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What are you all using for Hydration Back Packs? Big chest and wide shoulders make it difficult to find something very comfortable.. Would be for mountain biking up to full day rides and hikes.
 

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I have a bajillion camel baks, but I hate using them because they ultimately don't hold that much water, and the weight kills my shoulders after about an hour. I switched to twin bottle carriers on the frame, and I try and plan my rides such that I can fill them up along the way. I usually get two of the big "smart" water bottles that are like 34 ounces, as they fit perfectly and are held in my my frame. It works out really easily when I'm on long road rides.

If I'm out in the woods, I carry one of those bottles and a katadyn filtration bottle. If I absolutely have no other choice, or for really long woods rides and rides without streams/creeks, I rock the camelbak that's the straight 100L bladder and carrier, with no big pockets. I can't remember the model name, but it basically just carries the water bladder, a phone and some car keys, and that's about it. I have also been known to put a pannier on my mountain bikes just so I won't have to shoulder carry the weight. Hope that helps.

- H
 

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Dakine Nomad, end of story. Ive had mine for I guess... 4 years now? Maybe more? I cant remember. Its held up perfectly. Its been through all sorts of races, numerous different countries; to hell and back. Im 215lbs, with wide shoulders and a large chest and it fits great. Its got a large range of adjustment, great pockets and compartments and some fantastic straps/clips.

The hip belt was always something that mattered to me. I hate the 3/4" wide hip straps with a wimpy clip that just cut into your side and offer no stability. The Nomad has a large padded area that wraps firmly around your upper-hip area with a large strap and buckle. It stays where you put it, comfortably. It also has a system on the outside to carry a full-face, or obviously a standard XC helmet. Ive strapped my full face, leg and arm armor and Leatt brace to it without a problem. Plus food, water, phone, tools, extra crap. Its one of my most valued pieces of equipment. It has a large capacity but packs very tidy and compact for day-rides. Ive even gone camping/hiking with it for 2+ days. Its been melted while attached to the back of a leaf blower, thrown off cliffs, washed down rivers, frozen and even thrown up on once. It rocks. End of story. Try one!
 

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I'm cheap, so I found a great fake Camelbak made by Coleman
at Walmart. It's holds 2 liters of water and has a second pocket for my tools, keys, phone, etc. It was around $25 and is in the camping section by the backpacks.
They have another version with just the water pocket thats $20.
The chest strap isn't big enough but the waist belt fits fine. I've never felt like it was going to slip off or anything.
I'm 6'1" 250.
 

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Camel Back Mule... vintage 1998. I have been using it for 13 years now. Biking, hiking and even mowing yards (I mow 6-8 on Fridays for extra money). I have never had a complaint about it. The fabric is starting to give me hell and is falling apart, but I figure 13 years of good hard use (I have replaced the bladders a few times but not due to wear) is great for it. I plan on getting another Mule to replace it as the newer mules have a better waste strap. As an aside, I think the Alpine Explorer would make a better hiking pack than the Mule.... more space for camera equipment.
 

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Osprey talon. It's the only hydration pack I've ever seen that wasn't designed around someone 5' tall. The semi-frame thing, with the back that holds it's shape regardless of how full it is, that's a nice feature, but really it wins over everything camelbak, hydrapak, leyzene and dakine make simply because it's designed for someone adult height. Seriously, I've had about 15 hydration packs over the years, and this is the only one I didn't have to cut off the waist strap - because it the pack is long enough, it actually reaches my waist!

My gripe about it is it's obviously made by a backpack company, not a bike company. Tool organization is a little lacking compared to some of the others out there, but the fact that it fits someone over 5' tall more than makes up for it.
 

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Another one for the Dakine Nomad. Been using one for many years now. Big enough to hold lots of stuff (including a helmet/pads if you want), but can be compressed for smaller loads. Probably the most comfortable "regular" pack I have used.

But, this last summer I got one of the Ergon packs. Heavier than the Dakine, not as many pouchs/ect., but very comfortable. Ergon's system actually works, and can be adjusted for the proper height. I put it away and brought the Nomad back out because I thought the Ergon was just too much for the 1 or 2 hours rides I do. I think I going to get it back out though, because it really is that much more comfortable. Oh, and it is really that much more expensive too (but I bought mine on sale).
 

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I have a Wingnut...

Hydration pack. had Camelbak before, the Wingnut is so much better. It holds 100oz and centers the weight low near your waist taking a lot of strain off of your back. It also has side pockets that I can access without even taking it off. Its light but has plenty of storage for pump, tools, wallet, keys, phone, etc. Simply the best imho. They typical out score all the other Packs in group tests in the Euro mtb mags. Camelbak even has a model that copies their design, the sincerest form of flattery. If you can't beat em....
 

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I am 330lbs with a 56" chest, very wide frame. I have a 2011 Camelbak HAWG NV. The waist strap doesn't fit around my 42" waist but because I am so big, the bag doesn't seem to bounce around at all. Chest buckle still snaps which holds it in place just fine. Plus it's a bigger pack and doesn't look like I am wearing a women's baby backpack...........
 
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Six years with the same Dakine Nomad. It's the only pack I've tried that fits my 5'11", 295lb frame. It's taken a beating over the years, including crashes while downhilling where I landed or slid on my back. Still in great shape. If my gut get's too big (over 300lbs) the waist strap won't buckle (maybe I need an extender? ;) ). Not a huge deal, the chest strap keeps it stable, even while downhilling and hitting jumps and drops.

I switched from the stock bladder to a Camelbak 3 liter bladder because I was have leakage issues with the original. Otherwise, this is the perfect pack for me.
 

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I have a camelbak mule that's at least 10 years old. Same bladder and bite valve body, I've changed the hose and rubber bite valve 3 or four times. This thing has been through a life of abuse. Crashes, flew out of my doorless jeep, paddling trips, hiking and all kinds of family outings.
It's about time for a new one though. I'm getting a hawg this time, I need more room for camera gear, and the strap/padding/ventilation system is bad ass. You won't go wrong with a camelbak.
 

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Check out one of the Osprey packs. I recently picked up a Raptor 14 that's great. The cool thing about them is that they make two sizes (similar to backpacking packs) for different torso sizes. I'm 6'4" and the Large Raptor fits me with room to spare.
 

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I've got a bunch of them.

Bladders
Some bought, some gifts, some freebies: Camel Back, Hydra Pak, Dakine and Osprey. I like the latter two bladders the best. Both have great valves. The removable tube on the Dakine works well. The "exoskeleton" on the Osprey is one of the best ideas in drink bladders. Hydra Pak's roll-up bladder is nice.

Packs
Osprey and Dakine have the best packs. They're long enough to fit. The strap management on the Osprey keeps flapping straps at bay. The magnetic bite valve catch is nice. Warranty on Osprey is lifetime.
 

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Plus one on a pre 2000 Camelback Hawg. The new Hawgs dont seem to hold enough hydration bladders or gear for really long rides.

I'm 6' 5" 240 and I can hardly fit into anything else short of a full on ultralight backpack. I will be sad when mine finally bites the dust.
 
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