Looking for a hydration pack/system that I can use for cycling, running, snowboarding and (by removing the bladder and putting it into my travel pack) backpacking across Europe.

My requirements are pretty simple:

  • Small
  • 2L capacity (or around that mark)
  • Light
  • Minimal - no extra storage or other bells and whistles are necessary
  • Reasonably strong/good quality

What do you recommend?

At this stage I'm interested in this bag by Deuter.

I will actually be using it for a lot more snow boarding than anything as it is now winter in Melbourne, so the smaller the better as I want it to go under my jacket (I know this is a QA for bike riders, but just thought it was worth the mention).

  • Not sure how this can be answered other than personal preference, but what capacity do you need? (I infer from your question that a small capacity is okay, but I'm not certain.) Is ease of cleaning important? Jun 29, 2011 at 3:09
  • @Neil Thanks for the edit. I do drink a lot of water, so something around 2L (this seems to be pretty standard). Ease of cleaning is not of significant importance.
    – user1732
    Jun 29, 2011 at 3:15
  • That's four times the capacity of the one you posted a link to, and would be almust five pounds of water on your back. Best of luck finding one, but maybe you should focus on one that's easy to refill instead? Jun 29, 2011 at 3:35
  • @Neil I think you were looking at the wrong bit - it uses a 70oz/2L bladder.
    – user1732
    Jun 29, 2011 at 4:24
  • I note that none of the activities listed is cycling. Is this relevant?
    – Мסž
    Jun 29, 2011 at 4:59

5 Answers 5


If you're looking to go minimal footprint, with no storage, why not go no bag? These definitely have downsides, but they fit under anything, with any type of clothing, or sport.

Camelbak VeloBak Hydration Jersey


Camelbak Racebak Hydration Vest

Downsides include water which must be cooled, or will heat to body temp.

Check out the linked reviews.


I'd look at the Nathan line of packs. You really want to get a pack that's designed for running, as you need something that will do a good job of controlling the bounce. The Nathan packs are the best I've seen at this. They have wide straps with multiple attachment points that help distribute the load and control the bounce.

If you want to use a hydration pack snowboarding you'll probably need to insulate the tube. I know Camelbak sells an insulated tube for their bladders, it should work on the Nathan bladders as well. This may be less of an issue if it's under your jacket.


Here's the HPL #020 enter image description here


I believe the hydration system you are looking for is called a water bottle. It is small, light, minimal, and they can be as reasonably (or unreasonably) strong as you're willing to pay for.

  • Water bottles aren't suitable for snowboarding. When he needs to free up space for his hands, where will he put a bottle?
    – Ambo100
    Jun 29, 2011 at 20:28
  • A pocket, obviously! Jun 30, 2011 at 3:11
  • I'd have to carry 3 or more 750mL bottles, which don't fit into normal size pockets, and are not the best to land on.
    – user1732
    Jun 30, 2011 at 7:58
  • As I said in my answer. Bottles and cages are cheap enough that you should use them on a bike, no matter what you plan to use for snowboarding or other activities. Get the camelback for the snowboarding if you want, but for biking stick with the water bottles.
    – Kibbee
    Sep 16, 2011 at 15:35

I ended up going with a Viper 4 by Osprey, which is quite small (only enough extra room for keys/phone, and to attach helmet on the outside). It comes with the best bladder/hose/bite valve system I've seen. Got it on special at Paddy Pallin in Melbourne for $70.


Although it only provides about 1 Litre capacity, you might want to consider something like a hydration belt. I see people using them all the time for running, and they seem like they would work ok for biking. Really, cages and bottles are cheap enough that on a bike, you should just go with water bottles. Having something on your back really reduces your ability to dump excess heat. Not only that, having so much weight up high can make it use a lot more energy if you have to get out of the saddle. Any kind of movement of your upper body is going to have extra resistance.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.