New for this season, CamelBak released the low profile Gambler pack aimed at those skiers and snowboarders who occasionally like to leave the resort and hit the sidecountry. With not much for bells and whistles, this pack is simply designed to securely carry your avalanche safety tools and keep you hydrated.
The CamelBak Gambler is a super low profile pack that can comfortably carry your shovel, avalanche probe, skins, and 3L of water for hydration in addition to small personal items such as keys, wallet, phone, and snacks. The unique front flap design securely stows your shovel, using a three buckle compression strap system that also secures your probe into the pack side pocket.
A separate pocket at the back houses a 3L Antidote reservoir, with exits on either strap side, insulated to keep your reservoir hose from freezing up. The waist belt is removable but helps to hold the pack snug against your back, especially with the shovel.
Although there is enough room for those sidecountry essentials, the most common feedback from our testers that used the pack was that they would love just a bit more room in order to store an extra layer. One of the testers remarked that the skins pocket wasn't even quite wide enough to fit a PB&J for a long mountain bike ride.
Regardless, small and unobtrusive, the Gambler is great pack to grab every time you plan to head out snowshoeing, sidecountry snowboarding, or for a quick morning skin up the mountain from your back door. If I plan to head out in the backcountry for the entire day, I will most likely take my CamelBak Roulette that offers a bit more room for extra layers, food, and ski storage.
Even though the Gambler was designed for winter, this low profile pack is versatile enough to use year round. I, along with another tester, have also used it as a mountain bike pack, which you can probably tell from all the dirt in the top picture.
The CamelBak Gambler retails for $90 and is available now.