Hydration Systems

I'm in need of a new hydration system and want some recommendations/advice. I currently have one of the original style Camelbaks w/o cargo pockets. I'm looking for something that will hold ~100oz H20 plus energy bars, first aid kit AND my Moose XCR jacket. It needs to fit over my chest protector and be built well enough to last thru tangles with the jumping bushes & tree branches, not to mention unanticipated bouts with excessive gravity.

Any recommendations - specific models greatly appreciated?



I previously used a Camelbak hydration system. Although I found the quality very good, I did not think that it was designed well enough for dirt bike riding. After looking around for a while I decided upon the O'NEAL hydration system with the pockets. After getting it home and using it for a while I found the quality of the stitching to be very poor although the materials used in it's construction were good. I ended up having the whole thing pulled apart and sewn back together completely, with stronger cotton/nylon. This back pack holds my first aid kit, wallet, energy bars and other items without any problem. The bladder also holds 2 litres of fluid. The main reasons I chose this product was that it appears to be purpose built for bike riding. The shoulder straps are wide and comfortable and apart from those two shoulder straps, it also has two other buckles that close across your chest and around your waist to keep it securley in place. Both shoulder straps have have a velcro clip to hold the straw in place where you can easily get to it whilst riding. Also in the bladder compartment it has velcro clips that hold the bladder at it it's top so that it cannot move around or collapse down to the bottom of the compartment.

Although I normally refuse to purchase O'NEAL gear because of previous problems with poor quality, I would buy this hydration system again although it would definitely need to be completely re-sewn. If you are thinking about buying one of these and not bothering to have it re sewn, don't bother. Oh, by the way I also replaced the mouth piece with one from Camelbak for quality reasons. I wear mine over armour without any problem. Since using mine I have landed on it heavily a number of times and it has stood up to the abuse for over a year now without any problems. I did burst one bladder in a fall, although I think that any bladder would have burst in that situation.

I also have an O'Neal, 70 oz. bladder (but larger is avail.), two pockets, and outside webbing for GPS or Jacket. It fits comfortably with chest protector. Like GB I had to replace the bite valve w/ a Camelback one, O'Neal valve is a piece of crap.

I've had this pack for 1.5 years and use it on every ride but I have not had any problems with the stitching like GB. The rubber zipper pullers rip off but are easily replaced with nylon or leather lanyards which work better anyway.

Before I bought the O'Neal I used a Camelback. It had a similar strap system and I liked it fine but the O'Neal, due to its better fitting, wider, more stable straps, rides on my back better; the Camelback moved around quite a bit. It did have two front cross straps but somehow I don't think it was designed to be worn through sand whoops at speed... unless as a drink mixer :)

So I bought the O'Neal figuring it was designed for rough travel and I've been very pleased w/ how it fits and how it has held up.

But someone who runs a newer model Camelback needs to chime in here...

What I'd like to know is who makes a bladder/pack that attaches to back of chest protectors? I see more and more guys now with this setup (no straps on drinker) but haven't had an opportunity to ask anyone about it.

I'd like to know how this works since I'd be more inclined to always wear my protector (instead of just for racing) if my pack was attached directly to it.

[This message has been edited by Hick (edited 08-10-2000).]

For those of you that are looking for a larger backpack style hydration system you might want to look at the Moose pack. I doesn't come with the H20 bladder but you can add one easily. Nice stuff for around $50.

If you are looking for a smaller back pack style, similar to the Camelbacks, you might want to look at the Ultimate packs. You can find them at REI. They fit much better and carry water much nicer than any Camelback I've ever tried.

These Ultimate packs are made by the same people that make these FST hydration packs found on this site; http://www.nohvcc.org/, look under "Products". They also make a hydation pack to strap on the back of your chest protector, the "Dirtsquirt".

Good Luck!


JJ - 99 WR; WR timed, stock jetting, Scotts stabalizer, Scotts triple clamps, Pro-Tapers, Terry Cable Hot start, MSR Raptor clutch lever, Moose skid plate, Works frame guards, Acerbis Pro Rally guards, Renthal MD-soft grips, Russel speed bleeders, Factory Effect graphics, YZ rear fender

hydration is very important here in Arizona, especially in these summer months & even on early a.m. rides. so, i have chosen a high-end Camelback that's lightweight & very durable. mine is an expanding model that can hold a ton of stuff including tools, food, clothes & more than i want to carry. has lots of zippered pockets & outside compartments as well but, it's still very streamlined when not carrying alot. also, the strap adjustments allows fit over chest protectors very well. standard H2O bag on my model holds enough for my leisurely routine 4 hr rides or enough for more intense shorter rides. i didn't skimp on this item since it's over 100 degrees in AZ for months each year & highly recommend the Camelback.

I've got a Camelback M.U.L.E. that I'm happy with and would meet your requirements..except holding the Jacket. For that you'd need the next bigger model the H.A.W.G. ( Holds Alot of WATER and GEAR) :)

I've crashed on the M.U.L.E. and it seems to be pretty tough. Check the bike shops and web sites for the best prices...Although I think I saw the H.A.W.G. on www.hipersports.com for $70, which is about $25 bucks off!


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F

I've got the Camelback HAWG. I bought it for mountian biking but have used it lot for dirt biking and skiing. It's worked great for. It hold lots of water, has replacement parts, goes over big Fox pads, has lots of pockets, is very durable, good for multiple sports.


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