Almost two years ago, Thule launched their Rail hydration pack, with a Koroyd back protector and the ability to carry a full face helmet or pads, for a distinctly enduro-ready setup. They have continued defining the Rail, and have added a 0L, 2L, and 4L Rail hip pack, and an 18L Rail hydration pack optimized for electric mountain biking.
When I reviewed the Rail 12 Pro hydration pack, I really liked the look, the construction, and the functionality. There is room to make it an all-day pack, it’s perfect for backcountry enduros, and it has a slim profile. When Thule released their hip pack options this summer, I was just as intrigued. The 2L option looked perfect for 1-3 hour rides, otherwise known as lunch rides or local rides. If you’re like me and squeeze in shorter rides during the week, and longer rides on the weekend, you probably have a hip pack and a full-on hydration pack that you bounce back and forth between.
The Thule Rail 2L has a main pouch with pockets for stuffing most of your stuff in. The pockets keep things semi-organized and there is a phone pocket/sleeve on the outside of the pack. There are two water bottle pouches that collapse without a bottle in them for a slimmer fit. The belt has a standard buckle that is lined with Velcro for a double retention system. The Rail 2L comes in one color and costs a reasonable $55 (available from Amazon).
The double retention strap has worked OK for me, but the end of the straps often slip out from underneath each other. With the buckle straps cinched down, the Rail 2L does a decent job of staying in place.
I haven’t had any issues with bottles popping out of their holsters but retention can depend on how tight the pack is on the rider’s body, and I keep mine pretty tight. Even so, the Rail 2L hasn’t been uncomfortable at all. I haven’t had any issues with the pack feeling bouncy either, and just like the Rail hydration pack, I love the slim profile.
With one or two bottles in the pack, and one on the bike, there is plenty of room inside the Rail 2L to fit a tool, pump, emergency tube (or Tubolito), while leaving space for snacks, for a longer than planned ride. The organization inside the pack is enough to keep things tidy while leaving room for larger items like tubes and snacks to float around.
The construction feels very solid on the hip pack and dirt seems to rub right off. The phone pouch is also pretty handy and frees up some space from the rider’s shorts.
For a reasonable $55, Thule has made a solid pack with the Rail 2L, with options for something smaller (0L) or larger (4L) to accommodate all riders. The look and fit are great and it’s just the right amount of space for small to medium size rides.
Thanks to Thule for sending the Rail 2 for review.