BUYER’S GUIDE: Hydration Packs

It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with the parching effects of dry desert air or sweating in the humid woods, when riding for extended periods of time you need to rehydrate. Carrying water bottles while riding requires a storage compartment or extra bag, and you have to stop the fun to get at the bottles. Hydration packs solve the problem by allowing you to replenish (with or without electrolyte drinks added) in a convenient backpack form. Hydration packs have grown vastly more convenient since the early offerings. They are easier to fill and clean than ever before. Modern bite valves eliminate leaks and dripping hoses. The packs fit better and move around less while riding. Most important, though, is the first benefit: simply grab the hose and get a drink at any time. Here are some of our favorite brands.


The AXO Hydro Pack features a 2-liter water-bladder capacity and two small stash pockets for storage. The bag is lightweight, compact, and uses a clean and simple design. It has just what you need for traveling long distances and nothing you don’t. The nice price is one advantage of this pack.
Contact: 661-257-0916 or


AMERICAN KARGO TURBO 1.5, $150; 2.0, $165; 3.0, $160
The Turbo series was designed with oversized zipper pulls for easy use with gloves, a fleece-lined phone pocket and thermal-lined bladder compartment. The streamlined back of the pack is all storage, with some small internal compartments and a larger open storage area. A fourway adjustable butterfly harness is designed to fit roost guards or neck braces. Retroflect material is integrated into the design, providing additional visibility in low-light riding conditions. The bladder features a wide-mouth opening for refills without removing the bladder from the bag. Available colors are black, white, hi-vis, pink, red, blue, green and orange depending on the model.
Contact: (310) 761-8151 or


The 2.0L Race features a 70-ounce wide-mouth water bladder and the same four-way butterfly harness as the Turbo series, with a slimmer bladder area and a more limited cargo capacity. You can personalize the bag with removable Velcro numbers for easy rider identification. Velcro numbers are sold separately. Available colors are black, white, red, blue, green, orange and pink.
Contact: (310) 761-8151 or


CAMELBAK K.U.D.U. 12, $200
The roomy K.U.D.U. hydration pack is constructed out of 70D/140D block Dobby nylon with 420D Bontex nylon, an independent suspension harness and a load-bearing belt with cargo pockets. Water capacity is a 3-liter bladder with a PureFlow tube and Big Bite valve. It is designed to carry large items such as knee and elbow pads, lunch, tools and smaller spare parts. The side pockets even hold a largish smartphone. This is a large, solidly built pack for the long haul. Colors are Barbados Cherry/Sulfer Springs, Imperial Blue/black, black/ Andean Toucan, Fiery Red/silver, silver/Atomic Blue.
Contact: 877-404-7673 or


Platypus makes a variety of hydration packs, but most are compact for cycling. We chose the Duthie A.M. 15.0 since it is the largest Platypus pack. It features a 3-liter water capacity via a premium, taste-free bladder and 7 liters of gear capacity. It’s constructed out of 160D PU-coated nylon Dobby, 210D PU-coated nylon oxford, YKK zippers and has a 70D PU-coated polyester taffeta rainfly. Reflective detailing enhances visibility in lowlight riding conditions.Available colors are Carbon Envy, Moss and Red Alloy. It is worth mentioning for female riders that Platypus has the Siouxon (pronounced “Susan”) designed specifically for women riders.
Contact: (800) 531-9531 or


Deuter makes five hydration packs. We chose to feature the Race EXP Air. This sleek pack features a 3-liter water bladder, easy-adjust chest strap, front pocket with zipper and mesh side pockets. To help keep you visible in low light, 3M reflectors are at the front, sides and back for safety. On wet days a rain cover keeps all your items dry. Colors are black/white, green/ gray and blue/white.
Contact: (877) 384-9252 or


FOX OASIS, $89.95
The Oasis pack features a 2-liter bladder with a slide top opening for easy filling and cleaning. A 45-degree-angle high-flow bite valve with a twist shut-off gets you all the water you need quickly. Separate tool storage keeps valuables away from the outer elements, and a fleecelined sunglass/media pocket prevents scratches. Available colors are black, red and camo.
Contact: (888) 369-7223 or


Geigerrig’s Rig features a 2-liter water bladder and quick-release valves for a drinking tube and pressurization tube for easy refills. Constructed from 100-percent heavyduty 840 ballistic nylon, the shoulder and chest straps are adjustable. Available colors are Citrus, red, black and camo.
Contact: (801) 823-3336 or


Ergon offers several hydration packs, but the BA3 is the most applicable for off-road riding. It is constructed from nylon, neoprene and polyester for durability. This pack features four compartments that hold a total of 15 liters, but it can be expanded for two additional liters, and there is a separate bladder pocket. The wide, elastic hip strap can be adjusted with a single hand, and has both Velcro and standard fasteners to ensure the pack stays put when riding. Available colors are black and blue.


LEATT RACE HF 2.0, $79
This ultra-lightweight pack offers durable construction and an ergonomic profile. Adjustable harnesses provide a great fit over full-body protection and neck braces. You also get 1 liter of cargo space. A digital camera mount is integrated into the body of the bag. Available colors are orange/black and red/ black.
Contact: (800) 691-3314 or


LEATT 2.0 TRAIL WP, $119
The Trail WP features a capacious 5-liter cargo area and a full 2-liter water bladder. As you might expect from a protection company, the ergonomic profile of the pack and adjustable harnesses allow for a comfortable fit over full-body protection. A unique waterproof shell and water-resistant zippers keep your items dry.
Contact: (800) 691-3314 or


LEATT 3.0 CARGO, $169
Leatt’s 3.0 features a huge 10-liter cargo area, chest pockets, articulating rib panels, a heat-resistant encapsulated bladder, GoPro holders and a removable waterproof cell phone pouch. A sealed tool compartment keeps them safe and dry out of the elements. AirLine back ventilation and back protector are standard features. Available colors are black, white and red.
Contact: (800) 691-3314 or


The Fuel Pak features 3 liters of fluid capacity. It has four hydration-tube exit ports to ensure you get the perfect routing for your riding setup, and there is an internal zippered pocket. Reflective accents offer visibility in low-light conditions, and the sternum strap has an integrated whistle for use in an emergency.


KLIM NAC PAK, $99.99
The Nac Pak is designed with multiple compartments, an internal zippered sleeve pocket, detachable internal goggle bag and two upper hydration exit ports. An integrated whistle on the sternum strap is for safety, and the padded shoulder straps and padded airflow back panel boost comfort. Additional features include a removable tool pouch, and a 3-liter fluid-capacity reservoir is included.


The Kompressor Zest features a 500ml flask and 2-liter Hydrapak Shape-Shift reservoir. Dual-exterior zippered mesh pockets with YKK zippers have the durability to keep your equipment safe. Available colors are Blue Night, black and Citronelle/ olive.
Contact: (888) 357-3262 or


The transporter consists of supertough nylon buckles, 70D nylon liner, heavy-duty PP straps and a tough abrasion-resistant nylon for the exterior. A 2-liter water bladder holds the right amount of fluid for long rides. An external fill port makes refills fast and easy.
Contact: (757) 416-7436 or


USWE XC, $79.99
The USWE XC Hydropack is very slim with a 2-liter water bladder. Keeping this pack secure to your body is USWE’s No Dancing Monkey technology four-point suspension harness system. Standard features also include a big-flow 45-degree bite valve, hydration tube clip and media pocket.


The new USWE 3-liter Hydropack features the Shape-Shift bladder that keeps water from sloshing around, and a super-wide filler opening makes it easy to add ice or turn the bladder inside out for cleaning. The cargo area consists of multiple pockets to carry small items. The No Dancing Monkey four-point harness keeps the pack in place, and a tube clip secures the drink tube in place for easy use every time. Available colors are blue/gray, orange/gray.


The Expedition pack is constructed from durable, rip-stop, 600-denier nylon, and it has fully adjustable padded shoulder and chest straps. A 2-liter bladder keeps you hydrated, and a low-profile shape allows the pack to fit under your riding gear. Zippered pockets offer extra storage to carry your phone and wallet.


Thor’s Hydrant bag combines a large storage compartment with the ample water capacity at 3 liters. The clam-shell body design opens for extra storage. It features air-mesh padded shoulder, sternum and waist straps, as well as an adjustable web belt with a quick-release buckle. Available colors are Steel/Flo Green, black/red, orange, and Cement/ red orange.


Fly’s Hydro Pack features a 70-ounce bladder and a high-flow bite valve to keep you hydrated on long rides. Fully adjustable mesh shoulder straps fit virtually any brand of roost deflector and neck brace. For storage you have two external pockets to carry extra items.
Contact: (208) 319-3079 or


OGIO ATLAS, $74.90
The Atlas made by Ogio is constructed out of 600D/400D polyester with a DWR coating to protect against extreme weather conditions. For longer rides, a 3-liter bladder holds plenty of liquid. You have two stretchmesh pockets on shoulder straps and a zippered pocket on the front panel for small gear. Available colors are black, Mossy Oak, Stoke and Graffiti.
Contact: (800) 922-1944 or


OGIO BAJA, $89.90
The Ogio Baja sports some of the same features as the Atlas, but with more storage capacity, a 2-liter bladder and an external bungee cord system for storage overflow. It features ergonomically padded airmesh shoulder straps for wicking moisture away from your body and reverse coil zippers to prolong easy movement while staying dirt- and debris-free.
Contact: (800) 922-1944 or

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