Camelbak XLP hydration pack review£49.99

Race-ready backpack

BikeRadar score4.5/5

It may be more about transporting water than carrying lots of stuff, but CamelBak’s XLP is nearly perfect for transporting the bare essentials for riders and racers.

It’ll carry 2.1 litres of water and, although the reservoir is more awkward to open and clean than most, CamelBak’s lockable bite valve still delivers drip-free drinking faster than anything else out there.

A zipped, mesh-divided top pocket in the top flap securely carries tools, keys, energy bars and so on, while the stretchy neoprene UltraSpan pouch on the back can swallow a surprising amount of stuff.

Pumps, inner tubes, dog leads and shell jackets have all been crammed in there in the past few months without anything spilling out or splitting.

The bag sits high on your back, which won’t be to everybody’s taste, but it stays stable enough not to get on your nerves on fast and loose sections. It also means you can get to your jersey pockets for energy gels and bars, which is really useful on longer, harder rides.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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