Mountain biking is a tough sport because you need to be healthy enough to conquer the outdoors.
A good way to ensure just that is by keeping yourself hydrated. But how?
Well, that’s where hydration packs come in.
These are backpacks that have a bladder inside which you can fill water in. A tube then hangs out of the bag and is connected to the water so that you can easily gain access to the water and drink from it.
But do you really need a hydration pack for mountain biking instead of just getting an ordinary water bottle?
This article answers that question and shows you the many benefits of why you should get a hydration pack instead of a water bottle.
Benefits of Using a Hydration Pack
The best thing about hydration packs is that they are very convenient to use. Convenience is the first thing you need when it comes to mountain biking so that you can have a hassle-free experience.
It lets you drink on the go without you having to reach out of your bottle or asking someone to help you get water bottles out of your bag.
You don’t even have to stop your ride just for the sake of drinking water. This is made possible thanks to the pipe that extends from the inside of the bag to your shoulder. This keeps you hydrated while biking and lets you drink water whenever you like without stopping.
The best hydration packs also have a removable tool roll along with a hydration reservoir for maximum usage
These hydration packs keep you hydrated at all times, which is very important if you want to stay active and strong on your ride. This also ensures that your skin’s water levels are optimal.
It also sees to it that your oxygen levels are on point, knowing that your body’s oxygen levels depend on how much you’re hydrated.
It can even avoid altitude sickness which is very handy so you feel comfortable at all times. Drinking large volumes of water at once is dangerous because this can lead to gag reflex. Instead, you just sip water slowly from the pack at regular intervals.
Maintains the pace
These hydration packs help you keep up with your pace because you don’t have to stop your biking or more specifically, your pedaling motion. You don’t lose momentum because you just keep pedaling even if you drink water.
This comes in handy especially if you are climbing a steep uphill or you’re on a technical section with a lot of roots and rocks and stopping by for some drink will just make you lose balance.
You don’t have to worry about any of those if you have a hydration pack because you just reach out of the pipe or tube for just a second, you put it in your mouth, and you’re good.
This is perhaps the best thing about hydration packs. You gain utmost control on your bike and you don’t have to worry about safety. This is because you can hold your mountain bike with two hands while drinking water.
You just have to spend around one second to reach out to your hydration pack tube and put it in your mouth and you’re done. It’s as simple as that.
Being hands-free when drinking is a huge advantage for mountain biking because you don’t have to compromise your control and maneuverability especially that you need accurate and precise movement when traversing offroad trails.
Hydration backpacks provide you with the much-needed stability because it evens out the weight on your body.
Your water is stored inside the bladder of a backpack that happens to be on your back. This pulls you back up and helps you maintain balance especially if you are climbing uphill where you tend to lean forward too much.
You can’t get this with a hip pack because the weight is on your hips. It’s also nice to choose a bag that has a stretch mesh front pocket for easy pedaling on your torso length.
How does a hydration pack work?
A hydration pack works as a hydration system that allows you to easily drink water without having to stop your biking ride and take off your pack to get your bottle.
Water is instead stored inside a bladder that is placed inside your backpack. This bladder is also called a hydration sleeve which is usually made of rubber and silicone.
Most hydration packs also have a bladder that is connected to a pipe or tube that serves as the vessel which carries water to your mouth. This hangs out of your shoulder. There are also some cases when a backpack has a strap on your chest where you can hang the tube on.
Many hydration packs also have a tube portal which includes a hole. This lets you hang the tube on either side of your shoulders.
Those hose tube also ends with a mouthpiece at its tip. This is also known as the bite valve because you have to bite on it to suck water from the bladder.
There are also some models which have a switch that stops water from sipping out of the hose accidentally. Some bags also have clips near the shoulder straps where you can position your hydration hose for better access.
What are the disadvantages of using a hydration pack for mountain biking?
Hydration packs are undoubtedly a must-have for mountain bikers because of their many benefits. But just like anything else out there, this too has its own disadvantages.
First off is that it gives a rubbery taste to the water especially if it’s still new. This won’t also go away even if you wash it with soap thoroughly because the bladder is made of soft rubber and its residue can seep on the water.
But don’t worry because this will be gone after a few times you use it. The second is that there’s a possibility of leaking knowing that the bladder is very soft.
This can then lead to a puncture. Another disadvantage is that you won’t know how much water is inside. It’s also difficult to refill and clean.
The best hydration packs are all about convenience and easy access to water so that you don’t have to stop your ride just to drink water.
It provides you the much-needed comfort and hydration so that you can have a better time riding your mountain bike. Just make sure that you weigh out the pros and cons and if it really fits your riding style so you won’t find it a hassle.