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Every mountain bike ride looks different, and these days hip packs come in all shapes and sizes to cover most situations. The Camelbak Podium Flow Belt is smaller than most hip packs on the market, weighing just 181g, which makes it ideal for quick rides and light packers.

At the front of the pack, a slim zippered pocket is ideal for storing flat snacks or a multi-tool for easy access. The much larger main pocket has a key hook and two mesh pockets for keeping smaller items organized. A pump, spare tube, and compact packable jacket should fit inside easily. Officially Camelbak says the pack offers 2L of gear storage.

On the right side of the pack is a round sleeve for holding a water bottle. The sleeve is angled which makes it easy to grab and stow the bottle without twisting the pack around. An elastic band keeps the bottle secure, and I haven’t lost one yet despite riding miles of rough trails. The mesh bottom of the bottle sleeve allows any condensation to drain freely.

Camelbak includes a nice, 21oz. Podium Dirt Series bottle, though I’ve found any bottle will fit just fine. Cans also fit, FYI, and the pack has a bit of padding which provides some insulation. The Podium Dirt bottle features a cap to keep the nozzle dirt free, though it’s easily removable if you don’t want to bother with it. Twist the nozzle to shut off the water flow and prevent accidental spills.

The 1.5-inch-wide belt is fairly sturdy and stable, though the buckle is made of thin plastic and feels cheap. There’s a good amount of padding on the back of the pack, and it extends around my hip bones for a comfortable fit. Elastic loops make it easy to tidy up any strap excess.

A reflective strip on the front of the pack is a good addition for night riding, and there’s a loop for hanging the pack to dry or when not in use.

Need more storage? Add a tool or camera holster to the belt like I did.

The Camelbak Podium Flow Belt has been my go-to pack this summer thanks to its small size and stability on the trail. It’s been great for traveling as well since I never know if rental bikes will have a bottle cage available. For bikes that do have a bottle cage or two, this pack gives me the option to bring a canned drink or an additional bottle for particularly hot days. In general, I’m a pretty light packer, and the Podium Flow Belt has offered all the storage I need for summer riding. Leah is a fan too, regularly borrowing the pack for leading Little Bellas group rides.

For quick rides and mountain bikers who are able to pack light or utilize separate on-bike storage, the Camelbak Podium Flow Belt is a great solution. I’ve found that it’s versatile, lightweight, and convenient for most of my rides.

Buy it: $45 MSRP, available at Amazon

Thanks to Camelbak for providing the Podium Flow Belt for review.

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