When setting out on a Mountain biking adventure, it's always crucial to prepare with a hydration pack. This preparation will inevitably require you to haul items that you might reluctantly want to carry, especially water. But let's face it, hydrating is a necessary evil! Something that you can't and won't ever be able to avoid unless you decide to throw caution to the wind and bike without water.
To be on the safe side, we've always recommended using a hydration pack for mountain biking. The best hydration packs allow you to conveniently haul more than enough water to last you for quite some time. Plus, they are versatile and will enable you to pack a few other items that you might need on a bikepacking or all-day adventure in the mountain.
So if you've been seeking out the best option for mountain biking, we've got you covered with this guide. We've spent the past month putting together the best hydration packs to go mountain biking so you'll save time and the hassle of having to search for good mountain bike hydration packs.
Best Hydration Pack for Mountain Biking - Our Top Recommendations:
- CamelBak M.U.L.E. - Best Hydration Packs Overall
- Osprey Packs Raptor 14 Men's Bike Hydration Backpack
- Thule Vital Hydration Pack For Mountain Biking
- Osprey Seral Lumbar Hydration Backpack
- CamelBak M.U.L.E. LR 15 100oz Mountain Biking Hydration Backpack
- DAKINE Session 8L Bike Hydration Backpack
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Review
The CamelBak M.U.L.E is a unique mtb hydration pack that is highly loved and recommended. This brand has been around for years and has built many cycling accessories that we've yet to dislike. The CamelBak M.U.L.E has been consistently improved since its first debut in 1996.
At present, this pack has been dubbed as the best mtb hydration pack to buy with all the features you need. It features a narrow-gauge design that makes it convenient to carry even when it is fully packed. Moreover, it has adjustable straps and a torso strap, so you'll never have to worry about it getting in your way while riding.
CamelBak has also built a new Crux reservoir for it that is very easy to refill and load in the bag. Moreover, this improved reservoir offers about 20% more water on every sip. And that's not all you'll get from the CamelBak M.U.L.E.
The M.U.L.E offers just the right balance of size and storage with a three-liter water bladder capacity. It also features air channels on the back padding to keep your back cool during intense rides. Moreover, you get universal helmet hooks and multiple inner compartments to store all your items neatly. We also really loved that it comes in 7 color options.
Osprey Raptor 14 Review
Osprey is well known for its top-quality packs for hauling items on any occasion. This is a fact that is highlighted by the 5-star rating received by most of their Osprey Raptor 14 MTB Hydration pack. You'll never go wrong by selecting the Raptor 14 as it is well packed with features.
The Osprey Raptor features an impressive 14 liters of storage capacity and comes with a 2.5-liter water reservoir. With such a large internal capacity, you'll be able to carry all the items and water you need. Furthermore, this pack doesn't lack comfort in any way.
It has a contouring AirScape back panel and straps that are bike-specific, so they don't get in the way while holding the handlebars. And the added sternum strap ensures that the bag doesn't shift around even during fast-paced cycling. The Osprey Raptor 14 also includes a lightweight sternum strap magnet that allows you to sip water quickly.
The most impressive thing about this mtb pack is the additional features included: a removable roll-up tool pouch, a scratch-free slash pocket, hip belt pockets, and the LidLock helmet attachment. It also has a pre-arranged main compartment that will allow you to organize your bike tools.
Thule Vital Review
The Thule Vital is another excellent option that is well suited for mountain biking. It has a smaller overall space with just an 8-liter capacity, but that makes it a lightweight pack that you'll surely find less bulky to schlep around. The good thing is that it still has a 2.5 L reservoir inside the bag.
Paired with their hydration pack is the Thule ReTrack hydration hose that is easy to access and has a magnetic design, so it stays in place on the strap. Moreover, there are still many external and internal features to love with the Thule Vital.
Internally, you get an organized interior neatly separated to store keys, cords, bike tools, and other gear. Externally is where the bag shines; it has jersey style side pockets to store items like snacks quickly. Plus, it has an expandable 8L cargo storage that will allow you to add more space to haul items.
Osprey Seral Lumbar Review
The Seral Lumbar is another highly rated pack from Osprey. However, this is a pure lumbar mountain biking hydration pack for when you don't need to carry lots of items in a bag. For quick mountain biking adventures, this pack is more than enough to store water and a small number of items.
Inside this lumbar pack, you'll find a small space that is well organized to carry some tools and other essential gear. It also houses a 1.5L reservoir paired with a magnetic bite valve that you can access when you want a sip of water. Moreover, you still get hip belt pockets on either side that will allow you to store snacks and other on the go essentials.
The back of this lumbar mtb hydration pack also features Osprey's highly loved padded back panel that offers superior comfort and ventilation. And the ErgoPull waist strap makes it very easy to adjust in order to achieve a snug fit. We also really liked that there is a blinker light attachment on the back of the pack so you can improve your visibility in the dark.
DAKINE Session 8L Bike Hydration Backpack
Known to be one of the best mountain biking hydration packs, the Dakine Session is excellent when you only need to carry the essentials. This pack has an 8L capacity that offers just enough room to take the essential mountain biking gear. Internally, it is well organized in such a way that you can easily store a hand pump, gloves, keys, phone, and other items.
You'll also get a 2-liter water reservoir included in the bag that will be just enough to last you on a 4-hour ride. What impressed us the most with the Dakine Session MTB water pack is the breathable mesh strap and how comfortable it was over our rides. Moreover, it also has a waist strap and a sternum strap, which hooks the bite valve, making it easy to reach.
This hydration pack is also one of the most affordable options you'll find.
Water Buffalo Hydration Pack - Best Budget Option
The Water Buffalo mtb hydration pack is the top choice for mountain bikers on a budget. This bag is extremely affordable and has all the features needed to make it an option well worth considering. It comes with a 2L hydration bladder that is good to keep water cool for up to 5 hours.
While it is mostly a pack to house a water bladder, it does offer a fair bit of storage space in the main compartment. We found it just large enough to hold items such as a hand pump, sunglasses, a fair bit of snacks, and a smartphone. Besides, it has a lightweight design with breathable straps and a high-quality bite valve that you clip onto the shoulder straps for easy access.
If you don't want to spend a lot, this mountain biking pack is the only option we'd recommend.
How to choose a MTB hydration pack?
Before you go ahead with buying best hydration packs, here are a few things you need to consider:
While hydration bags offer the ability to carry more than just water, it's top function is to haul water conveniently. As such, water capacity was something we heavily considered before ranking a pack as one of the best. With that said, you need to know that not all mountain bike hydration packs come with a water bladder. In most cases, they will only offer the compatibility to add a water bladder to the bag.
So before you go ahead and buy a pack, you must first know whether a water bladder is included or if you'll need to buy one. The next thing to keep in mind with the water capacity is that hauling water means added weight. For each liter of water capacity, it is equal to about 2.2lbs of weight. So before setting out, you should consider how much water you will consume and only take what is necessary.
The best hydration packs we've listed all have a water capacity over 2 liters.
MTB hydration packs aren't only for carrying water. They allow you to carry quite a few pieces of biking gear in the single backpack. This ability to haul gear and a water bladder make this backpack style one of the most versatile bike accessories to own. With a good backpack, you'll get the ability to load up on all your essentials. From tools and spare items for your bike to things such as your helmet, a blanket, and, most importantly, food!
It would be best if you always went for options with at least 4-5 liters of space to store all your gear and other essentials.
The features are another very important aspect of the best mountain biking hydration pack. The best hydration pack features include more than just the water and gear capacity, but also other things like waterproofing, breathability, adjustability, and everything related to the water bladder.
A hydration pack must provide a good water bladder with a good bite valve that allows water to flow freely. Moreover, it should also be easy to be inserted or removed for refilling.
The best mtb hydration pack should also come with multiple compartments so that you can organize your gear, snacks, and other items neatly in the bag. We've already made sure that the bags we list as the best hydration packs for mountain biking have all these key features and more.
Fit and Comfort
The last thing to consider is how well the pack fits you as the rider. While the mountain biking hydration backpacks we've reviewed fit us well and offer a universal fit, some packs are better fitting than others. Moreover, some persons might prefer a pack with plenty of strap adjustability. While for others, it might not matter so much. But keep in mind that bags with a fit tighter, especially those with a torso strap, are much safer to wear.
By now, you should've identified the Best Hydration Packs for Mountain Biking to suit your needs. We highly recommend the CamelBak M.U.L.E if you want a large storage capacity with a high-quality bite valve. And the Osprey Raptor 14 is one of the best hydration packs if you want the highest durability and quality possible. As for persons on a budget, we found the Water Buffalo MTB hydration backpack to be an excellent choice.