Love 'em or hate 'em, most of us will have a hydration pack at home for use either as an everyday item or just for longer trail rides. In addition to our Buyer's Guide, this piece lists the best riding packs you can buy. All these have been tried and tested by us and score over four stars in review, making them a great place to start if you are looking for a new pack or an upgrade.
The best hydration packs
The Osprey Raven 10 is a women’s fit mountain bike backpack incorporating a 2.5 litre reservoir and back system specifically designed for ladies. It’s a secure and sturdy pack that I reach for time and time again, despite some excess strap niggles. It’s the most stable pack our tester, Rachael, has ridden with and it fits very well, flexing with the body yet retains some structural rigidity to support gear. We have also reviewed the 2018 men's version, the Raptor, check out the review below.
Osprey is a brand name in the bag world, they’ve been a welcome companion for outdoor enthusiasts for years from weekend walkers to week long biking epics. The sleek looking Raptor is one hell of a bag for small to day-long local rides only limited due to its size, but then Osprey offers all sorts if you’re going out for longer. It's cool, secure, ergonomically superb and with all the features you’d expect plus some.
The CamelBak Solstice LR10 is the women’s version of the Skyline men’s pack. It’s been revamped and is now more secure than ever before whilst still retaining the ability to carry weight low on the back. It’s a great mid-sized pack for all occasions. It’s hard to fault the CamelBak Solstice LR10, most updates (aside from the body armour straps that come loose) have been successful additions this year, its more secure, the layout works well to allow quick and easy access to gear and the bladder, it's super roomy for a 7L pack and you can carry a large amount of water all day in comfort.
The Osprey Syncro 20 has exceptional storage capacity with a voluminous 20 litres of well-organised space and the air-cooled back system is one of the best on the market. Aside from a few minor fitting problems, there is a lot to love about this pack. The Syncro is a versatile 20-litre pack, with my only niggle being that I wish it came with an adjustable back panel for better fitting on small backs, much like Osprey’s top-end pack, the Escapist.
CamelBak has churned out some banger hydration and rucksack products in their time and the Mule LR 15 is no different. Aimed at longer days in the saddle, it's feature-filled and durable. At £129.99, it's towards the upper end of the price range for a bag of this volume, but with way more features than many of the competition.
With that in mind, I feel its a fair price for a pack of this stature and one I’d happily pay for such a featureful rucksack. For those longer days in the saddle, you won’t find many this good.
The women's CamelBak Chase Bike Vest is a 1.5L hydration pack with 2L of storage, and it's designed to be worn – yes – like a vest, rather than a pack. The result is a secure, stable and roomy alternative to a bumbag or waist pack, and ideal for shorter mountain bike or gravel rides. We have also tested the men's version, check out that below.
CamelBak’s Chase bike vest is designed as a lightweight minimalist pack for runners and riders, with a 1.5L bladder and a unique design that allows you to still access jersey pockets. Our Jon found it to be perfect for fast mountain bike blats or enduro races as well as being ideal for longer gravel bike rides.
Ion’s Rampart 8 pack is a slim shaped, versatile and hard wearing pack, with a strong bike park leanings, but still capable as an everyday trail pack if you like to carry lots. With a heap of pockets and stow methods for your helmet, you can carry all you need for an hour round the woods or all day at the bike park or trail centre.
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