There’s nothing worse than getting a mile or two into your bike ride and realizing you’ve forgotten your water bottle. Having a hydration pack can help you avoid this situation and is great for storing other important items like your keys or wallet. The best MTB hydration pack should be light, carry a lot of water and honestly, be somewhat stylish. They do have to fit into the mountain biking world after all.

You’ll want to ask yourself what you’re looking for in a hydration pack. Do you want more of a backpack with a pocket for water? Or the smallest, lightest pack possible? Something that will last forever? The good news is, there are tons of hydration packs to choose from so there’s bound to be one perfect for you.

For more of out top mountain bike gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

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QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB HYDRATION PACKS

1. Camelbak Rogue
2. Shimano Unzen
3. Camelbak Flashflo
4. Camelbak Hydrobak
5. Deuter Race Exp
6. Fox Racing Camber
7. Osprey Raptor 
8. Camelbak Octane 22
9. Dakine Nomad
10. Lowpro Photo Sport

 

 

 

MTB HYDRATION PACKS REVIEWS

CAMELBAK ROGUE

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonJenson USA

BEST FOR: Riders looking for a minimalist pack that still holds a lot of water

BLADDER SIZE: 2L

STORAGE: Enough space to pack an extra layer

PROS: Small, lightweight, breathable

CONS: Just a standard hydration pack, not a lot of storage

 

 

 

SHIMANO UNZEN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Those who ride on especially rough terrain

BLADDER SIZE: 2L or 3L

STORAGE: Three small internal pockets, two external

PROS: One of the most stable bags on the market thanks to the harness

CONS: Doesn’t have the most for storage

 

 

 

CAMELBAK FLASHFLO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Riders who are just looking for some place to hold their water

BLADDER SIZE: 1.5L

STORAGE: Limited

PROS: You don’t have to take the pack off to reach your items

CONS: Sits around the hips instead of on your back, so it’s more unstable and expensive for its size

 

 

 

CAMELBAK HYDROBAK

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonJenson USA

BEST FOR: Short rides when you don’t have much extra to carry

BLADDER SIZE: 1.5L

STORAGE: Small pocket that holds keys and/or wallet

PROS: Very light, reflective strip for night riding

CONS: Storage is minimal

 

 

 

DEUTER RACE EXP

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Long races, even on rainy days

BLADDER SIZE: 3L

STORAGE: 12 liters

PROS: Durable, lightweight, ventilation system

CONS: When full, it’s a little bulky

 

 

 

FOX RACING CAMBER

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonJenson USA

BEST FOR: Long cross-country races, or all around riding

BLADDER SIZE: 2L

STORAGE: Specially designed tool pockets on the inside, side pockets, helmet attachment clip

PROS: Lightweight, but durable, inside storage keeps everything in place

CONS: A little heavier than some race packs

 

 

 

OSPREY RAPTOR

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonJenson USA

BEST FOR: Long rides when you’ve got a lot to carry

BLADDER SIZE: 3L

STORAGE: 14 liters, helmet attachment clip, multiple side pockets

PROS: Designed for comfort, even when heavy with items

CONS: Not the most stable when you hit rough patches on trails

 

 

 

CAMELBAK OCTANE 22

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Riders who have a lot to carry

BLADDER SIZE: 3L

STORAGE: Two internal zip pockets, an overflow/helmet pouch, two zipped hip pockets

PROS: Lots of storage without being too heavy

CONS: Fairly expensive

 

 

 

DAKINE NOMAD

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonJenson USA

BEST FOR: Any rider who’s also looking for a stylish pack

BLADDER SIZE: 3L

STORAGE: 18 liter

PROS: One of the more stylish looking packs, plenty of storage

CONS: It’s quite pricey

 

 

 

LOWPRO PHOTO SPORT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Bikers who like to take their cameras along for the ride

BLADDER SIZE: 3L

STORAGE: Limited, except for camera storage

PROS: Built in water-proof shell

CONS: Larger than most packs

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MTB HYDRATION PACKS

PICTURE
HYDRATION PACK
BEST USE
BLADDER SIZE
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
HYDRATION PACK
BEST USE
BLADDER SIZE
PRICE
RATING
Camelbak Rogue
Short rides
2L
$$
4.9
Shimano Unzen
Short rides
2 or 3L
$$
4.5
Camelbak Flashflo
Short rides
1.5L
$$
4.6
Camelbak HydroBak
Short rides
1.5L
$
4.8
Deuter Race EXP
Racing
3L
$$$
4.8
Fox Racing Camber
Racing
2L
$$$
4.5
Osprey Raptor
Long rides
3L
$$$
4.9
Camelbak Octane 22
Long rides
3L
$$$
4.9
Dakine Nomad
Overall
3L
$$
5.0
Lowpro Photo Sport
MTB Photographers
2L
$$$
4.7

 

 


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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB HYDRATION PACKS

 

SIZE

Hydration packs come in all different sizes. From a small, sleek pack that’s only meant to hold water, to one more akin to a day-hiking backpack that can hold all your personal belongings.

Size also includes how many liters of water your pack can hold. Are you going on a long bike ride? You’ll want more water, so you should opt for a 2L or 3L pouch instead of a 1L version.

The reservoir (or bladder) is what holds your water, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are soft and tend to sag inside the pack if you don’t have hooks to keep them in place. Others are harder and can hold their shape, but take up more space in the bag.

Some packs are sold without the bladder, so you’ll want to make sure the one you have (or buy) will be compatible.

 

WEIGHT AND FIT

Think about it. If you’re going for a long ride, you might not want a pack that weighs too much. This could tire you out and make your shoulders ache more than they have to. But, if you’re the kind of person who also drinks a lot of water, you’ll still need a large reservoir.

You’ll need to decide which works best for you or find a bag with a lot of storage that also offers some breathability. You want to make sure the bag fits snuggly on your back to avoid putting too much weight on your shoulders.

This is why most of the larger packs come with a harness to strap around your chest and waist. Some riders feel too trapped with this so they opt for smaller, less heavy packs.

 

STORAGE

Storing your phone, keys and wallet in your pockets while you ride is a good way to lose them, so most people opt for a pack that has extra storage space to safely store their belongings.

But, some riders are just looking for a pack that holds water and their keys. Others pair mountain biking with camping or overnight trips, so they’ll want a pack that can hold many travel essentials. Some packs even come with a helmet storage space for when you’re not riding.

There’s a pack out there for almost everyone, even photographers. Mountain biking and photography are great hobbies to take up at the same time. Mountain bike trails can take you everywhere – from the tops of mountains to the ocean side or even deserts, so it’s great to have a nice camera ready to snap pictures.

Recently, hydration packs have started featuring storage pockets specifically designed for cameras. This does make the pack considerably heavier, so you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to compromise.

 

INSULATION/WATERPROOF

Mountain bikers know it’s easy to hit bad weather when you’re riding. A little rain never hurt anyone, but it can hurt your belongings if you don’t have a waterproof pack.

Luckily, nearly all of them are made with some sort of waterproof covering either on the outside, inside or both. Some even come equipped with hoods.

 

STYLE

When you look at mountain bikes or mountain bike equipment and clothes, you probably noticed that there’s a certain element of style to them. And why shouldn’t there be? After all, mountain biking is a cool sport.

Hydration packs aren’t left out in this aspect. Most of them feature bright colors and patterns that blend in nicely with helmet and bike designs. That being said, if you’re looking for something simple and not flashy, you can always find those as well. Those could even be bought usually on a budget.

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