At around a third of the price of some of its competitors and offering decent quality to boot, this hydration pack from Decathlon was always going to score high on the value front.
Despite the low cost being the big draw here, the Rockrider pack punches higher than expected when it comes to the features on offer, performance on the trail and of course, the all-important water reservoir.
You don’t get a dedicated tool compartment and the thin reservoir tube isn’t as good as those on the best hydration packs. However, the Explore is a great option for the price.
Rockrider Explore 7L/2L hydration pack specifications and details
The first giveaway that the Rockrider is of a cheaper construction than its competitors is a slightly coarse feel to the ballistic nylon fabric.
Other than that, it feels tough and should be able to shrug off rough treatment pretty easily.
The pack itself is streamlined with few features on the outside, other than an elastic helmet clip and stretch mesh pocket.
Large zipped hip pockets are useful for tools and snack bars, and there is even a sneaky pocket right at the base of the pack that could be used for stowing a waterproof cover (not supplied) or smaller items such as a multi-tool, keeping it totally separate from the main load and easy to find.
The main compartment opens wide for easy access, and there are five large zipped or elasticated compartments to organise and secure a variety of tools and spares.
The reservoir has its own separate compartment, which helps keep moisture away from the cargo.
Mesh shoulder straps, a chest strap and a waist belt ensure everything remains steady.
The back is flexible, with two columns of mesh-wrapped foam to help manage sweat build-up when in contact with your back.
Rockrider Explore 7L/2L hydration pack performance
With expectations in line with its price, I was very pleasantly surprised when I loaded up and strapped on the Rockrider.
Filling the folding-top reservoir was virtually identical to using a HydraPak equivalent, and I was pleased to find a locking bite valve there to prevent unintentional car-seat soaking incidents on the way to the trails.
The hose felt a little thin, flexible and cheap compared to its more pricey rivals, but it did the job and those cost savings have to come from somewhere.
The main compartment positively swallowed tools but kept them all front and centre with the multitude of zipped and elasticated pockets.
There was still enough space for a jacket and food, so it’s specced well for short days out on the local trails.
I found the shallow padded columns of foam that sit directly on your back didn’t allow air to flow as effectively as other packs, but it is a good attempt and certainly better than nothing.
The hip pockets are an excellent addition too, and large enough to be useful, yet still accessible on the move if your arms are flexible enough.
The various clips for the chest harness and waist belt, and the zips, felt as if they’d been specified to reach a price point. I would guess these would be the first points of failure over time, because they didn’t feel quite as sturdy as those found on pricier packs.
That said, I had no issues during testing and they did the job asked of them.
Rockrider Explore 7L/2L hydration pack bottom line
The Explore is a well-made, well-specced pack that rode perfectly well once strapped on snugly.
Tools were well organised, in fact better than a few packs I’ve tried at more than three times the price, and I appreciated the wide-opening compartment.
Cheap prices don’t necessarily add up to good value, but in this case I was very impressed by the functionality and performance on offer.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $89.00EUR €40.00GBP £35.00USD $40.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 453g – without reservoir, Array, g|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Rockrider|
|Features||br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Capacity: 9L (including reservoir)
Materials: Bag - 94% Polyester, 6% Polyurethane; Water pouch - 100% Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Colours: Teal blue / Black; Black / Black; Bright tomato / Black; Deep chocolate truffle / Black
Features: Lockable bite valve; 6 inside pockets or nets; 3 sealable outside pockets for easy access without removing the bag
|Bag capacity||br_bagCapacity, 11, 0, Bag capacity, 7l, Array, l|
|Bladder capacity||br_bladderCapacity, 11, 0, Bladder capacity, 2l, Array, l|