A comfortable pack that allows you to carry extra water and other essentials can really make a long day on the trails more enjoyable. Packs come in all shapes and sizes with varying purposes. These five packs cover the bases so you can ride all day happily with everything you need.
Osprey Zealot 15
The Zealot is a 15-l endurofocused pack from Osprey. Designed to carry everything, the pack comes with a 3-l reservoir as well as a tool roll that stows in the bottom compartment, easily accessible by an outside zipper. Osprey uses its BioStretch harness and hip belt to keep the pack tight to your body on rough trails. The reservoir has baffles to keep water from sloshing around while you ride. The main compartment is accessible from the back panel, a great feature if you are carrying a helmet and/or pads in the external pockets.
Camelbak Palos LR 4
The Palos is Camelbak’s first mountain bike-specific waist pack. It’s great if you don’t like having something against your back on a hot day, or if you ride steep terrain and don’t want your pack riding up. The Palos comes with Camelbak’s new Crux LR reservoir that boasts 20 per cent more water per sip. A magnetic tube trap helps keep your drinking tube from bouncing around. The pack also comes with an integrated tool roll in case a trailside repair is in order. With 2.5 l of storage, there is plenty of room in the Palos for an extra layer or lunch.
MEC Mountain Fountain 5
The MEC Mountain Founta in 5 is a minimal style 5- l pack that comes equipped with a 2-l Hydrapak reservoir. A removable hose allows you to fill the reservoir while keeping the drinking hose attached to the shoulder straps. A perforated-foam back panel with mesh overlay keeps the sweat from building too quickly on your back, while the DWR-treated Cordura pack material keeps water out. The pack has two compartments, including one large main section as well as a smaller pocket with a key loop. There are also exterior bungee cords for attaching extra layers or gear.
Mission Workshop The Hauser
The Hauser pack from San Francisco-based company Mission Workshop stands out thanks to its sleek waterproof design that includes four exterior pockets, all equipped with waterproof zippers, and a roll-top closure. The bag is available in 11 colours, including camo. It is available in both 10-l and 14-l sizes that both fit up to a 3-l reservoir, either from Camelbak, Hydrapak, Platypus or Osprey. Both the waist belt straps and the shoulder straps are adjustable. You can also remove the waist strap depending on your preference, which makes the pack comfortable no matter how much gear you need to carry.
Dakine Low Rider 5I 17s
The Low Rider is Dakine’s 5-l waist pack that is great for carrying the essentials you need on the trail. Its 2-l Hydrapak reservoir keeps your water low on your body and off your back, while the mesh side panels keep things breezy. With the reservoir full, you still have room to fit a flat kit and tool roll in the main compartment. The bag also has a fleece-lined and padded cellphone pocket, so if you take a spill, the disruption to the satellite-signal reception (for recording your ride on Strava) should be minimal. External adjustment straps help to compress the bag when your reservoir empties and/or hold an additional layer if needed.