Hydro Flask 5L Down Shift Hydration Hip Pack

This pack stood out to one GearJunkie staffer during a couple of trail rides in Cuyuna, Minnesota, where he was unacclimated to the humidity and went through water fast. The Hydro Flask 5L Down Shift Hydration Hip Pack is insulated to keep 1.5 L of water chilled for 3 hours.

The secret sauce is the brand’s Cold Flow System: a mix of neoprene around the reservoir and reflective lining in the pack to repel heat. The bladder itself is easy to fill and rinse out after use, and the self-sealing bite valve lived up to its design. Like any waist pack, the benefits are keeping your center of gravity on the hips and not trapping sweat on your back.

Having cold water hours after he filled it cooled him down and gave him a mental boost. It’s continued to come in handy on rides around Denver, and he’s convinced himself to bring it on hikes.

Storage-wise, this pack has an organized internal pocket for biking tools and gels, a lined media pocket, and an external stretch pocket for another water bottle. Additionally, its external straps let you secure other items, like a rain shell.

He came to appreciate the storage space as an option on more leisurely rides or switching between bikes. It felt sized right to carry repair essentials and some odds and ends. Granted, a dedicated seat bag can carry essentials, but the packs still proved handy for packing snacks (that’s right, no jersey pockets) and strapping a rain shell onto it.