Fashion is cyclical which means what was once uncool tends to find its way back to popularity given enough time. In this review we’ll be looking at the CamelBak Flow Belt 21oz which is a modernized waist pack solution – aka the fanny pack. With an integrated 21oz bottle holder and 2L of storage capacity the Podium Flow Belt 21oz is a great lightweight solution to carry gear and hydration. Included with the belt is a Podium Dirt Series 21oz bottle, the latest generation of CamelBak’s most popular water bottles. The Dirt Series bottle has specific graphics, and a rubber cap to prevent grime from getting into the bottle. Marketed toward mountain biking, the belt can be used to carry an additional water bottle and tools or gear. Two zipped pockets provide secure storage with easy access on or off the road.
With multiple designs and technical details, the CamelBak Podium Flow Belt 21oz provides the utility you would expect from a waist-pack with more durability and style.
|Measured Weight (in g)||190: 86 (bottle) + 104 (pack)|
|Likes||+ Secure zippered pockets|
+ Included Podium bottle
+ Premium materials and construction
|Dislikes||– Limited color options|
– Premium price
– Basic plastic buckle
|Where to Buy (US)||CamelBak|
As with most apparel, unboxing isn’t very as the Podium Belt comes in a basic bag. You’ll find tags attached to the bag with some information about the features and the bottle already in the holder.
In the bag you’ll find:
- Podium Dirt Series 21oz Bottle
- Podium Flow Belt
FIT & FINISH
The Podium Flow Belt combines a traditional single compartment waist-pack design with a hydration solution. An integrated bottle holder fits the included Podium Dirt Series 21oz bottle at a 45° angle for easy access. For those that are right-handed, this makes it easy to remove or place the bottle in the holder with one hand. The bottle compartment has padding and some internal structure to give it rigidity which helps with insulation and maintain the cylindrical shape even when empty. Also the design is hollow, with only a strap on the bottom surface to prevent the bottle from falling through. Although the Podium bottle that is included is excellent, you can easily swap it for your own choice of bottle as it fits any standard diameter bottle.
The remaining portion of the Podium Flow Belt is dedicated to two zippered storage pockets allowing you to stash food, hydration and tools. While CamelBak advertises this as a mountain biking solution, the belt can easily be used for hiking, or any outdoor activity where you need extra storage. The belt also has several reflective elements along the exterior pocket including the CamelBak logo. This is particularly useful with the black finish of the belt we tested when wearing the belt at night.
With the two large zippered pockets, CamelBak claims 2L of storage capacity. There is a small slanted zippered exterior pocket that works great for smaller items. Although our 5.2” cell phone fits in the pocket, larger phones may not fit. There is an additional larger pocket with a wrap-around zipper. Inside the larger compartment you’ll find two elastic meshes to hold tools or smaller items in place. Another nice touch with the larger compartment is the small plastic key carabiner to hold keys secure. Both the larger and smaller pockets are lined with a bright green material which makes it easy to spot items inside even in low light situations.
One advantage of the waist-pack design is that you are able to carry food and tools without the bulk of a large backpack. The low mounting means the weight of the belt is evenly distributed around your waist instead of on your back or shoulders. Soft meshed panels line the inside of the belt to provide ventilation and padding against your back. The Podium Flow Belt is designed to accommodate waist sizes from 28-46 inches thanks to the adjustable straps. To adjust the tension you simply loosen or tighten the belt using the plastic straps. One nice touch are the elastic straps on the belt that secure any slack in the straps to prevent them from flapping around. Although the Podium Flow Belt is not ideal for running, CamelBak offers lighter-weight belts, we nevertheless found it comfortable once the tension was set properly. On the bike, it was easy to forget we were wearing the belt as well thanks to the well placed pads.
Overall, we found the CamelBak Podium Flow 21oz Belt to be a great lightweight solution to carry gear and hydration. With higher-tech details and materials than the fanny-packs of the past, the Podium Belt is comfortable and has an impressive 2L capacity. Unlike bulky backpacks, the meshed padding and adjustable straps make it easy to secure around your waist. The included Podium Dirt Series bottle is also a perfect complement to the waist-pack for fast hydration and has all the improvements of the Podium 3.0 bottles we’ve detailed before. Although CamelBak categorizes it as a mountain biking accessory, it is a useful piece of gear for hikers, runners, photographers and any situation where you need a little gear capacity and/or water bottle.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by CamelBak. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.