This is a review of the best mountain bike backpacks for 2024.
A good mountain bike backpack is an essential piece of gear when going on long bike rides.
You can store extra equipment in a backpack for mountain biking, such as a hydration bladder, a repair kit, additional clothing, pads, snacks, and a first-aid kit. It’s a great way to carry everything you need on your back.
Many contemporary MTB backpacks are created to keep the weight low and near to the body, which minimizes pack movement without limiting riders’ mobility. The majority of bike backpacks are also made with at least some ventilation found on the back panel, which helps prevent perspiration on warm summer days.
Let’s take a look at the best mountain bike backpacks for 2024.
How We Tested
All the Mountain Bike Backpacks in this review have been extensively evaluated and researched by the expert author who has many years of experience in Bike Touring and Bikepacking. He has cycled more than 30,000 miles through more than 20 countries around the world. The research, testing, and experience of the author have combined to come up with the best Backpacks for Mountain Biking for 2024. Read the Review Policy for further details.
Best Backpacks for Mountain Biking
The Best Mountain Bike Backpacks are:
- CamelBak M.U.L.E. Pro 14 Backpack
- Osprey Raptor 14 Bike Hydration Backpack
- POC Column VPD Backpack
- REI Co-Op Link 10
- Gregory Endo 15
Best Mountain Bike Backpack – Overall
> This mountain bike backpack is quite breathable, making it comfortable to wear even on hotter days.
> Plenty of storage room
> The bite valve is easy to use and easy to access when needed.
> The water bladder was sometimes a bit more difficult to gain access to. Once you get used to this bag, this doesn’t become much of an issue.
The Mule Pro 14L is one of Camelbak’s most recent versions of the iconic pack, which has long been a mainstay in the company’s line-up of mountain bike hydration packs.
The 14-liter Camelbak Mule Pro is designed for all-day excursions in which you need to transport a lot of gear and water. The pack includes a 3-liter Camelbak CruxTM bladder with a large diameter opening for simple filling and a high flow rate bite valve.
While the shape and design of the pack comfortably handle burdens on the back. The air support back panel helps maintain airflow across the back. Hence, this will allow you to feel cool and comfortable even during long rides in the hot summer.
The CamelBak M.U.L.E. Pro 14 Bike Hydration Backpack comes in both a Men’s version and a Women’s MTB Backpack version. With both versions the base tilts upward and away from the body without sagging, taking the weight off your hips
All the organizational features you may need are included in the M.U.L.E. Pro without becoming excessive. There is a 3L water reservoir and 11L for storage, alongside various pockets and other storage features.
Best Budget Mountain Bike Backpack
> There is plenty of space within this backpack to allow you to carry everything that you need.
> Osprey has created a winged harness system that ensures the backpack stays as close to your body as possible.
> Includes a 2.5L hydration bladder
> The bladder hose can’t be removed, which makes removing the bladder difficult.
Osprey manufactures a wide range of items, from 6L hip bags to 120L expedition packs. The Raptor 14 is a spacious cycling backpack. This pack includes two interior compartments and an exterior stretch mesh sleeve that’s ideal for damp or sweaty clothing.
There is also a blinker light attachment and a reflective patch to ensure you are safe when riding in dim lighting. The key characteristic of the Raptor is its winged harness system, which is intended to ensure the backpack stays close to your body while you’re riding.
Osprey’s 2.5L hydraulic reservoir is one of the better hydration bladders on the market and comes with the cycling pack.
You can easily open the bladder with its large yet secure slider closure. This makes cleaning or adding to the bladder really easy. In addition to that, the bite valve features a magnetic clip that can be easily stored out of the way while cycling.
> Lots of adjustable options to make a perfect fit
> Good Mesh Protection and airflow
> A bladder isn’t included with this product
> Not the cheapest
The POC Column VPD Backpack is a compact, lightweight bag constructed primarily from recycled materials.
Six distinct pockets make up the main compartment’s organizing pocket, which is perfect for holding snacks, a wallet with cash and cards, and tools for fixing the bike while out. The arm straps and chest straps help to secure the pack, despite the absence of a waist belt.
Each strap has two spots where they may be adjusted, to create a tight fit. The arm straps and spinal panel of the backpack have 3D mesh ventilation.
This is perfect for short trips, but during long periods, this mesh may not offer you enough ventilation to prevent you from getting sweaty. Despite being made for one, the POC Column VPD Backpack does not include a hydration bladder.
Depending on their preferences for bladders, buyers can view that as a gain or a drawback. However, it is made to accommodate bladders up to 3 liters in size.
One thing that is not so good about this MTB pack is the price, it is not the cheapest.
Overall, this is a good MTB backpack but if only it was a bit cheaper.
> Plenty of storage
> Water-Resistant (not waterproof)
> Back Opening – To prevent your shoulder straps from getting dirty, this backpack opens at the back.
> There is a reflective logo but it is not that visible at night
The materials used to create the REI Co-Op Link 10 have received the blue sign certification, due to being constructed from recycled materials. You can be seen better in low light thanks to the reflective logo and light-attaching loop on this backpack.
When working on your bike, the front portion of the REI Co-Op Link 10 opens so you can access your tools.
In addition, there are compartments in the main part of the bag for tools, a tube, a pump, and a zip mesh pouch with a key fob. The REI Co-Op Link 10 is made of durable water-resistant (DWR)–coated recycled ripstop nylon that is strong enough for several days of cycling.
A 1.5 L reservoir is also included and is placed at your lumbar to lower your center of gravity and maintain proper balance. Meanwhile, the mesh foam padding which is both breathable and comfortable is found in the shoulder and sternum straps.
For carrying helmets, compression straps are used as connection points. There are also expandable netting side pockets for snacks or additional water bottles. In addition to the top zip pocket for quick access to a phone, sunglasses, or food.
Overall, the REI Link 10 is a good budget MTB Pack.
> Lots of Storage And Organization options in this 15L cycling backpack
> Good ventilated back panel
> The 3L hydration bladder that comes with this backpack is one of the best you can get, period!
> Lots of Adjustment options to ensure the perfect fit
> Quite heavy at just over 2 pounds
> At the time of writing there seems to be some supply issues
The Gregory Endo 15L excels with its ample 3-liter water-carrying capacity and a variety of pockets and organization options. This pack can accommodate a wide range of body types and is equipped with a supportive and ventilated back panel.
In addition to a comfy and height-adjustable hip belt. Any rider who wants to comfortably carry a lot of things on their back should have this backpack. The Drylock bite valve has a push-button shutoff switch to stop water leaks and is comfortable to use.
A drinking hose clip and a magnetic fastening are included on the pack’s sternum strap to hold the hose and bite valve in place. The Endo 15 is one of the largest packs in this article, weighing around 38.4 ounces (2.4 pounds).
Yet given all the premium features this pack has, including the amount of storage it contains, it’s not unexpected that this pack has a slight weight penalty.
Overall, the Gregory Endo 15L is a great MBT Backpack with one of the best hydration bladders included.
Mountain Bike Backpacks Buyers Guide
As mentioned previously, you need to think about how you will be using this pack. This will then affect how much space the backpack needs to contain. Most of the packs in the review above are around the 14-liter size, but you can purchase backpacks of various sizes both bigger and smaller.
When it comes to capacity for mountain bike backpacks, they fall into three categories. This includes day packs, small packs, and vest packs. However, you will be able to find a capacity that accommodates your needs.
With larger packs, you will notice that they have more organizational options for you to utilize. Hence, you will find yourself with more pockets, and inside the bag will be split into compartments to allow you to organize your belongings easier.
You may not need every section offered, but it’s nice that it is there if you ever need it. For example, some packs will have a section for just your tools or a mesh section where you place dirty or sweaty clothes.
When you are mountain biking for long periods of time, then you will eventually get thirsty. To make things easier, a lot of these backpacks feature or are fitted to contain one of the best water reservoirs.
The hydration reservoirs can differ in size, so it is important to find one that has the right size for your needs. To secure the drinking tube out of the way while you’re riding, the majority of water packs use magnets or clips.
In some cases, the hose from the hydration bladders connects to the sternum straps with magnets as well. As a component of the hydration system, magnets usually perform better than sternum straps.
Your body stops perspiring and breathes more freely the more your mountain bike backpack is off of it. All the packs I have tested provided back ventilation of some kind. Osprey and CamelBak are two packs that feature more sophisticated ventilation.
The open mesh enhances airflow between your shoulders and lower back, minimizing sweating, and lessens the amount the rear of the pack touches the rider’s back. If you are only going on short rides, this may not be a huge concern.
However, if you go on long mountain bike rides, you will be thankful for this ventilation. Hence, ventilation is important to ensure you have a much more comfortable and enjoyable biking experience.
You will find that most straps on mountain bike backpacks are also ventilated and lightly padded as well. You want these straps to be simple to adjust so that you can create a secure fit on your body. A lot of the straps on the packs mentioned are slightly flexible.
This is great because it keeps the strap in place while you are riding. For larger backpacks, they will also have a waist strap. This is important as it will help to keep the backpack secure and safer.
As a result, larger packs need a waist strap, but smaller bags don’t need this strap, but some may have the strap included anyway.
Most of the MTB Backpacks in the review come in between the $100 – $150 price range. In most cases that also includes a hydration bladder. That represents good value for money.
The Best Backpacking for Mountain Biking 2024 are:
- CamelBak M.U.L.E. Pro 14 Backpack
- Osprey Raptor 14 Bike Hydration Backpack
- POC Column VPD Backpack
- REI Co-Op Link 10
- Gregory Endo 15
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Water Do You Need When Cycling?
The answer to this question will differ depending on how long you are likely to be out riding and the weather conditions you will be facing. This is because you are likely going to need more fluids when riding in the hot sun compared to a cold fall morning.
However, if you are only going to be out for a couple of hours, you could get away with throwing a few bottles of water in your bag. With that being said, some backpacks contain 2.5L or 3L water reservoirs for you to use.
However, you don’t want to take more water than you need. Otherwise, you will be carrying around extra weight that isn’t required.
What Gear Should You Bring In Your Mountain Bike Backpack?
Depending on the time of year or the weather, you may not need all of these things, but it is always important to have the essentials. You should always pack some form of water or liquids to rehydrate, a repair kit, a first aid kit, snacks, and spare clothes.
Before every trip, you should make sure that you have all of these essentials on hand. This way you are ready for any eventuality.
Is It Better To Wear Your Backpack Higher Or Lower On Your Body?
Ideally, your backpack should be worn using both straps, so it evenly distributes the weight contained in the pack. Then the pack should sit around 2 inches from your shoulders and is an inch above your hips.
It is better to have your pack higher on your body rather than lower, otherwise, you could start to face back problems or feel unstable. It is important to ensure that your straps are secured properly when you put the pack on. You can always loosen the straps when you take the pack off at the end of your ride.
BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process
The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.