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Accessories & Gadgets

Best Mountain Biking Backpacks – Hydration & Storage Reviewed

Mountain biking involves some of the roughest off-road adventures you can experience. Every year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts turn to MTBs for the thrill. But you need to be prepared for any kind of situation since so many MTB riders often suffer terrible consequences just for the lack of supplies.

MTB backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. No matter the look, they all serve the single purpose of keeping your essentials organized and safe. It might sound simple and easy to choose the best MTB backpack but when you’re in the market, you’re likely to be bamboozled by thousands of products claiming to be the best. From our experience, we can guarantee that most of these won’t give you the fraction of features and functionalities they offer.

Here, we’ve shrunk the list from thousands down to just five and come up with a lineup of the best mountain biking backpacks on today’s market. From the detailed reviews of these exceptional products, you can draw a picture of how good they actually are.

Top Mountain Biking Backpack: Comparison Chart

Pick Name Thumbnail Product Name Price
Top Hydration Pack Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack with 2L BPA-Free Bladder Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack with 2L BPA-Free Bladder Check Price
Top Waterproof & Insulated Choice Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack – 2L Water Bladder Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack – 2L Water Bladder Check Price
Top Large Choice TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Bladder TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Bladder Check Price
Top Medium Choice MIRACOL Hydration Backpack with 2L Water Bladder MIRACOL Hydration Backpack with 2L Water Bladder Check Price
Top Small Choice SHARKMOUTH Tactical MOLLE Hydration Pack Backpack 900D SHARKMOUTH Tactical MOLLE Hydration Pack Backpack 900D Check Price

Our Best Mountain Biking Backpack – Detailed Reviews

01 Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack with 2L BPA-Free Bladder (Top Hydration Pack)

Why It Stands Out to Us

The hydration backpack from Mubasel Gear is one of the best mountain biking backpacks money can buy. This exceptional backpack can carry all the essential items you’ll need on a regular riding session. It’s waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about your stuff getting wet even when it’s pouring.

There’s a mesh pocket in the front and two side pockets on the waist strap. These can hold small items that you use frequently. The two bigger compartments feature a lot of room that’ll accommodate almost anything you’ll need during your rides. The hydration bladder is a touch of genius, as it’s easy to clean and refill.

The insulation on the interior of the main compartment keeps your water chilled for hours. Besides, both the straps and the back panel of this backpack are padded with premium mesh cushions, which guarantee a comfortable ride every time. If you’re looking for the complete package in a backpack, this one is the perfect fit for you.

Our Experience With the Mubasel Gear Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack

  • We loved the design and build quality of this backpack. It had premium materials both on the interior and the exterior. We received a hydration bladder and a tube cleaner along with the backpack itself.
  • There was an assistant mesh pocket in the front. We used it to keep small and lightweight items like earbuds, hand sanitizers, cables, and so on. However, it didn’t seem strong enough to store heavier items.
  • Both of the compartments had quality zippers. The first compartment had a zipper pouch and a lot of space to store necessary items for our riding sessions. In this section, we could store a cellphone, a GoPro mount, a Bluetooth speaker, some snacks, a portable charger, and some keys. It also featured an earphone outlet, which seemed very handy.
  • The main compartment had room for a lot of our stuff. Normally, the hydration bladder goes into it and the hose comes out of the outlet. But we could store so much more in there. We kept a few clothes, a pump, and a small lunch box in it during our day-long trips.
  • Unlike most hydration backpacks, this one came with a hydration bladder that’s easy to clean and dry out. Thanks to the tube cleaner, we could keep the tube clean all the time. The cap on the mouthpiece kept it clean and dust-free. The whole thing seemed like a well-thought package.
  • The main strap and the back panel were well padded and extremely comfortable. No matter how much weight we were carrying in the bag, it didn’t bite onto our skin and stayed uptight perfectly.
  • There were two waist pockets on the waist strap. This strap was extremely sturdy and easily adjustable. It kept the bag attached to our bodies while cycling and running. If you want another layer of protection, the chest buckles might help. These buckles held the main strap in perfect alignment and kept the weight perfectly balanced.
  • We tested the backpack several times to check its resistance against water. We can confirm that this bag will keep your contents safe even when it’s raining cats and dogs.
  • Another impressive fact about this backpack was that the main compartment was perfectly insulated to keep the temperature of the water stable. It kept our water cold for about 7-8 hours.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The bottom of the main compartment isn’t insulated, which was a little disappointing.
  • Putting the hose through the outlet seemed difficult

What Could Be Improved

  • The whole main compartment could be insulated
  • There could be another zipper pocket instead of the assistant mesh pocket.

Our Recommendations

  • If you’re carrying any clothing items, make sure to keep them in the main compartment. This will keep the water bladder from wobbling and making noises.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.5x 9.5x 2.8 inches
  • Weight: .8lbs
  • Available Colors: 17
  • Available for: Unisex
  • Hydration Bladder Capacity: 2L

Pros

  • Exceptional design
  • Waterproof exterior
  • Leakproof
  • Lightweight
  • BPA-free hydration bladder
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Bottom of the main panel not insulated

02 Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack – 2L Water Bladder (Top Waterproof & Insulated Choice)

Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack - 2L Water Bladder

Why It Stands Out to Us

When you’re out in the trails, there’s no escape from the wrath of the weather. Whether it’s the rain or the sun, mother nature can ruin your trip within minutes. That’s why you need a backpack that keeps your stuff protected from water and keeps your drinking water chilled even under the sun. Lucky for you, the Water Buffalo Hydration Pack can do both!

This compact backpack only has two compartments; a front pocket and the main compartment. However, these compartments can store enough items for a small trip to the mountains. With a 2L hydration bladder, you’ll never run out of water during those small riding sessions. The breathable mesh padding on the back keeps you comfortable even in the hottest weather.

The Water Buffalo Hydration Pack does it all. It’s waterproof, has insulation in the interior, and offers a good amount of storage. Besides, it comes with a surprisingly low price tag. Overall it’s a great option for anyone who’s looking for all the protective features in a small package.

Our Experience With the Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack

  • This backpack featured an eye-catching design and the build quality seemed pretty solid as well. It was very lightweight and the material felt premium to the touch.
  • There were only two compartments in the bag; a front pocket and the main compartment. The front pocket was nicely sealed by Velcro tape. It could hold items like a cellphone, a pocket knife, a speaker, hand sanitizer, and some keys with ease.
  • The main compartment seemed to be dedicated to the hydration bladder. It had a separator right in the middle, which kept the bladder nice and tight. We could store small items like a lunchbox, some cables, a GoPro mount, and a pump along with the hydration bladder in this compartment.
  • Water Buffalo included a quality water bladder with this backpack. It was very easy to fill up and clean. We didn’t find any sign of leaking in the bladder. This push/pull bite valve came out of the backpack through a nicely placed hose outlet and could be attached to the strap with a clip.
  • We also used the bungee cords in the front to store towels and jackets. The tightness of the cord could be adjusted easily and it worked great as extra storage.
  • Even when we overloaded the backpack with some additional weight, the main straps didn’t show any sign of weakness. They were breathable and the padding on them was very comfy. The chest strap kept the backpack attached to the body while cycling and running. It was very easy to adjust as well.
  • Water Buffalo put ventilation pads in four different sections on the back. The padding was super comfortable and offered great ventilation during our rides.
  • We went out in pouring rain to test the backpack’s water resistance. It held well against water and none of our items got wet even after hours.
  • The insides of the main compartment seemed to be insulated perfectly. It helped to keep the water cool for up to 6 hours during our tests.

What We Didn’t Like

  • It only seemed suitable for short riding sessions
  • The hydration bladder bounced a lot while we were running.

What Could Be Improved

  • A couple of side pockets would make this backpack even more convenient
  • The hydration valve could be made of better materials

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 15.6x 9.10x 2.6 inches
  • Weight: .24lbs
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Available Colors:4
  • Hydration Bladder Capacity: 2L
  • Available For: Unisex

Pros

  • Eye-catching design
  • Premium materials
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Breathable back padding
  • Comfy straps
  • Great pricing

Cons

  • Only suitable for short trips

03 TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Bladder (Top Large Choice)

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Bladder

Why It Stands Out to Us

If you’re looking for a mountain biking backpack with extra storage, the Teton Sports Oasis is your best bet. This exceptionally well-designed bag has a multitude of pockets and components that can store enough items to get you going for the whole day. It’s a typical-looking backpack with some hidden features.

First off, you literally open the front part and store items like a jacket in that space. The front part features two pockets that can accommodate your essential gears. If you look closer, you’ll find a secret compartment that can hold devices like small laptops and so on. The two main compartments can be used for an organized storing of your items.

You can either pick a 2L or 3L hydration bladder with this backpack. The bladder is made of premium materials and cleaning it is almost effortless. Overall, if your riding sessions last for the most part of the day, this hydration backpack is the perfect fit for you.

Our Experience With the Teton Sports Oasis

  • This bag came with a very low-key design and premium build quality. The exterior wasn’t made of the toughest materials but it seemed very convenient for mountain biking.
  • Though the backpack wasn’t waterproof, we were satisfied because it came with a rain cover, which came in handy several times during our time with the bag.
  • One of the first things that anyone would notice about this bag is that it features a lot of pockets. Opening the front and side clips opened the front part, where we could store a jacket when we didn’t need it.
  • The mesh side pockets weren’t as sturdy as we would have liked but they could hold small items with ease. The two front pockets held items like cell phone chargers, headphones, a flashlight, a Bluetooth speaker, some cables, a multi-tool, and a pocket knife.
  • We discovered a secret compartment right above the front pockets. The opening of this compartment was nicely covered, so nobody but you will know that there’s another compartment.
  • There were two main compartments with almost the same storage capacity. The front one seemed to be dedicated for casual use and the second one for the hydration bladder. We could store a lot of necessary items in both of these compartments. Considering the storage capacity, this bag will get you through at least a whole day of mountain biking considering the storage capacity.
  • Teton used soft paddings on the backside of the backpack. The straps had paddings as well but they didn’t feel as comfortable as the back paddings. However, the straps didn’t feel uncomfortable even when we put additional weight into the bag.
  • There was an option to choose between a 2L or a 3L hydration bladder. Make sure to keep in mind how much water you’re going to need in a typical riding session before going for a certain choice because a 3L bladder can make the bag really heavy. The bladder was made of quality material and it was very easy to use as well.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The straps didn’t have foams and they didn’t feel very comfortable.
  • Some users have experienced issues with the zippers of this backpack

What Could Be Improved

  • Teton could use foam in the main straps to make them more comfortable.
  • The side pockets could be made of stronger materials like nylon.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 18.5x 10x 7 inches
  • Hydration Bladder Capacity: 2L/3L
  • Available Colors: 7
  • Available for: Unisex

Pros

  • Great design
  • Amazing build quality
  • Abundance of pockets
  • Secret compartment
  • Exceptional storage capacity
  • Comfortable back padding
  • Quality hydration bladder
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Side pockets lack strength

04 MIRACOL Hydration Backpack with 2L Water Bladder (Top Medium Choice)

MIRACOL Hydration Backpack with 2L Water Bladder

Why It Stands Out to Us

The hydration backpack from MIRACOL does exactly what it’s supposed to do without the fancy bells and whistles. This medium-sized backpack will get you through to the end of your riding sessions, as long as they don’t last for days.

A simplistic design coupled with a world-class build quality makes this bag very popular among riders from all over the country. Apart from the traditional front pockets, there are two pockets on the waist strap that makes small items like cellphones very easily accessible.

It also comes with a water bladder that works like magic. It’s very easy to use and clean. Besides, the straps and back portion are padded nicely to make your rides comfortable. Despite coming with all these premium features, this backpack doesn’t come with a premium price tag. Overall, if you’re looking for a medium-sized backpack for your mountain biking sessions, look no further and go for the Miracol Hydration Backpack.

Our Experience With the Miracol Hydration Backpack

  • The backpack arrived in perfect condition. We loved the design and build quality of this product. There was nothing flashy about it and the whole thing felt soft to the touch.
  • Though it looked straightforward and simplistic, the material seemed sturdy enough to withstand heavy blows. After a few tests, we can confirm that this backpack will protect anything you put in it.
  • It featured multiple pockets all over the exterior. We especially loved the two on the waist strap, which seemed like the perfect spot to keep small items like cellphones and small knives.
  • We stored a speaker, an action cam mount, a cell phone charger, a pair of headphones, a buck knife, a multi-tool, a pair of sunglasses, and a pump in the front pockets. Though the main compartment is reserved for the water bladder, we could fit in an iPad air 2, sunscreen, and some sunflower seeds in it along with the water bladder.
  • The main compartment was nicely insulated, which kept the water or anything we put in it to retain the temperature. We could keep the water cold for 4-5 hours without any issues.
  • In terms of the water bladder, we were very satisfied. It seemed to be made of quality materials. Attaching the hose to the bladder was fairly effortless and it was easy to refill it as well.
  • The straps felt very comfortable even when we went overboard with the weight. The chest and waist straps supported the main straps to keep the bag attached to our bodies. Coupled with a nicely cushioned back portion, these straps made our mountain biking sessions very comfortable.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The sucking tube seemed hard to clean
  • It wasn’t waterproof

What Could Be Improved

  • Miracol could have added a few Molle linings on the exterior
  • It would be great if this bag had water resistance

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.3x 11x 1.2 inches
  • Weight: 24.7 oz
  • Material: Nylon
  • Available Colors: 10
  • Water Bladder Capacity: 2 L

Pros

  • Simplistic construction
  • Convenient pockets
  • Well organized compartments
  • Insulated main compartment
  • Lightweight
  • Easily affordable

Cons

  • No water resistance

05 SHARKMOUTH Tactical MOLLE Hydration Pack Backpack 900D (Top Small Choice)

SHARKMOUTH Tactical MOLLE Hydration Pack Backpack 900D

Why It Stands Out to Us

This tactical Molle hydration pack from Sharkmouth does it all! For starters, it looks great. Sharkmouth has used 900D polyester for the construction, which is pretty solid for a backpack this size. You won’t have any complaints about the build quality too as it feels very premium to the touch.

The internal and external pockets have a combined capacity of 15 liters, which is sufficient for a typical mountain bike riding session. It comes with a water bladder that can hold up to 2 liters of water. You can attach several molle pouches if the capacity isn’t enough for you. Even with the additional weight, the straps feel very comfortable and soft because of the soft paddings.

With components like a waist strap and foam pads on the back, this backpack can make your riding experience even better. Besides, it doesn’t cost a fortune, so you won’t have to rob a bank. Overall, if you’re in the market for a compact but solid mountain biking backpack, go for the Sharkmouth Tactical Molle Hydration Pack without hesitation.

Our Experience With the Sharkmouth Tactical Molle Hydration Pack Backpack

  • We were very happy with the design and the overall build quality of the bag. All the materials used in it felt very premium to the touch as well.
  • Sharkmouth constructed the bag with 900D polyester. Though it wasn’t the toughest we’ve come across, it was sturdy enough to protect the items inside the backpack.
  • This extremely compact backpack had a storage capacity of 15L, which seemed suitable for short riding sessions. We could store a lot of small items in both the external and internal pockets. Its main compartment accommodated the water bladder perfectly as well.
  • We threw a bunch of stuff in this bag.  In the front pockets, we stored a multi-tool, a buck knife, a cell phone charger,  a speaker, some sunflower seeds, and a key chain. Its main compartment was big enough to fit a pump, a small tablet, and a small lunch box along with the 2L water bladder.
  • The main straps were nicely padded and felt secure even when the bag was fully loaded. The sternum strap kept the backpack attached to our body while cycling and didn’t let it wobble.
  • We attached several Molle pouches both on the front and the straps and the bag held them perfectly. It was surprising how this tiny bag could take all that weight and still be comfortable.
  • Speaking of comfort, the foam pads on the back worked like magic. They offered exceptional breathability and comfort even when we overloaded the backpack with additional pouches.
  • We loved using the water bladder during our rides. It kept the water cold and there wasn’t any taste of plastic in it. It had a unique but very effective mechanism for drinking water. There was no spillage or leaks and it was very easy to maintain as well.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The chest strap seemed a bit short for some people.
  • It wasn’t waterproof

What Could Be Improved

  • Sharkmouth could include a bigger chest strap
  • The material could be water-resistant

Our Recommendations

  • Never use hot water to clean the water bladder. It’s made of plastic and will melt instantly if you pour boiling water into it.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.5x 9.10x 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 26 oz
  • Storage Capacity: 15L
  • Water Bladder Capacity: 2L
  • Available Colors: 12
  • Material: 900D Polyester

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Great build quality
  • Compact
  • Organized storage
  • Comfortable straps
  • Soft paddings
  • Molle linings
  • Great pricing

Cons

  • A bit small for tall riders

Best Mountain Biking Backpack: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

mountain bike backpack

1. Storage Volume

This is the most important point to consider before going for a certain mountain biking backpack. The requirement of storage varies from person to person, so you need to determine what sort of goods you’re going to carry during mountain biking. Some prefer to carry food and water only while others like to take a few gears with them.

You’ll find a lot of variations in MTBs available on today’s market regarding storage. It can range from 9-30 liters depending on the preferences of the user.  If your riding sessions are shorter than usual, you can go for smaller ones that can accommodate 9-15l.  The 20l mark is more like the perfect capacity for mid-range bags.

On the contrary, if you’re mostly out with your mountain bike for long hours, going for something with capacities up to 25-30 liters would be a wise decision. No matter what you choose, make sure it fits your riding requirements perfectly.

2. Water Reserving Capacity

A mountain biking session can last for days, and keeping yourself hydrated throughout the journey is a must. Then there’s the fact that there will be no stoppage points that guarantee the availability of pure drinking water. So, you have to look out for yourself and carry a lot of water in your backpack.

Most MTB backpacks feature dedicated pockets for carrying water, which can hold 1 to 4 liters of water depending on the size. Make sure to determine the duration of your trip and the amount of water you’ll need in a typical mountain biking journey. Then look for bags that have that capacity.

If you want to go for compact models, you can always store your water in the main compartment but this may lead to scarcity of space for the other essential items like food, first aid kits, and so on. Keeping all of these facts in mind, determine the kind of water reserving capacity you’ll need in your mountain biking backpack.

3. Protection & Harness

Your mountain bike backpack should feature a shape harness that’s suitable for biking along with a spine protector that keeps your spine protected and comfy at the same time. The more equipment you’ll carry, the stronger your backpack needs to be in harness and protection.

However, having a strong harness and spine protector doesn’t necessarily make the bag heavier. A lot of today’s manufacturers make their mountain biking backpacks sturdy and lightweight at the same time. Look for such products because they’ll keep your items safe and give you the much-needed comfort you’ll need during long biking sessions.

4. Ventilation

No matter how the weather is, any mountain biking session will make you sweat. That’s why you need well-ventilated backpacks to be your companion. Look for mesh-covered suspended back panels in your preferred models. These will keep you cool and sweat-free. Besides, breathable materials keep the airflow intact and make the journey comfortable. So, make sure to check the quality of the ventilation before going for a certain backpack.

5. Organization

During the riding sessions, you need to be ready for any kind of situation. That’s why you need everything to be organized in your backpack. The best backpacks on the market come with dedicated internal and external compartments for different gears.

Look for models that feature scratch-proof, well-cushioned, and protective internal pockets for sensitive items like cellphone, tablets, and chargers. Most quality mountain biking backpacks have multiple pockets and compartments, so you wouldn’t have to look too hard for finding the best one.

6. Shape & Size

The shape and size of your backpack will massively affect your bike speed and control. A mountain biking backpack must be strong enough to withstand wind drag. Manufacturers nowadays tend to implement different designs and shapes to make their backpacks more convenient.

Typically, mountain biking backpacks come in three sizes; small, medium, and large. Make sure to determine the distance you are going to cover in each riding session before you pick a particular size. Last but not least, no matter what size you choose, always go for a compact model. This will help you keep your items organized and protected.

FAQs

Q. 1: Are mountain bike backpacks machine washable?

Ans: Yes, most mountain bike backpacks can be washed in a washing machine. Just make sure to use mild detergents and a gentle rinsing cycle while washing them.

Q. 2: Can I use my mountain biking backpack for other purposes?

Ans: Mountain biking backpacks are more than suitable for use in school or work. They’re just regular backpacks with extra protection and compartments. So, using them as a daily driver shouldn’t be a problem.

Q. 3: Are these backpacks suitable for motorcycles?

Ans: Backpacks designed for motorcycle riders usually feature more protection than the mounting biking backpacks. They’re also lighter in most cases because motorcycles are a lot faster and you can just refill your water bottle at the next stop. So, we wouldn’t suggest using a mountain biking backpack during motorcycle rides.

About the author

James Jordan

As a kid I inherited the love for mountain bikes from my father who used to ride for weeks through the Colorado trail in the city of Denver. He had his gang, and I followed pretty much the same track.

Later on, my interest in biking grew more after joining the Enduro race back in 2013. My buddies and I also participated in the Downhill racing for the third consecutive year, and it’s been an amazing experience.

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