Hydrapak Big Sur hydration pack review - Bike Magic

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Hydrapak Big Sur hydration pack review

The Big Sur from Hydrapak is a well designed hydration pack capable of carrying enough spares and supplies for an all-day epic and is supremely comfortable and durable with it

Hydrapak’s Big Sur is a well designed pack

Hydrapak says the Big Sur is the company’s most popular pack and it’s easy to see why. We’ve been using this pack for the past few months and in that time it’s become our default go-to choice for everything from short blasts to epics. It’s simply very well designed making it very nice to ride with.

The heart of the Hydrapak Big Sur is the 3 litre bladder. In our opinion it’s one of the best on the market with some design features that make it easy to look after. The roll-top opens for full access so you can thoroughly clean out the inside of gunk, and the slide-top fastening is easy to use and ensures a good watertight seal. The hose can be easily removed as well for cleaning. It’s no wonder other manufacturers use Hydrapak’s bladder in their bags.

The well designed bladder is easy to access and keep clean

To avoid the hose dangling about when you’re riding, a magnet on the hose and on the chest strap keeps it secured in place. The location of the magnet on the hose can be adjusted easily. While it works most of the time, we found it didn’t take much force to knock the hose off the magnet – a stronger magnet would help. As it is we took to looping the hose under the chest strap before securing to the magnet. Not ideal, but avoids a flailing hose.

The bite valve twists to lock and unlock so you can transport the pack with a full bladder and not have it leak all over the car boot. When open there’s no leaking and it’s simply a case of biting the valve to release a nice steady stream of fluid.

Loads of space inside for everything

A medium sized pack, the Big Sur measures 18in tall by 9.25in wide and 4.25in deep, with a 7.4-litre cargo capacity that is well spread out over a multitude of pockets and pouches. We counted nine in total. There’s a specific home for everything from your car keys, tools and wallet in the front pockets, a fleece-lined pocket for your smart phone and an expanding pouch sandwiched between the main compartment and outer section to stuff anything from a jacket to knee pads. The bladder slips into its own separate compartment on the back of the pack which can be accessed easily.

Basically there’s more than enough space for all but the longest rides and weekend romps. We simply loved the organised design that makes it an easy pack to live with as you never waste time emptying the contents to find that 4mm Allen key buried at the bottom of one huge cavernous pocket.

Unladen it’s a reasonably light pack with a weight of 1lb 4 oz. That makes it a good pack for shorter rides as there’s virtually no hindrance when you’re riding, even during the most animated riding. We used this pack in the Megavalanche and barely noticed it was on most of the time.

Even laden up with a day’s worth of food, it’s still comfortable. The back panel and straps are nicely padded and the waist and chest straps provide plenty of adjustment.

Durability is at the heart of any product that is designed for all-day epic riding, and the 210D Nylon, Hypalon Construction and 420D HD Nylon Bottom Panel has proven to be more than adequate and standing up to all abuse, from chucking it in the back of the car under a pile of bikes to sliding across the ground on it.


Packed with features and well thought out pockets makes the Big Sur one of the nicest hydration packs we’ve tested.


Lots of pockets
Tough build
Bladder design


Magnet not strong enough

UK importer: Fisher Outdoor
Official site: Hydrapak

Price: £69.99

The official portrait. It’s a durable and versatile pack.

What Hydrapak says about the Big Sur hydration pack

Our most enduring and popular pack, the Big Sur has storage capacity for all day excursions with an emphasis on comfort, durability, functionality, and fit.


* Quick Access front applied pocket w/multiple internal organizer pockets, Elastic Loops, and Key Clip
* Dedicated Zippered Reservoir Pocket on Back Panel
* Dedicated Fleece Lined Electronics Pocket w/Cord Port
* Paded Shoulder Straps
* 360 Degree Reservoir Insulation
* Sliky Slider Sternum Strap
* Pump Sleeve in Main Pocket
* Weight: 1lb 4 oz.
* 100 oz (3L) Shape-Shift Reservoir with Plug-N-Play and Quantum Clip
* Measures: 18″ x 9.25″ x 4.25″
* 210D Baby Rip Nylon, 210D Nylon, Hypalon Construction


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