Are you bikepacking or racing gravel, and have no room for an extra bottle cage on your frame? With the MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack, USWE offer the ideal solution to your water supply issue. With its cleverly integrated, 2 litre hydration bladder, the MTB Hydro 3L allows you to carry enough water, even on hot summer rides, while the removable storage compartment has enough room for all your riding essentials.
Do you race gravel and need more water bottles on your bike, or love bikepacking and simply don’t have enough space in the frame for a bottle cage? USWE have your back – literally! The MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack is the ideal solution for those riders who need more water, or simply can’t have a bottle cage on the frame. USWE’s hydration pack comes with some very clever features, including a removable storage compartment, a magnetic hose holder and USWE’s “No Dancing Monkey!” stability claim. We put the MTB Hydro 3L through the wringer to tell you what it’s capable of.
Hydration pack with backpack compartment and water bladder – Is there something the USWE hydration pack can’t do?
Not only is the USWE MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack nice and compact, but also incredibly discreet, because the black material nearly fades out when wearing a dark riding kit. Upon closer inspection, the hydration pack also doubles as a backpack, with the small detachable pocket at the front of the pack allowing you to stow away all your trail essentials. The compact shape also leaves your lower jersey pockets exposed, letting you access energy bars and gels quickly and easily. At the heart of the backpack is the standard, 2 litre hydration bladder, which takes up the entire main compartment. USWE deliver the MTB Hydro 3L with a bright-red, 100 cm hydration hose, which might be overkill for such a pack, but gives you the option to cut the hose to the desired length. The mouthpiece doesn’t spill and makes drinking easy. For added practicality, USWE provide a magnetic holder, which is intuitive to use and attaches the hydration hose securely to the backpack without restricting the water flow.
USWE’s backpacks stand out from the crowd not only through the eye-catching logo, but also due to the manufacturer’s proprietary closing system. In keeping with the brand’s “No Dancing Monkey” mantra, the MTB Hydro 3L features USWE’s NDM 1.2 closure system. This has two pairs of broad, flat, adjustable straps that converge in an X shape across the chest. This ensures a secure fit and is easy to open even with gloves. The mesh on the back and under the wide straps should provide sufficient ventilation.
Spider monkey or dancing monkey? The fit of the USWE MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack.
When wearing the USWE MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack for the first time, the fit is a little odd, especially on the shoulder blades. However, after a short while, you won’t even notice the pack anymore. The special straps and well-thought-out fastening system allow you to adjust the hydration pack to suit your anatomy. What’s really impressive is how securely the pack clings to your back: even with a full hydration bladder in the compartment, it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying a heavy backpack. USWE rightly claim to have developed the spider monkey amongst backpacks, sending the old, annoying dancing monkey into a well-deserved retirement.
Several reflectors that are invisible in daylight provide extra safety at night, rounding off the overall harmonious concept.
The USWE MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack in our practical test
Even when packed to the brim, the USWE MTB Hydro 3L proved an excellent riding companion. Despite the “MTB” suffix in the name, we used it countless times on our gravel bikes and really appreciated the extra bit of storage space in the process. The stowage options, hydration bladder and fit leave no room for complaint.
We also liked the magnetic hose holder, which leaves us asking why it’s not standard on all hydration packs. The bladder itself is easy to fill, doesn’t leak and can be turned inside out for easy cleaning – exactly how it should be!
However, the closing system between the straps is rather flimsy, and difficult to replace when it breaks. The drinking tube is a little fiddly to pull over the straps, but sits securely while riding.
Our conclusions about the USWE MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack.
With the MTB Hydro 3L, USWE offer a hydration backpack that’s suitable for pretty much every type of rider, not just mountain bikers. Gravel racers and bikepackers in particular will love the secure fit and clever solutions like the removable storage compartment and magnetic hydration hose holder. The straps and reflectors on the back provide some extra safety. Only the closing system looks a bit flimsy and makes us question the durability of the backpack.
- Light, comfortable and compact
- Stays firmly in place on any sort of terrain
- Removable storage compartment
- Closing system is a little bit flimsy.
More information at uswe.com.
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Words: Calvin Zajac Photos: Jan Richter