Inov-8 Race Pro 12 Hydration pack £40

Convenient fluid storage

BikeRadar score 4/5

Hydration packs are a godsend for mountain biking – they drop weight from the bike and enable you to carry more fluid than you could in a bottle. But they do have their own problems, like the shifting weight of 2kg of fluid sloshing around on your back.

Inov-8 has found a way to tackle this problem. The firm's horizontal profiled bladder fits into the bag in and around the waist strap and has internal baffles to reduce how much the water shifts along its length. 

The 12-litre capacity pack is minimalist in construction, made from a thin, water-resistant PU-coated rip-stop nylon with a removable, lightweight foam pad in the back panel. 

There are waist and sternum straps and a stretch mesh helmet carrier. The zips are water resistant, but are a bit stiff.

The bladder and its widely-spread load sit on top of your hips, so you can’t feel the weight of the water. The pack can still move when you’re throwing yourself about on the bike but you don’t get pummelled in the back of the head by the water sack as with most other bags. 

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