Winter bike gear has come a long way in recent years, giving riders fewer excuses to get out and pedal in the cold. Take the Endura Freezing Point MT500 pants and jacket we reviewed near the beginning of this year, which allow you to stay warm and move around on the bike in cold weather.
Packs and hydration present another set of issues in the cold; frozen tips, hoses, and drinking apparatus’. A good winter pack not only needs to keep your drinks drinkable, but it should fit well and be mindful of the cargo load under movement.
Swiss brand USWE attempts to solve these issues with the USWE Hajker Pro 30 Winter pack, a 30L hydration pack with USWE’s signature cross-body “no dancing monkey” strap design. The Hajker 30 has a big, open stuff sack storage space with a waterproof roll top over the main compartment to keep gear dry, insulated Thermo Cell shoulder straps to keep a hydration hose from freezing, or for keeping more heat on snacks and gels, and big pockets along the removable hip strap.
USWE Hajker Pro performance
I received the USWE Hajker Pro 30 in early 2021 and by the time this review comes out, I’ll have had quite a bit of time with the pack. Like a lot of packs, there is a brief period of adjustment and personalization, requiring the rider to fit the straps and set up their load.
One negative — and this is on a lot of packs — is that the USWE Hajker Pro 30 does not include a hydration reservoir. I grabbed an Evoc/Hydrapack reservoir I had on hand and routed it through the pack. There is an insulated reservoir pouch and a strap to suspend it between the main cargo space and back.
Routing the hose through the shoulder straps was kind of a pain though and unfortunately the Thermo Cell shoulder strap, which is a zippered pocket for hydration access, is much shorter than the hose — at least the one I used. This means folding up the hose inside the pocket, making for an awkward approach to a drink, or pulling some of the hose slack elsewhere. The straps also sit quite high putting the drink tube at your shoulder rather than the chest.
The straps otherwise feel great and the Hajker Pro 30 lives up to USWE’s talk about minimizing pack movement on the back. Even on technical rides with a lot up/down/all-around, the pack stays in place but fades away on your back and is not as noticeable as other full-on packs. Venting is on par with other full packs though and it can get pretty sweaty. I wouldn’t mind a stiffer back panel or even some sort of protection through the back, but that might add some weight to the USWE Hajker Pro.
The huge main pouch is nice, especially considering that people riding with this pack may want to stow thicker layers which are tough to fit into typical hydration day packs for mountain biking. The stuff sack and roll top are different too, but allow riders to fit in a ton of gear. There’s a nice helmet net to attach a lid to the outside of the pack. If I had one complaint about storage though, it would be room for tools. There are a lot of pockets, but not one that is well-intended for a tool stash. There are pockets that will fit most tools, but it makes for sort of a tool and gear soup situation, with items bouncing and clanging together.
The USWE Hajker Pro 30 is a big pack meant for riders that are serious about pedaling in all four seasons. The nice thing about this pack is that it could easily double as an alpine touring pack with room for avalanche gear and that dual-use case may help some get over the high price tag on this pack. For $299, it’s far from cheap, but if you need something that’s fit for any ride in any season, the Hajker Pro 30 works well.
- Price: $299
- Buy from USWE.
- Large capacity
- Not overly heavy
Pros and cons of the USWE Hajker 30 Pro winter hydration pack.
- Doesn’t come with hydration reservoir
- No dedicated tool storage