It's important to drink enough water when you're mountain biking, so it helps to have a hydration pack that's specific to the sport. The best hydration packs for mountain biking will have certain features that make them better suited for cycling than other activities.
First, the exterior material should be tougher for mountain biking packs. It will need to stand up to regular wear and tear on the trail from all the dirt, dust, rain, and other natural elements. Look for packs that are made from durable synthetic fabrics like nylon, CORDURA, or polyester.
As for the bladder itself, it should be made of high-quality material, like TPU, and equipped with bacteria-fighting technology to prevent odor from building up. This is especially important for biking because it can get pretty hot during long rides.
Lastly, think about the bite valve and tube. You'll want it to be easy to access, preferably with technology that lets you drink one-handed or completely hands-free.
During exercise, it's recommended that you drink a minimum of 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes — and mountain biking is extra rigorous, so you'll often need more than that, depending on heat, incline, speed, fitness levels, and other factors. Make sure you plan appropriately.
To help you out, I've researched dozens of options and made a list of the three best hydration packs for mountain biking. I've arranged them according to price to help you find the one that best fits your budget.
1. The Best Investment Pack
Capacity: 2.5 liters
What's great about it: If you have a little extra money to spend and want the absolute best hydration pack for mountain biking that you can find, this selection from Thule has it all. It's made specifically for mountain biking, so it has a number of features that regular hydration packs don't have, like a magnetic hose return system that allows hand-free hydration, so you don't have to slow down to take a sip. This tough, nylon pack is designed with a low center of gravity to allow for more efficient cycling and less back fatigue, and the bladder is made from high-quality TPU. Best of all, it's extremely lightweight, even with all of the pockets scattered throughout.
What fans say: "This pack is designed specifically for the extreme biking enthusiast, ones who go on 5 hour treks or race. It's unbelievably lightweight, yet still well made and strong. Lots of venting and mesh, plenty of padding, and a very comfortable design ... There are a lot of details and features to love, ie, magnetic drinking tube holder (the colored stripe), daisy-chains and loops for hooking on more stuff, lots of internal mesh pockets."
2. The Best Mid-Range Pack
Capacity: 3 liters
What's great about it: Built with rugged, 1000-denier CORDURA fabric and a strong TPU reservoir, this ergonomic hydration pack is perfect for mountain biking for a number of reasons. It has a feature called HydroLock, which allows for one-handed operation so you can keep the other hand on your handlebar. The 7 millimeters of closed-cell polyethylene foam provides great insulation for long rides, and a side zipper makes it effortless to access the bladder. As a bonus, it also has low-infrared reflective material on the buckles to provide extra visibility for dusk-hour rides.
What fans say: "Amazing product. If you ride a bike, this item is a must for you. Buy an extra pouch and freeze it for long mountain biking rides."
3. The Best Budget Pack
Capacity: 2.5 liters
What's great about it: This budget hydration pack isn't specifically made for biking, but considering its high-quality construction, it's a great budget option. With an impressive five stars on Amazon, reviewers love its wide screw-cap and easy-to-use bite valve with 360-degree rotation. The bladder is made of high-quality TPU that won't absorb odor or bacteria, and the exterior is constructed with tough, 1000-denier polyester that can withstand rough trail elements.
What fans say: "I use this primarily for mountain biking and I couldn’t enjoy it more. The mouthpiece feels ergonomic and the bladder itself is large enough for longer rides. There’s still plenty of storage left for the rest of your tools/gear, so don’t worry about packing light."
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