— Product Evaluation —

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Despite the 16-liter cargo capacity and up to 3 liters of hydration bladder capacity, the Tanker is form-fitting and looks compact.

We always like to have a pack along when we are testing or riding quads. A modern pack like the $120 USWE Tanker 16 has a compact shape, yet it handles 16 liters of cargo. You can pack it heavy and not have it bother you since it has the patented NDM (No Dancing Monkey) suspension harness.

The pack fits, and it doesn’t bounce around on your back despite no waist strap! Elastic four-point straps allow you to snug the pack tight without it affecting your ability to breath or freedom of movement. Arm movement is especially free of restriction.

The Tanker is set up for a hydration pack, but the bladder is not included with the pack. USWE has several bladder options, but we got our Tanker with a $43 Shape-Shift, baffled 2.5-liter bladder. With the internal baffle zipped up, the pack holds 2.5 liters, but the shape stays slim to fit in the pack easily and preserve cargo capacity. You can unzip it for 3 liters of capacity or to reverse the bladder for cleaning. The entire top of the bladder opens. After you fill it, you fold the top and slide a clip on to seal it. The pack has a hook-and-loop strap to suspend the bladder, and the pack has a sewn-in sleeve to keep the bladder in place. The drinking tube quick-disconnects to make filling the bladder or quick-changing them easier. The quick-disconnect drink tube’s bite valve twists open and closed to lessen the chance of leaks, and, like most bite valves, it self-seals after use. The bladder is made by Hydrapak LLC for USWE Sports AB.

This X-shaped strap system holds the pack snugly without restricting your movement, and no waist strap is required.


The Tanker has two main compartments. The larger one has the sleeve for the bladder carried closest to your back. For 3/4ths of the compartment, the bladder is fully separated from the rest of the gear by the cloth sleeve. There are two small mesh pockets in that compartment, but otherwise it is open.

The empty pack weighs only 505 grams, but with over 2 liters of water and our other gear, the weight grows quickly. The smaller compartment is divided into smaller compartments. Some are zippered and others are not.

Among the features we like are a key attachment clip and pocket, a water-resistant smartphone pocket and light-reflective material points to aid night visibility. The single-size Tanker fits riders sized medium to XL.

The No Dancing Monkey straps meet in an “X” with an easy-to-use plastic clasp in the middle of the chest. The pack is claimed to be unisex, but the closer the woman is shaped like a boy, the better. For the rest of us, the pack works as advertised.


We filled the bladder and stuffed a 20-volt cordless reciprocating saw into the compartment with the bladder. We removed the blade and carried it in the smaller compartment. We were doing trail maintenance, and the saw fit easily next to the bladder with the battery mounted and the pack fully zipped. The saw weighs about 6 pounds, and we barely felt the weight. The pack didn’t “dance” around, either.

If the pack can handle a heavy power tool without bothering us, imagine how it handles easy stuff like tool packs, a spare jacket and warm gloves. This isn’t the lowest-cost option available, but it really does carry dense loads nicely. Add in the fact that the hydration pack features are quite handy and trouble-free, and you see that this is a great pack. You can get black, orange or blue.

USWE’s pack is very comfortable to wear, easy to adjust to fit most riders, holds a lot of cargo and is well-made. We feel the same way about the hydration bladder. With the internal zipper closed, the bladder holds a uniform shape and inserts into the pack easier than any bladder we have ever dealt with. Most bladders balloon out and are somewhat floppy and squishy, so they can be a pain to return to the sleeve inside the pack. Go to to see more packs and bladder choices.

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