A Review of the USWE Epic 3 Hydration Pack
  • Total rating


This MTB backpack has stood up to rigorous testing and remained steadfastly in place on my back. The center buckle offers a faster and more streamlined strapping system than traditional clips, avoiding potential discomfort when climbing, and reducing pressure on your core.


  • It takes a lot of effort to make it move. It’s super sturdy
  • The buckle is ideal to hold any GoPro Chest Mount firmly
  • Compact enough to fit better in a travel luggage
  • Works well for mountain, gravel, and road bike rides
  • It’s barely intrusive to avoid rashes or general body pain


  • The learning curve causes storage-limited issues when adapting to the bag
  • It could be difficult to outperform what a lumbar does already for this kind of storage system
  • The bladder can create more bulk that can block the central pouch entirely.
  • It’ll hardly fit large-sized smartphones.
  • The price could be lower considering how limited it is with their storage and overall size
User Review
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USWE Epic 3 Hydration PackHydration backpacks have become essential gear for mountain biking, offering a convenient storage solution for your necessities during the ride.

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Yet, many of these packs can prove to be impractical, offering an uneven load and excessive storage that results in a noisy, bouncing backpack.

Some designs might provide an abundance of space, but the compromise comes in the form of a bag that rattles, jostles incessantly, and generates unnecessary heat against your back.

USWE, a Swedish brand, has ingeniously designed a solution with its No Dancing Monkey (NDM) technology. This unique feature offers a bounce-free build that snugly adapts to the back and torso without exerting undue pressure on the body or generating excess heat.

For road bikers and mountain bikers alike, it’s a game-changer – a hydration backpack that stays firmly in place while riding.

Exploring the USWE Epic 3 Hydration Backpack

USWE Epic 3 Hydration Pack

The USWE Epic 3 stands out as an exemplary hydration backpack for mountain biking. If you’ve been pondering which model offers the best combination of storage, durability, and hydration capabilities, your search ends here.

The Epic 3’s low-profile design, secure strapping, and efficient hydration system blend seamlessly into the ride experience. The pack’s design mirrors the convenience of lumbar hip packs, staying unobtrusive even when mounted on a bike.

Furthermore, its smart alignment to the upper back ensures the backpack remains clear of the mountain bike frame – a major advantage over lumbar bags that risk getting lodged underneath the seat, causing potential mishaps.

The No Dancing Monkey technology zeroes in on the front straps and the buckle. To use it, simply put on the backpack, lock it in, and adjust the side velcro to fit your preference. You’ll find the hydration backpack feels stable, allowing ample range of motion without causing discomfort or irritating your skin. Releasing the pack is as easy as pressing the center buckle.

The shoulder straps incorporate a clip to keep your bladder tube within easy reach for quick hydration. Its length is ample enough to be conveniently positioned in front of you.

The mouthpiece is designed with a user-friendly locking system that can be operated with just a thumb. Moreover, it ensures an optimal amount of water with each sip.

GoPro users will appreciate the extra support provided by the buckle to secure the GoPro. Let the center buckle rest on the chest mount, and it effectively prevents any unnecessary flapping due to the weight of the GoPro.

USWE Epic 3 Hydration Pack

Advantages of Limited Storage

The Epic 3’s approach to storage is a refreshing deviation from traditional backpacks like those offered by Camelbak or EVOC. It takes inspiration from lumbar bags, providing a minimalist storage system to limit excessive pockets that can result in an unstable load.

While the storage capacity might depend on your riding style, it offers just enough pockets to ensure the backpack stays comfortably affixed to your back.

The Epic 3 I’ve used for my MTB ventures features a single back pouch with two inner pockets, sufficient for essentials like a multitool, a set of tire levers, and car keys.

Initially, it may seem restrictive, but this minimalist design soon reveals its advantages, promoting a more streamlined, efficient storage approach.

Redefining Your Storage Perspective

USWE Epic 3 Hydration Pack

USWE defies the conventional wisdom of hydration backpack design by prioritizing stability over numerous storage compartments. This shift might initially seem inconvenient, but it invites us to reimagine how we carry our items.

First, it’s crucial to choose the right model for your specific riding style. While my MTB Epic 3 is ideal for short cross-country rides, it may not suffice for Enduro riders who require support for longer durations.

Next, prioritize and rearrange your items. Store infrequently used items in the hydration pack’s main compartment and distribute the rest in your shorts and shirt pockets, according to your preference.

Finally, consider investing in bike frame straps or a cycling bag like the Topeak Burrito Pack for storing additional items. This system not only helps to locate each item but also prevents unnecessary rattling and disorganization within the bag.

It’s a strategy that encourages a minimalist and functional storage approach, helping you assess and carry only the essentials.


USWE Epic 3 Hydration Pack

One notable limitation is the backpack’s compact size. Convincing individuals to adapt to USWE’s minimalist storage approach can be as challenging as persuading someone to switch from Apple to Android.

Moreover, the pandemic highlighted the practicality of compact and non-intrusive storage solutions. Riders gravitated towards MTB lumbar hip packs – lighter mountain biking bags that avoid sweaty backs and excessive hydration bladders.

Additionally, if improperly installed, the hydration bladder can be challenging to store. A handy tip is to freeze the bladder to 1/4 of its storage capacity overnight, leaving it upright in the freezer. In the morning, top it up to ensure the pack slides in smoothly without interfering with the pocket.

Another issue could be the pouch’s size, which might not accommodate the latest larger smartphones. A pair of biking shorts or jerseys with ample pocket space could be a solution for phone storage, as the hydration pack might be too tight to fit a phone in its pouch.

USWE’s No Dancing Monkey technology could be a convincing argument to persuade mountain bikers to shed excessive items and adopt a more streamlined and functional hydration bag.


Since I started using the USWE MTB Epic 3 pack, I haven’t felt the need for another bag. Whether it was a short local trail or a 50-kilometer bike tour in Guatemala, the Epic 3 performed flawlessly. It forced me to reassess the number of surplus items we tend to carry when mountain biking.

This MTB backpack has stood up to rigorous testing and remained steadfastly in place on my back. The center buckle offers a faster and more streamlined strapping system than traditional clips, avoiding potential discomfort when climbing, and reducing pressure on your core.

While it may not be the most affordable option for a mountain biking hydration pack, it’s certainly one of the best. This hydration backpack holds its ground against any other mountain bike bag in terms of functionality.

See also: USWE Outlander 2 Hydration Pack Review

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