top loading, quick-access, side probe pouch. I use it for my probe, shovel handle, and tail mix. I can get at it without putting the pack down.

All straps come with elastic bands to tuck extra strap away so they won’t snag trees or get confused while you are tightening something you can’t see.

I put this bag to the ultimate test earlier this season. My wife and I set out to ski/board down 2700 vertical feet of a local mountain. I made a bad call and navigated us into a couloir which was above our skill level. 700 ft into the run we decided boot our way down the rest of the slope to the highway. I ended up carrying her skis, my board, and snowshoes at the same time. The load never shifted. 5 hrs and 2000’ of vertical later we got back safely.

I've used this bag 50+ times since November. It never ceases to attract comments from onlookers. The only drawback I've discovered is when you carry skis in the A position, the edge of the skis rubs against the zipper at the top, eventually fraying the fibers which connect the teeth of the zipper from the rest of the bag. The teeth have separated now and I have to take the bag to a seamstress/taylor. Imma have them sew in a zipper cover this time. This is NOT covered by the "Got Your Bak" warranty.

Camelback also makes a slightly smaller women’s version —the Roulette, with a S-shaped frame — and the more in-bounds oriented Tycoon and Ante (for men and women respectively).


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 Post subject: Re: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Nice looking pack. I didn't know it existed. Thanks for sharing.

I'm assuming that you find it comfortable with the full monte of day touring gear? Does it ride well going down?

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 Post subject: Re: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:20 am 
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HansGLudwig wrote:
Reinforced loops on the side allow for packing of skis in the A position.


These are wide enough for a splitboard ski? Many of the ski-oriented packs with this feature I have seen are not accommodating to the extra width of a splitboard ski (are you listening Deuter??? this is my one complaint about the Glide pack).

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165 Venture Divide, Spark Franken-Burner, LaSportiva Spantik
163W Jones Solution, Phantom Alphas, Dynafit TLT5
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 Post subject: Re: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:13 am 
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stuka wrote:
I'm assuming that you find it comfortable with the full monte of day touring gear? Does it ride well going down?

Comfort? Oh yea. The frame and thick hip strap allows the weight to be borne by my hips instead of the shoulder straps on the up.
For the down, I cinch everything down pretty tight. Still comfortable with no shifting.
The lack of lower compression straps means if the bag is mostly empty (in theory), something small and hard (like a coffee thermos) could flop around in the main compartment. But that's why they have the smaller drawstring pocket inside the main compartment. It's never been an issue for me.
96avs01 wrote:
Reinforced loops . . . are wide enough for a splitboard ski?

Barely wide enough for a normal board. Not really if you have big feet (and ∴ a wide board). Besides the loops are not adjustable. They are designed to have ski brakes or a binding to stop the ski from sliding out. Splitboards have no adequate thing for the strap to catch (e.g. hook, puck. The touring bracket with the binding attached is too high; and if you packed the board upside down the binding would flop around. Perhaps not if you had Karakoram's new heel lockdown thing). I am thinking of modding out the loops by replacing them with adjustable compression straps which fit a wider board.
I simply pack my board in the vertical position on the back like I would a skateboard.


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 Post subject: Re: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:08 am 
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HansGLudwig wrote:
96avs01 wrote:
Reinforced loops . . . are wide enough for a splitboard ski?

Barely wide enough for a normal board. Not really if you have big feet (and ∴ a wide board).


That's what I figured...just another challenge for riders with big hooves. Many Thanks

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165 Venture Divide, Spark Franken-Burner, LaSportiva Spantik
163W Jones Solution, Phantom Alphas, Dynafit TLT5
162 Furberg


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 Post subject: Re: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:03 am 
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96avs01 wrote:
HansGLudwig wrote:
Reinforced loops on the side allow for packing of skis in the A position.


These are wide enough for a splitboard ski? Many of the ski-oriented packs with this feature I have seen are not accommodating to the extra width of a splitboard ski (are you listening Deuter??? this is my one complaint about the Glide pack).


This is exactly what I was hoping you wouldn't say. I'd love to have a pack that will accomodate a splitboard in split duty, in both a-frame and diagonal. I guess I'll have to go on wishing. However, there is a shop in town that does backpack sewing and mods, so maybe...
Nice to see a pack that will carry a board horizontal, which has become uncommon. A feature, that I really like, that's on my ancient DaKine that I hardly ever use due to small capacity.

Thanks for the review.

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 Post subject: Re: Camelbak Pitboss Review
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:39 pm 
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96avs01 wrote:
I'd love to have a pack that will accomodate a splitboard in split duty, in both a-frame and diagonal.

The diagonal carry strap and loop are definitely long enough. The the lower loop has a slidable vinyl reenforcement thingy to keep ski edges from slicing through the strap.
The diagonal carry straps are PERFECT for my dual Whippets on the down.
For booters, I usually haul my board in the vertical-carry position. I've found this to be the least hassle.

And Rico, horizontal carry is rad. I don't do it with a splitboard (solid only) b/c I don't want the touring brackets poking the bag where the bladder is. Not that I think the fabric can't take it; I just don't want to risk puncturing the fancy bladder.


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