Ever since I started reviewing Hydrapak backpacks, I’ve fallen in love and have counted them as one of my favorite hydration pack manufacturers. If you’re interested, you can check out my previous Hydrapak reviews here:
However, I had been puzzled in recent months by the apparent lack of advanced features when compared to companies like Osprey.
With the announcement of the brand-new Hydrapak Bishop and Bishop XT, those puzzled thoughts have been put to bed. The brand-new Bishop is jam-packed with advanced features and looks ready to tackle even the biggest dogs in the hydration pack market.
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the pack are the swank colors and the bike-specific decals. Yeah, Hydrapak knows who its market is!
The features are more than skin-deep: the next thing you’ll likely notice is the unique back panel. The back panel actually incorporates an aluminum back sheet, which conforms to the riders back, provides load support and structure, and also sheds some serious heat thanks to high-tech baffling and ventilation. When I heard “aluminum” I thought, “uh oh, this thing’s going to be heavy,” but it felt very light for a pack of this size.
On the topic of ventilation, the new shoulder straps feature a brand-new padding design that is hyper ventilated and looks very comfortable… although only long term testing can tell for sure.
The new Bishop also addresses another quibble I had with some of Hydrapak’s packs: the lack of accessible pockets without removing the pack. Well, they’ve fixed that in the new bishop, with a pair of pockets on the waist straps and a couple of small side pockets that are also easily accessible.
The Bishop features 900 cubic inches of storage space and utilizes Hydrapak’s own 3-liter reservoir. The regular Bishop retails for $139 and the XT retails for $149.
In the past, Hydrapak’s bite valve has been a source of slight irritation for myself and another Singletracks blogger. After extended use (think 6-9 months of almost 4-5 day per week use) the valve starts to get leaky. While it can be replaced easily, Hydrapak will soon be releasing a brand-new high-flow bite valve. The new valve is much easier to bite, has a much bigger locking mechanism, and allows a significantly larger amount of water to pass through at a fast rate. This is perfect for those hard climbs when you don’t want to pause your ragged breathing for too long for a long, slow drink: take a fast, full drink instead!
The valve is not yet on the market, but stay tuned for a review of the Bishop pack and new bite valve in the future.