We often think that hydration bags for mountain biking have evolved into two distinctly different camps: the hip bag and full hydration pack. However the hydration vest proves that evolution hasn’t stopped, and there’s good reason to make room for a third option. Never mind chopping off the top half of a hydration pack to make it a hip pack; chopping off the lower half might be the better move.
Key specs of the EVOC Pro 6 hydration vest
Most people don’t need an intro to EVOC as a brand. They’ve been making great mountain bike bags and gear for years. The EVOC Hydro Pro 6 hydration vest is their latest take on the hydration vest.
There’s not a ton of features to cover here. It’s a simple piece of gear. The vest has:
- a 1.5L bladder (included)
- Two nutrition compartments for snacks — one on each strap
- Two other zippered pouches
- A main pouch and small zippered pocket
On the trail
I really like full-size hydration packs on long rides where you need to pack everything in case of an emergency: rain jacket, tools, pump, snacks, and whatever else. As we know, they’re not always the most comfortable to lug around all day.
Hip packs are great because they’re more comfortable, less sweaty, and generally, bounce around less than a full-size backpack (but not always). The bad thing about hip packs is that they can be hard to fit everything you need and many of them don’t stay where they need to and do bounce around on descents.
EVOC’s Hydro Pro 6 combines the best attributes about both of these but in a different design. It has a slim profile, so it’s not the best pack if you’re looking to stuff a bunch of stuff into something. There is room for a small, packable layer on the inside, plus the 1.5L bladder, some small tools, and snacks can fit on your shoulder straps.
With the slim and high profile design, the EVOC Hydro Pro 6 is easy to forget on rides, whether climbing or descending. Vests like this manage the weight of water and other carry-ables better than any other kind of pack in my experience. The only downside is that sweat will accumulate underneath the vest.
The hose easily attaches and un-attaches to the magnet dock for it across the chest, making hydration simple and efficient. There are pouches on the straps for quick snack access too. I’ve seen a lot of gravel racers using these types of packs on long courses. This makes sense, considering that the bumpiness of a gravel ride can make it difficult to access a bottle inside the frame on the move, and you might need to pack a few more things than a three-pocket jersey allows.
Pros and cons of the EVOC Hydro Pro 6
- Includes reservoir (not all bags do)
- Comfy fit that is better than most full-size hydration packs
- Easy access to snacks and main pouch
- Easy to hydrate in the saddle
- Pocket layout on straps can be confusing
The EVOC Hydro Pro 6 hydration vest is a great pack option for riders who want a lightweight pack that doesn’t move around and has easy access to water and snacks.