Bike hydration belts are a great solution for shorter and more aggressive rides , we tested the Source Hipster with the 1.5L reservoir
As part of the Enduro trend sweeping through the mountain biking world, more and more riders have begun ditching cumbersome hydration packs in favor of hydration or bottle belts. The advantages and disadvantage are obvious: on the one hand, a lightweight belt which doesn’t burden the shoulders or leaves sweaty backsides; on the other hand, limited storage room and water reservoir volume, along with the fact that donning a fanny pack isn’t exactly the height of MTB fashion. More importantly, most hydration belts tend to bounce around the hips during technical riding, distracting the rider when concentration is paramount.
Source, the veteran hydration pack and outdoor gear manufacturer, hasn’t ignored this latest trend but attempted to overcome its design problems. The result is the aptly-named Hipster hydration belt, which comes with a thin, minimalistic harness for increased stability while its wearer sprints, turns, leaps, drops, and, well, just rides Enduro.
On the bike:
Before our first test ride we emptied our hydration pack and meticulously chose what we saw as the minimum required gear for riding. We took with us a medium-sized pump, a 29” inner tube, a small multitool, a tubeless repair kit, our cellphone, a snack and gel and stuffed them into the Hipster. With the 1.5 liter reservoir full, the belt was filled to the brim. The central compartment is divided into two, with one housing the reservoir. We used the other for the pump and tube. There are three external compartments for smaller items – we could barely stuff our smartphone into one of them. The net hip pockets are quite large, and we put the tools and a tubeless kit in one, and the food and gel in the other.
The water reservoir is shaped to fit the belt and its curves. We first tested a prototype reservoir, which leaked a bit, and later the final version, which proved a better fit and allowed for closing the zipper more easily. Source’s bladder is reliable and does not leak, but we found that it requires a bit too much effort to suck out water during the ride.
The hipster sits snugly on the body. The belt itself is secured by a large buckle, and the harness adds adjustable chest and shoulder straps. Together, the belt feels extremely comfortable even with a full reservoir and crammed full with gear. We never experienced unwanted movement or pressure rubbing on specific areas; rather, it felt like we weren’t wearing a pack at all (which was technically true), and we felt lighter and looser, finishing rides without upper body sores.
The Hipster suffers from two main faults: first, it will take a while before your riding buddies run out of jokes mocking your new fanny pack. The second, and more substantial of the two, is the weak magnet on the bladder and chest strap, which is supposed to prevent the hose from bouncing around when you and your bike do. More than once, the hose broke loose of the magnet’s grip and dangled dangerously around the wheels. We eventually replaced the magnet with a solution offered by a different manufacturer, but would be happy if Source could come up with a more reliable fix to this acute problem.
The Hipster quickly became one of our favorite “packs” for short rides. Uninhibited by a weighty pack, riding without pressure on the shoulders is addictive, and we found ourselves installing a water bottle cage on our rigs to extend the volume we could carry.
That said, we would like to see a solution to securing the hose, as well as a bit more space to store our gear.
For better: Pack remains completely secured to the body with no unwanted movement, excellent side pockets.
For worse: Weak hose magnet, regrettable lack of style.
|Bladder Capacity:||1.5L 50oz|
|Storage Capacity:||Pockets and bungee cords|
|Materials:||Ripstop 70D Nylon and Mesh|