Review: Alpinestars Hydro Pack – Easy Hydration for the Off-Road Warrior
February 6th, 2012 by Jason Giacchino
ATV riders aren’t given a whole lot of exclusive hydration pack options. Sure, a little creativity can turn a mountain bike or hiking pack into a vital fluid-supply for a thirsty quad rider, but our gear can often make these bulky packs uncomfortable. So when we got word that Alpinestars were designing a hydro pack to work with our riding gear, we said something to the effect of, “better get us one of those.”
Like most hydration packs, the Alpinestars Hydro Pack is a nylon backpack containing a bladder connected to a hose/mouthpiece. Operation is as simple as removing the antibacterial-treated bladder, filling with your beverage of choice, replacing the bladder with included hanger, getting the straps across your shoulders & sternum and bringing the bite-valve up to your mouth. The backpack also has a few zippered pockets for storage in addition to the 2-liter bladder.
In the nylon flesh, the 840D is both more compact and better ventilated than the average cycling pack. On the one hand this is a good, because it is less intrusive when worn in conjunction with a chest/neck protector. The downside, naturally, is that the 2-liter bladder is the max capacity here and storage is rather limited to those items that fit into the zippered pockets (cell phone, small multi-tool, etc.) The mesh straps and breathable nylon construction however were appreciated by all of our testers who feared overheating associated with piling straps and a backpack atop their riding gear.
In action the pack feels surprisingly small and light, even when full. The sternum strap ensures that it stays put even in the rigors of MX-track riding. The length of the hose is adequate, allowing routing to be quick and painless. The bite valve swivels, which is ideal for tucking away when not in use. Functionality of the valve was decent though the operation was a bit unorthodox. Our testers new to hydration packs tended to love it while those devoted to other brands reported it as difficult to adjust to. Quirkyness aside, it didn’t leak for the duration of our testing. Like all hydro packs, compatibility with the mouthpiece of the helmet varies a little from one make & model to another.
In the odds and ends department, we found the bladder’s zip-locking mouth to be nice and wide for waste-less filling and the removable shut-off valve is a nice feature for those moments when storage and transport take the backseat to a steady supply of liquid sustenance.
All in all, the hydration packs make for an excellent companion to the rigors associated with off-roading. The health benefits of remaining properly hydrated during dry rides are seconded only to the feeling of security in knowing a nice mouthful of cool water is only a sip away. We picked up our Alpinestars Hydro Pack for $90 and feel it was a fantastic investment thus far. We’re betting that when the hot dusty rides of summer return, our opinion will become even more favorable yet!
More Info: Alpinestars