As your biking gets more serious, so does the need for better and more professional gear. While it’s perfectly fine to jump on a bike for a ride to work or an afternoon outing near your home with nothing more than your regular clothes and a bottle of water, more challenging routes demand a certain level of preparedness. Rough and long trails tend to push your body to the limit and making sure that your physical state is at its peak while riding is of the utmost importance. And, nothing is more vital for your overall good shape during cycling than proper hydration.
So, just a bottle of water on your long and tough rides simply won’t do. That’s where hydration packs come in. They are designed to hold larger quantities of water, but that’s not all they do. Hydration packs also fulfill the role of regular backpacks and help you carry other stuff you may need while riding such as snacks, keys, mobile phones, tools, some smaller spare parts, and also provide cushion for the eventual fall of the bike. They are made to be comfortable and convenient, with their bladder and hose system making it easy to rehydrate without taking your eyes off the road or stopping to get the bottle out of the bag.
With the popularity of MTB riding among women rising, more and more manufacturers are releasing various gear that’s designed specifically for ladies and hydration packs are no exception. Women’s packs are usually shorter, a bit lighter and their straps are ergonomically designed to provide a better fit to female body shape, particularly in the chest and shoulder area. Having said that, most of the hydration packs that are marketed towards men, usually have unisex features, especially those that are more customizable. Different women have different body types and some, for example, those with longer torsos, prefer the fit of these products. Likewise, some men feel more comfortable with the female gear.
Hydration packs are one of the most essential parts of gear for any serious rider, so you should definitely put some time and thought into finding the right one. They contribute to your compatibility and sense of freedom while on the bike. Also, as one of the most exposed pieces of biking equipment, they take a serious beating every time you ride. Hydration packs are exposed to weather elements, mud, dirt, rocks, tree branches and are you’ll often use them to sit on when you stop for lunch. So, if you want your pack to serve you for a long time be extra careful while shopping. To help you narrow your search, we prepared a list of, in our opinion, the best hydration packs for women.
The Best Women’s Mountain Bike Hydration Packs:
Dakine Session 8L – Women’s
Dakine brand is known for its reliable and durable backpacks and their women’s hydration line is no different. Eight liters of space is more than enough for everything you may need for a day on the trails.
It can fit your jacket, tools, jacket and includes a bladder that holds two liters of water. Besides a more stylish design, the female version of Session has a higher placed sternum straps so it doesn’t squeeze the breasts and a waist strap that is suitable for wider hips.
The Patented Hydrapack bladder delivers a lot of water with each sip but, unfortunately, doesn’t feature removable hose. It’s surprisingly light and comfortable, and the back panel is extremely breathable. Sessions women’s hydration pack also features a fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses and safety light attachment which is very useful for after-dark rides.
- stylish design
- light and compact
- breathable mesh on the bask panel and straps
- a lot of pockets for better organization of your stuff
- no removable hose or lockable valve
- hip support could be better
Osprey Women’s Raven 14
Osprey Raven is designed specifically for women which shows with comfortably fitted chest straps and Biostretch hip belt. It comes in two versions – 10 and 14 liters, and both provide excessive storage space and are among the most spacious female hydration packs. It carries a 3-liter water reservoir that can be easily accessed via an asymmetric zip.
The size of the bladder makes it possible to fill it half-way for shorter rides which reduces the overall weight of the pack. Raven can be purchased in several different colorways and has numerous extra features, such as helmet clip and roll-out pouch.
There is a total of four compartments of different sizes where you can store your jacket, sunglasses, keys, phone, pump, and other stuff you may need during the ride. The somewhat more robust design may not make it perfect for racing, but it’s very practical for long recreational rides.
- comfortable and breathable
- durable and reliable construction
- helmet clip
- plenty of pockets and extra features
- magnetized strap and bite valve
- could be a bit oversized for the ladies of smaller build
Platypus Siouxon Women’s Hydration Pack
A multi-purpose hydration pack, due to its lightweight construction and number of features, Platypus Siouxon can be used for all of your nature adventures, including mountain biking or hiking. The back panel is designed to suit the contours of the female body and also has ergonomic straps and hip belt. The overall volume is 10 liters and the hydration reservoir has a 3-liter capacity. The whole hydration system is made of BPA-free plastic, and the reservoir itself is paced in a separate pocket which makes refilling much less of a hassle. The main has several dedicated smaller storage units suitable for all kinds of gear you’ll need for your ride. Siouxon also features a reflective surface and an attachment for blinker light, as well as an easily deployed rain cover.
- practical and easy-to-use hydration system
- many extra features
- breathable mesh back panel
- water-resistant cover
- a bit expensive
CamelBak L.U.X.E Hydration Pack
CamelBak brand is a pioneer among hydration pack manufacturers and today is practically synonymous with this type of biking gear.
Their products are often at the very front of the hydration pack development and L.U.X.E. is a perfect example of that. Based on their M.U.L.E. male model it manages to be better than original in many aspects. It features CamelBak’s patented N.V. back panel made of perforated foam and mesh which provides excellent air ventilation and flow.
L.U.X.E. has two main interior compartments and many smaller pockets for all of your stuff. The bladder has 3 liters capacity and features an on-ff bite switch. The construction is designed in a way that conforms with a female body and all of the straps and the bells are easily adjustable to provide a perfect fit.
- great ventilation
- plenty of storage space and pockets for easy organization
- easy to compress or expand
- extremely reliable and durable
- compact rain cover
- zippers could be of better quality
- more expensive than some of the competition
Deuter Attack 18 SL Women’s
Even though it’s a bit shorter than the men’s version of the same model, Deuter’s Attack is one of the largest hydration packs available for women. It has 18 liters of storage space which should be more than enough even for the longest rides. The bladder is not included, so you’ll have to install your own, and it can fit 2 and 3-liter ones.
It’s extremely comfortable, smart foam on the back takes shape according to your figure and provides excellent shock absorption. Also, there is enough space between back pads to provide satisfying ventilation. The main storage space is huge, but it also has dedicated pockets for sunglasses, phone, and valuables. It also features the helmet holder and built-in rain cover.
- specifically designed for women
- large storage capacity
- comfortable and with good spine support
- solid ventilation
- smart packing system
- a bit heavy
Mubasel Gear Hydration Pack
If you’re on the lookout for an affordable, but still reliable and comfortable hydration pack, then Mubasel Gear’s product may be right for you. With the Mubasel Gear, you get a lot of features that usually belong on the much more expensive models. It’s an all-rounder that fits both men and women due to its adjustability and low weight.
It holds a 2-liter bladder which is placed in the insulated compartment, so you don’t have to worry about your water getting hot. The reservoir itself is not of the highest quality, so you may want to think about buying a better one. The back panel is padded for more comfort and has good ventilation. Shoulder S- type straps, sternum straps, and hip belt are ergonomic and adjustable. This hydration pack is also equipped
with multiple pockets for your gear and snacks. The main compartment fully opens when unzipped, so it’s very easy to clean, and as a plus, you get a tube cleaning brush
- very cheap
- comes in various colorways
- easy to clean
- tube brush included
- poor quality of the reservoir
A Buyers Guide: What to Look for When Shopping for Hydration Packs
Once you decide to buy a hydration pack and go to the store, you’ll be faced with a plethora of options. Above, we recommended, what we feel are the best models, specifically for women. Make sure you try before you buy and check for a perfect fit. Also, we listed several other factors you should take into account.
As far as finding the perfect fir is concerned, shopping for hydration packs doesn’t differ much from shopping for regular backpacks. The chosen product should fit your torso length, waist size, and figure.
A good fit is essential for a comfortable ride, and your health in general. Also, a pack that doesn’t fit nicely can be extremely annoying, it may slip across your back, hit you in the hand, and bounce around. Avoid buying packs online, as it is always better to try it in person.
The hip belt is a must and it should have a wider section towards the body to stabilize the bag. Shoulder and chest straps make sure that the pack stays in place. Make sure that these are adjustable in width and height so you can customize them according to your body type. Lately, “low rider” packs are becoming more and more popular. These are the packs that have their weight concentrated on the lower end, thus contributing to the ride stability.
Most of the hydration packs come with previously fitted bladders. For others, you have to buy bladder separately and pay attention that it suits the dedicated compartment as perfectly as possible.
As for the size of the bladder, it mainly depends on your needs for hydration during the ride. Make sure you assess it properly, so you won’t be left thirsty in the middle of the ride.
Try to find a pack with a bladder that has a big opening, this will make refilling and cleaning much easier. See if there is a lock valve so you don’t have to face leakage. Finally, choose blader that is made of BPA-free and safe material.
Mountain biking is usually a whole-day affair, so you wanna make sure that you have everything you need with you. Besides the water reservoir, your hydration pack needs to be able to fit all of the essentials for a day of riding.
good storage is not all about the sheer space. Your bag needs to be well organized, with easily accessible compartments for various parts of your equipment and personal items. Some packs have some extra storage features, such as helmet hook or a shoulder strap pockets for sunglasses and valuables. Still, look out that your pack isn’t too heavy, especially if you’re a woman.
Wearing a bag you’re gonna run much hotter than usual. For this reason, you should look for a hydration pack with good ventilation properties. proper airflow will keep you from sweating profusely and keep you drier on the trail. Most of the manufacturers use some sort of ventilation system to ensure better airflow.
Check the back panel to see if there’s enough space between the pads and if it utilizes mesh fabrics. Some packs have a back frame that keeps the rear panel further away from your body.
A lot of hydration packs carry some extra features that can make your life a lot simpler and your ride much less stressful. A waterproof rain cover is a thing that you should definitely look for, particularly if you plan to ride in all kinds of weather.
Also, look for hydration packs with bite valve shutoff. It will make taking a sip of water easier and safer. See if your chosen pack has shoulder strap clips that hold the bladder tube in place.