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USWE Sports Ranger 9 Hydration Pack Reviews

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  • Retail Price ~$135.00 Shop Now
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Bryan Bosch

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

There are more options in hydration packs than you can shake a stick at and while most will pull dirt bike duty at some level, the question is how well? I've not tried them all, but after a couple of months riding with a USWE Ranger 9 hydration pack, it's clear that it was designed by serious dirt bike riders with our specific performance needs in mind.


NDM Harness

Probably the most stand-out feature of USWE Action Packs is its "No Dancing Monkey" (NDM) harness. Goofy visuals aside, it's something that's been developed, tested, and refined for over a decade based upon feedback from top hard enduro riders who can't have a hydration pack bouncing all over their backs while racing in the toughest conditions. Recently I was able to put USWE's NDM harness through its paces riding Nelson Hills, an area south of Boulder City, Nevada. I rode plenty of hard packed whoops and mile after mile of rocky desert trails carrying 3L of water, tool roll, electronics, food and various odds/ends. With a full pack the NDM harness did a phenomenal job at stopping pack bounce and thoroughly controlling its movement. The harness is designed to be worn very snug and during full days in the saddle, the pack never becomes uncomfortable or restricts movement or your breathing. Harness adjustments are quick & easy even with gloves on (velcro straps at shoulders & flanks) and the single quick-release male/female button clasp is simple to operate and highly effective.

ndm_collage.jpg
Harness adjustments at the shoulders and two positions at the flanks.


Drinking Bladder & Tube

Since I've used a hydration pack by a different brand that uses a USWE bladder, I was happy to see some welcome improvements to their latest offering. The first is a quick release drinking tube that uses a button vs. having to line up indexing tabs then pushing and twisting to lock the tube into place. It's not that the previous version didn't work, just that the button release is faster & easier. The second improvement is how you seal the bladder after filling. The newer bladders use a fold over hinge with built-in hard plastic guides that allow the sealing clip to slide into place a lot easier than before. Speaking of filling the bladder, personal preference I suppose, but I prefer the ease of filling the USWE bladder that is fully open at the top hanging vertically vs. through a screw in lid that is technically on the side of the bladder.

Other notable things I like about USWE bladders:

  • You can turn the bladder inside out and safely wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
  • The bladder is BPA & PVC free so your water doesn't take on a plastic taste.
  • The bladder has an internal vertical divider to stop water slosh (part of the NDM effort).
  • Inside the bladder sleeve compartment there's a velcro strap that hooks to the sealing clip so the bladder can't migrate downward.
  • In Swedish, USWE (you-swii) means, "Kick Ass". 🤘

uswe_bladder_collage.jpg

I also like the material on the bite valve. It's very soft and angled so that it lines up with your mouth correctly. However, I do wish it had a tethered cover for riding in dusty conditions. If that's you, expect to eat a little dirt or in my case, sugar sand. I also much prefer the simple drinking tube harness clip on the Ranger 9 vs. having to find a postage stamp sized piece of velcro to secure the drinking tube found on one of my other packs. The clip is easy to find & use without having to put my eyes on it or fumbling around. Lastly, there's a drinking tube exit port specially set up to properly orient the tube for those that want to route it through their helmet mouth vent.
 

The Backpack

When it comes to the backpack portion of the USWE Ranger 9, they kept it simple and no frills. The panel that sits against your back is mesh and does a good job with venting, something we can never have too much of riding in Florida. Behind the mesh is a foil layer that keeps body heat from transmitting to your water.

Build quality looks good with accurate stitching, zippers that operate smoothly that include tethers so you can use with gloves on, and pockets with various cargo dividers & elastic loops for tools. For dual sport riders who ride after dark there are strategically placed reflective panels (front & back) to increase your visibility. The Range 9 nylon fabric is water resistant, but not waterproof. It does a good job of keeping my stuff dry from typical puddle splashes or the many water crossings we have, but it won't fair as well with our summer torrential rains, so I'll likely wear a waterproof backup pack during that part of the year. In terms of cargo capacity, the USWE Ranger 9 is best suited to day rides. 

backpack_collage.jpg


My Bottom-line

There are a number of hydration packs that do as good of a job or even better when it comes to cargo/backpack features & abilities, but when it comes to controlling pack bounce in rough conditions, the smart design and effectiveness of the bladder & drinking tube, and overall ease-of- adjustability and all-day comfort, the USWE Ranger 9 is one of the best if not class leading. This hydration pack is ideally suited for performance oriented riders who care about minimizing how the necessary evil of water & critical trail supplies weight will impact their riding. But, you don't need to ride like a pro to enjoy its benefits either.

You can learn more about the 2019 USWE Action Pack line HERE.

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