Whether you’re someone whose preferences take you down the hardcore enduro routes, or you’re simply in the saddle for substantial periods, having an on-board water supply within easy reach is a good investment. As a long distance motorcyclist who adores the dirt roads as much as the scenic paved roads, the need for a hydration pack is a daily one as much as a ‘must have’ addition to my riding ensemble. Keeping the hydration level happy is not just a matter of convenience; it plays a pivotal role towards sustainable riding in hot conditions, or the cold for that matter.
Offering up a considered array of British-designed motorcycle luggage, Kriega’s “motorcycle-obsessed” and experienced engineers pride themselves on craftsmanship as well as adhering to the highest industry standards. The 10-year guarantee against material and, or manufacturing faults supports the conviction behind the ethos: fit-for-purpose products made from weatherproof materials, which are built to last and significantly cater to the varying needs of motorcyclists.
The Kriega Hydro-3 Enduro backpack at $139—400mm(H) x 170mm(W) x 70mm(D)—meets a race specification, designed for the more active rider. It comes with an adjustable Quadloc-LITE harness, quick release buckles, a 3-litre Hydrapak reservoir and a drinks tube, a 1-litre side access front pocket, an external shock-cord and removable waist strap.
Living with the backpack
I’m no Dakar racer, however, the drink system has proven incredibly tough based on the few thousand miles clocked with it thus far. Using the backpack in a heat wave amid Arizona; the backcountry trails around the Meteor Crater; the wet streets of Flagstaff before tackling a rocky side road in Sedona, Arizona; up to the snowy climes of Colorado on the Million Dollar Highway in the fall; trail riding around Canyonlands, Utah; sand riding at Monument Valley and wending our way through Joshua Tree National Park, California, I have found the product sand-proof, cactus-proof and waterproof.
Easy to sling over my shoulders when wearing a motorcycle jacket, the back and strap padding make it comfortable against the back plate and shoulder armour respectively. The padding creates a 5mm airspace on the back to promote ventilation. Further airflow is ascertained through the meshed wings that taper around the hips. The pack’s narrow width in conjunction with the harness arrangement permit an unconfined freedom of underarm movement, which is especially advantageous off road when I’m often active on the foot pegs.
Another feature of the Hydro-3 backpack is the option to adjust the back-length according to the rider’s size from XS to XL; as a smaller female rider, it’s important to have a good fit with every item worn against the body. Once configured (there are three levels of fit), loosening of the straps and re-adjustment isn’t necessary every time. There is ample adjustment room to accommodate a waist pack too.
The bag is constructed from an abrasive-resistant, 420D nylon rip-stop material. It has a big grab handle at the top and there are reflective logos / accents on the straps and front. The LED rear light mounting loops facilitate high visibility as well. The YKK water-resistant zips have extended lanyard on them with plastic stoppers, designed for easy use when wearing motorcycle gloves.
There is a 1-litre side access zip compartment on the front that runs the length and width of the backpack—ideal for smaller items such as: a pocket camera, mobile phone, miniature sunscreen, analgesics, map, snack-bars, multi-tool etc. An adjustable shock cord crisscrossing the front offers external storage of a mid-layer or lightweight jacket for example and the pack has optional add-ons such as a 5 or 10-litre drypack storage and a harness pocket.
I find it easier to insert the full bladder into the bag before I stow items in the front pocket. As there are no hip pockets, storage is limited to the front and outside, however consequent range of movement through the compact shape remains unhindered. The 3-litre reservoir—although a closely snug fit when sliding it into the bag at full capacity—is simple to operate, features a measuring system in fluid ounces and litres, and crucially, doesn’t leak. The bladder opens fully at the top by a sliding clip, which enables filling, cleaning and drying a quick and easy process.
The hose is constructed from a hardwearing rubber, which is insulated for durability and heat regulation. Riding in temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it still dispensed cool water in the afternoon having filled the reservoir with iced water in the early morning. The hose can be disconnected without fuss from the bladder by means of the built-in spring-loaded connector.
The tube stays in position through an opening at the top and adheres to a pull-away Velcro piece on the front for quick-use while riding the bike at high or slow speed. The no-leak bite valve is simple to use with one hand and equipped with an on/off twist collar, which is protected by a dust cover, permanently attached to the hose with a plastic lanyard, keeping the valve hygienic and clean when not in use.
The drink system is big enough to fulfill my hydration needs but light enough to keep it comfortable the entire day, without weighing down my upper body. This benefit is further supported by the design features such as the adjustable Quadloc, click-in / click-out chest harness, which transfers weight and pressure away from my neck and shoulders. My armpits remain gloriously unimpeded and aerated during day-long usage of the backpack; it encourages optimal movement more than other backpacks I’ve previously used. The pack stays in place down steep inclines, more so when the waistband straps are used too. And essentially comes into its own when I’m on the pegs negotiating more technical terrain.
Firsthand experience of the Kriega Hydro-3 has left me with every confidence in the product; it complements the rider in terms of style and foremost function, gives rise to comfort all day in the saddle and affords an unobstructed range of movement for the more dynamic dirt roads. While it’s perfect for rugged terrains, it is also practical for those requiring on-the-go water in warmer climates or simply, enduring long days astride two wheels. As motorcycle-oriented hydration solutions go, this one is pretty unbeatable.