Bontrager Rapid Pack Hydro Review



Review by Drew Rohde

The new Bontrager Rapid Pack Hydro hip pack seeks to offer riders who love the Rapid Pack a slightly larger, bladder-integrated option for those bigger days on the trail. Last year we reviewed the Bontrager Rapid Pack in our Hip Pack Roundup and it was my personal best in show winner, with lots of others highly recommending it. We were excited to see what the Rapid Pack Hydro could do for us. We typically don’t like hydration bladders in hip packs because…who wants a blue tube wrapped around their waist while trying to look super stylish at the trailhead. Nevertheless, we figured, sometimes function is more important than fashion, SOMETIMES! So we gave it a try.

Much like the top ranked Rapid Pack, the new Rapid Pack Hydro is built with the same comfortable fit, light and stretchy elastic material and incredible interior design. Bontrager have their hip pack game on point as both they Hydro and regular pack seem to store way more than you would think, and does so comfortably with good retention. The two side pockets feature internal organization compartments along with a larger open storage area so you can divide the load and put things like CO2, Gu packets and keys in the tighter stretch panels and leave larger items in the open portion. Bontrager’s hip packs excel above many others as they are light, conform to both the rider’s body and the packed items greatly. They are extremely comfortable on, we even forget that we’re wearing them once on the move, and for someone like myself who’s not endowed with a curvaceous booty, that’s hard to find since I rely on super tight straps to keep packs up. Along with comfort, the organization and stowage of tools, snacks and spare parts is tidy and effective. We can’t think of anything we’d actually change or modify when it comes to the storage.

Bontrager Rapid Pack Hydro Review

Also like the Rapid Pack, Bontrager’s Rapid Pack Hydro still has a secure water bottle pocket that we use regularly. Whether it’s a water bottle, a rain jacket or most recently, a decibel meter for testing eMTB motor noise levels, the pocket works well and lets you choose between stuffing gear, a water bottle with a hydration mix to compliment your H2O-filled bladder, or no bladder at all, which we actually opt for 50% of the time. We just like that slightly larger storage for big days where we need to pack microphones, GoPros, etc. Why don’t we use the bladder? We’ll get into that below.

At the rear of the pack, closest to the rider, is a large, zippered pocket that opens wide and gives great access to the 1.5-liter HydraPak bladder. The bladder is easy to fill, easy to close and has been leak free for the duration of our testing thus far. A hose comes out of the rear of the pack, wraps around the waist and supposed to secure to the waist band with a magnetic hose attachment, however ours was nowhere near strong enough for bumpy terrain and resulted in us zipping the lockable bite valve and end of the hose into the corner of the pocket, which worked fine, it just takes a little longer to access. The bite valve is easy to operate, water flows freely and doesn’t require too much effort to pull liquid through.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Bontrager’s new Rapid Pack Hydro has some really great things going for it and we’d still recommend it with a big asterisk! There is a major flaw pertaining to the one main benefit this pack sought to offer. The hydration hose retention does not work, and the magnet will not hold up to any sort of bumpy, off-road riding. Even bunny hops in the parking lot strip the hose off the magnet. We reached out to Bontrager to give them our feedback a few weeks ago after having tested the pack for a while and we hope to see a running change to this otherwise stellar pack.

While that one issue puts a damper on the pack, the reality is, we don’t love hydration bladders in hip packs anyways, so we’d likely be running the pack without the hose 80-90% of the time. If you’re willing to take the extra step of zipping the hose up, or also don’t like bladders in your hip packs but wanted just a little bit more storage space than the Bontrager Rapid Pack offered, then we would absolutely still recommend this hip bag for your mountain biking or hiking pleasure. The smaller Rapid Pack is still our number one favorite for most of our daily rides, however this slightly large Rapid Pack Hydro will still be getting tons of use when we need to pack just a little bit more gear for workdays on the trail.

Price: $89.99

We Dig

Slim fit
Best storage and organization
Discreet, low profile

We Don’t

Magnet isn’t strong enough for hydration hose retention


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