Hydration packs
Hydration packs

Hydration Packs

How else would you carry three litres of water, tools, snacks and a spare jacket on your mountain bike? Mike Davis reviews four backpacks

Camelbak introduced its first hydration pack in the early 1990s. The idea of carrying water on your back instead of in bottles seemed outlandish at first. But it made sense for off-road riding. It's a lot easier to grab a tube and suck than get hold of a bottle on uneven ground, and a bottle carried on the frame is considerably more likely to end up covered in unpleasant substances thrown up by the wheels.

Having the weight of water on you rather than the bike makes no difference to the total weight, but in a pack it's nearer to your centre of gravity, making it less distracting when you're manoeuvring the bike. And these days, many bikes – especially full-suspension models – have either just one or even no bottle bosses at all, a design decision made possible by the widespread adoption of hydration packs.

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