Cycling is more than just a hobby, but rather a lifestyle. The best cycling hydration pack is one of the essentials that should accompany you wherever you go. Whether you are going on a cycling tour or hitting a trail on your mountain bike, you cannot go without a hydration pack. Even if it’s just a couple of miles you cover as a daily exercise, a hydration pack will also come in handy. It is definitely more convenient than a regular bottle.
Aside from giving you an opportunity to drink on a go, a hydration pack can also accommodate your gear and traveling essentials. It can make your trip a lot more enjoyable and stress-free. A proper hydro pack allows you to travel safe and be prepared for all kinds of incidents. For an inexperienced cycler, it might be hard to find the right pack. There are so many nuances that need to be considered. We will try to lead you through the decision making process. Step one is to narrow the choice down to several bicycle hydration packs.
Best Cycling Hydration Pack in 2019
1. CamelBak M.U.L.E. – The Best Value Hydration Pack
CamelBack has been delivering the best quality mountain bike packs for over 25 years. Their products are among the best selling items not without a reason. In fact, there are several reasons for that. We’ll cover them all.
First of all, it’s the water bladder. All CamelBak packs feature proprietary Crux hydration systems. They can deliver up to 20% more liquid per sip, making it easier for you to rehydrate your body on the go. A bite valve prevents water leaks, while a magnetic clip keeps the tube right where it should be. The quick-release system allows you to disconnect the bladder for a refill, while the tube stays in place. A filled bladder fits into a dedicated compartment tightly and securely.
The front panel has a capacious zippered compartment for bike gear. It’s easy to keep everything organized and close at hand. Compression straps have special hooks, to which a helmet can be attached. A floating front panel is perfect for stacking a raincoat or some traveling accessories.
With this pack your back and shoulders will never get sweaty. Thanks to the exclusive Air Director technology your back will receive natural ventilation. Mesh shoulder straps contribute to the overall comfort.
- 3-liter water reservoir.
- Floating exterior storage compartment.
- Helmet clasps.
- Light reflecting patches.
- Tool organizer pocket.
- Large main compartment.
- Removable hipbelt.
- 12 liter overall capacity.
- Exclusive water reservoir design delivers more water with less effort.
- The reservoir is leak-free and easy to refill.
- Antibacterial Hydroguard coating.
- Insulated bladder compartment keeps water at the right temperature.
- Large integrated gear organizer.
- Technological back panel provides ultimate comfort even on hot summer days.
- A stability hipbelt is rather narrow.
2. CamelBak Lobo – Best Hydration Pack for Road Cycling
Another cool product of CamelBak is Lobo hydration backpack. It is pretty similar to the one we discussed above. They both share the same reservoir technology (Crux). This is an optimal volume for most road cyclers. It’s not too heavy (only around 6.6 pounds) and sufficient for long rides. Besides, the Crux bladder is magically easy to refill. All you need to do is disconnect the tube from the bladder using a quick-link mechanism. Just a couple of minutes and you are ready to go.
This version has a smaller overall capacity – only 9 liters. That means you won’t be able to carry as much stuff with you, but all the essentials will fit. Besides, there is an overflow compartment behind the front panel, where you can keep clothes, a blanket or a raingear.
All CamelBak product feature super-breathable back panels. Their proprietary technology is called Air Director. It distributes the airflow in such a way that excess heat travels along the ribbed panel and away from your body.
The valve design is also worth mentioning. It has a special clip that stops the flow of water in an instant. Even if the pack is turned upside down, no leaking will occur.
- 3-liter bladder.
- Strapped exterior storage compartment.
- Helmet clasps.
- Built-in tool organizer.
- Breathable back and straps.
- Removable hipbelt.
- Lockable drinking valve.
- 9 liter overall capacity.
- Advanced hydrator design with a quick-link system, leak-proof cap and anti-spill bite valve design.
- 20% more efficient hydration than in other brands’ products.
- Breathable sweat-control back panel facilitates optimal heat exchange and helps avoid overheating.
- Compact and easy to carry, even when full.
- Less space for gear and other things than in other hydration packs.
- No blinker light attachment.
3. Osprey Packs Talon 22 – Best Pack compatible with Road Bike Hydration System
Talon 22 isn’t just a cycling pack. It is suitable for different activities, including hiking, orienteering, mountain biking, trekking or even camping. The backpack can support a hydration system, but it is not included. So this product is rather a day pack that transforms into a hydration pack when needed.
This is a fairly large pack. Its total capacity is 22 liters. Even if you upgrade it with a standard 3-liter bladder, there will still be 19 liters left for all kind of stuff. That can be quite a heavy load, and this is when proper support becomes important. As a matter of fact, stability and support have always been the main focus of Osprey designers. Harness and hipbelt are designed to provide the ultimate support and comfort in the lumbar area. Soft padding prevents rubbing against the skin, while a mesh lining helps avoid sweating. The back panel also features a functional lining that keeps your body cool and dry.
Since this is a multi-purpose pack, it has a variety of useful features. There is an attachment for carrying trekking poles, as well as a helmet-holding clip. An external hydration sleeve will safe keep a reservoir and protect your things from possible spills and leaks.
- Hydration sleeve.
- 2 hipbelt pockets.
- 2 side pockets.
- Stretchy front panel pocket.
- Compression straps.
- AirScape back panel.
- Helmet carrying attachment.
- Trekking pole attachment.
- Shoulder strap pocket.
- Comfortable, stable and pain-free carrying thanks to seamless harness and hipbelt design with padded lining.
- Suitable for different kinds of activities, not only cycling.
- Large capacity.
- Variety of exterior pockets that keep the essential items at hand.
- Stretches out to provide even more storage space when needed.
- Hydration system is not included.
4. Dakine Men’s Session – The Best Bike Backpack with Water Bladder
This 12-liter backpack with an integrated 2-liter hydration system is equally great for cycling and hiking. It is designed with safety and convenience in mind. The pack has a large compartment for traveling essentials. The front panel features a large zipped pocket with three interior slip pockets. There is also an external pocket for securing a helmet. The top section of a front panel features a tight fleece-lined pocket. It is ideal for carrying sunglasses or other breakable items.
As we have already mentioned a hydration reservoir is included in this pack. The tube runs over along the left shoulder strap. A plastic hook secures it in place. The sternum strap can be adjusted vertically to fit your posture.
This backpack is great for hot weather. Its back panel and straps facilitate the airflow between your body and the pack. Many manufacturers overlook the importance of unrestricted heat exchange and ventilation. Dakine pack has it covered.
Important safety features include a sternum strap whistle and a blinker light attachment.
Features and Specifications
- 2-liter reservoir.
- 2 external pockets.
- Helmet pocket.
- Blinker light attachment strap.
- Rescue whistle.
- Mesh lining.
- Larger gear capacity than in most other hydration packs. This means more space for carrying essential items.
- Thanks to the mesh lining on the back panel and shoulder straps, this pack will keep you comfortable even on the hottest of days.
- Compartmentalized pockets for better organization of traveler’s essentials.
- Integrated safety features.
- The hipbelt is just a narrow strap that cannot provide proper support.
5. Osprey Packs Raptor 14 – The Best Hydration Pack for Mountain Biking
Raptor 14 is a new improved model in the Raptor series from Osprey. This hydration backpack for cycling has an extended capacity and some additional features that the previous version does not have. But all that might sound a little vague if you are not familiar with Osprey products. So let’s take a closer look at this one.
To begin with, let’s discuss the key characteristics that directly affect performance. The pack includes a 3-liter water bladder. It is easy to refill thanks to a zippered hydration sleeve. A hydration tube runs over your right shoulder and attaches to chest strap via a magnetic disk. It is easily accessible any time on the ride. A convenient bite valve enables hands-free (and, as a matter of fact, spill-free) hydration.
There are dedicated pockets and compartments for all the cycling essentials: extra layers, tools, snacks, gadgets, etc. A stash pocket is perfect for safekeeping of breakable items, such as sunglasses or a smartphone. Money, keys, credit cards, and other valuables can go in a hipbelt pocket.
Finding a place for your helmet when you are not riding is a challenge. With this pack, the problem is solved. A lid lock attachment secures a helmet while you’re walking or resting. In the night time, you can increase your safety by adding another blinker light to your gear. There is a dedicated strap at the lower front panel for this purpose.
- 3-liter reservoir.
- 5 exterior pockets.
- 3 inner slip pockets.
- Tool pouch.
- Compression straps.
- Mesh-lined straps and hipbelt.
- Floating front panel.
- Helmet carrying attachment.
- Blinker light attachment strap.
- Provides improved dynamics and comfort thanks to the ergonomic framesheet.
- Compression straps allow you to adjust the pack for better stability.
- Ample storage space for all kinds of traveling essentials: from clothes to valuables.
- Mesh-lined shoulder and hip straps provide ventilation for better comfort on hot summer days.
- A tool organizer is included.
- Includes attachments for convenient carrying of gear and lighting accessories.
- No mesh lining on the back panel.
- Poor water resistance.
How to choose the best hydration pack for cycling?
There are many different kinds of hydration packs. You should always choose a pack for a specific activity. Or, if you are buying a versatile pack, you need to make sure it has all the necessary features. Assuming that you’ve set your mind on getting a cycling pack, here’s some advice that you might find useful.
- Choose the right size. A perfect hydration pack should be rather compact so that not to restrict your movements. At the same time, it should be capacious enough to carry all your essentials (aside from a water bladder). Then again, it all depends on what kind of activity you are engaged in. Road cycling or terrain biking? Short rides or day trips? Road bike hydration packs are usually more compact than mountain bike water backpacks.
- Low-profile design. The most important things in cycling packs are stability and aerodynamics. A pack should have a low profile to provide as little wind resistance as possible. It shouldn’t wobble around as you pedal and stir your bike. Otherwise, it might throw you off balance and hinder your maneuvers.
- Bladder capacity. Bladder capacities ranges from 0.5 liters to 3+ liters. The most popular ones are 2 and 3 liters. They are not too heavy, but sufficient for most of the rides. Of course, you can get a 5-liter hydration pack if needed, but that is a very heavy load. A full 5-liter bladder weights 11 pounds, so make sure you are prepared for such a load.
- Bladder design. All bladders have more or less the same design. Nevertheless, there are some features you should look out for. A wide mouth opening, easily detachable tube, a spill-proof valve, anti-microbial coating are some of the most important features.
In addition, more information can be found here.
Other desirable features are
- Leak-proof design.
- Insulated bladder compartment or sleeve.
- Organized compartments for tools and gear.
- Adjustable straps, chest and hip support.
- Breathable mesh lining on parts that come in contact with your body.
Any experienced cycler will admit that proper gear is one of the most important investments. If you are seriously into this sport, you need the best hydration pack for cycling. Not only will it keep you hydrated throughout a trip, but also help you organize your stuff. We have reviewed some cool brands in this article. So basically, all you need to do now is choose which one will work best for you.