JMosey
I'm signed up for some long races this year and think I will need a backpack, which I've never used before.  I'm working on a Christmas list, thought I might add a pack.  I've heard good things about the Osprey stuff.
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GHC
Well ... kind of depends what long distance means to you......so I will come at it this way......

Figure you will consume about a liter an hour if you are working hard and/or it's hot.   

So decide how many hours you need water for, and how you intend to use your bike's bottle cages, and get that sized pack.

Personally, I have a 3L pack.    Mine is called the Camelbak Lobo.   It has a 3L Crux reservoir.   

I like a 3L pack for a couple reasons.   1) You don't have to fill it if you don't want to.   The bag itself is light, so I don't feel like I am giving up anything over the smaller packs, and have the additional capacity when I need it.       2) In addition to hydration on a long >3.5 hour ride, you need nutrition, and a 3L bag has more pocket capacity for holding nutrition too.

Lastly....as I typed at the start....figure you need about a liter an hour when you are working hard or its hot.    A bike typically has two or three bottle cages anyway ...... so if I don't plan to ride over 3 hours before hitting a known water source.... the bottle cages are all I need/I don't need a backpack.      Over 3 or available water unknown, I go with the pack for the reasons I mentioned above.

TIP.... whatever bag you go with, pre mix your hydration and/or fill with water the night before and store the full bladder in the refrigerator, leaving room for a few healthy handfuls of ice.  This will cool everything down.   Before you leave, fill it to capacity with ice and put the bladder in the backpack.   You'll be surprised how long the water stays cool, even on hot days, and you will feel some of the coolness on your back, to a point.  In addition, a full 3L pack isn't light .... it can be a great training tool on short rides too, in a sick kind of way.   Riding with a pack takes some getting used to.... you might notice the additional weight on your arse bones until you get used to it.

All of that being typed though .....  Admittedly I see more 2L packs or smaller on the "race" courses than I see 3L like mine.  Pretty uncommon to have to ride over 50-60 miles before race organizers make water available, even on long rides.....so a 2L or smaller will typically get you there in combination with your bike's cages.    So again, the size you might want may depend on what you plan to ride, and how you plan to use your cages.     If its only races, a 3 L might be overkill.   On the other hand, if you are doing >80 mile training rides in areas where water availability is unknown or unavailable ....or if you also plan to use it for hiking or hunting adventures... the 3L might be the ticket.  I like mine.

Final tip .... go to a Camelbak retailer and check them out.  Most retailers have a decent collection, different sizes, and you can physically hold them and check out the features......figure out what style you like, and put that on your xmas list.  If you go Camelbak, make sure it's the Crux reservoir and not old stock (the old style/non crux lids were a pain!).
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Jeb
I have both an Osprey 3L pack with storage capacity and a Camelbak 1.5L without storage. Both work well and are comfortable for a couple of hours. If it's water capacity you're after in a race I think I look to carrying it on the bike and not my back.
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JMosey
Thanks for the replies.

Long distance to me is a 12-24 hour race... some of which are in pretty remote areas of the U.P. in Michigan so you never know where water is available.  I have a new Warbird and it has bottle mounts on the fork so I could carry 3-5 bottles (depending frame bag) but my inner triathlete screams at putting two sails on the front of the bike!  I keep going back and forth about whether or not I want a back pack as I don't know if I want the extra weight and heat involved.  On the flip side, some of these races will have a hike a bike section, river/stream crossings, etc. so the idea of carrying a heavier bike isn't appealing.  Oh well, lots of time to think about it!
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monkeyrider
I've got an Osprey Raptor and two Hydrapaks. The Osprey is great. I use it for bikepacking and mt biking mostly. For gravel rides I prefer bottles and carry a filter to refill if needed.
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GHC
JMosey wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

Long distance to me is a 12-24 hour race... some of which are in pretty remote areas of the U.P. in Michigan so you never know where water is available.  I have a new Warbird and it has bottle mounts on the fork so I could carry 3-5 bottles (depending frame bag) but my inner triathlete screams at putting two sails on the front of the bike!  I keep going back and forth about whether or not I want a back pack as I don't know if I want the extra weight and heat involved.  On the flip side, some of these races will have a hike a bike section, river/stream crossings, etc. so the idea of carrying a heavier bike isn't appealing.  Oh well, lots of time to think about it!


JMosey .... Looks like you might be considering a frame bag too.  Given that, something else to consider, is putting a bladder (or bottles for that matter) in the frame bag for carrying additional hydration ....... if you want to keep the weight off your back.  Some frame bags, like the Revelate Tangle bag, has a hole in the end for fishing a drink tube through.   Water bladders come in many shapes and sizes on amazon. Obviously having a water bladder (or bottles for that matter) in a frame bag can complicate hike a bike sections if they are long hikes.   At any rate, your original message sounded like you might be looking for xmas list ideas.....so you might consider figuring out what sized tangle bag your bike needs and go with that too. 

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TrailMasonCliff
GHC wrote:


JMosey .... Looks like you might be considering a frame bag too.  Given that, something else to consider, is putting a bladder (or bottles for that matter) in the frame bag for carrying additional hydration ....... if you want to keep the weight off your back.  Some frame bags, like the Revelate Tangle bag, has a hole in the end for fishing a drink tube through.   Water bladders come in many shapes and sizes on amazon. Obviously having a water bladder (or bottles for that matter) in a frame bag can complicate hike a bike sections if they are long hikes.   At any rate, your original message sounded like you might be looking for xmas list ideas.....so you might consider figuring out what sized tangle bag your bike needs and go with that too. 



I'm seriously considering going this route for summer rides. I have a tangle on my bike and love it for sticking a jacket and extra gloves in for winter rides that I tend to keep to 50 miles or less. I absolutely love riding with no monkey on my back. 

Any tips/picks of your hose solutions for your bladder in a bag setups? (not the hole out of the bag I got that figured out)

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