Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012: Hydration packs

Check out the top new hydration pack products and trends for 2013 that we encountered at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 2-5. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

This SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Summer Market recap is brought to you by Cordura:

As with gear and apparel, the hydration category no longer is simply “shrinking and pinking” products for women. Manufacturers are putting time and thought into creating products that are ergonomically correct and comfortable for a woman’s body. Products are also becoming increasingly specific to activities.

“Getting the right fit is definitely key,” said Osprey’s Erik Hamerschlag, product manager. “You can’t get at a good fit with a unisex product. You can’t just change the color; there’s a lot more to it.”

One oft-cited reason for “shrink and pink” in the past was that women’s-specific products weren’t making minimum production orders. That’s not the case with Osprey and Gregory, the latter of which is rolling out its new Fluid Mechanics line of 12 items ranging from waist, back and handheld products, six of which, the Pace Series (MSRPs $29-$149), are designed specifically for women.

Gregory Pace D1.5

“We’re trying to offer something that’s less like a fly-fishing vest and a bit more like a piece of apparel, that fits much like shoes and clothes, not only in performance but in terms of style,” said John Sears, Gregory’s director of product. Both the men’s and women’s packs feature Gregory’s Raptor Stabilizer anti-bounce technology and breathable Cocona fabric everywhere the pack comes into contact with the body.

Gregory Tempo 5

Osprey’s revamped Hydraulics line includes the women’s-specific Raven series (MSRPs $109-$129), a sister to the Raptor collection. All three sizes feature the AirScape back panel, BioStretch harness and full hip belt. Also new is the Mira series, multisport hydration packs with many of the same features in a daypack style, and the Verve series, light, high-performance packs to be used for cycling, running or hiking.

Osprey Raven 14

The major revamp in Osprey’s Hydraulics line comes in the new proprietary reservoir made with BPA- and PVC-free metallocene polyethelene film, which strips that plastic-y taste from drinking water. CamelBak’s belt Arc Series also is BPA-free and made with its proprietary True Taste material, which won’t leach plastic into the water.

It’s not just about gender-specific fits. Hydration brands are offering several sport-specific selections for Spring 2013. CamelBak’s Arc Series is run specific, and comes in two models, the Arc 1 and Arc 2, with the numbers indicating how many bottles are included. Plus, there’s the handheld Arc Quick Grip 10-ounce bottle that has a slot for essential items like credit cards, keys and iPods. The series is named for the shape of the bottles, which are placed so the arc curves away from the body, making it easier to grab.

CamelBak offers its new Octane 22 LR (MSRP $130), a 1.5-pound pack with a three-liter lumbar reservoir (which was in last season’s Ultra LR) that’s capable of holding 19 liters of cargo. The piece was designed with adventure racing in mind, but can be used for any light and fast activity, officials said.

Platypus gets sport-specific with its Cross Country Series (a lightweight solution for mountain bikers); the All-Mountain (for mountain bikers who need more carrying capacity); and the Cross-Trail (weatherproof, multi-sport daypacks). A few select products in the lines include the Duthie A.M. 17.0 (MSRP $129), and the Tokul XC 5.0 (MSRP $80). For longer day hikes and treks, Hydrapak brings its new Tamarak pack (MSRP $110) with a 3-liter reservoir that’s reversible for easy cleaning and a quick slide-seal closure.

Platypus Tokul XC5.0

Hydrapak Tamarak

--Ana Trujillo