Fox’s XC Race harks back to the early days of hydration packs, when they were more or less just a bladder with straps on. And that’s no bad thing – the more space and pockets you have, the more unnecessary kit you tend to end up carrying.
The XC Race has a zipped main compartment large enough for a pump, tube and windshell, a bottom pocket with room for a multi-tool and keys, and a bungee cord on the back in case you want to carry leg armour or an extra layer. We reckon that’s all most people need, especially in summer.
Because the pack is fairly minimal, it moulds to the shape of your back and doesn’t bounce around much on the rough stuff – as long as you don’t try to cram too much into it. Do that, and you may find yourself wishing for a hip belt. The 2L (68oz) reservoir is rudimentary but watertight, and the bite valve works well.