Tested: Hydro Flask’s Initial Insulated Hydration Pack

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I nonetheless recall when I purchased my initially hydration pack. It was college bus yellow (mainly because all gear in the early ’90s was college bus yellow), and the entire idea of placing a bladder of water inside my backpack was a game changer. Twenty-5 or so years right after I purchased that yellow pack, Hydro Flask added another twist to the hydration game with its new series of Journey packs (10L, $165 20L, $200), which have an insulation method developed to hold water cold for up to 4 hours. 

Hydro Flask created a name for itself by creating fashionable insulated mugs, bottles, and cups before expanding into soft goods, initially with the introduction of soft-sided coolers, and now with this series of hydration packs created especially for mountain biking that come in ten-liter and 20-liter selections. Each packs function a 3-liter insulated bladder that slips inside a constructed-in neoprene sleeve lined with reflective material (feel: emergency blankets). The entire method is developed to hold the cold in and the heat out.

backpack
(Photo: Graham Averill)

I took the ten-liter Journey mountain biking for the duration of a series of 80-degree days in the southern Appalachians. It does not have a lot of frills. The pack has a sleek, streamlined look—the sort of aesthetic you’d count on in an urban commuter pack: no lash points for further gear, no helmet carry method, not even a essential chain loop. You get a couple tiny pockets and a major-loading main pocket that is just massive sufficient for a lock, a tiny set of tools, and perhaps a thin layer. The 20-liter has a lot more carrying space and keeps the sleek aesthetic. Even although the pack appears a lot more at property in a coffee shop, it’s trail-prepared, created from puncture- and abrasion-resistant fabric with a DWR coating. The seams are taped and the zippers sealed for a water-resistant package developed to hold the climate out. 

The ten-liter weighs three pounds (size M/L) without the need of water, but it fits so nicely that I hardly noticed the weight although riding, even when the trail got technical. Hydro Flask utilizes a mesh back panel that enables air to pass involving your back and the pack. Systems like these, which push the load away from your back rather of hugging it, can from time to time really feel cumbersome on mountain bike packs. But that is not an situation with the Journey, which can be dialed in for a snug match, thanks to a slim harness that is not overly padded, plus the common adjustable shoulder and hip straps. Eventually, the Journey packs supply a comfy ride, which is specifically what you want from a bag when you are flying down singletrack.

backpack
(Photo: Graham Averill)

To test the insulated bladder method, I filled it with a tiny quantity of ice and water prior to every ride. The ice melted someplace about the initially hour, but I had cold water two and 3 hours into every ride. Hydro Flask claims the pack will hold water cold up to 4 hours, and I’d say that is likely precise, based on your location and the time of year. If you are riding in the Rockies, exactly where temps stay in the low 80s by means of summer time, you will be golden all afternoon. If you are riding in Texas, exactly where temps hit triple digits, I’d count on just a couple hours of cold water. 

I like the appear and match of the Journey, but I do miss some of the further options discovered on other bike-distinct packs. A helmet carry method would be good, as would pockets on the waist belt, and I’m constantly impressed by how valuable an exterior expandable stuff pocket can be. But I’m also shocked at how substantially I enjoyed obtaining cold water in the middle of an epic ride. I’ve by no means place substantially believed into the temperature of the H2O inside my hydration pack, but now I know that colder is much better although riding.

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Lead Photo: Graham Averill

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