Thule continues their push into new product categories with the launch of the Vital collection of hydration packs. Targeted squarely at mountain bikers and perhaps day hikers, the Vital packs feature some ingenious Swedish engineering to overcome the usual annoyances we have with current hydration pack designs.
The first thing you will notice on the Vital packs is what Thule is calling the ReTrakt magnetic hose return system. Instead of using the typical tiny round magnet on the bite valve and sternum strap that never works properly, Thule lined the entire base of the hose and shoulder strap with a magnet. You can see this in the bright yellow strip on the hose above. This means that the minute you drop the hose, it falls right back into place — no more trying to ride and fiddle with your hydration hose at the same time.
The Vital hydration packs come in three sizes: 3 liter, 6 liter, and 8 liter. All packs feature a main zippered compartment with an organizer for all your tools and a separate internal hydration sleeve. The Vital 8 adds on an extra stash pocket in the front for stowing a rain jacket or a giant burrito. On the inside of this stash pocket is a small zippered pocket for stowing valuables or tools.
The large hipbelt pockets are modeled after your bike jersey pockets so you can simply reach back and grab your phone (yes, they fit enormous cell phones) or some snacks. A lip over the top of the pocket keeps your phone from flying out when you are bombing downhill.
Thule teamed up with Hydrapak for the reservoirs — the capacity ranges from 1.75 liters to 2.5 liters depending on the pack size. Additional features include a tail light attachment and designated interior loops to carry a tire pump and shock pump.
Expect to see the Thule Vital hydration packs drop sometime in February.