If you’re in a hurry, I recommend the Osprey Raptor Hydration Backpack as the best mountain biking backpack.
Did you know that in 2020 alone, around nine million people in the US went mountain biking?
The sport is full of diversity. You have boys with lightweight XC bikes, guys with DH bikes and a whole lot of courage, and older men who stick to bikes with fat tires.
Do you know what they all have in common?
They need mountain biking backpacks.
Are there mountain biking backpacks for all these riders? Of course!
After a lot of testing, I compiled the best mountain biking backpacks for every user. Follow this article to find out:
- The best overall mountain biking backpack
- The best budget mountain biking backpack
- Things to consider before buying
The Best Mountain Biking Backpacks Overview
- Osprey Raptor 14 Men’s Bike Hydration Backpack – Best Overall
- M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack – Best Budget Option
- Osprey Packs Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack – Best Versatile
- CamelBak Skyline LR 10 Bike Hydration Pack – Best for Short Trips
- Deuter Unisex’s Trans-Alpine 30 Backpack – Best for Heavy Packing
- Evoc FR Enduro Blackline Protector Hydration Backpack – Best for Enduro
The 6 Top Picks for Mountain Biking Backpacks
Biking backpacks need to be lightweight yet spacious enough to fit everything. They also need to be sturdy to stay on your back while riding.
And, they need to be durable because these champs cost a lot!
With these considerations in mind, I rounded up the best six options on the market.
Osprey Raptor 14 Men’s Bike Hydration Backpack – Best Overall
The Osprey Raptor 14 definitely put its competitors in a difficult situation.
I’d imagine it’s hard to compete with this backpack, with its lightweight, spacious storage space, and convenient features.
The bag packs 14 liters of storage space, along with pockets for every possible item you may carry.
The variety of pockets make it easier to reach for the thing you need, rather than stop and waste time searching.
There are mesh hip belt pockets for easy-reach items, zippered slash pockets, and a roll-up pouch for tools.
On top of that, there’s a lid-lock attachment on the outside to keep your helmet safe.
This way, you don’t need to take up most of the bag’s space to stash the helmet.
If you love to ride in the dark, the Raptor’s blinker light attachment will be invaluable to you.
There’s also a reflective patch to keep you seen in the dark, thereby offering further safety.
As for hydration, which is the main concern for most riders, the Raptor has a receptacle with a 2.5-liter reservoir.
The capacity is more than enough for a long trip, and the reservoir is BPA-free for safety.
- Sufficient storage space for long trips
- Magnetic sternum strap for easy access to water
- Excellent value for money
- On the expensive side of the market
M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack – Best Budget Option
Whether you want a backpack for mountain biking, hiking, or any other outdoor activities, you can choose Camelbak without a second thought.
Aside from their product’s durability and high quality, Camelbak’s backpacks are quite affordable. They have a backpack for every budget.
The M.U.L.E backpack went through a lot of changes since its launching back in 1996.
Its newest addition is the CRUX reservoir system, which is basically a reservoir designed for easier refilling.
The opening is wide enough for easy cleaning, and it locks tightly to prevent any leaks. However, some users reported that the hose connection sometimes causes leaks.
The reservoir is designed for faster water pulling, so you don’t have to draw air into your mouth.
The M.U.L.E also features an upgraded AirDirector back panel that’s both breathable and comfortable.
It leaves a narrow space between your back and the backpack, which isn’t an easy feature to design.
Although the backpack has a tall design, the panel will make sure you stay comfortable during extended rides.
There’s a hip harness on the bag to keep it tight against your body.
In addition to that, there’s a loop on the outside that you can attach your helmet to.
- CRUX reservoir system for easier refilling and more efficient water pulling
- AirDirector back panel to keep you cooled down while riding
- Highly affordable price compared to competitors
- The hose connection with the reservoir sometimes leaks.
Osprey Packs Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack – Best Versatile
The Talon series from Osprey has been leading the market for a long time, and the Talon 22 is no exception.
The backpack is incredibly versatile, being suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities.
Its lightweight design and narrow straps make you feel as if you’re carrying nothing on your back.
If you tend to traverse rough terrains occasionally, this bag may be the one for you.
Its shape-fitting ergonomic design wraps around your body without a hitch, and the materials are breathable to keep you comfortable.
The Talon 22 is in the right size for long trips. Its 22-liter capacity is more than enough for a rider who packs a lot.
It doesn’t have a lot of pockets, which is an advantage for some people. For me, I prefer my backpacks with a pocket for each item. It depends on your style.
The best feature of the Talon is the hydration sleeve on the outside.
It makes matters much easier for you when it’s time for refilling.
Additionally, if a leak occurs, the sleeve will protect the bag’s components from getting wet.
- External hydration sleeve
- Breathable mesh on the back for the summer
- Lid-lock attachment available for the helmet
- Not suitable for users with broad backs
CamelBak Skyline LR 10 Bike Hydration Pack – Best for Short Trips
If you’re looking for a mountain biking backpack for short trips, you may want to take a look at the CamelBak Skyline.
Despite its small size, it can carry all of your bike armor for a one-day trip. Its 100-ounce reservoir will also provide enough water for the trip.
The bag has many pockets for a small-sized backpack. And the main compartment has a 7-liter storage capacity.
The LR in the bag’s name refers to low riding. Meaning, the backpack sits low on your back.
Lots of riders would find this comfortable, but it depends on your style of riding.
The Skyline has a compression pocket, allowing you to store a jacket or a shirt in a small space. As for the helmet, you’ll have to attach it to the bag’s exterior.
CamelBak prioritized user comfort when designing this backpack. That’s why it may be lacking storage space.
But one thing for sure: it’s highly comfortable. There’s breathable mesh on its back to keep you cooled down in the summer.
Besides, the mesh straps are comfortable on your shoulder, wide enough not to dig in.
- Affordable price compared to competitors
- Offers lumbar support for a comfortable ride
- The waist belt is easy to clip and unclip instantly
- Small storage space
Deuter Unisex’s Trans-Alpine 30 Backpack – Best for Heavy Packing
Some mountain riders prefer to be ready for any situation they might encounter. So, they carry lots of food, extra clothes, and much more water than they’ll need.
The Alpine boasts 30 liters of storage space and a multitude of pockets on the inside to keep all your belongings safe.
The hydration bladder can hold up to three liters of water, which is more than enough for a long trip for a single user.
The Alpine’s back is padded to keep you comfortable, and it’s made of mesh to keep you cooled down.
The bag also comes with a rain cover, so you can cover it under heavy streams and keep everything inside dry.
In addition to that, there’s a tool pocket on the outside to carry your emergency tools.
Both shoulder straps have loops, so you can tighten and loosen them whenever you need to.
Despite all that, the bag is very affordable. For the price and features it comes with, I’d say it’s quite the bargain.
- Excellent value for an affordable price
- Sufficient storage capacity for heavy packing
- Protective rain cover included in the purchase
- Some users complained about failing zippers.
Evoc FR Enduro Blackline Protector Hydration Backpack – Best for Enduro
If you’re into enduro racing, the Evoc FR may be the right mountain biking backpacking for you.
It offers a 16-liter storage space, which is more than enough for riders who prefer to pack lightly.
The bag is made of ripstop nylon and tarpaulin. Together, they provide water resistance to keep your components dry under any circumstances.
Personally, I believe the best feature of the Evoc backpack is the Liteshield back protection.
It doesn’t add to the bag’s weight, yet it offers protection against tough falls.
When a rider hits a bump or falls down for any reason, the Liteshield will keep the spine from hyper-extending, preventing life-threatening injuries.
Not only that, but during crashes, it’ll prevent any sharp object inside the bag from hurting the rider.
Such features are the reason the Evoc is one of the most expensive backpacks on this list. It’s a reliable backpack to accompany you on risky trips.
- Spine protector included to prevent life-threatening injuries
- Waist belt and sternum strap included for a comfortable fit
- A dedicated compartment is available for the helmet
- On the expensive side of the market
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying
Your mountain biking backpack can make or break your trip.
That’s why you’ll want to give it some thought before buying. For example, there are some features you need to keep in mind while choosing.
Do you know that a bag with mesh straps can significantly improve your experience?
Here, I rounded up the most vital things to consider before buying.
Naturally, the most vital thing to consider when buying a mountain biking backpack is the storage space it offers.
Carrying a small bag is easier, but it’ll do you no good when you can’t pack most of your items. That’s why you should weigh your options and find the right balance.
Remember that you may need extra food, tools, water, and some riders carry extra tires.
According to how long your trip is and how many packages you carry, you should choose your bag’s storage space.
If you only go on short half-day trips, any small backpack will do.
The fit may not be vital in regular backpacks, but it should be a priority in mountain biking backpacks.
The last thing you need while riding up a steep hill is having the backpack move right and left on your back.
Or even worse, you may have the waist belt unclip on you, which is probably more uncomfortable than riding with a wet shirt on.
Your backpack of choice should have its weight distributed evenly across your shoulders. Otherwise, you may find the weight pulling you off your track, which may have unfortunate consequences.
Make sure your backpack has adjustable straps, so you can tighten it around your body while riding.
A hip strap is also crucial to have because it keeps the bag stable against your body.
Padding on the back or shoulder straps is a nice bonus to have, especially if you ride for long hours. You won’t have anything poking against your back.
Most mountain biking backpacks come with water reservoirs, or at least they should come with them.
Hydration should be your priority on biking trips. If you don’t have enough water, you’ll have no energy to proceed.
It becomes even more crucial in the summer when your body loses more water than you drink.
That’s why you’ll want to closely consider the water reservoir of the backpack you’re buying.
Firstly, consider its quality and material. It should be BPA-free for safety, and its lid should be sturdy enough not to leak water.
Mountain backpacks are hardly waterproof, so any leak will reach all your belongings.
One more thing you’ll need to consider is how much water you’ll need. If you’re going on a long trip, you‘ll need a large reservoir that can hold more than the amount you need.
Some backpacks don’t come with reservoirs. In this case, make sure the space available for it is sufficient for your water needs.
Lastly, make sure to choose a reservoir with a large opening.
This way, you’ll be able to reach inside with a brush to clean it, or it’ll be prone to mold and bacteria.
Don’t forget that bacteria and moisture are best friends. Leaving your reservoir without cleaning is basically like throwing a party and inviting all the bacteria around.
If you’re carrying a large bag or packing heavy, you’ll need a safety hip harness or a sternum strap.
Both of these are meant to keep the bag tightly snug against your body so the weight doesn’t tilt to one side.
If the bag has both, it’s worth all the money it costs.
Some high-end models have internal spine protectors responsible for keeping the bag straight against your body.
Of course, this adds a significant amount to the overall cost, but it also means more safety for the rider on steep hills.
I never saw the need for many pockets until I had to dump out my entire bag once to get my power bank from under the rubble.
Needless to say, dumping all of your contents on a trailside doesn’t exactly scream a fun trip.
Since then, I ditch any bag that doesn’t have pockets for my small belongings, water reservoir, and tools.
Organization pockets are essential because they keep everything in close reach. You’ll know where everything is, making it easier to reach out and get it amid the ride.
Some models have dedicated pockets for everything, including compression pockets for clothes.
Some backpacks even come with tool rolls to keep your emergency tools organized.
Wearing a backpack for a couple of hours under the sun ought to get some sweat out of you.
And, all riders know a sweaty back is the least fun part of the trip.
Breathable backpacks make matters a bit better. They mostly have a mesh material on the back and sometimes on the shoulder straps.
The mesh allows the air in, keeping the rider’s body cool under the sun heat.
The Final Verdict
In my opinion, the best overall mountain biking backpack is the Osprey Raptor 14 Men’s Bike Hydration Backpack. It costs more than your average backpack, but it’s worth every dollar you’ll pay for it.
It offers ample storage space, lightweight, and an array of convenient features.
Its reflective patch will also keep you visible in the dark. I’d say it’s one of the best options you have, if not the best.