In this roundup of top hydration packs for cyclists, we’ve targeted primarily small and medium packs that provide plenty of water, but won’t add too much weight. We’re assuming that you’re probably doing single day rides with these. If you prefer a bigger model from these brands to hold a lot more stuff, you can typically find a similar pack in a larger size. We find the big packs to be hot, heavy and uncomfortable compared to the smaller ones.
Hydration is critical for any serious cyclist. If you don’t stay hydrated, your performance will suffer. With longer rides, sometimes a water bottle or two just isn’t enough. Bikepackers often ride with hydration packs on the road, as do adventure riders and gravel racers. You’ll also see plenty of hydration packs at century rides. It isn’t just mountain bikers who ride with them. And many road cyclists also have a mountain bike anyway.
Keep in mind when you’re shopping that a hydration pack might be called a 6L bag, but that doesn’t mean it holds six liters of water. Some manufacturers refer to the complete bag capacity, and will then separately tell you how much water the bladder will hold. Camelbak usually names their bags in a way that indicates how much water it holds.
Perhaps the most well known in hydration packs, the brand Camelbak offers the model Rogue with 2.5L capacity and four additional pockets. However, fans of Camelbak who have used their products before may not be pleased with certain feature changes like the division of pockets.
Read more customer reviews or get it on Amazon.
This Hydrobak 50 from Camelbak is a smaller hydration pack that doesn’t weigh as much because you’re carrying less water. It carries about 50 oz, which is about two large water bottles’ worth. This is a good option for shorter adventures that won’t last as long, or where you’ll be able to refill it during stops. Sometimes riders will carry two bottles on their bike and wear this, giving them a total of four bottles’ worth.
Read more customer reviews or see it on Amazon.
The Lobo from Camelbak seems to be a fan favorite. If you’re going out all day or need to carry items in your hydration pack, this is the one for you. It has a 3L capacity and storage space galore. Keep in mind, Camelbak also offers specific models for women or smaller framed people that may fit better.
This Osprey Katari pack holds about 1.5L if you’re looing to avoid carrying a ton of weight. One perk is the impressive magnet design where the bite valve connects to the sternum strap magnetically to avoid having the hose just dangling. This way it’s always in the same place for ease of locating and use. It also has a blinker attachment. There’s also a women’s or 2.5L capacity versions of this model if you prefer a different fit or want more water.
This model from Osprey is neat in that it’s a lumbar-based hydration pack instead of the typical backpack style that you see in other models. It holds 1.5L.
Dakine Shuttle 6L
The Shuttle 6L pack from Dakine holds 2L and has pockets for holding a few other cycling necessities. As a bonus, it also includes a rescue whistle!
Evoc CC 2L
This CC 2L pack from Evoc holds 2L of water and a few pockets for other cycling gear.
Platypus Tokul XC
If you’re in for a long haul, the Platypus Tokul XC has 5L, 8L, and 12L bag sizes. It also features magnetic valve retention to hold your valve in place for easy grab and go, as well as an expandable front stash pocket that can secure a helmet.
Don’t forget about water intake out there so you can keep cycling with a happy, hydrated body. These packs should help.
Which one is your favorite, and why?