Hydration packs for all day epic rides.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Hydration packs for all day epic rides.

    Iím looking for a well layed out pack for a 5-6 hour day on the bike. Iíve had a few Ospreys and havenít been impressed. Just wondering some of the gear everyone uses.

  2. #2
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    Having done this several ways with several packs, I would advise to make every effort to move some stuff to the bike, using a water bottle, frame bags, etc. That said, I can't move everything to the bike and absolutely need a camelback for long days in the saddle, but I've changed my methods to cram food, clothing and tube in the frame bag and just leave much more minimal stuff in the camelback, making it easier to carry at the same time. I don't like my osprey much, the design of the hose/magnet ensures the mouthpiece goes into the dirt whenever you take it off and set it down, straps are dinky, but it's not horrible either, most modern hydration packs are pretty good and just have their own nuances, I have packs from camelback and evoc as well. Evoc adjustment straps are terrible (can't be tightened on the fly).
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Having done this several ways with several packs, I would advise to make every effort to move some stuff to the bike, using a water bottle, frame bags, etc. That said, I can't move everything to the bike and absolutely need a camelback for long days in the saddle, but I've changed my methods to cram food, clothing and tube in the frame bag and just leave much more minimal stuff in the camelback, making it easier to carry at the same time. I don't like my osprey much, the design of the hose/magnet ensures the mouthpiece goes into the dirt whenever you take it off and set it down, straps are dinky, but it's not horrible either, most modern hydration packs are pretty good and just have their own nuances, I have packs from camelback and evoc as well. Evoc adjustment straps are terrible (can't be tightened on the fly).
    100% agreed on everything stated.

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  4. #4
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    Agree about the Osprey. What about USWE. Interesting design

  5. #5
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    Personally, I'd go with one of the Camelbak low rider packs, depending on how much extra gear you need to carry. That USWE system makes my lower back hurt, just looking at it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vin829 View Post
    Iím looking for a well layed out pack for a 5-6 hour day on the bike. Iíve had a few Ospreys and havenít been impressed. Just wondering some of the gear everyone uses.
    I like my Gregory Drift 14 3D. Roomy, well-made, good organizational system, 3L bladder, vertically adjustable waist belt. The only negative is the small (Nalgene size) opening on the bladder which makes it hard to fill from the ice/water dispenser on my fridge. Cheaper than Osprey. Seems to be on sale with many vendors at the moment. Had mine a year, still looks new, and I'm hard on gear.
    Last edited by veloborealis; 10-14-2019 at 09:22 AM. Reason: EDIT It's a 3L bladder not a 2L.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    Personally, I'd go with one of the Camelbak low rider packs, depending on how much extra gear you need to carry. That USWE system makes my lower back hurt, just looking at it.
    100% agreed.

    I have tried countless designs and my SkylineLR is the absolute best I have ever had.

    I spent a ton of time before the start of this season getting rigged for as much packless riding as possible. Because of the unusually high amount of bear sightings and encounters throughout this season, I ended up using my Skyline almost every ride (spray in my bottle cage and hanging off my sternum strap, and bangers and a knife in my bag).

    I can barely feel it on me when riding (apart from really hot days when there is no doubt that it adds heat on my back). But apart from the heat issue, it is imperceptible. I canít tell the difference from when the bladder is 3 litres full, and when itís empty. Itís THAT comfortable.

    Is it perfect? Sadly, itís not. I canít fit my large phone in the pockets on the waist straps, and sometimes the waist straps (when cinched tight) feel like they may be ever so slightly restricting my breathing. Also, build quality is questionable, compared to the older packs, which have lasted forever. I was in a rush one evening (trying to beat the darkness) and ripped an entire mesh pocket out of it when I got my car key stuck in it.

    In short though, I discovered after a heavy season of riding that it was largely a waste of time doing all that work figuring out the optimum packless solutions (albeit a very interesting researching journey). I love wearing my Skyline.
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  8. #8
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    I think this really comes down to how you hydrate, how hot it is, how hard you are riding, and whether or not you can stop to get more water.

    You mentioned 5 to 6 hour rides. Two big bottles on the bike. Two bottles in a hip pack (Osprey or Evoc). I drop down to one in the hip pack (Botranger) if conditions warrant. If there are gas stations, cafe stops, or aid stations I will cut back to two bottles on the bike.

    For a race or continuous ride on a hot day, I'd wear a hydration pack for more water. I've tried a bunch of brands and never found much difference as long as they have shoulder, hip, and sternum straps. I tried the Camel back from years ago that didn't have a hip strap and it was a disaster. For that reason I'm reluctant to try the USWE ones with the cross strap. I'm waiting for demo or a trusted friend to buy one.

    I also try hard not to take too much water. I see way too many race finishers on light carbon framed bikes with two full water bottles in the holders at the finish line. I also finish many events partially dehydrated, and it really isn't a big deal. There is a fine line though. Partially dehydrated means you didn't haul or drink unnecessary water. Fully dehydrated means you are miserable and slow.

  9. #9
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    So basically the 5-6 or more hour rides is all backcountry riding. Too hot to ride there in the summer so fall winter and spring are prime time for long rides. I donít drink a lot on my rides but this isnít a place you want to have a mechanical or no layers. Iíve kinda narrowed it down to the HAWG. It looks really big though. Or the Mule.
    I have a Camelback Chase vest for my shorter rides and love it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vin829 View Post
    So basically the 5-6 or more hour rides is all backcountry riding. Too hot to ride there in the summer so fall winter and spring are prime time for long rides. I donít drink a lot on my rides but this isnít a place you want to have a mechanical or no layers. Iíve kinda narrowed it down to the HAWG. It looks really big though. Or the Mule.
    I have a Camelback Chase vest for my shorter rides and love it.
    I assume you are referring to a MULE LR, and not the older, non-LR MULE. The biggest obvious difference I see between the MULE LR and the HAWG LR is interior capacity. Depending on your needs, either would likely be a good choice. 17 vs 12 litres of interior space. By comparison, my Skyline has 7 litres and is fine to carry everything I need for all day mega adventure rides, but thatís obviously something you will need to assess.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I assume you are referring to a MULE LR, and not the older, non-LR MULE. Between the HAWG LR and the MULE LR, I would not hesitate going with the HAWG LR. What advantages, if any, do you see with the MULE LR?
    Yes the Mule or HAWG LR. The only advantage I see with the Mule is it is a bit smaller more streamline. The HAWG does look huge

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vin829 View Post
    Yes the Mule or HAWG LR. The only advantage I see with the Mule is it is a bit smaller more streamline. The HAWG does look huge
    Fwiw, I edited my response after you responded to it. Agreed - the HAWG may be unnecessarily large. I bet though that you would not notice much of a difference when the HAWG is cinched down. As an analogy, I often only partially fill my 3 litre bladder, but it sure is nice having 3 litres when I need it. But agreed - the HAWG may be overkill.
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  13. #13
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    I've been using the mule and the hawg for over a decade now, old and new versions. The mule is smaller and I use it here in Phoenix daily, mostly because I don't need to carry any extra layers but I do need to carry 3 liters of water often. If I go up north or where the weather may change and I want to carry a jacket or whatever I'll take the hawg, but for 95% of my rides I grab the mule. As far as wearing them it's really not much of a difference between the two once sinched down (and not packed with stuff). Get whatever floats your boat in my opinion.
    Last edited by eatdrinkride; 10-14-2019 at 05:43 PM.

  14. #14
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    If it helps, I ride with a Fox Camber 10 liter. I have gone on a few long rides with a full "3 liter" bladder and had a spare 2 liter bladder half full in the bag too along with tools, a spare tube, pump, phone, and first aid kit. I have had a few falls, and it has protected me I feel. It is pretty comfortable and I would buy one again, and may buy the 15 liter version if the Minister of Economics approves...

    Hope this helps and good luck.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    I've been using the mule and the hawg for over a decade now, old and new versions. The mule is smaller and I use it here in Phoenix daily, mostly because I don't need to carry any extra layers but I do need to carry 3 liters of water often. If I go up north or where the weather may change and I want to carry a jacket or whatever I'll take the hawg, but for 95% of my rides I grab the mule. As far as wearing them it's really not much of a difference between the two once sinched down (and not packed with stuff). Get whatever floats your boat in my opinion.
    Any significant advantages of the LR version? I can get a pretty good discount on a standard mule pack, but the LRs are all sold out. Just moved to Tucson and realizing that I need more water capacity than water bottles and hip packs. I'm not a crazy downhiller either so the LR lower weight for descents probably not a huge factor.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by loren90 View Post
    Any significant advantages of the LR version?
    You just carry a significant part of the weight lower on your torso. Not a huge deal, unless you have lower back problems... then it is a notable improvement.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    You just carry a significant part of the weight lower on your torso. Not a huge deal, unless you have lower back problems... then it is a notable improvement.
    Cool, thanks! Ended up going with the Gregory drift 14 as recommended below. Got a slightly better price...

  18. #18
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    For me, the LR design makes the pack literally disappear on my back, even when carrying 3 litres of water. The LR design with the somewhat horizontal and lower COG bladder also eliminates the pack from shifting on your back, especially on the steeps and in the gnar. The non-LR packs do not address these things (I own non-LR Camelbaks as well). The only downside is that the LR design relies on the waist belt which, for some, can be slightly constricting at times.

    I was an early adopter to pack based hydration. I have used them for decades. The LR packs are truly next level. Itís difficult for me to think of a more beneficial design improvement over all the years of using hydration packs.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vin829 View Post
    So basically the 5-6 or more hour rides is all backcountry riding. Too hot to ride there in the summer so fall winter and spring are prime time for long rides. I donít drink a lot on my rides but this isnít a place you want to have a mechanical or no layers. Iíve kinda narrowed it down to the HAWG. It looks really big though. Or the Mule.
    I have a Camelback Chase vest for my shorter rides and love it.
    I do riding similar to your description with an evoc FR enduro 20L. Big, but you don't have to ride with it full all the time and if I'm guiding and being responsible for a group I do carry a lot so it's good for that. So big rides I carry the kitchen sink but short couple hour rides I carry almost nothing haha, two extremes.

  20. #20
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    I haven't done much for water carry other than on the bike but I understand those that are accustomed to it.
    I do think it's worth noting an option unless others already suggested, you could carry some on the bike that can be transferred to the bladder and keep enough in the bladder for some of or parts of the ride. I'd go that route because I'm not used to having a pack on me at all not-to-mention hydration that is 4# per 64 oz.
    It's so simple to fashion a few cages or frame bag and carry lots of water if needed, keeping it low and centered on the bike. I've had few bike camp trips that were so lively and comfortable with a 32# bike and 30# of gear making it feel more of a sporty adventure rather than log drag. Mostly due to the freedom of feeling light and fast without geared baggage on my person.
    I could make it work this way but for me, the motto would be lighter upper body is better.
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  21. #21
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    So I looked at a few bags. The Camelback Mule LR looked huge. Horrible layout as far as pockets go pain in the ass to get a full bladder in and out. Never was able to see the HAWG but can only image how much bigger it looked. Got a chance to try a Mule NV. I liked it. But my buddy had taken off the waist strap so didnít seem to fit right. I liked the EVOC Enduro FR but the wait strap on that was huge and bulky. So I ordered an USWE Airborne 15. I never got a chance to look at in person so this is kind of a shot in the dark. Supposed to be delivered today so we will see

  22. #22
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    USWE makes good stuff. I bought the Outlander 2 for xc marathon events and I much prefer it to two water bottles that get caked with dust.
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