Camelbak Podium Flow Hip Pack Review

Hip packs have infiltrated the mountain biking world in the past few years. And because of that, the choices of hip packs have become numerous! This Camelbak podium flow hip pack review explains where it excels, and where it doesn’t!

The Camelbak Podium Flow hip pack is made for those who need the extra water- whether that be for those of us that can’t fit a drink bottle in the frame, or those needing an extra water bottle for longer rides. The 2L storage isn’t a heap, but it does allow for the essentials. Think tools, a light jacket and some snacks. 

Camelbak Podium Flow

In all, it is a high quality pack, that is comfortable to wear, and does what you want (carry water, provide a little extra storage)!

I wear the Camelbak Podium Flow hip pack on daily mountain bike rides. I am one of those unfortunate riders who can’t fit a drink bottle on the frame. So for anything that I think will take longer than an hour (which is most rides) I take my hip pack. And I probably won’t go back to riding without a pack now!

Camelbak Podium Flow Waist Pack 21 oz

Two Litre pack, with a 600ml podium water bottle is ideal for day rides, providing the extra storage and fluids for longer rides.

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I find having the extra storage incredibly useful (even excluding the drink bottle). I take tools, everything for fixing a flat tire, food, my phone, and even a PLB (personal locator beacon) if I am heading backcountry. 


The hip bag is split into three separate compartments. The drink bottle holder (discussed below), the main storage compartment and a small front zippered pocket.

The main storage compartment has little pockets so you can separate some gear from the rest, or prevent small things from bouncing around. This makes it super easy to find things you want quickly- like gels or tube patches and the like. 

Compartments within the hip pack

The small pocket on the front is good for your phone or anything similar you want to keep separate from the rest. It would fit a decent-sized phone in the pocket- but it isn’t waterproof, and it would be the first thing to hit the ground if I did land on my back. Hence I usually keep my phone in the main pocket.

Phone pocket on Podium Flow

The 2 liters is plenty for a reasonably long ride. A windbreaker or light raincoat fits well, as well as tools and a snack. 

There are a couple of hooks on the outside too, in case you need to hook something small onto the outsides. I haven’t come across a use for this yet, but you never know when you might need that extra storage!

Podium Bottle and Holder

The 600 ml Camelbak podium water bottle comes with the hip pack. As always with Camelbak bottles, it is a good quality, BPA-free bottle. It comes with a mud cap to prevent the mouthpiece from getting muddy on wet rides, but you can also take this completely off if you don’t want it.

The bottle isn’t the most ‘on-the-go’ friendly system I have come across. The valve requires some twisting in order to get any water out. I don’t find this easy with one hand, and usually have to stop in order to get it open. 

However, it is pretty easy to put any drink bottle that fits in a bottle cage into the pockets. I ride with a standard 750 ml bottle (which carries more water and doesn’t require twisting of the valve to get it open).

The carrier has foam to support the drink bottle and prevent it from bouncing around while you ride. It may also help insulate it! There is a bit of elastic at the top that keeps the bottle secure once it is in.

Drink bottle holder on hip pack

It is easy enough to get the bottle out while riding, but getting it back in can be a little difficult. I tend to rotate the bag to my front, so I can see what I am doing, to get the bottle back in. Otherwise, I just drink at rest breaks, and that is easy enough!

Fit, comfort and ventilation

The Camelbak Podium Flow belt has plenty of adjustabilities using the fasteners on the belt. These are simple to adjust and haven’t yet come loose while riding. 

The staps are reasonably wide, so they don’t cut into your skin, and the padding on the actual pack is super comfortable. The padding is thick enough that any tools in the back can’t be felt through the material, and there’s no uncomfortable stabbing of the spine. 

The whole pack sits against your lower back, so it isn’t the best ventilated pack on the market, but isn’t a large pack, so it doesn’t need the pads to sit away from the back. The mesh prevents it from getting sweaty too. 

The waist pack doesn’t bounce around, nor does it move up or down my back while I ride. Once it is on, it’s on, and I don’t notice it at all!

Comfortable padding

Value and Comparison

The Camelbak Podium flow belt is a pretty inexpensive way of drastically increasing the amount of storage you have on your bike, with very little inconvenience.

Similar packs worth considering include the Mavic XA 3L (for more storage), Deuter Pulse 2 (a wee bit smaller), or the Bontrager Rapid pack (minimalist).

On the other hand, there are the options of hydration backpacks, or hydration packs (include a bladder, rather than a drink bottle), or frame storage. Personally, I prefer the ease of having a drink bottle than a bladder. But a bladder does offer a greater volume of water if that is what you are after.

Final thoughts

The Camelbak Podium Flow belt is ideal for carrying that extra bit of fluids and tools for your day to day mountain bike rides. It beats the hydration pack for ventilation and comfort and is just so convenient for quick laps.

I don’t love the podium drink bottle for mountain biking, but it is easy to swap this out with a bigger, easier to use bottle. 

I can see the pack being super useful for those of us with small frames, for riders needing a bottle for electrolytes on longer rides. Or for bike packing or gravel riding, where most of your gear is on the frame, just the last essential elements (and extra water) for quick access are kept in the pack.

In all, the Camelbak Podium Flow hip bag is a durable, nice looking and comfortable pack that is all you need and want from a fanny pack!

Camelbak Podium Flow Waist Pack 21 oz

Two Litre pack, with a 600ml podium water bottle is ideal for day rides, providing the extra storage and fluids for longer rides.

Check Latest Price On Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

If you enjoyed this Camelbak Podium Flow hip pack review, have a look at some of our other reviews.