Saturday, November 16, 2013

CamelBak Cortez

As someone that is very active in the outdoors, something that has always bugged me is the lack of thought that kayakers - and touring or sea kayakers in particular - get from the major manufacturers of camping gear.

For instance. Garmin makes hundreds of GPS units. They make watches for runners, hikers, and climbers. They make swimming watches and tactical watches. They make dash mounted GPS for boats, and air craft. But they have zero devices for kayakers. Yes, there is a 'nautical' mode for the Garmin fenix, but it does little beyond working in nautical miles and knots. Their is a sailing watch that they market as sailing and kayaking, but most of its features are sailing specific, and doesn't really offer anything the fenix doesn't offer and it costs more.

GoPro is similar. they offer an array of mounts, but nothing that works well on a PFD. I would love a PFD lash tab mount! I would love a magnetic kayak mount, where the magnet goes inside the boat and holds the camera on the outside of the boat.

About a week ago I was talking with  a REP from Camelbak. I asked him if I could use the stowaway on my kayak (the stowaway is skiing specific) or if I should just use the unbottle. He told me to wait a minute and came back with this:

This is the Camelbak Cortez - named for the sea of cortez near the Baja Peninsula, land of great warm weather paddling! - and it is a kayaking specific insulated reservoir bag. It comes with a reservoir and is designed to be easily attachable to your bungies or deck rigging with four clips. It also offers insulation for the reservoir, and the tube, as well as a bite valve protector. 

The coolest thing - besides the water inside - is that the underside as large rubber patches that make the bag a little sticky. Making it less likely to slide around on the deck of your boat. I told him on the spot that it would be going to Alaska with us next summer. It isn't available yet, but should be in stores at the end of January or the beginning of February. Priced around $60us. 

While I am super excited for what looks like an awesome product - I only got a few minutes with it, before it was hidden away again, it had a large tag that said 'prototype' on it - I am even more excited to see that a mainstream outdoor manufacturer is catering to kayakers. I will be getting one of these as soon as possible, and will offer up a full review when I do. Thanks CamelBak!


  1. I've been meaning to ask you what you currently do for hydration. What suggestions do you have until something like this comes out?

  2. Currently I do whatever suits me, I wouldn't say I have a system. I have used bladders in special packs (there was one made by Lotus years ago) I have used camel bak packs over my PFD. I have used reservoirs in the cockpit with the hose running under my skirt. I don't like bottles on the deck. I was planning on doing the unbottle, but will now do the cortez. I really want an under deck reservoir with a quick disconnect in the hull that I can plug a hose into. I think the best system depends on the length of your day. for short trips a bottle is fine. For longer trips It is time to use a reservoir, it is just figuring out where to put it.

    Thanks for the comment!


  3. I've modified a camel bac (sewed on some tabs for mini-biners) to clip to my rigging like this, but usually end up with it in the cockpit... threading the hose up the spray skirt. It's truly frustrating how few products are geared toward kayaking. Then again, I do save a lot of money be making my own gear or modifying existing gear.

  4. Ezra, it is one of my biggest pet peeves, that companies don't cater to Kayakers, and I have blogged about it a lot. But I give you credit for your creativity and your handiness. I wish I was better at stuff like that.