Best Mountain Biking Backpack

Wearing a backpack while mountain biking allows you to go for longer rides and explore more advanced trails. You can pack more food, water, clothing and bike tools to get the most out of your rides and have more fun! This guide will take a look at what you should look for in a mountain bike backpack and a highlight some of the best mountain bike backpacks on the market.

Hydration Pack with 1.5 L BackpackCamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration PackOsprey Men’s Raptor 14 Hydration PackMaleroads Multi-functional Satchel
Rating: 4.4/5Rating: 4.7/5Rating: 4.8/5Rating: 4.6/5
Water Reservoir: YesWater Reservoir: YesWater Reservoir: YesWater Reservoir: No
Water Resistant: YesWater Resistant: No Water Resistant: NoWater Resistant: No
Weight: 0.95 lbsWeight: 1.11 lbs Weight: 1.65 lbsWeight: 1 lb
Price: $Price: $$Price: $$$Price: $
  • Hydration Pack with 1.5 L Backpack
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Water Reservoir: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 0.95 lbs
  • Price: $
  • CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Water Reservoir: Yes
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Weight: 1.11 lbs
  • Price: $$
  • Osprey Men’s Raptor 14 Hydration Pack
  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Water Reservoir: Yes
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Weight: 1.65 lbs
  • Price: $$$
  • Maleroads Multi-functional Satchel
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Water Reservoir: No
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Price: $

What to look for in a mountain biking backpack

There are certain characteristics that are useful for a mountain biking backpack. They include:

The backpack should be narrow

The best kinds of backpacks for mountain biking are narrow, so the rider can retain the full range of movement in their arms and shoulders. This helps the rider navigate tricky obstacles on the trail without the backpack getting in the way.

It should be lightweight

For day riding, the backpack should be very lightweight. High-quality mountain bike backpacks achieve a lighter weight by using rip-resistant nylon and mesh instead of thicker materials. Stick with the lightweight materials unless you are going on a road trip where you will be riding for weeks. In that case a larger, highly-durable backpack may be useful, or better yet — use panniers or a cart.

It should be expandable

Ideally, the backpack should be fairly small, then expand as you add objects. Many mountain bike backpacks have sections with clips that can be opened to make the bag larger or stretchy mesh panels in which you can hold equipment. You don’t want to wear a massive backpack with a bottle of water, bike tools and a banana rolling around in the bottom of it. Bigger is not always better!

It should be the right size for the kind of riding you do

If you ride for 2-3 hours you may only need a 2-liter bladder and enough room for tools, your phone, and some snacks. If you go on 5-6 hours rides, you may need a backpack that also has room for a change of clothing, a full lunch and a larger water bladder. If you combine riding with other sports like hiking, you may even need more room for weather protection, maps, and other gear.

It should have a hydration pack included or be made for one

Hydration is essential for mountain biking! Any backpack that you choose should have a hydration pack included or have the room to install one later on. Ideally, it should have space for a 2-liter or 3-liter pack because mountain bikers tend to ride in remote locations where more fresh water is not always easily obtainable.

It should have mountain bike-friendly features

Look for a backpack that has been designed to hold mountain biking accessories. Many packs have custom-built pockets for bike tools, a bike pump, a bike tube and other commonly used accessories. If you have to go digging around in your backpack for a piece of gear or you are forced to remove everything to find your bike tools, it can get very annoying!

It should be weatherproof

When you are riding in the middle of nowhere and the weather turns bad, having a weatherproof pack helps you get back to civilization without your phone being destroyed or your change of clothes being saturated!

It fits in a way that suits mountain biking

Backpacks that are worn while riding should have a lower center of gravity, particularly if you are performing downhill or cross country riding. This helps you to retain your balance on the bike. If the backpack has a large section at or above shoulder height, it may cause balance issues and send you off your bike. It should be comfortable and stable when sitting on your back, even if it is quite full.

Some of the best mountain biking backpacks

Here are a few of the best backpacks on the market for rides lasting between 1 to 8 hours.

Camden Gear Hydration Pack with 1.5 Liter Bladder

Camden-Gear-Hydration-Pack-with-1.5-Liter-BladderManufacturer: Camden Gear

Bladder size: 1.5-liters

Recommended for: Casual riders who are on the trails for less than 3-hours

This is a great option for budget-conscious riders who spend between 1 to 3 hours on the trails.  It comes with a 1.5-liter BPA-free bladder to keep you well hydrated during your ride and plenty of storage room.

This backpack is water-resistant and very durable.  It is primarily made from rip-stop nylon   that is both light and strong.  The two side pockets are perfect for storing energy bars or other snacks while the main storage pocket can comfortably store large objects like tablets or 13” laptops.

Pros:

  • Designed to fit both adults and children
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Great value-for-money, ideal for casual bikers

Cons:

  • Only a 1.5-liter bladder of cheaper construction

CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack

CamelBak-M.U.L.E.-Hydration-PackManufacturer: Camelbak

Bladder size: 3-liters

Recommended for: Hardcore riders who are on the trails for longer periods (1-8 hrs)

Camelbak is one of a most famous manufacturers of mountain bike backpacks.  The company has built a reputation for making very durable backpacks that are designed specifically for mountain bikers.  The Camelbak M.U.L.E. is one of their larger backpacks and is suited for all day trail riding or downhill riding.

It has a huge 3-liter reservoir that will keep you well-hydrated on longer rides.  The narrow, low-profile design is light and allows the rider to retain full movement of their arms.  Even when it is fully loaded with gear, the backpack won’t feel cumbersome as it closely aligns with your back.  Despite being narrow, you can pack plenty of gear in it.  The M.U.L.E. has 11 liters of capacity, which will fit a change of clothes, your lunch, bike tools, a pump, and snacks along with your water bladder.

It has been intelligently designed with bike riders in mind — when you need something on the trail, you can find it in seconds.

Pros:

  • Massive 3-liter bladder
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Excellent build quality, designed to last for years
  • Intelligently designed and made for mountain bikers
  • Some really cool colors available!

Cons:

  • None, this is one of the best mountain biking backpacks ever made.

Osprey Men’s Raptor 14 Hydration Pack

Osprey-Men’s-Raptor-14-Hydration-PackManufacturer: Osprey

Bladder size: 3 liters

Recommended for: Hardcore riders who are on the trails for longer periods (1-8 hrs)

With a 3-liter bladder and a lot of space, the Osprey Raptor 14 is another large pack designed for all-day riding.  Osprey is the biggest competitor to Camelbak, making very high-quality backpacks that are also specifically designed for mountain bike riding.

This large backpack has a wide front pocket that can hold your lunch, an additional layer of clothing and larger items like your GoPro camera.  There is a lower zip compartment that holds a removable roll-up tool pouch, making access to bike tools simple.  There are also two side mesh pockets, perfect for energy bars or bananas.

The “Hydraulics” water reservoir has some great features including an anti-microbial surface, a magnetic bite valve that attaches to the sternum strap magnet, and a 180-degree pivot shut-off valve.

Other great features of this backpack include a blinker light attachment for additional safety in low light conditions, the LidLock system to quickly attach your helmet to the backpack, and zippered pockets on the hip-belt.  A great backpack that is worth the money.

Pros:

  • Large 3-liter bladder for all-day riding
  • Many innovative features
  • Easy access to your tools with the removable tool pouch
  • Plenty of pockets

Cons:

  • Only three color options

Maleroads Multi-functional Satchel

Maleroads-Multi-functional-SatchelManufacturer: Maleroads

Bladder size: Not included

Recommended for: Casual riders who are on the trails for longer periods (1-5 hrs)

The Maleroads multi-functional satchel is a large-sized backpack that is ideal for biking, hiking or running.  It is made from durable, rip-resistant nylon and is available in a range of stylish colors.  The exterior of the backpack also has reflective visibility strips on the back to provide increased safety in low-light conditions.

It is a comfortable backpack that can be worn by both men and women.  While not having a bladder included may initially seem like a downside of this pack — it means you can buy a high-quality bladder from another manufacturer and not worry about leaks common with bladders in cheaper backpacks.  It has a handy isolation layer between the bladder compartment and the exterior layer, which helps the bladder stay cool on long rides.

The backpack has 20 liters of interior space, enough to hold a change of clothes, some food, and your bike tools.

Pros:

  • Great for a budget conscious rider
  • Lots of space

Cons:

  • Not a dedicated bike backpack, so missing some useful features
  • No bladder included
  • The build quality and features do not much Camelbak or Osprey