Yes, hydration backpacks are worth the hype when it comes to avid mountain bike riders who enjoy going on long journeys on difficult mountain trails. So the question is common are hydration backpacks worth it for mountain biking?
A hydration backpack comes with different benefits but also has its limitations. And in this article, we try to decipher whether hydration backpacks are worth investing in as regards mountain biking.
We talk about how a hydration backpack works, the advantages, and disadvantages that come with using it during mountain biking, and will elaborate on a buying guide to help you look out for the features of a good quality hydration backpack.
So, are hydration backpacks worth it for mountain biking? Read our article to find out for yourself whether it is a yes or no for your needs.
Are Hydration Backpacks Worth It For Mountain Biking?
The decision of whether to get a hydration backpack for mountain biking or not will depend entirely on the kind of rider you are.
Casual mountain bike riders or those who go on short hikes may not always need a hydration backpack as it does come with a few limitations despite the multiple features it offers.
On the other hand, riders who frequent enduro trails and long journeys will benefit greatly from using hydration backpacks as they help to maintain their hydration. They also offer more flexibility and space in comparison to traditional water bottle holders.
Moreover, various research also suggests that using a hydration backpack for drinks is much more convenient than reaching out for a bottle for every drink during journeys. This helps in keeping the rider hydrated throughout the journey.
What Are Hydration Backpacks?
Almost all of us are aware of at least heard of hydration backpacks. But for those of you who do not know what a hydration backpack is, it is essentially a hydration system used majorly by cyclists, riders, hikers, etc. which are stored in a backpack or waist pack that allows you to drink fluids without having to remove the bag where it is stored.
The bladder in which your water or any drink is stored is further packed in a hydration sleeve inside the backpack and has a tube attached to the reservoir.
The tube snakes out of the bag and allows you to drink conveniently whenever you want. To prevent unwanted leakage when you are not drinking, the tube is secured with a bite valve that helps reduce leaks.
Some hydration backpacks also come with accessories such as insulation covers for the tubes, bladder, and reservoir for hot and cold climates, clips to secure the tube near your shoulder for better access, etc.
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A guide to buying hydration backpacks can come in handy when you have so many options to choose from and don’t know which one to pick.
By curating the list of all the features you must look out for to ensure a good quality hydration backpack, we make the buying process for you a lot easier.
Here are the features that will help you choose a good quality hydration backpack for mountain biking:
Your priority should always be your needs and how well the hydration backpack fits them. If your only goal is to carry water, you should go for a minimal hydration pack.
However, if you have greater needs and plan on going on long journeys, you may want to opt for a larger pack that will give you more room for spare parts, carrying food, and more.
The average pick for hydration backpacks among riders lies within the 8L to 15L range which allows you to carry 2-3 liters of water, accessories, tools, etc.
Water Reservoir Size
Most hydration backpacks can carry around 2 to 3 liters of fluid. We recommend going for the 3L size as it adds almost no extra weight, doesn’t take up any extra space over a smaller reservoir, and leaves you with the option to carry more if needed.
But keep in mind that water has its weight too. And every liter of water will add about a kilogram of weight to your hydration backpack. Try filling up your pack according to the duration and severity of your journey.
Fits And Features
Mountain biking will require a hydration backpack that is tough, tight and has a lower center of gravity.
Try choosing highly adjustable packs, that come as a ‘one size fits all product, have easy maintenance and storage, and are equipped with storage compartmentalization.
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Pros And Cons Of Hydration Backpacks
As mentioned earlier, hydration backpacks have their own set of benefits and limitations. Let us take a look at them to help us decide if it’s for us to use or not.
- Convenient to use
- Protects your drink from harsh weather by insulation
- Helps you stay hydrated longer by carrying 2 to 3 times more water than a conventional water bottle
- Increases your endurance and stamina
- A great storage option allows you to carry more than just fluid
- Versatile use
- Can be pricey depending on the quality and model of the pack
- Require constant maintenance and regular cleaning
- No option for monitoring fluid level left in the bladder
- It is a bit difficult to refill and involves several steps
Finally, to end our article on the significance of hydration backpacks for mountain biking, we hope we were able to answer your question, “are hydration backpacks worth it for mountain biking?” The answer depends on several factors and the rider’s preferences.
While devoted riders will reap the benefit of the greater fluid capacity of a hydration backpack to maintain their endurance and stamina during long journeys, it might not be the case for those who are casual riders or take short journeys.
All in all, hydration backpacks do have their advantages. Especially in the case of enthusiastic riders who want to take their mountain biking to the next level. Hydration backpacks allow you to enjoy even the most difficult trails without having to worry about being dehydrated or drained.
To check out some of the best hydration backpacks for mountain biking, you can read our article on Best Hydration Backpack for Mountain Biking.