When you’re cycling or mountain biking, hydration packs are worth having because they provide a convenient way to carry and drink water.
Table of Contents
What to look for in a hydration pack
A part of being prepared when you ride your bike is to have water. Hydration packs allow you to carry water, snacks, and small items.
Related: 10 best bike helmets
While hydration packs are a must-have, they’re not all created equal. Some are too heavy, bulky, uncomfortable, and cause you to overheat.
When you’re looking to buy one, there are several features to consider. They’re as follows.
Water and gear capacity
Capacity is a crucial aspect of a hydration pack because it determines how much water, gear, and snacks you can bring. The water is stored in the bladder while everything else is in a separate compartment.
When it comes to capacity, the size of the water reservoir is a big decision. While it’s good to have water, it also leads to being heavier to carry. Typically, 1.5 to 3 liters is sufficient.
Aside from the reservoir, how many items do you plan to bring along for your ride? It’ll determine how much space you need.
While you’re checking out the different hydration packs, keep in mind that you can swap the bladder. If you find the perfect bag but want a different bladder, you can do it.
Fit and comfort
After deciding on the capacity, also pick one that’s comfortable and fits well. Since you’ll be carrying it on your back, several factors will ensure maximum comfort.
First, make sure there’s ventilation and padding. When you’re riding your bike, you’ll get sweaty.
With good ventilation, your back won’t get hot, and with padding, you’ll have a comfortable ride.
Second, look for a hydration pack that has magnetic clips. It’ll allow you to access the mouthpiece quickly and with ease. Plus, the mouthpiece and tube will be secure when you’re not using them.
Lastly, will you go with or without a frame? A frameless hydration pack is excellent when you’re carrying lower weights because it sits nicely on your back.
If you need to carry heavier loads, one with a frame will keep everything in place and comfortable.
Our top picks
Now that you know what to look for in a hydration pack, the following are the best hydration packs for men and women cyclists or mountain bikers.
1. Osprey Kitsuma 7 – Women’s
Osprey’s Kitsuma 7 is a women’s hydration pack that has a total volume of 7 liters. The bladder is an Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L Reservoir by Hydrapak.
Without anything in it, the Kitsuma 7 weighs 0.77 pounds. It also measures 17.3 inches high, 6.7 inches wide, and 5.7 inches deep.
For your essential items, it has a vertical-zip front compartment and mesh side pockets. There’s enough room for a few tools, snacks, and a light windbreaker jacket.
The Kitsuma 7 also has a magnetic sternum strap attachment for the bite valve. Overall, it’s a high-quality hydration pack perfect for riding light.
Buy the Kitsuma 7 from Osprey for $75.
2. Osprey Syncro 5 – Men’s
The Osprey Syncro 5 is a men’s hydration pack that’s excellent if you’re looking to ride light. It’s perfect for carrying water and a few small items.
Overall, the bag has a capacity of 5 liters. Inside, it has a 2.5-liter water reservoir. It also weighs 1.31 pounds and measures 17.7 inches tall, 10.4 inches wide, and 6.7 inches deep.
The Syncro 5 is your go-to regardless of the weather. It has an integrated high-visibility rain cover, which keeps your pack and gear dry.
Accessing the bite valve and riding with it is easy because of the magnetic sternum strap. Plus, it has a chest and waist strap for a comfortable and sturdy ride.
Buy the Syncro 5 from Osprey for $120.
3. USWE Airborne 9L
The USWE Airborne 9L Hydration Pack is incredible because it balances the weight, is supportive and is high-quality. Expect it to last years.
What makes it stay in place is the patented NDM 4-point Race Harness System. It has a snug and ergonomic fit without being restrictive.
Without the 3-liter bladder, the USWE Airborne 9L weighs 1.8 pounds. It has a lightweight mesh back panel, which helps with comfort and ventilation.
Overall, it’s excellent for mountain biking because it’s versatile and sturdy. It may be too much for city riding. Nevertheless, it’s worth looking into.
4. Deuter Race Air 10L Backpack
If a 5-liter hydration pack is too small, get the Deuter Race Air 10L Backpack. It’s a unisex backpack that’s stylish, spacious, and works exceptionally in all kinds of weather.
The backpack weighs 1.76 pounds and has an internal compartment that fits a 3-liter water reservoir. Deuter’s Race Air 10L Backpack measures 17.3 inches tall, 10.2 inches wide, 6.3 inches deep.
It’s the ultimate hydration backpack for spending the day mountain biking. It has a rain cover, external helmet holder, front organizer, and spring steel frame.
Inside, you can fit many items, including tools, food, an emergency kit, and a couple of jackets.
For comfort, it has well-ventilated mesh to give your back, shoulders, and waist airflow.
5. Mission Workshop The Hauser 10L
The Hauser 10L is another excellent option for all-day riding. It has a unique design, as it doesn’t look like the traditional hydration pack.
However, it’s a durable and good-looking one. The Hauser protects your items and water in any weather.
It’s completely weatherproof, and the main cargo compartment has a roll-top closure to secure it. There are also four weatherproof exterior pockets.
It’s compatible with a 3-liter water reservoir. While the bag is excellent, it doesn’t come with a bladder, which is a drawback.
The gender-neutral bag also has a frame sheet for added structure. When it’s empty, it weighs 1.9 pounds. Its measurements are 8.5″ x 20″ x 5″.
6. Evoc Ride 12L Backpack and 2L Bladder
If you want a hydration pack that looks more like a backpack, the Evoc Ride 12L Backpack is an excellent choice. It also comes with a 2-liter water reservoir, which is a bit small considering its total capacity.
When you wear it, one of the first things you’ll notice is how comfortable it is. Thanks to the ventilated air pads, it’s breathable, and you won’t overheat. Plus, it weighs 1.3 pounds, which is relatively light,
For storage, it has five total compartments, with one being an internal tool compartment. It also has a helmet carry.
A drawback is that Evoc didn’t make the Ride 12L Backpack with a rain cover. It’s a good one to use when it’s dry outside.
7. CamelBak Mule Pro 14L Hydration Pack
Whether you’re buying your first or fifth hydration pack, you’ve likely come across CamelBak. They’re one of the most popular brands, and the Mule Pro 14L Hydration Pack provides plenty of space.
It offers 11 liters of storage space and a 3-liters for the water reservoir. Without filling up the bladder, it weighs 1.875 pounds, which is light for a bag its size.
You can wear the Mule Pro 14L all day without getting tired of it. The pack is comfortable, as it has a body-mapped back panel. It ventilates the warmest spots of your body.
While it has plenty of space in the main compartment, you can also utilize the external helmet and armor carry. It’ll keep your gear close when it’s not in use.
8. Gregory Juno H20 30L Daypack – Women’s
The Gregory June 30 H20 is designed to be the ultimate hydration pack for women. It’s a 30-liter bag with a 3-liter water reservoir.
With plenty of space, you can use it to pack for a long day trip or overnight. It has five pockets, including a padded top zippered pocket to protect valuable items and a zippered mesh security pocket with a key clip.
Plus, there’s a Sunglass QuickStow system on the shoulder harness. It allows for quick, secure, and scratch-free access.
The June 30 H20 is also comfortable to wear despite being large. It measures 20.5″ x 11.0″ x 8.3″.
The hydration pack also has a breathable ActiveFlex shoulder harness with a magnetic sternum buckle and hose clip for the bite valve.
9. DAKINE Builder 40L Backpack – Men’s
If you’re looking for a large, capable, and heavy-duty bag that does more than hydrate, the DAKINE Builder 40L Backpack is your best option.
When you’re mountain biking or riding your bike to go camping, you’ll want to bring it along. It has a 6mm AL internal frame, which provides top-notch support.
While it’s compatible with hydration packs, you can also fill it with water bottles. It has plenty of space and pouches. If you use a hydration pack, there’s a hole to slide it through.
It also has an expandable chainsaw pocket and lopper sleeve to hold heavy-duty tools. You can even use it to hold a 5-gallon bucket.
It’s a large bag. However, there’s padding all over it to keep you comfortable and your belongings safe.
10. Osprey Seral 7 Lumbar Pack
Osprey’s Seral 7 Lumbar Pack offers 7 liters of storage capacity and a 1.5-liter lumbar reservoir with a magnetic bite valve that attaches to the hip belt.
If you’re looking for an alternative to backpack-style hydration packs, a lumbar pack is the best way to go. They’re minimal and less restrictive while offering a good amount of storage space.
The Seral 7 weighs 1.155 pounds, and you’ll barely feel that it’s there. Its measurements are 8.5 inches tall, 12.5 inches wide, and 6 inches deep.
Osprey also designed it to contour your lower back, which makes it feel natural.
Hydration packs come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Before selecting one, determine the capacity and features that you need. It’ll help you narrow down your selection.
A hydration pack will ensure you stay hydrated during your ride. Plus, it gives you a place to keep your essentials in.
Featured image courtesy of Canva.
About David Em
David Em is the founder and editor-in-chief of Hello E-Bikes, the destination for electric bike reviews, comparisons, gear, and tips.