A Single Pack For Singletrack: Mission Workshop Hauser

This 14-liter, roll-top hydration pack is made in America. Through bikepacking, international travel, and backyard rides, our reviewer gave it a rigorous test.

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Courtesy Jens Staudt for REI

Best known for street-savvy bike bags, Mission Workshop‘s Acre Supply is the brand’s grittier line, dedicated to “the road-less traveled.” For dirt-prone cyclists, it offers the Hauser hydration pack in 10L and 14L volumes.

The San Francisco team brings its A-game to this pack, staying true to city-wise Mission roots. Its American-made construction, attention to detail, and good looks all make this an attractive pack for those with a thick wallet.

We gave the $215 Hauser 14L a thorough test to see if it’s worth the price.

In short: Great fit, durable construction, and a handy toolkit are nice perks. But the price is steep, some features can frustrate, and the size is limiting.

Hauser Hydration Pack: Construction

The Hauser uses heavy weatherproof nylon, paired with a hanging laminated nylon inner pack. It’s water resistant, and can be rolled closed and secured via a thick Velcro top strap. Or snap it shut with a pair of buckles that can also secure a helmet to the pack.

Four pockets keep must-have items within reach. A small zippered back pocket holds keys, wallet, or passport. A small right-side pocket sleeves a smart device or tickets. A third pocket sits low on the pack and stores straps. Finally, a large back pocket billows out to hold a compartmented tool bag (included).

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The back panel unzips from the body of the pack to make filling the reservoir a breeze.

Instead of accessing the reservoir from inside the pack, you unzip a fifth pocket to separate the hydration compartment from the backpack. Inside, you can hang a 3L reservoir, compatible with most popular hydration companies. And port exits on both shoulder straps enable you to route a hydration hose through either side.

The shoulder straps and back panel are lined with 3D mesh, providing padding and ventilation. A gel pocket sits on each shoulder strap.

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The four “square” rings on the hip wings help adjust the pack to fit most riders

A pair of higher and lower rings on the lumbar wings configure both the shoulder and hip straps, and help personalize fit for different riders.

Pack Fit And Design

The pack indeed fits well. The long, flat back pad isn’t as much a part of the pack as it is an extension of the rider.

The long, shallow cargo space keeps the kit close to your chassis, instead of bloating out, away from the body. This design effectively glues the pack to your back even while spritely descending downhills. A little time spent adjusting the hip and shoulder straps goes a long way to make sure you reap the benefits of this fit.

The carnivorous main compartment eats up a day’s worth of supplies supplements a bikepacking rig nicely. It was large enough to swallow a sleeping bag, pad, and rain gear. That said, its smallish 14L volume kept me honest, begging the question “Do I really needed to carry the item?”

Mission Workshop Hauser Pack: Pros

I’m partial to packs that separate the hydration slot from the cargo space. This allows you to refill the bladder without dumping all of your equipment. The hydration pocket opens wide, allowing you to fill the bladder with ease.

It’s not completely waterproof, but the material is top-shelf and the roll-top closure does a fine job at sealing out the elements. I got a chance to test this when I “commuted 200 miles to work,” riding across Bavaria in a downpour.

With the main compartment sleeved, my laptop (thankfully!) stayed completely dry during a day-long deluge. Barring falling off the road and into the river, the Hauser will keep your kit dry.

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The (included) tool-roll can swallow a virtual bike shop, ready to tackle any trailside mechanical.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing parts of the pack is the (included) tool roll. When I bring tools on a ride, it’s usually a hasty afterthought grabbing tubes, levers, pumps and stuffing my pockets with a curiosity of supplies. The Hauser elevates tool organization to a zen-like art with a four-pocket tool-roll that can store three tubes, a patch kit, pump, and tool kit.

Yes, the tool-roll can be purchased separately, but it will set you back $65.

Finally, the pack is made in America, with craftsmanship guaranteed for life.

Cons

Price. Over $200 is a hard bolus to swallow, especially for a hydration pack sans reservoir. Heck, $200 can buy you a backpack capable of summiting Everest. For some, though, the made in America tag will justify the price. The craftsmanship certainly warrants the price and it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Also, a single zipper conceals the hydration pocket. This requires that you always route the hose through the shoulder straps and leaves you with no backup should you blow the zipper.

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A closeup of the 3D mesh pad that makes up the back pad and shoulder straps.

Third, every surface that touches the body — the back panel and shoulder straps — are covered in a 3D-foam mesh. On hot days the foam pads didn’t manage moisture as well as I’d like. Less expensive options, like Osprey or CamelBak, incorporate ventilated back panels that truly allow air current to flow between your back and the pack.

Lastly, I wish the hydration pocket was a little larger, but not for the sake of hydration. At 7″ wide, it’s a hair shy of accommodating my laptop. This ought to make pulling it out at TSA checkpoints easy, but the laminated nylon in the sleeve sticks to the laptop as you pull it out and it’s a chore to fit back into the pack.

Made In America Hydration Pack

For many, a hydration pack is a beast of burden, a necessary requirement to carry a day of supplies on extended bike trips. But if a bike backpack is your jam, riders take note: The Hauser’s wide back panel conforms to the back, and stays glued during vigorous descents, making it one of the more comfortable packs I’ve ever used. There’s more than enough room for all-day epics and it makes a fine travel companion for bikepacking trips. And the tool-roll is a fine perk.

Overall, Mission designed the Hauser as a pack for those looking for style. But for those who prefer to open their packs wide to get full access to their kit, the smallish roll-top opening might be too restrictive. And if ventilation and price point are key purchasing criteria, you’ll probably dismiss the Hauser as your weekend workhorse and seek another hydration option.

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Mission Workshop Hauser

  • Frameless
  • Volume: 10L / 14L
  • Price: $205 / $215
  • Outer Fabric: Dimension-Polyant 210d nylon VX ripstop with waterproof laminate
  • Liner Fabric: 70d nylon ripstop with waterproof TPU laminate
  • Zippers: YKK urethane coated watertight zippers. (#5 and #7 coil)
  • Back panel: Ariaprene™ hexagonal perforated foam with nylon mesh laminate
  • Tool-Roll: 500d Cordura nylon, heavy duty nylon mesh, YKK #5 reverse coil zippers
  • External dimensions: 19″ x 10″ x 6.5″
  • Cargo dimensions: 19″ x 9.25″ x 3.5″
  • Made in: USA
  • Warrenty: Lifetime
  • More info/company contact: Mission Workshop

 

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Contributing Editor (and Gear Junkie Idaho Bureau Chief) Steve Graepel is allegedly a crook and a thief, conning his friends to steal away time from their families in pursuit of premeditated leisure, which typically involves a bike, a pack-raft, skis, running shoes, climbing rack, or all of the above.

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