This year the focus is on enhancing the riding experience through the new CamelBak Low Rider line, which allows the rider to carry weight lower on the body, lowering the overall center of gravity.
“It’s really just a nod to the evolution of riding and how CamelBak has adapted and evolved itself,” explains Austen. “We utilized lots of rider testing and feedback to determine that carrying water lower on the back when descending is superior to past designs. What we see is that the growth of the modern trail bike is allowing more riders to ride more aggressively more easily. So as an accessory we need to evolve with that to give riders a better experience.”
Indeed, the evolution of CamelBak is, and will always be, driven by the people who use the gear. “Our product development process centers around input that comes from rider feedback and our sponsored athletes,” explains Austen. “We want to know how they are riding and how they want to ride, and then be responsive while keeping in mind that hydration is a critical element of the mountain biking experience.”
Of course in-house testing also plays a critical role in CamelBak’s product development process, as you can see in this eye-opening video.
So what’s next? What will the CamelBak hydration pack of the future look like? Austen believes improvements in impact protection will be at the forefront. “Safety technology will continue to get better, and that includes being lighter, more ergonomic, and more comfortable.”
Austen also believes that the Low Rider concept will continue to grow. “We’re confident that as more riders try it, demand will grow and you’ll see us adding new product to that segment.”
And of course there is room to improve on the materials end of the spectrum. “It will be a combination of weight and construction,” predicts Austen. “We are working on some very advanced projects right now, because at the end of the day we’re striving to always be improving our products. Our mission is to keep riders hydrated and carrying the right gear, so they can have a good time riding bikes. That’s what it’s all about.”