With spring and summer months around the corner, the warm weather will be here before you know it. We here at BTO Sports know how much a good hydration pack is essential for your trips out on the trail. Hydration packs designed for biking are an essential piece of gear for any serious biker, as it keeps you hydrated on your ride without the need to stop. While you could lug around several bottles of water, the hydration pack keeps water stored comfortably and accessible whenever you need it. There are many choices on the market when it comes to hydration packs and it is easy to be overwhelmed; however there is no reason to feel overwhelmed. When choosing the right hydration pack for you, there are only a few points you need to compare.
1. Size – How big of a pack you need depends on if you want to just carry water, or do you want the ability to carry tools and other items along on your adventure. Decide what you will usually want with you on the trails including items like tools, extra tubes, food, extra clothing and sun protection. The Camelbak M.U.L.E hydration pack and the Deuter Freerider 30 pack offers enough space for the things you want to bring on the trail and is not too bulky. If you need more room than a hydration pack will provide, you might be better looking at an actual backpack.
2. How much water do you need? – Depending on where your adventures take you, considering how much water you need is a very important part in choosing the right hydration pack. Sizes range from 50 oz. to 100 oz. bladders. A number of factors (temperature, elevation, personal health, activity intensity) could impact a person’s hydration needs. Make sure you choose the right bladder size for what you are doing. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of your ride and out of water because the hydration pack you chose is too small. For short trips, a 50 oz. bladder like the one offered in the Camelbak Hydroback will work well. Longer journeys a 100 oz. bladder like the one offered in the Camelbak Lobo would be ideal. Just remember, a liter of water (68oz.) weighs roughly 2 lbs.
- The Camelbak Lobo
3. Insulation - If you ride in a climate that is colder than normal, a winter insulated hydration pack will be best as it is set up to resist freezing. The Klim Fuel Pak is a great winter hydration pack that will keep your water from freezing out on the trails. Most companies that offer hydration packs for biking will have a few models that offer insulation for both climates. You can also buy an insulation add on for a regular packs to switch your non insulated pack to handle the cold weather.
4. Fit and Feel – You will be wearing this pack for a couple hours on the trail, so make sure it feels comfortable. If you have a chance to test the pack on, move around with it to see how it feels. Watch for straps digging in to your skin and other pressure points. A sternum strap will keep the pack stable and prevent shoulder straps from sliding off during use.
To extend the life of your hydration pack, make sure you pick up a cleaning kit with your purchase. Cleaning kits make it easy to keep your pack’s bladder from building up nasty bacteria. You should clean your bladder about once a month, more if you use your pack more often. Cleaning kits from Camelbak come with everything you need to keep your pack clean.
The added convenience that comes from having a hydration pack is truly noticeable the first time you use one. Since water intake is much simpler with a hydration pack, you’ll tend to drink more water and be well hydrated, thus having more energy for those long cross country adventures. Of course the cool factor just went up as you can keep your hands on the bars and keep on moving down the trail, passing by others that have stopped to take a drink from a bottle. To find the best hydration pack for your biking, visit the BTO Sports store to find the pack that’s just right for you.