Hydration Packs – How to Select the One for You

Hydration packs are very useful innovation — it brings forward both the "cool factor" as well as convinience.  Why and how — well, mutliple reasons:  (1) you get to show off with a snazzy multicolored pack with space age construction and aparatus for water intake (2) it is a very comfortable way to carry in some models, a fairly big load of water, (3) you just get compelled to drink more water when you have such a cool contraption attached to your back….and you achieve better results in your exercise without even noticing….Pluses all around!

Joking aside the hydration packs are very useful.  I published already a couple of short articles dealing with new products in that category in the last couple of week – More Hydration Options and Hydration options for bicycling.  

Next, let's look at decision criteria for selecting good and activity appropriate hydration packs:

  • Chose according to the activity you most engage in:
    • Mountain biking – your rides take a long time and you are usually not close to a gas station with bottled water – so choose 2-3L pack
    • Road cycling – since most of you are focused on speed – you want to consider relatively small pack
    • Recreational cyclist – you are probably not likely to spend a very long amount of time on the bike at any one time, so a 1-2L pack with focus on light weight is your best choice
  • Next consider the overall size of the pack.  No matter which type of biker you are (from the above choices) I suspect you are not one that wants to carry around extra weight and be constricted in movement while on the bike.  To that effect consider wisely the water capacity as well as the extra carrying capacity of the packs under consideration.   You want them to fit snuggly on you and become (almost) un-noticeable while you are biking

In the earlier articles I had alread links to several models that offer plenty of good options for bikers, and now decided to include one additional recommendation here.  

It came from a list I came across showing a good set of recommendations and "Best of" listing with 2012 model year products here — check it out.

More on Hydration Options

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about new hydration pack products.  Today I wanted to add some more – as there are additional new products to consider. The products I want to cover this time include a new pack from Camelback — I think they were the folks who started the trend – see this excerpt from their web site:


It's 1988.

Bicycle enthusiast, Michael Eidson, is competing in the "Hotter'N Hell 100." And that's exactly what it is: a 100-mile road race in the grueling summer heat of Wichita Falls, Texas. Water is vital to surviving the race, and there are few places to refill a water bottle. Eidson, an emergency medical technician by trade, decides to fill an IV bag with water and slip it into a white tube sock. Yes, a tube sock. Then he stuffs the contraption into the back of his bike jersey, throws the thin hose over his shoulder and clamps it with a clothespin.

Hands-free hydration is born. And Eidson is able to drink as he pedals…while the other racers laugh and fiddle with their water bottles.

So 25 years later – the company is continuing to put together good options for the mountain biking crowd.  Here is a new one — the Volt 13 LR

  made of ultra-light materials, featurs a hook for your helmet (when you are not wearing it), bike tool organizer pocket, media pocket.   Other important aspects are: it has very good back panel and hip belt — which allows for good distribution of the weight and comfort while using the pack.  The side pockets are great for a camera, phone, some energy bars, or some other smallish item.  The hydration capacity is large 3-litter water volume — should be good for most rides.

Now, the second product is rather different — this is a dual reservoir pack made by Mazama Designs:

 Dualocity – this is a 1.8-liter dual hydration reservoir.  Very interesting idea – why?  because it allows you to carry both electrolytes and water — well, now you can have both your energy drink and water on the trail.  While you can use it as dual reservoir, keep in mind that the design apparently allows you to use it as a single fluid bladder.  Very cool!

Well, next I plan to summarize in another article — the ins and outs of how to select a hydration pack.  I am planning to summarize my search and experience — stay tuned – will post it soon.

Hydration Options for Bicycling

A year ago I tried the hydration packs which were carried by Costco.   Well, they were well priced — I will say that — but they did not work well either.  May be the quick giveaway should have been the lack of any reviews on Costco.com…So I bought, I tried it, and quickly returned it — the pack was really tough to use, it did not fit well on (at least) my body, and the water flow from it was somehow tough to come by….no matter how hard I tried.

I checked out today the Costco.com as I was considering other options – and wanted to see what is new on their web site. Well, not much of new / different options there.  They had only two — so I decided to avoid them.

Now, to my next choice – the Hydrapak products.  



Their newest product – is the Bishop and Bishop EXT which are visible on the hydrapak.com site but I could not find easily in retail yet.  The new packs are supposed to be designed with special air ventilation channels molded in the pack structure, as well as, usage of tough materials to ensure durability on those tough rides you will be taking.

It is also important to check out their reservoir components — they are made for ease of use and versatility.  Check out the YouTube video:

The packs also have plenty of carrying capacity (pockets and storage space) for various biking related items including first aid kit, flash lights, etc. — these features are very useful since you already are carrying the pack.

 So, all in all, these water packs are very promising.