The second unique bit to the CamelBak Arc 1 pack is the new 300ml/10oz Podium Bottle. It’s a smaller and pack-specific version of the CamelBak Podium Chill bottle we have reviewed in the past. Again the self-sealing Jet Valve is used here which eliminates splatters and spills even when hitting the trail hard, while still providing a steady and fast flow of liquids when needed. As the Jet Valve is self-sealing it is ideal to use with fizzy electrolyte tablets as it will vent the gas created by the tablets automatically as it builds up. The Jet Valve is also lockable so it doesn’t leak sticky sports drink all over your bag or car when transported. The Podium Bottle has some texturing to it, making it easy to grip when wet. It’slightweight and the shape makes it easy to squeeze or suck on to get your liquid out, as the Jet Valve is actually angled towards you when you take it out of the clip so you don’t have to tilt your head or arm at a funny angle to use it. The Podium Bottle is also healthy as it’sBPA-Free and it’s made of TruTaste Polypropylene with Hydro Guard so your water actually tastes like water and won’t make the inside of the bottle go funky if you leave it in your gear cupboard like I did.The actual fill opening on the Podium Bottle is slightly smaller than average but it’s still easy enough to fill with liquid, ice, tablets or powder. Lastly one can also get a smaller 237 ml / 8 oz version of the Podium Bottle if you so desired.
I could only really find one issue with the CamelBak Arc 1 and that is the price. At an RRP of R370 it is really priced a bit high versus similar packs, but one does get a lifetime Got Your Back guarantee from CamelBak, which I have not yet needed but have heard to really be well supported by them. If I could change something I would merge this design with that of their Delaney range of packs, having the small Podium Bottle at the back with the pouch on the front and an offset buckle. Maybe in the next version. Who knows.
In conclusion, if you are in the market for your first trail running pack or if you need to add a smaller model to your arsenal for shorter runs to supplement your big pack used during long runs, the CamelBak Arc 1 hip pack should be on top of your list. The light weight, ease of use, good fit, secure bottle clip and ideal amount of storage space combined with a smaller and refined run-specific Podium Bottle makes it stand out head and shoulders above the other similar offering on the market. They may have been first to market but I feel that their design is out dated and impractical in some instances, whereas CamelBak may have taken their time to produce a range of smaller run specific packs (there is also a 2-, 4- as well as a hand-bottle version) but have definitely improved previous efforts by a large margin. It will be interesting to see what other manufacturers come up with once they refresh their own lines!
The CamelBak Arc 1 is available at specialist sports retailers for an RRP of R370.00