Backpacks/Hydration Packs

So now that I’m an adult and have some steady income, I’m looking to slowly upgrade my gear. What packs do you guys ride with? My 13 year old, dilapidated jansport backpack from grade 4 is okay, but is ridden with holes and moves around way to much. Occasionally if I tumble forward, it may fly over my head, and reaching my water bottle isn’t the easiest (I end up just taking my backpack of as I ride so I can reach into it).

What packs do most of you carry, if you carry anything at all for day rides (nothing spanning several days)? Atm, Osprey is looking like a good option, but have you noticed any significant difference in comfort between packs and brands? Do you prefer water bladders to accessible water bottles? What about size? From my experience I think 2L of water is more than enough and 10L volume seems adequate. What are your thoughts?

Not trying to thread jack, hopefully it connects, but what do folks carry in their packs? Most photos of uni-riders have them on. I have water bottles on the seat post and a little bag mounted for flat repair. Just curious, because packs make my old back sweat…thanks :thinking:

I’ll facilitate the threadjack with this link to the thread “What’s In Your Bag? Post pictures!”

I guess it depends also on what type of uni you do. I have a small CamelPak, bought very cheap at an end of year sale, it holds 1.5l of water which is just fine for my light muni use. There is enough space to put some tools (allen wrenches, pedal wrench, small pump) and fuel (couple of energy bars, a banana). It’s got a little net extension which I sometimes use to trap a t-shirt or my light jacket if I wore it at first before the sun got real hot.

I didn’t want a bigger one, or a backpack version because I don’t like when it bounces around on the trail, but I guess for road uni, I could cope with bigger.

I’m also a big fan of the bladder as it lets you sip regularly before being dehydrated as opposed to the bottle for which you have to stop - and therefore might wait until you’re really thirsty before doing so.

Any idea on the volume? I essentially carry the same things. I see packs from 6-14L. Do you not use the inside for your t-shirt/jacket due to lack of space or do you just like the ease of access with the netting?

Another thing is hip belts. What is your opinion on hip belts to both secure the pack and quick access to food or multitool?

I like my Raven Osprey pack. I use it for commuting and muni. The guy version is called Raptor.

I love the hydration pack - for a while I brought a normal bottle cage/bottle that I anchored to my uni in various ways, and I managed to smash up more than my fair share of bottles due to UPD’s (Especially on the 36er when I had it mounted under the handlebar)

I have two packs I use - my commuter backpack (I dunno the brand off the top of my head, but it’s pretty big) which is big enough to hold my hydration bladder (It’s a 3L but I don’t fully fill it when commuting because I’m only doing 5 miles each way), a water bottle I sip on while at work (A small coke bottle or whatever else I can find), my dinner, a small toolkit/tube patches, my D-lock and a hoody/waterproof jacket.

EDIT: Here’s the bag I use: - it was cheap but it works great for what I use it for!

The other pack I have is a bog-standard drawstring gym bag, just about big enough to hold my bladder and some food, and a pair of gloves. I love this one for long rides, because it weighs absolutely nothing and the string straps don’t make me sweat at all. I bodged the strings into an X-shape so it’s not too loose around my chest and it works awesomely - best part is you can pick 'em up anywhere for under £5, so if I wreck it I can replace it easily!

Quick note on hydration bladders - the cheap ones work well, right up until they fail. I had one for a good year or so before I put it in my bag, filled my bag with other stuff (PROPERLY filled it to the brim!) tightened the straps on the bag, and boom. Wet stuff! The one I use now is a Source 3L (Dunno the model), and feels far more robust (Plus has some nice features such as an openable top for filling, and a far better bite valve).

It’s pretty small. The jacket won’t fit inside which is why I squeeze it in the net when I need to. If 6L is the smallest, then that’s probably what I have.

I have a hip bag which I use for town riding. I like that it seats low. But for muni, it would bounce around too much and would probably get caught in the saddle of an UPD.

Camelbak Hawg NV

I ride with the Camelbak Hawg NV, which, with 100 oz. of water and 17L of pack volume is bigger than you probably want, but I love it. I always have plenty of room for any tools I want, plenty of water, a spare tube, jacket… Other guys I ride with ride with the smaller models and are equally pleased with them. My current version is about three years old and going strong.

I’ve always been tempted to buy a Geigerrig, which will spray a mist to cool you, but they only have a 70-ounce bladder so I haven’t.

I use a Dakine Heli-pro and really love it. It’s now a couple years old but still functions incredibly well.

I also own a smaller Osprey pack and must say that the Dakine is more comfortable.

Dakine also has a lifetime warranty.

I wear one for muni sometimes and haven’t had any problems.

I keep it pretty simple. A cheap coleman camelback kinda thing just big enough for tools/phone/wallet/keys and a couple of waterbottles. I’ve ditched the water reservoir because bottles are easier to clean. I use that for muni where I want to keep it as lite as possible, and I found I don’t drink while riding, I’ll just take a break every couple of miles and ride hard in between.

For commuting I have a Cabela’s Ultralight Pack II. It weighs 1 lb and has enough room for clothing without a lot of heft. I have a waterbottle I pack on the side, and transfer tools and pump to that bag. I will say it’s not the most durable feeling bag around, but it’s cheap, and lite as a feather. It’s held up quite well and has a small hip strap.

+1. Use it for road, Muni etc… the cheapest and thinnest you can get (no padding). Light and you hardly notice it (I can carry a small bottle of water and some tools which is plenty for me). I find backpacks when unicycling bothersome specially in summer: they make you sweat a lot (have never tried a camel back though).

CamelBak Mule. Mine holds 3L/100 oz. of water and has space for other stuff without being too bulky. It replaced my older Mule, which was a little bit smaller but is still perfectly usable. Those things last a long time, and are very well built.

I like the Mule’s size because it has room in it for a bunch of smaller stuff, such as snacks, small pump, first aid kit, light jacket, banana, etc., but not enough room to overload. If you need more room, like for work clothes, you’ll need to step up to a bigger size.

CamelBaks aren’t hard to clean. Mine have been nearly zero maintenance. If all you put in them is clean water, they don’t need to be cleaned out very often at all. Just keep them closed when not in use, and never put anything but water in there. If you want to bring a different beverage, put in in your water bottle holder, or in the pack’s cargo area.

I only put water in mine, and clean it with denture cleaner (pop a pill in warm water, wait 5mn, rince well), but more importantly, I let it dry fully between rides. I remove the tap and I put a plastic frame inside the bottle itself so that it can dry.
For about 10$, they’ll sell you a cleaning kit to clean the pipe and the bag. I use it once a year on the tube. I know that people drinking sugared drinks use it more often as it molds if badly rinsed.

I bought a CamelBak cleaning kit many years ago, but have never used it. After rides, I make sure the valve is closed, and in most cases store the CamelBak in a dark closet. I leave the water in, and top it off before the next ride.

Mostly it only gets fully emptied if I’m taking it on a plane. Then it gets a good rinsing, maybe some soap, but generally it seems to do very well without either. Just keep an eye on the mouthpiece and tube, which is where you will notice if some stuff starts collecting in there.