For 2014 Hydrapak has released the technical Bishop hydration pack in two sizes, the high-flow Blaster bite valve, three larger-sized softflasks, and an upgraded Wooly insulated water bottle.
We first got to see a prototype of the new Bishop pack at Sea Otter this year, and its now in production in two different sizes. The standard Bishop which has a 12L capacity, comes in Black and retails for $140, and the larger Bishop EXT is 15L, comes in Goldenrod, and retails for $150. Both packs use their Air Tread molded back panel, which has deep channels for air ventilation and comfort, and they’re constructed with tough ripstop nylon for durability. To help carry the weight, they use their innovative and flexible Ergo-Bend aluminum stays, which stabilize the load, and conforms and undulates to the back. They come with some great features, including a rain cover, lots of organizational pockets and slots, a front helmet or gear holding sleeve, and great functional straps. It comes with their excellent Shape Shift reservoir, which resides in its own zippered compartment, and it includes the trick new High-Flow Blaster valve.
I have been testing the smaller standard Bishop this past week, and I have been enjoying the feature filled pack. The main compartment’s inner sleeves and pockets have stenciled pictures of items that can be placed there, such as tools, tubes, first-aid kit, etc., and it helps with keeping things organized. So far, it’s been a comfortable pack, with just the right amount of storage that carries weight well due to the aluminum stays, and back panel’s air channels seem to ventilate nicely.
The new Blaster valve looks only subtlety different from its predecessor, but the high-flow bite valve works exceptional well, and allows a great flow of water when being used. I have been using one since the show, and can attest to its torrent and easy flow of water in direct comparison. It also has a nicely upgraded shutoff, and the unit can be disassembled for cleaning. The valve will come with all their 2014 packs, and can be retrofitted to any 1/4″ line for a mere $6.
Wooly and Softflask Water Bottles
The Wooly water bottle which uses Prima-Loft for insulation between its double walls, gets some minor upgrade, including longer screw top threads to help prevent leaking and increased strength and flexibility by varying the material thickness.
Their Softflask gets three new sizes, the SF 350, SF 500 and SF 750, which goes along with the existing SF 150 and SF 250. The smaller ones are meant for gels, while the new larger ones can be used for water. Although primarily aimed for runners and hikers, the three lager ones will be useful for biking when you need to carry extra water on long rides, and they’re collapsible once your finished with them.