Hydration backpacks have made carrying water during many sports much easier. For some other sports, however, the hydration pack isn't that much more convenient than a water bottle. When it comes to skiing, hydration packs freeze easily and can be uncomfortable on a chairlift. Camelbak has a new design that promises to make hydration more ski-friendly.
The new Bootlegger hydration pack is designed to be worn underneath a ski jacket, rather than over it like any other backpack. The idea is for it to be closer to your body, where your core temperature will prevent the 50 fluid ounces (1.5 L) of water from freezing. The breathable mesh harness is designed to prevent it from becoming too hot and sweaty.
CamelBak claims that the design is streamlined specifically for lift-served skiing and snowboarding, so it should be more comfortable to wear on the chairlift.
The company also sells the PowderBak vest, which is a 70-ounce (2 L) hydration system integrated into a softshell vest. Introduced in 2009 as the ShredBak, the vest has a similar aim of keeping water close to the body for anti-freezing warmth and lower-profile carrying.
I used to use a small CamelBak pack regularly for resort snowboarding. While it was easier to carry than a water bottle, the combination of discomfort on the lift, occasional freezing and irritation of cleaning out the bladder led me to go back to carrying a water bottle in my jacket pocket. Assuming this new design is effective at adding comfort and anti-freezing, it may be worth looking into. I'm hoping to get a sample to test out on the slopes and report back.
The Bootlegger will launch in September for US$55.