Whether you’re riding on tarmac of off-road, the constant concentration that’s required and, if you’re green laning, the physical demands put on the body, can be thirsty work. There’s nothing wrong with carrying a few bottles of water in your panniers, but it’s always a bit of a faff to take your helmet off, remove your gloves and then go rooting around for your water if you want a sip.
That’s when hydration packs come in really handy. For those who are thinking ‘what on earth is a hydration pack?’ Put simply it’s a small rucksack that contains a bladder which you fill with water. A hose can then be routed from the bladder to the front of your body, allowing you to easily sip on water while you’re riding, without having to remove your helmet.
As the primary function of a hydration system is to provide you with enough liquid to stave off dehydration, a good pack must satisfy the basic criteria of allowing you to easily take a sip whilst on the move, and have sufficient liquid carrying capacity for whatever riding you have planned. I consider sufficient liquid to be a minimum of two-liters for a normal day’s rail riding or riding on one of the really hot days. Of course, three-liters is even better. More than three-liters starts to become heavy.