The average length of your riding will determine the size and features of your hydration pack. If you are riding motocross and short rides, get yourself a lighter hydration pack. If you are riding enduro and all day rides you will need a pack that carries more water and other supplies.
Best Hydration Pack for Motocross.
If you are just starting out and want to try out a hydration pack for the first time for light recreational riding, take a look at the Fly Racing Hydro pack.
The Fly Racing Hydro pack is an ideal for hydration pack for motocross because it’s light and nimble.
It is a minimalist design, contains a 2 liter bladder and has 2 pockets to carry some basic items.
This is a really popular option with motocross riders Why? Its only about 30 bucks, it is tough, light, comfortable and does a great job.
Will you Need a Roost Deflector?
If you ride with a roost deflector, then a hydrating pack can be problematic.
The problem is fitting the both together so it doesn’t cause discomfort.
The most common method for combining a hydrating pack with a roost deflector is to wear the hydration pack over the top of the armor.
This works okay in most cases but if you are on a really long ride, the pressure from the deflector can push into your skin and bones, causing pain and discomfort.
Some riders wear the hydrating pack under their deflector and this works as well but you may also have problems with discomfort.
The point here is you will need to spend some time working out a configuration between the hydrating pack and the roost deflector that works for you.
If that sounds like too much messing around, then do what I do and buy a 2 in one system.
This is a hydrating pack with roost deflector combined. It will fit perfectly every time and you will save lots of time putting it on.
There are 2 models I really like.
The first is the Zac Speed Exotec with Sprint Pack.
The Zac Speed Exotec is a roost guard, soft shell shoulder guards, rear back protector and hydrating system all in one!
The Zac Speed Exotec comes in 3 backpack sizes – Sprint (small), Recon (medium) and Dakar (large). All sizes have a 3 liter bladder.
It also has an optional tool bag if you need to carry extra tools with you on long distance rides.
What I love about the Zac Speed Exotec is the level of comfort and the ability to carry a lot of stuff with me.
The shoulder straps are large and well-padded. The entire system is really well ventilated and comfortable.
It does not limit my riding ability in any way.
The system is also really tough and durable and made from tough fabric.
I have the midsize pack (Recon) and there is ample space in the pack to carry everything I require for a good weekend of riding.
My second choice is the Fly Racing Stingray Roost guard, shoulder and back protection and hydration pack.
This military looking rig is really popular among recreational riders.
It’s a bit cheaper and more compact than the Exotec and it contains a 2 liter bladder which is plenty for 1 full day of riding.
There is also plenty of storage for snacks and even room for about half a liter of gas if you need it.
The pack also contains pockets for your phone, keys, tools and energy bars.
The Fly Racing Stingray can also cop a beating and holds up to anything you can throw at it.
It is also compatible with any neck brace. Another great 2 in 1 rig in my opinion.
Be aware that some hydration packs will not allow you to wear a neck brace. Some designs are more restricting around the shoulders and a neck brace just won’t fit on top of it.
Zac Speed and Fly Racing Stingray are neck brace friendly.
The Best Hydration Packs for Enduro Riding.
If you are Doing Half Day Enduro Rides>>
then up to 2 liters of water will do just fine.
You will also want to go for a light weight minimal pack to carry basic items.
If this sounds like you, take a look at the USWE XC Hydration pack.
This pack contains 1.5 liters of water, room for a mobile phone and has large, comfortable padded straps.
This design is great because it feels like part of your body and you won’t even know it’s there after a few minutes of riding.
Here’s their promo video that explains their awesome system.
If you are Doing Full Day Trail Rides>>
I recommend a hydration pack with a minimum 3 liters of water and more room for snacks and other gear to keep you out of trouble.
In this case I would recommend the Moose Racing XCR Hydration Pack.
This model contains a 3 liter bladder. There is also more room for carrying tools and other necessary items and also has a high comfort factor.
If you are Riding for Longer Multi Day Enduro Rides>>
then you are going to need to carry 3 liters of water with you as well as food, a phone and other essential items.
If you are doing large enduro rides, make sure you carry tools with you. For more information, read my article about dirt bike tool kits.
If this is you, check out the Zac Speed Recon S-3 Pack.
This pack is probably my favorite line of hydration packs.
A lot of great design and engineering have gone into them to make them as functional as possible.
The bladder holds 3 liters of water and the main luggage area can carry up to 13 liters of gear plus a bunch of side pockets.
The Zac Recon S3 is really comfortable and will take a beating without falling apart.
You can also attach a roost protector to your chest if you like.
Here’s an explainer video for the attachments for the Zac Speed packs.
Also consider the Klim Krew Pack. A ridding buddy owns one of these and he’s really into it.
This pack was built for hardcore snowboarders and adventurers and contains a bucket load of features.
It carries 3 liters in the bladder but you have to buy the bladder separately.
This pack has more features than I feel like writing about so here’s a promo video that explains it all for you.
If you are Planning to Disappear on an Adventure Offroad>>
then the Zac Speed Dakar Pack is for you.
As far as I know, this is the largest hydration pack on the market as it contains 22 liters of storage and a 3 liter water bladder.
It is rugged as hell, holds everything you need and is also really comfortable to wear. It is also really well ventilated so there is no excess sweating from wearing it too long. Highly recommended!
How to Keep Your Hydration Pack Sanitized>>
The problem with hydration packs is that bacteria can grow in them if they haven’t been properly cleaned. Especially if you are filling your pack with energy fluids or sugary liquids.
The last thing you want is to wreck your riding day by getting some nasty bacteria from your hydration pack so it’s really important to keep it clean.
To do this, after each ride, pull the bladder out of the pack and wash it with mild soap, rinse and let it dry. Also remember to store it in a dry place free of humidity.
If you can’t do a proper clean, flush it out thoroughly with water so it is easier to clean later on.
If you are on a ride and are worried about the water you are drinking from your pack, throw a sterilizing tablet into the bladder which will remove any bacteria. Sterilizing tablets are readily available and cheap to buy.
If you are really hard up for time or just couldn’t be bothered, store the bladder in your freezer. Bacteria can’t grow in freezing temperatures. (thank me later 🙂
What is a Dirt Bike Hydration Pack?>>
After an hour or so in the saddle, thirst becomes a real problem.
The last thing I want to do is break off from a great ride to double back to home base to grab a drink.
And carrying a bottle with me on long rides is a real pain in the ass.
A hydrating pack is a backpack that contains a bladder that holds up to 3 liters of water and sits on a dirt bike rider’s back.
A hose extends out from the bladder and secured over the shoulder so it’s easily accessible for the rider.
The end of the hose contains a special valve that a rider simply needs to bite the end of and the water will come out.
You only need one hand to operate a hydrating pack so it’s perfect for dirt bike riders of all skill levels.
A hydration pack can either be a stand alone pack or it can be part of a backpack that can carry more gear.
Important Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Hydrating Pack>>
#1 Comfort & Durability.
Like all other essential dirt bike gear, comfort is a really big factor when looking at hydration packs.
Remember that when you are riding, your body is subjected to huge amounts of shock, vibration and endless shaking.
This means that a hydration pack needs to move with your body at all times and not against you.
To do this, the hydration pack needs to be securely fastened around your shoulders and stomach area without any discomfort or rubbing on your skin.
Also, the pack needs to be really well ventilated to disperse body heat and minimize sweat.
Also, there is nothing worse than buying gear that is poorly made.
I still don’t know why manufacturers even bother to produce shitty gear, but they still do.
Make sure that your pack can handle an absolute thrashing without tearing or breaking in any way.
Also, make sure the zippers are heavy duty and the pack contains some sort of water resistance.
The good news is that these comfort and durability factors are really the first things I look at when reviewing hydration packs.
If it’s uncomfortable or is complete crap then I just won’t look at it.
To make it easier for you, all of the packs I have reviewed in this article all have a high rating for comfort and durability. These have been rated by me, my friends and other riders that have purchased them.
The History of Dirt Bike Hydration Packs
Back in 1989, a medical support technician (Michael Eidson) was competing in a grueling mountain bike race in a remote Texas area.
But finding drinking water was a real problem.
It was impossible to refill a bottle in the area and fumbling to take a drink while riding in a competition was difficult at best.
Michael desperately needed a solution that allowed him to hydrate while riding.
After giving it some thought, Michael filled an IV bag full of water, stuffed it into a sports sock and tied it to his back underneath his jersey.
He then slung the IV hose over his shoulder and closed the hose off with a clothespin.
Michael was then able to hydrate without stopping or fumbling for a bottle.
From this concept, the Camelbak company was formed!
Since then, they have been making really great hydrating packs for dirt bike riders, mountain bike riders, snowboarders, skiers, hikers and even the military.
Even to this day, Camelbak leads the way in hydrating packs. But there are also of plenty of other great hydrating packs on the market, depending on your needs.
In this article I will be talking about some things that you need to consider before buying a dirt bike hydration pack.
I will include a few general tips and also I’ll be going over some maintenance guidelines so you don’t end up getting sick from water contamination.
I have also linked my favorite dirt bike hydrating packs throughout the article.
They have been tried and tested and have received 5 star reviews from myself and plenty of other recreational and professional riders.
Do you wear a hydration pack? Which is your favorite model? What features would you like to see more of with hydration packs? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter.
#1 When buying a hydration pack, first you need to understand your riding needs. Short medium and long term rides will need different size packs.
#2 Comfort and durability are super important factors to consider.
#3 If you wear armor, consider a 2 in 1 system that combines both armor and the hydration pack together.
#4 Remember also that neck braces aren’t always compatible with hydration packs so if you wear a neck brace, always ask about this before purchasing.
#5 Always keep your hydration bladder clean to avoid bacteria and mold that can make you sick.
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