Traditional water bottles can make it notoriously difficult to stay hydrated, especially if you’re going uphill. That’s why hydration packs have surged in popularity over the last few years. We’ve put together our picks for the best hydration packs for MTB in 2023.

Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Backpack

Considered one of the top hydration packs on the market, the Osprey Raptor 14 is designed to be used for an all-day adventure but works perfectly for shorter rides too.

This hydration pack for MTB is loaded with excellent features that make it a pleasure to use all day long. It features a contouring AirScape back panel which provides excellent ventilation when you need it. Here are some key stats:

  • Storage Capacity: 14L
  • Reservoir Volume: 2.5L
  • Rain Cover: No
  • Hip Belt: Yes
  • Weight: 1.75 lbs
  • Tool Pouch/Wrap: Yes

Osprey has loaded this hydration backpack with excellent features that make it a pleasure to use all day long. It features a contouring AirScape back panel which provides excellent ventilation when you need it.

Best Value


  • Provides great ventilation
  • The features are great
  • Removable tool roll


  • Drinking hose could be longer
  • No rain cover

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As for the hydration system, it comes with a 2.5-liter reservoir that rests in its own compartment and has direct-zip access. And this makes it extremely simple to load and unload without redirecting the hose.

One of the great features is the magnet system which allows you to connect the hose to the sternum strap. This makes it extremely easy to access the hose and put it out of the way when you’re done. It also comes with a removable roll-up tool pouch, which makes it easy to store your tools away neatly and where easier to access.

The one main concern with the hydration system was that the hose felt a little short, but it’s nothing to worry about. As well, it would have been nice if it came with a rain cover, but you can purchase them separately if necessary.

Overall, this is an excellent option for people that don’t mind spending the extra money for a quality hydration pack.

Camelbak M.U.L.E.

This is the second in our lineup of best hydration packs for MTB is the Camelbak M.U.L.E. One of the major benefits of this backpack is how easy it is to drink from.

The hydration system was designed to provide you with 20% more water with every sip. Of course, this is difficult to measure, so you’ll have to take their word for it. But, we can say that people reported it being a lot easier to drink from. It uses a 3-liter bladder that fits within the pouch and is stored in its own dedicated sleeve, which is lightly insulated.

Safety Rated


  • Great drinking system
  • Comes with a helmet holder
  • Good storage space


  • Poor ventilation
  • Waist belt doesn’t provide much support
  • Bladder is difficult to clean

Available from:

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The drinking hose comes with a quick release making it easier to fill up when needed. The hose feeds through a hole at the top of the pack and is fixed with a magnetic attachment point. The hose uses a Big Bite valve, which is typical of Camelbak backpacks, making it very easy to drink from and super convenient.

Filling the water bladder couldn’t be easier; it uses a large blue cap that can be easily removed and gives you plenty of space. One thing to note is if you have big hands, you might find it tricky to get your hand in there to give it clean. Here are some stats you’ll want to consider:

  • Storage Capacity: 9L
  • Reservoir Volume: 3L
  • Rain Cover: No
  • Hip Belt: Yes
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Tool Pouch/Wrap: Yes

Probably the biggest downside to the Camelbak M.U.L.E. is the fact that the bag doesn’t provide much ventilation, which isn’t great if you’re mountain biking on a hot day. If you’re a casual rider, this might not be too much of a problem, but it might get annoying for an avid rider.

As for the shoulder straps, you’ll find they are very well-padded and curve naturally to your shoulder, which increases comfort. But the waist strap isn’t great; it seems too small to provide any real support. As a result, it’s a downside if you carry a lot of gear.

Osprey Syncro 12

The Osprey Syncro 12 is another selection on our list of the best hydration packs for MTB. It’s one of the best sellers on the market today. It combines a 2.5-liter hydration system with a comfortable and well-organized backpack. The Osprey Hydraulics LT hydration bladder is similar to many Osprey backpacks. It also features the HydraPak bite valve, which delivers a smooth and efficient water stream.

Top Pick


  • Provides excellent breathability
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Very comfortable


  • Too long for short bodies
  • The hip belt is thin

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The hose, like many systems, runs from the pack down the shoulder strap, where it connects using a magnetic bite valve. This gives you quick access to water when needed because it’s comfortably within reach. Here are the down-and-dirty details:

  • Storage Capacity: 12L
  • Reservoir Volume: 2.5L
  • Rain Cover: Yes
  • Hip Belt: Yes
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Tool Pouch/Wrap: Yes

One of the best things about this bladder is the wide-mouth opening, which makes it super easy to fill and clean. Additionally, they added a large pocket handle which makes it easier to hold the bladder when removing and filling it up.

We also liked how easy the Osprey Syncro 12 was to separate. The hydration bladder is easily accessible and features a well-placed quick-release button on the drinking hose.

Its padded strap gives the perfect balance of comfort and support but never feels too stiff, which is nice to see. They also added the AirSpeed open mesh back to provide plenty of ventilation while the panel’s mold to your back. And this all added to the comfort rating this hydration pack offers you.

However, if you have a short body, you might feel like this hydration pack is slightly too long for you and can cause it to be uncomfortable. But, overall, it’s one of the best hydration packs for a reason. It’s exceptionally well-built and gives you instant access to water.

Evoc Hip Pack Pro 3

While it’s technically not a backpack, the Evoc Hip Pack Pro 3 gets an honorable mention on our list of the best hydration packs for MTB. It’s highly rated thanks to its small size and efficient layout. So, we thought we’d take a look and see what all the fuss was about.

Best Value


  • Small & Compact
  • Waterproof phone pocket
  • Storage slots for two water bottles


  • Not fully waterproof
  • It doesn’t come with a bladder

Available from:

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Evoc has been designing hip packs for a while now, and the Pro 3 is one of the latest models you’ll find.

The main compartment of the hip pack can hold a 1.5-liter bladder. The downside is it’s not included in the purchase, which is something you need to consider. If 1.5 liters of water doesn’t sound like enough, this hip back has a trick up its sleeve. Moreover, it has space to hold two water bottles, which are extremely easy to access.

If you go the bladder route, you’ll see that it will be held in place using a velcro strap, which, we know, isn’t as effective as, let’s say, the Osprey Syncro. The hose of the bladder threads through a small opening on the side and wraps around the body connecting using a magnetic clip.

But don’t let the small size of this pack fool you; it provides plenty of space for all of your essentials. It features a waterproof phone pocket and several mesh compartments to help organize your bike tools. Some other points to note:

  • Storage Capacity:  3L
  • Reservoir Volume: 1.5L
  • Rain Cover: No
  • Hip Belt: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Tool Pouch/Wrap: Yes

One of our favorite parts of the whole design is the Airo Flex stretchy Velcro belt. It was built for comfort, and it undoubtedly exceeded its mission. Also, it provides plenty of ventilation and doesn’t feel as bulky as a traditional hydration pack, which is great.

This hydration pack was designed more for a person who goes out for a few hours at a time. Although it has plenty of small pockets, it’s only about 3 liters in volume, which doesn’t seem enough for an all-day adventure.

Wrapping It Up

Staying hydrated is vital when mountain biking, especially in hot weather, and sometimes carrying a water bottle just isn’t enough. They require you to take one hand off the handle to reach for it, which is nearly impossible to do efficiently while riding uphill.

Finding the best hydration pack for you is never an easy task because there are so many things to think about. You need to look at all the key features and see how they will affect your endurance and overall ride.

Fortunately, we’ve laid out four of the best hydration packs for MTB and shown you exactly what to look for. Take a careful look through the list and see if any of them tick the right boxes for you.

Stay hydrated out there!

Jason Fox

Jason is an outdoor instructor for climbing, camping, and kayaking who has traveled the world as a freelance writer. 

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