As the name suggests, Zéfal’s Z Hydro Enduro backpack with its 3-litre bladder and 8-litre storage capacity is for long days on the trails.
The French brand is famed for its range of accessories and tools, and has a rich 130-year history, so I expected something promising.
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Zéfal Z Hydro Enduro backpack details and specifications
With a large 3-litre capacity, the bladder has enough volume to provide you with water for most all-day adventures. It’s made from PEVA, a non-chlorinated plastic which is BPA free, and uses a smart valve that means you don’t need to open and close it manually.
Storage wise, the pack’s main compartment holds the bladder and there’s a lined glasses pocket at the top of it. There’s also a front pouch that has a larger pocket and a separate additional lined pocket. All together, this space provides 8 litres of storage with the bladder or 11 litres with it removed.
The pack has room to store a helmet, jacket, knee pads or such between the two main compartments. There are also two small pockets in the waist strap.
The soft back-panel conforms to your back with six raised foam pads that allow some airflow, and the lightweight polyester fabrics prevent the pack from feeling too bulky.
Zéfal Z Hydro Enduro backpack performance
On the trail, the back is very comfortable, thanks to the soft back-panel and its light 667g weight. However, because the pack sits closely to your back, it doesn’t offer the best breathability.
The waist strap was my biggest gripe, though, because it’s only adjustable from one side. The strap holding the buckle is a single length of cord that you can’t shorten, and was barely short enough to pull the waist strap tight for my 30in waist. If you’re a smaller or lighter rider, the waist strap will become obsolete, which is a significant oversight.
The chest strap uses a similar design, but the adjustments are much more accommodating.
With the 3-litre bladder, I never had any problems running out of water and, when full, the pack was very stable even over rough trails and jumps. I didn’t notice it shifting around when riding, which is a plus.
There’s no dedicated tool storage pocket, which is a missed opportunity, but you can store items within the mesh pocket inside the front compartment to help keep things organised.
There’s enough space for the essentials you’ll need on a long ride, too. The hip pockets are useful for a multi-tool, cash/cards and a couple of energy gels that you might want quick access to but aren’t large enough to keep your phone handy.
The pack offers some weather protection, but it’s not waterproof. It would be best to wrap up spare clothing/gloves in a plastic bag first if you want to keep kit dry on a wet ride.
Zéfal Z Hydro Enduro backpack bottom line
Its comfort, weight and features mean the Z Hydro Enduro is a versatile bag that’s hard to knock for the price.
The waist strap is a big issue though, with it being one of the crucial elements of a riding pack. However, the bladder is one of the best I’ve used and I really appreciated the smart valve.