If you’re in the market for a hydration system you quickly realize, wow, there are a lot of hydration packs to choose from. Water pack systems cover a large array of activities from, hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, boarding, and then there’s motorsports and you have more features and designs to sift through to find what you need.
Since we’re riding trails we’ll focus on the features and brands you need to consider when purchasing a water system to keep you hydrated while riding your ATV or dirt bike.
There’s 128 fluid ounces in a gallon. Packs made for motorsports tend to be 70oz capacities. There are a few packs that sport a 100oz reservoir such as Thor’s Hydrant Hydration Pack and Fox’s Portage Hydration Pack among others. But the majority of the systems out there are 70oz and these systems are less expensive.
There are two styles of reservoirs that are used. One has a round cap for a lid like the model made by Camelbak, the Antidote. The other is like a “zip lock” bag which is made by Hydrapack. The type that I find to be more desirable is the “zip lock” style. The reason being is that you can turn the bag inside out and clean it easier and then let it dry, greatly reducing the chance of mold setting in while the bag is not in use.
Pockets, compartments, pouches, whatever you want to label them, the more of them you want the more the pack costs. So consider, what does your pack REALLY need to do for you? For example, I’m riding a 4×4 quad with Kolpin storage boxes, do I need a drinking system with 6-10 compartments? Nope…I’m looking for a slim pack that has a simple design and cheap. I have room for tools and all my gear in the boxes. But if I’m riding a sport quad or dirt bike with no place to pack gear I’m definitely going to be paying attention to where the pockets are located and how many there are. Really pay attention to what you want to put in your pack and make sure the pack you get has convenient compartments for those items.
Hydration systems have two options for the way fluid is dispersed from the drinking hose. Unfortunately the one option is only available from Geigerrig. Every brand except for Geigerrig uses a “bite and suck” mechanism on the drinking hose. With the traditional “bite and suck” system you put the end of the hose in your mouth and simply bite down and drink from it like a straw. Geirgerrig uses the, “never suck again”, pressurized reservoir system. You simply squeeze a little hand pump located on your left chest area which pressurizes the reservoir. Then, when you need a drink you squeeze the end of the drinking hose and out squirts the water.
There’s a bunch of reasons why the pressurized system is very helpful. First off, you don’t have to suck on the hose, sucking can actually be a chore if your panting and out of breath, it’s so much easier to just squirt the water in. Geigerrig found in a study that people drink 30% more water if the water is under pressure, keeping them better hydrated. When you have a hose that can squirt water, you can clean out cuts and scrapes from a wreck or small parts that need inspected; share a drink with someone else and they don’t have to put your mouth piece in their mouth. You can rinse out your eyes or wash off your face. With water under pressure it’s like having a little garden hose with you at all times.
Here are some other cool features to consider:
- Look for mp3 or iPod head phone accessory ports. I believe all packs come with this feature now, but always double check just to make sure.
- Look at the part of the pack that will be pressed against your pack. Make sure there is considerable padding and that the manufacturer designed the padding to create airflow between the pack and your back to reduce perspiration.
- Look to see where the drinking hose comes out of the pack. The hose should come out by your left or right shoulder. You don’t want the hose coming out right behind your head. It creates an uncomfortable situation when you have to route the hose around your head
- If you wear a chest protector check out Fly Racing’s hydration system. They designed it with two extra straps to connect to the front of the chest protector so the front of the chest protector won’t ride up on your neck from the weight of the pack on your back.
- If you need to pack a little extra fuel, Ogio incorporated a sealed compartment into their Baja pack where you can put a little bottle of gas and if the bottle some how leaks, the gas will stay contained in that compartment, keeping it from ruining all your other supplies.
As you can see, hydration systems add a whole new element to riding. You’ll be impressed by how organized and prepared you can become when you add this piece of gear to you riding collection. And you’ll be pumped when you never have to worry about losing your water bottle again!
Like always, we included a list of hydration pack brands and the best places to get them. If you have anything to add to the post please feel free to comment below, it’s what its there for.