If you don’t have time for the details, here are our top picks for cycling or mountain biking backpack:
- Osprey HydraJet – Best Kids Cycling Hydration Pack
- ALPS Mountaineering Hydro Trail – Best Cycling Backpack Under $50
- CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack – Best Cycling Backpack Under $75
- Dakine Session 8L Hydration Backpack – Best Cycling Backpack Under $100
- Osprey Raptor and Osprey Raven Pack – Best All Day Mountain Bike Pack
- CamelBak Chase Hydration Bike Vest – Best Hydration Pack for Mountain Bike Racing
- Ortlieb Atrack BP Daypack – Best Maximum Capacity Cycling Backpack
- Osprey Katari – Best Hydration Only Cycling Pack
- Patagonia Nine Trails – Best Larger Volume Hip Pack
- Evoc Hip Pouch – Best Small Volume Hip Pack
Choosing a backpack for your next cycling adventure can feel daunting; fortunately, by understanding a few key features and addressing your needs and constraints, you’ll be able to find the perfect pack for you.
The primary consideration in choosing a pack is understanding how much storage capacity you’ll need. Some packs are designed to hold little more than water while other packs can hold enough gear for multiple days out on the trail.
Between hip packs and backpacks, you’ll have numerous options to consider. Hip packs can be a great option for casual rides, shorter rides, or simply a way to more easily access your gear. Check my review here.
When looking at backpacks, consider how often you’ll be taking it off, what you can reach while it is still on, and how the straps will fit your body.
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Before diving in, take a moment to consider what your needs are and when you’re most likely to be using a backpack while cycling. The options can feel endless and this guide should help you pick the perfect option for you.
- 1. Osprey HydraJet – Best Kids Cycling Hydration Pack
- 2. ALPS Mountaineering Hydro Trail – Best Cycling Backpack Under $50
- 3. CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack – Best Cycling Backpack Under $75
- 4. Dakine Session 8L Hydration Backpack – Best Cycling Backpack Under $100
- 5. Osprey Raptor and Osprey Raven Pack – Best All Day Mountain Bike Pack
- 6. CamelBak Chase Hydration Bike Vest – Best Hydration Pack for Mountain Bike Racing
- 7. Ortlieb Atrack BP Daypack – Best Maximum Capacity Cycling Backpack
- 8. Osprey Katari – Best Hydration Only Cycling Pack
- 9. Patagonia Nine Trails – Best Larger Volume Hip Pack
- 10. Evoc Hip Pouch – Best Small Volume Hip Pack
1. Osprey HydraJet – Best Kids Cycling Hydration Pack
Finding a comfortable and well designed hydration pack for kids can be a challenge. Fortunately, Osprey has designed an easy to use pack that can not only hold a 1.5L reservoir, but also a significant amount of gear, layers, or snacks.
The stretchy mesh side pockets are a great option for easy to access items while the bucket-style main zipper gives kids the space to see and find the things they need.
Osprey has incorporated web-loop daisy chains for added attachment points.
This pack has a chest strap and an easy to use magnetic hydration tube attachment point.
For kids who are excited to be out riding or adventuring, this could be the perfect pack to encourage them to enjoy every moment out on the trails.
2. ALPS Mountaineering Hydro Trail – Best Cycling Backpack Under $50
The ALPS Mountaineering Hydro Trail pack is built for adventure. This versatile pack can make a great cycling pack.
With 10L capacity, you’ll be able to carry a small layer, some snacks and some tools in addition to the 1.5L reservoir.
One of the best features of this pack is the zipper and stretch pockets on the straps. This design allows you to access snacks or tools while riding without needing to take off the entire pack.
The vest-like design means this pack will fit snugly and stay in place in technical terrain. Additionally, the insulated drink tube will allow you to ride in hot or cold conditions and keep the water in the tube at a reasonable temperature.
If you are looking for a well-built pack that offers all the features you need for under $50, this could be a great option.
3. CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack – Best Cycling Backpack Under $75
The CamelBak Rogue is a straightforward, well-designed hydration pack that is perfect for short to mid-length outings.
This pack comes with an external fill flap which simplifies your pack preparation and eliminates juggling a full water bladder back into your pack. The 2.5L reservoir will fill the majority of the space in this pack.
The Rogue also comes with two external zippered pockets which can hold keys, a phone, or snacks. The expandable front compartment can be used for tools or an extra layer.
If you are looking for a straightforward hydration pack with some added storage, the CamelBak Rogue could be a great option for you.
4. Dakine Session 8L Hydration Backpack – Best Cycling Backpack Under $100
Daking made a minimalist pack that still packs all the essential features of a great backpack for mountain biking.
The Session has an 8L capacity and comes with a 2L reservoir providing enough space for a significant amount of water and ample room for some food, an extra layer, and tools.
The front pocket on this pack offers organizational compartments while the top zipper is fleece lined and ready to hold a phone, sunglasses, or a camera. If you are still short on space, the external straps can be used to hold a jacket or layer.
This pack is a durable, simple, and well-designed pack that could be a great option for mid to long days out on the bike.
Osprey is known for making innovative, durable, and expertly designed packs. The Raptor and the Raven are no different.
The Raptor is a men’s specific pack while the Raven is women’s specific with a shorter overall shape, contoured shoulder straps, and an angled waist strap.
Both the Raptor and the Raven have a 14L capacity and a 2.5L reservoir. Given these dimensions, this pack is a great choice for all-day mountain bike adventures.
You’ll be able to carry enough water to be out for hours as well as snacks or lunch, two to three additional layers, a small first aid kit, and other tools. Both of these packs also come with Osprey’s Removable Roll-Up Tool Bag which has its own compartment in the bottom of the pack and can help keep your tools organized for quick fixes out on the trail.
The zipper hip pockets and easily accessible side pockets make reaching into this pack while riding much more attainable than other packs.
The Osprey hydration system features a magnet that holds the nozzle in place on your chest and allows easy access while riding.
If you are planning to be out on the trails for a few hours with food, layers, water, and tool access, there isn’t a better pack than the Osprey Raptor or the Osprey Raven.
6. CamelBak Chase Hydration Bike Vest – Best Hydration Pack for Mountain Bike Racing
When you are out racing, your top priority is likely to continue moving quickly. Using a hydration pack like the CamelBak Chase Hydration Bike Vest is a great way to carry and access the food, water, and tools you need without ever needing to stop to dig through your pack.
This vest sits close to your body and has significant storage on the front straps, making fueling and accessing food significantly easier than most packs where food could be stuck behind inaccessible zippers.
With a little practice, you can learn to drink and eat while riding if you choose to use a hydration vest like the CamelBak Chase.
CamelBak has also added two overflow pockets that you can reach while riding as well, providing even more accessible pocket space. The zipper pockets can hold tools or other items that you are not planning on needing often while you are out on the trail.
Utilizing a hydration vest can feel like a sleek and compact option to carry additional food and water during short to medium length events. Unlike many packs, the primary goal is to leave the pack throughout your ride and access most of the things you need just by reaching around the pack.
The Chase has a 5L capacity and comes with a 1.5L reservoir, leaving 3.5L for food, tools, and perhaps a small player or extra pair of gloves. This pack is intended to be lightweight, comfortable, and feel almost like an extension of your body rather than a separate pack that will come on and off throughout the day.
If you are planning on racing and will need additional food or water, this pack could be a great option to help you keep up with the most efficient racers.
7. Ortlieb Atrack BP Daypack – Best Maximum Capacity Cycling Backpack
Some missions, such as bikepacking, can require large-capacity packs. The Ortlieb Artack BP Daypack is designed for efficient storage, extreme weather, and comfort while cycling.
Many cyclists aim for carrying minimal gear on their backs while riding; however, Ortlieb has designed a pack that feels incredibly comfortable for use while riding.
This pack is built with completely waterproof material, meaning you can simply continue riding when a storm hits. The outside of the bag also features numerous gear hooks and straps which can all be utilized for carrying a range of additional gear.
Inside the bag, Ortlieb has included internal zippered pockets and compression straps which will keep your gear organized and easy to find after a long day on the trail.
This pack is also equipped with adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable waist belt which can help optimize comfort for time in the saddle
The two mesh outer pockets are great for quick access to snacks or water while riding.
If you need a high volume pack for your next big ride, investing in a pack that is designed for cycling will make a huge difference in the performance and comfort of the bag. The Ortlieb Artrack BP Daypack is a great option for this sort of big, epic mission.
8. Osprey Katari – Best Hydration Only Cycling Pack
The Osprey Katari line is built for carrying water and just a few essentials.
This pack comes in an 8L, a 3L and a 1.5L capacity. The 8L and the 3L options both hold a 2.5L reservoir while the 1.5L pack holds a 1.5L reservoir.
The 8L pack is a great option for carrying primarily water and a few small tools or snacks. This pack has stretch side pockets that could hold a layer as well.
The 3L pack will be almost entirely filled with the 2.5L reservoir with a small external pocket for a phone, a handful of snacks, or small tools. This pack is a terrific option for riders looking to carry extra water and avoid using a jersey pocket for the few extra small items.
The third pack in the Katari line is the 1.5L pack that holds a 1.5L reservoir, meaning there will not be any extra space in the pack. If you are hoping to use your pack solely for hydration, this is a perfect option for you.
All three of the Katari line packs are designed to be slim fitting and low profile on your back, minimizing shifting while riding.
Some adventures simply require extra water, if that’s the case, the Katari line will certainly have an option for you.
9. Patagonia Nine Trails – Best Larger Volume Hip Pack
Patagonia is known for its durable and well-designed gear. The Nine Trails hip pack is no exception.
While some larger hip packs can feel like they dig into your stomach while you are riding, Patagonia has alleviated this problem by dispersing the weight with large strap pockets which can hold significant weight as well as an offset buckle for added comfort.
This bag can hold a 1.5L reservoir and two extra bottles if need be. The front pocket opens to hold snacks, tools, or other small items while the larger main pocket can either hold the reservoir, extra layers, or a spare tube.
The zippered side pockets make accessing snacks, a phone, or even a camera easy while riding.
This pack stays in place while you ride and maintains a relatively low profile structure despite the significant storage capacity.
Patagonia has, again, designed a bag that provides just what you needed, even if you didn’t know it yet.
10. Evoc Hip Pouch – Best Small Volume Hip Pack
When pockets just aren’t enough the Evoc Hip Pouch is the perfect companion. This small hip bag feels like nothing at all on your hips and can easily carry your phone, tools, and a few snacks for smaller missions out on the trails.
Evoc uses an Air Pad system which ensures the straps feel comfortable on your hips as you rumble down the trail. The two zippered hip pockets provide easy access for keys, snacks, or other small items.
When you flip the pack around, you’ll be able to easily access your tools or phone in the larger pocket.
Not all adventures require huge packs and this compact hip bag is a great option for rides closer to home to ensure you feel prepared out on the trail while maintaining the lightness of riding without a backpack.
|Osprey HydraJet||VIEW PRICE →|
|ALPS Mountaineering Hydro Trail||VIEW PRICE →|
|CamelBak Rogue||VIEW PRICE →|
|Dakine Session||VIEW PRICE →|
|Osprey Raptor and Raven||VIEW PRICE →|
|CamelBak Chase Hydration Vest||VIEW PRICE →|
|Ortlieb Atrack BP Daypack||VIEW PRICE →|
|Osprey Katari||VIEW PRICE →|
|Patagonia Nine Trails||VIEW PRICE →|
|Evoc Hip Pouch||VIEW PRICE →|
Why do I need a cycling specific hydration pack?
Cycling specific hydration packs are designed to stay put and provide the space and features you need to keep you out exploring.
Unlike other backpacks, cycling specific packs often have additional straps or structures to ensure they stay put as you rattle down technical terrain.
Cycling specific packs are often designed to sit close to your body, further ensuring you can feel secure while you’re riding.
Packs may also have helmet attachments or tool pouches to keep you organized while out on the trail.
Why would I choose a hip pouch over a backpack?
Hip pouches can offer a simple alternative to a backpack when you’re looking for a more casual look while you’re riding.
Many hip packs are smaller than backpacks and can feel like an extra pocket instead of a pack.
While some riders carry water in a hip pack, this can also feel heavy and sort of floppy in comparison to a backpack.
For the most secure attachment, choosing a backpack over a hip pack is likely the best option.
Hip packs such as the Patagonia Nine Trails are a uniquely well designed hip pack that does feel comfortable with significant water as well as gear.
One huge benefit of the hip pack is it is easy to access the zippered pockets by flipping the pack around to the front of your body. Unlike a backpack which you typically need to remove to access items a hip pack can be easier to quickly dig through.
How much extra capacity do I need in a pack?
If you only need to carry a phone, or a small snack, you only need a liter or two of extra space outside of the reservoir. If you are hoping to carry layers, lunch, a first aid kit, or additional tools you’ll want to look for a pack that has five to ten extra litres of capacity outside of the reservoir.
Looking into where the extra capacity is located is also important. If you’d like to be able to reach your food or tools while you ride, look for a pack that has storage capacity on the shoulder straps or on the hip straps.
Some packs also have stretchy mesh compartments on the sides that are accessible while you’re riding.
If you’re looking for an overnight adventure of a big day adventure, look for ten to 25 extra litres of capacity.
How much reservoir capacity do I need?
Depending on your adventure, you’ll have vastly different hydration needs.
A general rule of thumb is to drink about one litre of water every two hours. This number does also change drastically based on external temperature, sweat rate, exertion level, and personal preference.
With this in mind, a 2.5L reservoir could be enough for a five hour ride and a 1.5L reservoir could be good for a 3 hour ride.
When picking a pack, be sure to consider how long you want to be out, which other bottles you’ll be able to carry, and what your own hydration needs are.
Best Pick Product
Of the products listed here, I think the Osprey Raptor and the Osprey Raven are the best hydration packs for the widest range of uses.
This design offers significant water storage, sensible pockets, and can easily expand to hold significant gear.
Fortunately, this pack also feels comfortable when it is only partially filled due to the number of compression cinch straps.
The small hip pockets can hold snacks while the mesh side pockets are a great option for easily accessing a phone, gloves, or larger snacks.
The roll-up tool pouch at the bottom of this bag is a wonderful design that can keep you organized and help shift the weight to the bottom of your bag, adding to the stability.
The second product that stands out amongst this list is the Patagonia Nine Trails hip pack. This bag’s unique design makes it a hip pack that works almost like a backpack.
The dispersed weight and diverse set of pockets allow you to easily find the small items you need while still maintaining the ability to flip the pack around to reach for larger items.
The Patagonia Nine Trails hip pack is one of the only hip packs that truly does feel comfortable for carrying significant water weight around your hips.
The sleek design of this monotone pack is intriguing and intiving making it an even more fun option for adventures.