Although we desperately need the rain, the extended fall season in the Bay Area has made for some great riding- both road and mountain. The wildly changing temperatures means more layers, however, so I have been exploring the trails with the roomy Hydrapak Bishop hydration pack.
With a 3L reservoir and 12L-15L of storage space, the Bishop makes a great commuter pack or an all day ride hydration pack but perhaps a little overkill for your average lunchtime hammerfest. The roomy main compartment houses a separate reservoir sleeve and leaves plenty of room for multiple clothing layers. A second compartment features nicely organized pockets for your spare tubes, CO2 canisters, tire levers, multi-tool, and even a key clip to ensure you don’t forget any of the essentials when you head out on the trails for the day.
A large flap pocket at the front of the hydration pack holds your helmet when you stop for that post ride beer or also makes a great place to store your shoes when you head into work. A small fleece lined zipper pocket is perfectly placed right at the top of the pack for you to quickly stow your phone after pushing the start button on your new Strava ride.
The combination foam and mesh backpanel with an internal aluminum-shank frame gives the pack structure for heavier loads while remaining comfortable and breathable along your back. I really appreciate all of the stretch mesh panels along the Thru-Vent padded shoulder straps for securing your hydration tube in place. The new high-flow Blaster bite valve saves you on those endless climbs where you need to quickly grab water between each labored breath.
The hydration pack comes with a mud guard/rain cover for you bike commuters but for the true mountain biker, don’t you judge your rides by the amount of mud you come home wearing? For this time of year, the added reflective plaid and gearing detail on the pack comes in handy, as does the usual blinky attachment loop.
The one annoyance I have with the Bishop is the placement of the buckle straps. You have to undo the helmet panel buckles in order to get inside either of the main compartments. Same goes for the two zippered side pockets. These pockets would be great for storing quick access items like a rain jacket but the straps tend to get in the way.
The Hydrapak Bishop hydration pack retails for $139-$149 and is available now from the company website.