Hydro Flask 14L Down Shift Pack Review


Review by Cole Gregg

When you first hear the name Hydro Flask you think of countless overly stickered water bottles that keep your coffee so dang hot it takes hours of waiting before you can have that first sip. Now alongside their 5L Down Shift Hip Pack (that I am in love with) is a 14L backpack filled with some rad features to keep you out on the trail longer.

First things first, price. As with all other Hydro flask products you are paying a premium for the build quality and durability. This has shown in my 15 months with their Hip Pack. At $144.95 USD the 14L Down Shift Pack is not a cheap option, but for those looking for something that will outlast your bike and probably all other gear you own it is a great option. With that said there are also products out there that are priced even higher with less features.

The key feature on the Down Shift Pack is its hydration system. The reservoir has a 2L capacity and is situated quite low inside the pack keeping the pack more stable on your back as well as providing a ton of space for gear up top. The reservoir itself is insulated with claims from Hydro Flask that water will stay cold for up to 4 hours. On top of the insulated reservoir the thick neoprene pouch that secures it inside the back is lined with reflective material adding to the cooling factor. The hose itself has a quick disconnect that makes refilling the reservoir super easy. The mouthpiece is operated by a bite valve that also has an open/closed toggle. Even when open I did not experience any leaks.

The bag has a ton of separate storage compartments that allow for a really organized fully filled bag. The small felt lined outer pocket is large enough for even the XL phones on the market today. Inside Down Shift Pack is a zipper mesh pocket for the high value items such as keys and your wallet. There is also a small Velcro pocket that works great for extra master links and small parts. Above the reservoir there is a mesh pocket with elastic straps to keep taller items from shuffling around, think hand pump, shock pump etc..

The main compartment even with the reservoir filled to the max has plenty of room for a lightweight jacket, food and other essentials you might need on the trail. I have been able to stuff my camera with a 20mm lens back there which was a treat!

The Down Shift Pack also has loops for a helmet if you find yourself overheating on a long fire road climb. As far as ventilation goes this bag blows my EVOC Freerider bag out of the water. The back panel is padded but offers a great amount of airflow for those hot summer rides. Like all good riding bags there is both a chest strap and hip straps with adjustable shoulder height.

Hydro Flask 14L Down Shift Pack Review

From bike rides with friends to hikes with my family, the 14-liter Down Shift Pack has been in constant circulation of my outdoor activities. The slim profile keeps the bag centered on my back with no need to readjust even on technical trails. I found the storage on this bag to be more than enough for what I bring on longer riders and I am the type of person that over prepares. My ridding buddies have benefited immensely from my extra snacks!

As far as keeping water cold for 4 hours, I cannot say I really noticed the water getting warm which is a positive. I was not out there with a temperature gauge so hard to really make a solid claim. I also generally do not fill my packs with ice cold water as I find it harder to drink when I am gassed out.

The biggest point for me on the Down Shift Pack is how comfortable it is to wear all day with little fiddling to be had. It has a “set and forget it” type of feeling.

If I was to critique one thing on the bag it would be the hip straps. While this is far from a from a deal breaker for me, I like having a thicker strap with a small zipper pocket for on the go access to a bar or a small tool. The thinner strap took a few rides to warm up to but after that it was not thought of at all.

The Wolf’s Last Word

10 out of 10 for quality, storage and ride feel. Hydro Flask did a great job addressing the pain point with MTB bags on their first try. While it is pricey item it is still less than some of the competitors on the market. For me this is a do it all day pack, hiking, biking, exploring the city it is a great all-around contender!

Price: $144.95
Website: Hydroflask.com

We Dig

Storage options
On-trail feel
Insulated water reservoir

We Don’t

Narrow hip straps (wish there was a zipper pocket)


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