LEATT MOUNTAIN LITE 1.5 HYDRATION PACK REVIEW
Review by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam McGuire
When it comes to the bigger days out in the saddle, carrying the essential supplies to fuel and hydrate your body and repair your bike is essential. A good pack can be the difference between a “normal” descending experience and an uncomfortable one, so it’s essential you select a pack that ticks all the storage capacity boxes without becoming too uncomfortable or hot on your back. Leatt’s Mountain Lite 1.5 hydration pack aims to be the perfect “big ride” bag, capable of supporting all-day adventures without unnecessary bulk.
Leatt’s “Hydration MTB Mountain Lite 1.5 bag boasts a 10L cargo storage capacity, with provisions made to attach a helmet securely to the outside to boost its effective volume. The pack is made with a lightweight and durable ripstop nylon outer shell, which features a rubberized coating that offers abrasion and water resistance and is shaped to be neck brace compatible in typical Leatt style. There’s a push-button buckle on the chest strap to allow for single handed fastening and release. The shoulder straps feature a healthy range of adjustability that allows the bag to fit XS-XXL body sizes and tailor the fit to sit comfortably, and there’s a zippered pocket on each side to allow for quick access to snacks or a tool when in the saddle. On the back panel, the Airline ventilation arrangement keeps things cool and comfortable when loaded up.
Included with the pack is a 1.5L Hydrapak hydration bladder that sits within the main compartment, with a lockable auto shut-off bite valve. The hose can be run along either side of the shoulder straps and has a magnetic tube catcher to allow for easy access to drink. This main compartment has some internal dividers and zipped pockets to help organize your kit without adding too much bulk. There’s a secondary “tools and spares” pocket on the outside of the pack, which features elasticated straps inside to secure tools in place and prevent the dreaded bag rattle, with an internal zippered mesh pocket to keep other items safe. This secondary pocket sits on a flap of material that’s fixed to the bag with two buckles, rounding out the storage capabilities to give helmet storage for the way up the hill, or an easy place to stuff a layer when things heat up.
The Hydration MTB Mountain Lite 1.5L bladder is available in Graphite or Dune colorways, with a retail price of £109/$132.
Leatt have made provisions to secure just about anything you can think of within the main and secondary compartments of the Mountain Lite 1.5 bag, with zipped mesh pockets, dividers, and elastic loops to ensure things are fixed firmly in place. The 10L capacity quickly reduces once you’ve filled the hydration bladder, which renders the bottom portion of the main compartment difficult to fill with anything substantial. That said, there’s still plenty of space elsewhere to store a healthy number of tools and spares, food, and an extra layer. If I’m riding a bike, I’m wearing my helmet, so the helmet fastening provisions are lost on me, however this setup offers some extra space to secure a spare layer on the outside of the bag, bolstering its volume effectively and saving space inside to keep the all-important snacks safe.
Once loaded up with all the ride essentials, the straps on the Mountain Lite 1.5 bag make it easy to get things set up to a comfortable spot in quick time, with generous Velcro tabs in the rib area that allow for a wide adjustment range and easy fine tuning as you go. The perforations in these straps let things breathe reasonably well, avoiding the instant sweat patches on a jersey that can plague an unventilated equivalent. The chest strap has a limited adjustment range that had me maxed out at the upper limit, so may cause the main straps to sit awkwardly on a rider with a larger torso (I wear a large tee) – it would be worth trying the bag to see how it fits if you’re in this camp. But all in all, the strap system is simple and effective.
The Airline ventilated padding on the back is not ultra-cushy but provides a good balance of comfort on the back while disguising the size of the bag – you know it’s there and it’ll inevitably add to the heat and sweat levels, but for a 10L bag it runs on the cooler side. Combining this padding with the strap system, the result is a well-secured bag that manages to stay put through hard compressions when fully loaded. Similarly, the easy strap adjustment allows you to cinch the bag down tighter when loaded lightly, keeping it firmly in place, and the straps for the helmet holder on the outside allow the main compartment to be snugged down to prevent the contents from rattling around. The elastic tool straps inside the secondary pocket allow for a wide range of tools to be held firmly in place, but multi-tools tend to be too small and heavy to be captured effectively, so you’re better off storing them elsewhere.
The Hydrapak bladder system is well proven by now, with a quick and easy slide-top to facilitate easy filling, and an effective lockable bite valve that keeps the water in well until you need it, and allows for a reasonable flow when drinking. The position of the bladder – deep within the main compartment of the bag – combined with the suggested routing, left the hose a little on the short side to drink from it without stooping my head. This was rectified by routing the hose more directly, but it looked messier in the process, with more chance of snagging. It’s far from a terrible problem, but a minor inconvenience worth noting, nonetheless.
Over the course of testing the Leatt bag has seen everything from Italian dust and shrubbery through to the thickest Scottish slop. The mesh portions on the straps proved to be difficult to clean manually, a stark contrast to the wipe-clean material that makes up the majority of the bag. In the same vein, the coating appears to fend off abrasions well, and so the bag continues to look fresh after some abuse on the floor of uplift vehicles and a ton of trail abuse, but you’ll need to soak the bag to remove any thick mud from the straps.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Leatt Mountain Lite 1.5 presents a comfortable and well put-together option for sustaining a big day out in the saddle, with some neatly thought-out features and an effective strap system that keeps the bag firmly in place regardless of the load inside.