USWE, Camelbak or Osprey Hydtration Pack

I’m narrowing down options for a hydration pack. I’m mainly looking for something to support long gravel races. I think I want a 1.5L to compliment my two bottles, but I could be swayed into a 2.5L if it makes more sense.

Priorities are weight, size (don’t want it too long to interfere with jersey pockets), and comfort.

So far I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

Camelback Chase Vest (worn by Ted King, Ali Tetrick, among others)

Osprey Katari 1.5L

USWE Outlander 2 (2L)

I’ve had the chase vest for two seasons and used it in multiple gravel races lasting 3-4 hours. For that duration, 1.5L isn’t enough, so a refill is needed. The only alternative is a bigger pack, which means more weight and may compromise your other needs. I really like the pockets on the Chase vest that put lots of things within easy reach on the bike.

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I’ve got the Chase Vest as well. I usually have two bottles of drink mix on the bike and water in the Camelbak. I really like the front pockets on the Chase. I usually have gels or chews in one side and plugs and CO2 in the other. Keeps everything in easy reach and I don’t need a top tube bag anymore.

I’m happy with the Camelbak but may try a USWE, especially since the TR guys seem to be fans.


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I’ve got a Chase and love it.

I’ve got a USWE and I ride both gravel and mtb on my mtb with it. Even on technical trails I forget it’s there. It still allows you full access to the pockets. I’ve never used the other two packs though so I can’t compare them.


I have and used both the Chase and USWE. USWE is more comfortable and now the Chase just feels awkward. Which is odd because I used to love the Chase. USWE also carries 2.0L.


The only downside to the uswe is that on hot days the chest harness can make unzipping jerseys difficult.

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Haven’t seen the Chase Vest, but I’m currently rocking a USWE and I love it. It absolutely rides higher on the back than other hydration packs. That took about an hour of riding to get used to, and now I can’t imagine going back.

For reference, mine is a bigger one (9L capacity, can’t remember the model name) that I got for MTB, but I’m going to race gravel with it this spring. 3L bladder, I’m hoping that’s enough for some cooler weather races of ~4 hours. I’m trying to avoid bottles altogether, because I prefer a pack and don’t want to stop.


Has anyone used the KLIM hydration packs yet? They look to be nearly identical to USWE but less expensive.

In my search for the perfect xc/trail pack I have now found one I really like. Thule Vital 8.
Lightweight, division pockets for tools etc, internal cargo space and a external pouch. It have side pockets that are easily accessible and have got a very smart system for managing the straw. I love it.

Previous packs have been camelbak mule, hawg, osprey talon and 2 Salomon trail agile packs.


I’m another USWE convert (thanks TR!). I haven’t used the Chase, but the USWE sits higher on the back and doesn’t move at all. It IS a bit tight. I live where it’s HOT, so having it off my center back has helped with keeping cool. Something to look for. Some packs come with a connection that requires you to push a narrow and stiff plastic tube over a connection that is extremely difficult for my puny cyclist arms. It’s absolutely worth the money to buy the bladder with the quick connect valve.

I now use a USWE for gravel and MTB water and put Maurten (another shout out for TR) in a bottle on the downtube so I have both my food and water easily accessible.


I may be the odd duck out here, but I’ve been really enjoying the Osprey Seral hip pack with 1.5L bladder. Very comfortable, room for tools, jacket, food. I wear it for MTB and road/gravel. Does not move around, keeps my back cool compared to a pack, and doesn’t hurt. No downsides for me. I’ve worn it for up to 4-5 hour rides.

Thanks all, this really helps. Sounds like the USWE and Camelbak are great options.

Does anybody know the difference btw the USWE Airborne and Outlander models? Looking at a 2-3L pack for gravel racing but can’t figure which would be most appropriate

It depends on which model and total volume vs hydration volume. When you say 2-3L, those are totally different packs. When you filter, make sure you think about 2L of water vs 2L total. If you mean 2-3L of water, then you want the pack with a 3L bladder. I tend to prefer just water in the bladder, so I also carry a bottle with Maurten in it for fuel. This might reduce the size water you need in the pack.

Also, will you want it to hold a spare tube, toolkit, pump, food, etc? If so, get the ones with the external pack attached. If not, you can fit a few small items like your id, a credit card and phone in the ones with no attachment.

I’d also recommend spending the extra to get the quick release hose attachment.

I got a USWE last month, no chance to use it yet but I was not impressed with the fitting you mentioned above. I thought they all shipped with the quick connect, I was a bit bummed when I had to deal with this on a high dollar item. Pretty lame, I spent 15 minutes trying to cure a leak from the connection. Hope the pack works.


+1 I find it almost invisible .


Good info, thanks! To clarify, I’m looking at 1.5-2.0L of water, with smallish storage - phone, keys, spare tube and patch kit, a few bars/gels/ziplock of powder (have mini pump attached to frame, medium sized saddle bag w/ tube, levers, bacon strips, patches, tire boot, co2). Thanks again.

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when you say quick release hose attachment, do you mean this:

See my post above from 16 days ago with photos. There is a fixed hose and a plug and play one.