5 Best Hydration Packs For Mountain Biking in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Riding in the mountains can be taxing on your body. After all, the steep climbs will have you exerting a great deal of effort, leaving you spent at the summit.

During such challenging times, your body cycles through water as quickly as humanly possible, and as you enter the realm of dehydration, you’ll need to replenish yourself with mother nature’s most valuable gift—water. Thus, enters the hydration pack filled to the brim with water, ensuring your performance isn’t compromised in any way.

Additionally, the best hydration packs also have enough storage room to accommodate other valuables such as bike tools, food, and insulation layers with ease. Plus, with a hydration pack around, you’ll no longer need to carry a water bottle.

For a hydration pack to be deemed worthy of a purchase, it must be durable beyond belief. After all, hydration packs go through counts and counts of terrible abuse as they are rammed with gear, splattered with mud, brushed by branches, dragged over rocks, and drenched by rain.

Today, we’ll discuss some of the best mountain bike hydration packs. The following hydration packs have been shortlisted carefully to suit every requirement and budget.

Go for any of them with your eyes closed.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Hydration Packs for Mountain Biking

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the mountain bike hydration packs that most people buy).

  • Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Pack Top Pick
  • Camelbak Skyline LR 10 Runner-up
  • EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20 Runner-up

Top 5 Best Hydration Packs for Mountain Biking – Our Reviews:

1. Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Pack

Let’s kick things off with a banger of a product. The Osprey Raptor Hydration Pack is arguably the best hydration pack on this list—it boasts all features you’d expect in a high-quality hydration pack.

Featuring 14 liters of storage with a 3-liter bladder water reservoir, the Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Pack has more than enough space to take care of your biking needs.

I also like the fact that this hydration pack comes equipped with numerous holders and pockets. To be precise, the Raptor 14 has two woven side pockets, two mesh hip pockets, a front stretch pocket, and a huge front zippered pocket.

To top things off, it even comes with a helmet attachment point. Talk about catering to a biker’s needs, eh?

I’m also a huge admirer of its back panel and frame-set. In short, the trail pack is breathable, comfortable to wear, and doesn’t de-stabilize even during rides on bumpy trails.  

As for its harness system, I must say that the adjustable sternum strap, elastic-taped shoulder straps, and Bio-stretch elastic waist belt work well together to provide a stable, comfortable, and secure fit.

Pros

  • Plenty of useful pockets to store your valuables
  • Comes with a helmet attachment point and a tool roll
  • Excels in the comfort and stability department
  • Stores enough water for days
  • Facilitates helmet carry
  • One of the best all-round mountain biking  hydration packs for trail riding

Cons

  • Not completely convinced with the performance of the bite valve
  • Key keeper isn’t as secure as the makers would have you believe

2. Camelbak Skyline LR 10

I have included the Camelbak Skyline 10 on this list for one sole reason. The outstanding design of the Camelbak Skyline 10 prevents the pack from shifting unnecessarily even as you speed downhill at a terrifying pace.

This Camelbak mountain bike hydration pack, similar to the Camelbak Mule MTB hydration packs,  has been designed in a specific way to shift the majority of its weight towards the lower back, and in doing so, additional support is also provided to the lumbar region of the rider.

The lower center of gravity advertised by the bag also allows the rider to maintain optimum stability during rides on rough terrains.

Other notable features of the Camelbak Skyline 10 include a 3-liter water reservoir, magnetic tube trap, full-face helmet and armor attachment, and numerous pockets to store your prized possessions. Additionally, the Skyline 10 also comes with 7 liters of storage, which is more than enough for a long day in the hilly trails.

Lastly, I would also like to give special praise to the  Camelbak MTB hydration pack’s dual wing belt that comes with cargo carry and ventilation, reliable cinch straps and a big waist strap that ensure the Camelbak pack stays locked to your body, and the magnetic hose attachment and big bite valve that allow you to drink big gulps of water with minimum fuss.

Pros

  • Stable, secure, and comfortable
  • Additional support to the lumbar region
  • 3-liter water reservoir and 7 liters of storage
  • Minimalist look compared to other  MTB hydration packs
  • This Camelbak pack is best suited for cyclists that prioritize comfort during mountain biking long rides

Cons

  • The storage space isn’t as organized as I expected
  • The shoulder straps on this Camelbak pack felt a bit uncomfortable

3. EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20

If you’re someone who likes to attack the trails and get rowdy, the EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20 will be able to keep up with your frenetic pace.

To ensure the pack maintains its structural integrity and for the comfort of the rider, the makers have smartly integrated a spine protector onto the bag.

I also like fact that the back protector fits the body well and has ventilation properties, facilitating decent airflow over your back. PV foam and segmented EPS also form a majority of its construction.

Boosted by 20-liter storage space, it would be an understatement to say that the EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20 has a huge carrying capacity. Although the pack doesn’t have its own reservoir, it can still accept a 3-liter water reservoir with ease.

In essence, this pack is what I would call a “bring your own bladder” bag.

One look inside the main compartment and you’ll see plenty of small mesh dividers that have been strategically placed to separate your gear.

It’s also worth noting that the EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20 can store both half-shell and full-face helmets. What more could you ask for from a hydration pack?

Pros

  • I’m a big fan of its outstanding carrying capacity
  • Integration of spine protection for the rider’s comfort and to maintain the structural integrity of the pack
  • One of the best mountain bike hydration packs for aggressive mountain bikers

Cons

  • I kind of felt that the ventilation doesn’t perform as well as you’d like

4. Osprey Syncro 12

Another Osprey hydration pack makes it to the list purely on merit. The Syncro 12 sports a versatile design and benefits tremendously from a durable construction.

Additionally, the pack also comes equipped with organized storage options, a well-ventilated and comfortable back panel, and a state-of-the-art hydration system. Now you know why I’ve included this.

I used the Osprey Syncro 12 2.5l water capacity once during my travels and I was immediately impressed with the strategically-placed drinking hose release clip on the pack; never had I experienced such ease at filling and replacing the bladder.

Let me stress on the Osprey Syncro 12’s storage options as well.It comes with enough jersey pockets to house your smaller valuables and also has large volume space to store bulkier things such as sweatshirts and jackets.

If I were critiquing this pack from a lenient viewpoint, I would say that the Osprey Syncro 12 doesn’t exhibit any significant weaknesses. However, if I were to nitpick on its drawbacks, I would say the lack of hip belt pockets could be the deal-breaker for some.

Although priced on the higher end of the spectrum, I would say that the Osprey Syncro 12 justifies its hefty price tag to a large extent.

Pros

  • Outstanding quality and durable construction
  • Excels in the stability and comfort department
  • Well-ventilated back panel for mountain biking
  • Easy access to gear pocket and tool pouch

Cons

  • Priced a bit too steeply for my liking
  • Doesn’t come with hip belt pockets

5. Gregory Nano 18 H20

Are you looking for a mountain bike hydration pack that offers bang for your bucks? If so, look no further than the Gregory Nano 18 H20.

Featuring a simple yet intuitive design, the Gregory Nano 18 H20 mountain bike hydration pack has 18-liter storage and 3-liter water capacity. Carrying bulky items on the Gregory Nano 18 H20 is also a piece of cake as the main storage compartment has plenty of volume.

What about smaller valuables, you ask? Well, there’s an exterior zippered pocket on the top lid for easy storage.

I also like the fact that the hydration sleeve on the Gregory Nano 18 H20 is extremely easy to use and take in and out of the pack.

However, I must admit that some corners have been cut to reduce costs.

For instance, you’ll find that the padded rear panel isn’t as breathable as advertised. Additionally, the lack of detailed organization in the primary storage compartment can repel some.

All in all, the Nano 18 H20 mountain bike hydration pack, for its low price tag, does a good job of providing the necessary features. In some cases, it even manages to outperform the more expensive hydration packs.

Pros

  • One of the best budget-friendly mountain bike hydration packs
  • Outstanding volume to weight ratio
  • Phenomenal 3-liter reservoir water and  18-liter storage capacity
  • Value for money
  • Quick access to the front pocket

Cons

  • The rear panel isn’t well-ventilated

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Mountain Bike Hydration Packs

Water Capacity

The general rule of thumb implies that you should go for a mountain bike hydration pack with a water bladder capacity of 3 liters. However, this rule only applies to longer journeys.

If your session is short and you intend to only carry bum bags and hip packs, you can go for a lower water bladder capacity. As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with bringing more water.

Also, pay in mind to go for bladders with big openings as refills, cleaning, and maintenance work on such bladders are much easier.

Storage Space

Make sure to only opt for packs that have enough storage space for your essentials. Some packs also double as biking backpacks, offering more than enough storage for your belongings.

Also, ensure that storage options are well-organized to facilitate easier access to your necessities. You wouldn’t want to rummage through your items as you near total exhaustion, would you?

A good pack must be able to store your tire levels, tube, pump, snack, multi-tool, rain gear, and a full-face helmet.

For shorter journeys, a 7-liter storage capacity with one small pocket should suffice. For longer rides, get a pack with a minimum of 20-liter capacity.

Basically, you need to assess how much gear you need to carry.

Breathability

It goes without saying that a mountain bike hydration pack must have excellent ventilation to provide relief from the sweltering heat. Usually, a suspended mesh back panel is considered the most breathable.

Harness System

The best mountain bike hydration packs come with good-fitting harness systems that not only keep the pack tied to you securely but are also comfortable to wear. Ideally speaking, go for packs that have adjustable compression straps, a hip belt, and a sternum strap.

Bite Valve

Go for bite valves constructed of soft rubber as they allow water to flow through smoothly even with a gentle squeeze. Also, look for a lock-off feature on the valve as such a feature prevents water leaks.

Conclusion

There you have it, I’ve shared my knowledge on mountain biking hydration packs with you and I hope you’re better off for it.

If you’re still undecided on your choice and would like me to recommend a mountain biking hydration water pack for a comfortable bike ride, I’d suggest the Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Pack.

This water pack is comfortable and breathable, has plenty of storage, and features an enviable harness system that does an exceptional job of providing a stable and secure fit. To add the cherry on top, it even comes with a helmet attachment point.

In short, I think the Osprey 14 is the best all-around MTB hydration pack for mountain biking. Other similar options include the Camelbak Mule and Thule Vital hydration pack.