Mountain bikers have a pack-mule mentality when it comes to days on the bike—carrying beers, rainjackets, burritos, and extra beers—so the backpack becomes a crucial component to each ride. We’ve scoured online reviews and tested several on our local trails to find five of the best mountain-bike packs on the market. Whether you’re looking for a sleek hip pack or a behemoth bag that can carry the kitchen sink, there’s something for you in this list.
Gregory Endo 10 ($120)
The beauty of the ten-liter Endo lies in the details. The back panel of the suspension system adjusts up and down so you can get an exact fit for your torso, while a magnetic sternum strap makes for easy one-handed operation. There’s a padded tech pocket to protect your phone, a loop for your sunglasses on the shoulder strap, and a removable tool pouch. This streamlined pack also comes in a 15-liter version if you need more room.
CamelBak Mule LR 15 ($150)
The Mule has become the industry standard for mountain bikers, but CamelBak gave the pack some needed upgrades with the latest version, creating a suspension system with better airflow and a lumbar reservoir to keep the weight centered over your hips. I also like the tool roll that keeps things organized and the massive exterior shove-it pocket that expands to hold a rainjacket and empty beer cans. There are also helmet-attachment clips and a quick-deploy rain cover.
Dakine Seeker 24L ($215)
If you ride in wet places, the Seeker is built for you, as the water-resistant nylon ripstop and waterproof roll-top closure will keep your goods dry in the worst conditions. The pack comes standard with a lumbar hydration bladder to keep your center of gravity low, and it has enough room to carry all the necessities for a long ride. Dakine makes a smaller, 15-liter version as well if you’re looking for something more demure.
POC Spine VPD Air ($140)
If you have a more aggressive approach to the trails, you should consider back protection. POC has a whole line of packs with integrated spine-protector plates designed to shield your back in an emergency landing. We like the vest approach to the POC Spine VPD Air, which gives you maximum protection but modest storage on your back, waist, and chest. It’s mostly mesh too, so you’ll be able to dump extra body heat.
Evoc Hip Pack Race 3L ($95)
Sometimes you want to take the bare minimum and move fast and light. Evoc’s three-liter hip pack gives you well-organized storage for tools, tubes, and snacks, as well as a water-bottle pocket and a slot for a hydration bladder. The innovative Venti Flap system allows you to adjust the distance of the hip pack from your back, so you can fine-tune the ventilation.