Rockrider is sporting giant Decathlon’s in-house mountain bike brand, and its price-conscious range of bikes and gear are well worth a look whether you’re a beginner or simply on a budget. Its products are almost always good value for the quality you get and this 12-litre hydration pack is no exception.
The Decathlon Rockrider 12L is a great entry-level contender and is significantly cheaper than the other packs I had on test. It looks even better value when you factor in the inclusion of a reservoir.
Admittedly it doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated as the likes of EVOC, Osprey etc. and the hydration bladder certainly doesn’t match the quality of a CamelBak or HydraPak system, but for the money, it’s hard to fault.
The 12-litre of storage is well-organised, divided up logically with internal dividers– although, oddly, the front pocket isn’t sewn up all the way along the bottom, so smaller contents can fall into the main compartment.
Usefully, the pack zips right open for easy access, though – ideal for finding that thing you stuffed right down in the bottom – and two buckles strap things down and hold a helmet in the carrier.
On the very front of the pack is a side-zipped valuables pocket that features a waterproof zip. The waist pads also integrate two zipped stash pockets.
Winter warriors and commuters will appreciate the bright yellow rain cover hidden in the base of the pack as well as the slits for a rear light.
Decathlon Rockrider 12L hydration pack performance
Comfort-wise the Rockrider scores high. Its long, narrow shape keeps it in place, distributing and supporting its fully-loaded weight well, and the raised back padding – comprised of six pads – does a good job of maintaining airflow. However, the shoulder straps don’t have any cut-outs and aren’t as airy as some other designs.
By buckling up the wide, padded waist belt you can pull the pack in snug to your hips to stop it jumping around, too.
The helmet carrier securely stowed any open face helmet I tried and, when not in use, the two detachable buckles did a good job of strapping things down.
The 2-litre hydration system doesn’t feel as high-quality as a branded one but works fine, and while the bladder has a sliding clip for easy filling it isn’t detachable from the drinking hose.
The bite valve is ergonomic to use and locks off with a twist, but the hose is a little flimsy and slightly prone to kinking.
Routing for the hose is something that could be improved too; there’s a loop on each shoulder strap to feed it through, but no clip or magnetic tab to stop the end flapping about. However, for the price, I can’t be too critical and it’s not that inconvenient to just tuck the valve behind the sternum strap.
This is a great pack at a great price and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
How we tested
If you’re headed out on a long ride away from civilisation you’ll need a good hydration pack that will allow you to carry more, drink more and be better prepared.
We tested a selection of packs ranging from 8 litres to 15 litres, which we reckon is the ideal size range for a one-day ride, and priced from £40 to £140.
As well as store all of your stuff, a hydration pack also needs to be comfortable and secure, and we put them to the test on multiple rides, ranging from quick blasts in local woods to big all-day outings.
Also on test
- Camelbak Skyline Low Rider 10 hydration pack
- Osprey Raptor 10 hydration pack
- POC Spine VPD Air 8 hydration pack
- Source Summit 15L hydration pack
- Thule Vital 8 hydration pack