Alice Burwell reviews the Camelbak Women's Magic Pack: a 7L pack with a 3L Crux reservoir that has built-in handle to make filling it much easier.
Whenever my dad says he has a women’s- specific product for me to test, I always think pink or purple. Those are the two default colours for women’s gear, so when he handed me the Camelbak Women’s Magic backpack I had mixed feelings – this light blue pack is a welcome change, but it isn’t going to match any of that other pink/purple gear I have! There’s more to this being a women’s pack than the colour, it’s actually a specific fit but before I get into that I’m just going to go through the features.
The bladder’s screw top is easy to loosen, which is handy if you have weak hands like me. There’s a new lockable (lever-operated) bite valve, which isn’t something I used on the trail when riding, but rather when you’re toting the pack to the trail – if you leave the bite valve open and put something on it in the car, it can leak everywhere. I’ve found this out the hard way.
I haven’t used all the storage in the Magic, but it does have quite a few pockets, which are a mixture of mesh and nylon. There is a stuff pocket on the back for wet gear (or banana skins) and an integrated helmet holder – useful if you want to keep your gear together in the car.
I really like the ventilated back panel – it’s sort of suspended, allowing air to easily circulate, but I have torn the mesh during testing, so long-term durability is questionable.
To make this women’s specific, the Magic is shorter than normal and has a slight S-curve, the idea being it better fits a shorter women’s torso. I can confirm the pack is shorter, but I don’t find it that comfortable – it sits pretty high on my back and the shape is wide at the top and thin at the bottom. Women generally have wider hips and I want more of the weight lower down, on my hips, rather than high up on my shoulders. I’ve actually tried Camelbak’s unisex Skyline and I found it way more comfortable.
The Camelbak Women’s Magic Pack has a great reservoir and excellent storage, but if you have around £100 to spend and want a really comfy 10-litre trail pack, I’d recommend the Solstice – the women’s version of the Skyline. It also comes in black – which apparently can make you look slimmer. Or maybe that’s another myth, along with all women’s stuff should be pink.
Review by Alice Burwell