Need a new mountain biking backpack? Great because that’s exactly what I’ll be telling you about in this review!
I will show you ten of the best backpacks for mountain biking that money can buy. All of them have been tried and tested by avid mountain bikers, and they really performed remarkably well.
You will see men’s packs, women’s packs, affordable packs, and pricey packs – there’s something for everyone, regardless of their gender, body type or budget. I’ve made sure to include plenty of variety so that it’s still simple to find the perfect backpack for you.
Read on to see our picks for the best mountain biking backpacks you can get!
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Best Hydration Bladder
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Best Budget Option
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The Osprey Raptor is an excellent mountain biking backpack. In fact, it is my personal go-to hydration pack right now. It comes with me almsot daily on my mountain biking rides in Switzerland.
It has a storage capacity of 14 liters, so it can actually hold a lot of gear. It is a great option for people who like having an extra compartment for all their smaller must-have items.
This Osprey backpack features an AirScape backpanel with spaced-out foam ridges for great breathability. It feels very comfortable against your back, which is one of the most important things in a mountain biking backpack.
The Osprey Raptor has both a hipbelt and a sternum strap, which lets you secure the backpack to your body so that it doesn’t move while you’re riding. And the sternum strap also has an attachment point for the hose of the bladder. It will hold the valve on your upper torso, making it super easy to take a quick sip without having to stop riding.
The Osprey Raptor has their Hydraulics LT reservoir is included in the price of the pack, as are all the accessories that usually come with a hydration bladder. You will get a 2.5-liter reservoir with this backpack, which perfectly fits into the designated compartment. You could also fit a bigger reservoir in this compartment, but you have to watch the shape – only elongated hydration bladders will fit in the Raptor.
The backpack also comes with a removable tool roll, which has its own compartment on the bottom of the pack. For me, this is one of the biggest selling points of the Osprey Raptor. I used to use a Camelback and was always fishing around to find the right tool. With this, you just take them all out, unroll the tool roll and there you have it!
And the extra front compartment features several pockets for all your smaller items, making it super easy to find a spot for everything you want to carry.
Another great feature of this backpack is the LidLock helmet attachment point, which lets you store your helmet on the front of the pack. It is also possible to attach a full-face helmet to this backpack.
CamelBak is easily one of the best brands when it comes to reliable outdoor gear. If you want premium materials and quality, this is the brand to choose. And the M.U.L.E. is one of their best-selling mountain biking backpacks of all time.
It is very durable, lightweight, and it comes with the Crux reservoir. The total gear capacity of this backpack is only 9 liters – perfect if you want to keep things simple, and only carry the most important gear with you.
It has a sternum strap, a hip belt, and an Air Director back panel that provides excellent ventilation. There are five external pockets on the backpack, so you can still organize some of the smaller items you need on your rides.
And there’s also a stove-it pocket on the front of the pack, which is great for holding any bigger items. It also features an attachment point for a helmet – another extremely convenient feature that is not often found on cheaper packs.
Additionally, CamelBak also includes a tool organizer with this pack. It has zip pockets, mesh pockets, an easy-release buckle, and compression straps that will keep all of your tools safe and organized.
The M.U.L.E. was redesigned a couple of times, and the latest version is actually entirely designed around the new and improved Crux reservoir. It delivers 20% more water per sip when compared to the older version of the hydration bladder. And it is entirely BPA-free, with a 3-liter capacity that will easily get you through most rides.
You will also get a magnetic tube trap, which lets you secure the tube of the reservoir in a place you find the most convenient. This is a great feature that really makes it effortless to stay hydrated, without ever taking your eyes off the trail in front of you.
Teton Sports is a really cool brand that makes affordable outdoor gear. If you’re looking for a mountain biking backpack at an affordable price, the Oasis is an excellent option. It’s under $50, and it comes with a free (2-liter) hydration bladder and a free rain cover, which is really good value for money.
The backpack is made from a durable honeycomb ripstop and it has an 18-liter capacity, making it suitable for any mountain biking trail. The chest, straps, and waist of the hydration pack are entirely adjustable, allowing you to get that perfect fit on your body.
And it is going to feel very comfortable. The shoulder straps are contoured and padded, for an ergonomic fit on your body. With the padded and ventilated inserts on the back panel, you should feel comfortable even after really long rides with the Oasis.
What I really love about this backpack is its huge capacity. 18 liters is a lot for a mountain biking backpack, and I’m sure some of you will find the Oasis 1100 too big. But I actually like that the pack can hold so many different items since it makes it more versatile.
It’s not a backpack you can only use when mountain biking; with multiple compartments, stretch side pockets, compression straps, and bungee attachment points, this Teton Sports backpack can easily hold all the gear for your day hikes, overnight stays, or daily errands.
The only downside of this backpack is the quality of the hydration bladder. It feels a little cheap, and it makes the water taste like plastic. I would definitely recommend getting a better hydration reservoir if you wind up getting the Teton Sports Oasis 11000 mountain biking backpack.
The Siskin and Salida backpacks are other great options from Osprey. Siskin is the men’s pack, and Salida is the women’s; the two share all the important features, with the main difference being in their fit. The Salida hydration pack is designed to fit the contours of a female body better, so it’s going to be more comfortable for the ladies.
Both packs are actually available in 8 and 12-liter versions, but I’m going to focus on the latter here. There’s pretty much just one difference between the two sizes of the packs, and that’s the hip belt. The larger packs have a heavily padded hip belt (which has pockets), while the smaller two have a thin, webbing hip belt. If you’re interested in the smaller version of the hydration pack, check out my detailed review of the Siskin and Salida backpacks.
These backpacks feature an AirScape back panel, which has spaced out foam ridges for maximum comfort. It is a heavily padded and ventilated back panel, which will keep you comfortable in all your adventures.
Both packs have a dedicated reservoir compartment, a spacious main compartment, hipbelt pockets, a scratch-free zippered pocket, and a front shove-it pocket. They are also equipped with various attachment points for your bulkier gear, like the LidLock helmet attachment point that lets you stow your bike helmet. And they feature a blinker light attachment point at the base of the backpack, which ensures you will stay visible even in the dark.
You get the standard Hydraulics LT reservoir with these Osprey packs. It has a capacity of 2.5 liters, and it comes with the new and improved bite valve and all the accessories you need to set up hands-free hydration.
These two packs are actually cheaper than Osprey’s Raptor/Raven collection, so they are a good option if you’re on a budget, but still want top-notch quality.
Here’s another great backpack for all of you on a tight budget. The hydration pack by Marchway is one of the most affordable options in this review, with a price point under $40 and a hydration bladder that you can actually use. Just remember to wash it out thoroughly before you use it, to get rid of that nasty chemical taste. That applies to the hose too!
The thing I absolutely love about this backpack is that it can hold an insane amount of gear. Yes, it’s a tiny pack, but do you see those molle panels? Those babies alone can hold more gear than your average suitcase! I’m obviously exaggerating, but the panels are really convenient for carrying bulky gear.
Which lets you use this hydration pack more. And you will want to do that when you feel just how comfortable it is. With the padded and ventilated backpanel and harness, the Marchway Tactical Backpack manages to stay breathable even in scorching summer heats.
It has a sternum strap, a hipbelt, adjustable shoulder straps, and an emergency whistle. On top of that, one of the shoulder straps has a rotating water hose clip, which I’m in love with. This means that you don’t actually have to detach the hose from the shoulder strap when you want to take a sip – just rotate it until you find the most comfortable position and drink away.
Another thing I like about this pack is that there’s also space for tools and gear inside the actual bag. With multiple zippered pockets, you will be able to carry so much more than just the hydration reservoir, making this an excellent option for people who like having a lot of items handy on their rides.
There are three hydration packs in each range, with a capacity range of 1.5 liters to 7 liters. I personally find the 1.5-liter and the 3-liter backpacks too small, so I will focus on the 7-liter versions of these backpacks, which have some unique features.
One of those is a vertical zip compartment with multiple slip pockets for easy tool organization. The hip belt is also exclusive to the largest Kitsuma and Katari hydration packs. But that’s fine since you really don’t need a hip belt on a 3-liter pack. There are also stretch side pockets, which are missing only on the 1.5-liter packs.
All three packs come with an Osprey Hydraulics reservoir, but its storage capacity will depend on the size of the pack. The smallest backpack comes with a 1.5-liter reservoir, while the larger two feature a 2.5-liter hydration system. Keep that in mind while you’re deciding which size fits your riding habits best.
Obviously, this also means that the smallest of the three packs is only compatible with hydration bladders up to 1.5 liters. Nothing bigger is going to fit inside the backpack, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to people who are just getting into mountain biking. But if you just want something simple and lightweight to take on really quick rides, it might just be the best option for you.
All Katari and Kitsuma packs feature a zippered slash pocket, a blinker light attachment point, and the soft and breathable AirScape back panel.
Dakine is a reliable brand with high-quality products, and the Drafter backpack is an excellent example of that. Its exterior is made from bluesign approved polyester, meaning that the pack is made with environmentally friendly materials.
The Drafter features one spacious compartment, with multiple pockets and an organizer panel inside. There’s also a hydration bladder sleeve in this compartment, and to be frank, I’m not a big fan of that. In case it ever malfunctions (which shouldn’t happen), everything inside that compartment is going to get wet.
Additionally, the hydration reservoir you get with this pack is a 3-liter lumbar one. This means that this hydration pack is only compatible with other lumbar reservoirs; if you prefer using elongated hydration bladders, you might want to skip this backpack.
Another downside of the backpack is its weight. At 2.3 lbs, it’s the heaviest mountain biking packs featured here. Actually, the Drifter is heavier than backpacks that have a much larger capacity than it, which is not that great.
But, this is also one of the few backpacks that have a padded and ventilated hip belt, which will keep the pack secure to your body. There’s also a sternum strap that doubles as a whistle, so you can be both comfortable and safe when you are wearing this Dakine backpack.
And you get a couple of external pockets, which allow you to keep certain items more easily accessible. There’s also an attachment point for your helmet, as well as compression straps that ensure your gear stays put.
The Trail Runner 2.0 is another great backpack for mountain bikers who really don’t need anything other than water on their back. It’s great for shorter rides since it’s small and lightweight enough that it won’t weigh you down at all. But it will keep you hydrated.
It’s like a much cheaper version of Osprey Katari/Kitsuma, so it’s a great option if you loved that one, but thought it was too pricey.
This Teton Sports mountain biking backpack is made from a rugged ripstop. Its back panel is fully padded and ventilated, for superb carrying comfort. And the hydration pack features a chest strap with an emergency whistle, which will keep you both comfortable and safe.
The shoulder straps have an ergonomic design that fits comfortably on your body. And they are covered with breathable mesh, for great ventilation during hot summer days.
This insanely affordable backpack comes with a free hydration bladder. It’s amazing value for money – the entire package cost less than one of Osprey’s reservoirs, which is pretty crazy. But the quality is still not there; it takes several washes to get the plastic taste out of the water in the bladder.
Make sure to wash all of the components at least 3-4 times before you actually use it, and even more if you still find that the plastic taste won’t go away. You can also let it soak overnight in hot water, with some baking soda and lime juice – that should help get the plastic taste out.
Or you could buy a better hydration bladder and use it with this pack. The Trail Runner 2.0 should fit most 2-liter reservoirs in the dedicated compartment. Which is the only compartment on the backpack btw; there is a large slip pocket on the front pocket, but that’s about all you get.
The Lobo is a great mountain biking backpack for those days when you want to leave most of your gear at home. It is lightweight and very comfortable to wear, making it perfect for those rides when you just want to go fast.
It comes with the usual 3-liter Crux reservoir, which is easily one of the best hydration bladders on the market. The Quick Link Disconnect lets you detach the hose from the reservoir, so you can remove just the reservoir when you need a refill. And the magnetic tube trap will hold the hose in place on the shoulder strap, ensuring that it always stays handy.
This hydration pack features an AirDirector back panel, which has superb ventilation. The breathable mesh will keep you dry no matter how hot it gets outside, while the removable hip belt ensures that everything stays in place during those bumpy rides.
The total capacity of the Lobo is 9 liters, meaning you can actually pack 6 liters of gear inside this backpack. That’s a lot; with the two spacious external compartments, this backpack can easily carry your must-have gear and tools.
The Lobo also has an external helmet hook, and it features reflective accents on the front pocket, which help you stay visible in the dark. Its thoughtful features like that that make CamelBak one of our favorite outdoor gear brands ever. And why it’s easy to look past the price of their gear – the quality and abundance of features definitely make up for the high price tags.
The Mubasel Gear backpack is a good affordable option. For less than $30, you get a padded and ventilated backpanel, ergonomic S-type shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and a hipbelt. And you also get an insulated bladder compartment, which does an excellent job at retaining the temperature of your drink for up to four hours.
But you know what I’m going to say about the 2-liter hydration bladder, right? It’s not really good. If you buy this hydration pack, definitely plan to buy a better bladder, if you actually want to get used out of the bag. The one that comes with the pack is average at best, as long as you thoroughly wash it before first use.
I don’t actually care that much for the bladder anyway. The price point of this backpack is so amazing, especially considering just how well this is built! I honestly expected it to be a really cheap bag, but it’s not. And since you’re saving so much money on a biking backpack, it’s okay to spend some of it on a premium hydration reservoir.
And at least you get a tube cleaning brush with the pack, which is more than I can say about backpacks from the premium brands.
In addition to the insulated hydration reservoir compartment, the Mubasel Gear biking backpack also has a stretchy mesh pocket, waist belt pockets, a second gear compartment, and bungee cords for bulky gear. It is one of the best affordable packs you can get, so definitely put it at the top of your list if you’re working with a small budget.
How much gear do you normally carry when you go mountain biking? If it’s just the hydration pack and maybe some tools, then you will be fine with pretty much any backpack you saw in this review.
Mountain biking backpacks are supposed to be small – a big and bulky backpack would just weigh you down, and make the rides really uncomfortable. None of the backpacks featured here are huge, but some are bigger than others. These backpacks usually have one or two extra compartments, which let you bring more gear on your adventures.
Is that something you would find useful? Or do you find multiple compartments entirely unnecessary on a mountain biking backpack? That’s what you need to figure out before you actually buy one of these packs.
You might have noticed that most of the packs featured here are by either Osprey or CamelBak. That is because both of those brands make products of outstanding quality, and their backpacks are easily some of the best on the market.
CamelBak in particular is a champion of hydration backpacks and reservoirs. They are always updating the design of their proprietary hydration bladder and improving it with every new feature.
If you really want a top-of-the-range mountain biking backpack, you should go with one of these two brands. They are pricey, but the backpacks really are top-notch, and they will last you a really long time.
But if you want all the little details, go with Osprey. Their packs include features like attachment points for your helmet and an LED light, which is not something you get on a lot of other packs.
Additionally, with both of these brands, a hydration bladder is included in the price of the backpack. And the bladders you get with them are really top quality. In fact, even if you decide to go with one of the cheaper packs, I would still recommend buying an Osprey or CamelBak reservoir.
All of the backpacks featured here come with a free hydration bladder. But they don’t all come with good hydration bladders; the cheaper the pack, the higher the chance that you will need to spring for a high-end hydration reservoir.
If you decide to go with a popular brand like Osprey or CamelBak, you don’t have to worry about this too much. They make high-quality products, and their hydration bladders truly are top of the line. But that shows in their prices – these backpacks are rarely under $100, which isn’t exactly an affordable price point.
If that’s too much money for you, it’s fine. I found several really good mountain biking backpacks that are around $50, so there are cheaper alternatives. But the hydration bladders these come with are not great – they’re prone to leaking, they make the water taste plastic and their overall quality is questionable.
I highly recommend buying a high-end hydration bladder, if you go with a cheaper backpack. That way, no matter which backpack you get, at least you know that your hydration reservoir is top of the line and not toxic.
All of these mountain biking backpacks are good – there’s no doubt about it. But, what are the best of the best, the ones that are so good that anyone can use them?
The first such backpack would be the Osprey Siskin/Salida. With Osprey’s AirScape back panel, this pack will always feel comfortable on your body. And the sternum strap and the waist belt will keep it tightly in place even during really bumpy rides. The backpack comes with Osprey’s Hydraulics LT reservoir, which has a capacity of 2.5 liters. The entire hydration system of this pack is great – the reservoir is BPA-free and leakproof, the hose attaches to your shoulder strap, while magnets keep it in place during rides.
CamelBak M.U.L.E. is easily the second-best backpack. Everything about it is great, from the padded and ventilated back panel, to the integrated tool roll in the bottom. And it comes with the Crux hydration bladder, which is one of the best reservoirs money can buy. It is entirely BPA-free, you can refill it without untangling the hose from the pack, thanks to the Quick Link Disconnect system, and the magnetic tube trap will keep the hose on the sternum strap while you’re riding.
If you’re on a tight budget, I recommend you go with the Teton Sports Trail Runner 2.0. It is very affordable, but it’s by no means a cheap backpack. The quality of the materials is excellent, and I particularly love the padding and ventilation of the backpanel. The hydration bladder could definitely use some improvement, but it’s functional and it performs okay. Plus, you can always buy a better bladder for some $20, and you’d still spend less than $50 total!
That’s it! Head over to Amazon to see the prices of these mountain biking backpacks. And check out our related posts, if you think none of these packs are right for you.