Summer is coming! For some that means relaxing days by the beach but for Australian mountain bikers it means we'll be getting up early, hitting the trails at 6, only to be drenched in sweat before we're even 15 minutes into our ride. Dehydration can greatly affect your performance on the bike, often before you even realise it's happening. Sometimes that little bottle on your bike just won't cut it and you need to go for a hydration pack to get you through.
Enter the USWE Outlander 3. A slim 3 litre hydration pack that has a 1.5L bladder and a removable front pocket for a few essential items. Designed to be all you need and no more this pack should be well suited to our hot Aussie summers so, I grabbed one and put it to the test.
What Can You Fit
The USWE Outlander 3 doesn't look like a whole lot of pack because, it's not. So what can you actually fit in here?
- 1.5L Water
- 2 Sandwiches
- 1 small bag of nuts
- Multi Tool
- Go Pro
It's not exactly the whole kitchen sink but it's everything you need to get you through a solid ride.
Note; I couldn't fit anything else in there, the pack was near overflowing but everything fit just right.
The Ride Feel
First things first, I hate riding with a back pack. I'd rather go out with my pockets stuffed full, weighing me down than have to throw a back pack on. But, sometimes you just need that extra bit of water and equipment. Headed to NZ with many long rides ahead where a water bottle just wouldn't cut it this was the perfect testing ground for the USWE Outlander 3.
The USWE Hydration pack lineup features their unique 'No Dancing Monkey' strap system. Designed to keep the pack firmly in place so you can focus on the trail ahead the four straps meet at one central point near your sternum. The design is actually very simple when compared to other packs with separate straps over your shoulders, waist etc. Once 'clicked' into place with the easy to use front buckle the pack didn't budge. I took on some of NZ's roughest terrain, flat out speeds and jumps all with the pack on and never was I thinking about uneven weight distribution or did I feel slower because I was riding with a pack.
However, on long fire road climbs I did sometimes feel like the pack was hotter and tighter than I'd like. This was easily fixed by just un-clipping the pack on the ups before clipping back in on the descent. Un-clipped there was a lot more natural air flow while the pack still relatively secure on the climbs. although I wouldn't recommend descending like this.
I used the pack nearly daily on the trip and have no complaints what so ever about the construction of the pack. No signs of damage or wear to date and I don't expect any soon thanks to the use of tough, high quality materials.
For me nothing beats the feeling of riding without a pack. You're just that little bit more free and have better ventilation across your back. But, this isn't always possible and in these situations I'm now happily putting on the USWE Outlander 3, it's the most comfortable MTB hydration pack I've ever ridden in!
Check out the USWE Outlander 3 Hydration pack here.