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USWE’s Epic Series All Mountain hydration packs wrangle your dancing monkey

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, front
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While many riders are experimenting with on-bike storage, there are still plenty who prefer the convenience of a backpack for hauling water, trailside tools, and snacks. Sweden’s USWE has just released their EPIC Series All Mountain packs, and they’re looking to win riders over with their No Dancing Monkey strap system.

There are three packs within the new EPIC series to accommodate everyone’s needs: a 3L, 8L, and 12L model. Cycling-wise these packs are aimed at male or female MTB and gravel riders, but they’re also suitable for multi-sport use.

USWE EPIC Series packs – Features:

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, NDM harnessLet’s start by checking out the common features found on all EPIC Series packs: The most notable element of USWE’s hydration packs is their No Dancing Monkey (NDM) 1.2 harness system. With X-shaped straps that join at a center buckle, USWE claims their design keeps the pack very snug and secure as you ride. They’ve made particular efforts to eliminate the bouncing and side-to-side swinging that’s difficult to control with traditional strap setups (and feels like a monkey dancing on your back!).

It also helps that the ergonomically shaped chest straps offer some stretch, so you can set them up snugly and rely on the stretch to keep you comfortable as you move and breathe. This harness system is suitable for men and women, so all EPIC Series packs are considered unisex designs.

As for ventilation, the EPIC Series packs all use USWE’s air-vented back panel with wave-profile pads to allow some cooling airflow. Upfront, the shoulder straps are also ventilated.

USWE Elite hydration bladder

All EPIC packs come with an Elite hydration bladder, which has a slider-type opening. The wide opening allows for easy cleaning and drying, plus you can easily add ice for hot rides. The hose attaches via a Plug-n-Play tube coupling. The EPIC packs use a clip to secure the bladder hose to the chest strap, and they put clips and guide straps on both sides so you can route your hose to the left or right.

All EPIC Series packs are also lightweight (weights are listed for each below) and have reflective details for low-light visibility.

EPIC Series 3L:

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, 3L with pocket removed

The 3L pack is the smallest option in the EPIC Series, ideal for shorter rides or for those who keep cargo to a minimum. While its cargo capacity is small, the 3L model still hauls plenty of water with a 2L bladder. The 3L EPIC pack offers one main compartment for larger items, a water-resistant phone pocket, and a detachable organizer pocket that clips on and off for easy access to tools, snacks, etc.

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, 3L, red

Other features include zipper pulls on the pockets and a top carry handle. The 3L pack weighs 429g (all weights are w/o bladder) and measures 31x16x8cm. This pack sells for $129.95, and color options are USWE Red or Horizon Blue.

EPIC Series 8L and 12L:

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, 8L, red

Aside from capacity, the 8L and 12L EPIC Series packs share many similar features. Both sizes come with a 3L Elite bladder for long-haul hydration, which sits (in a sleeve) in the largest cargo pocket alongside your bigger items or extra layers.  Atop the main pocket is a smaller front pocket with interior dividers for tools, etc. The 8L and 12L packs also include zipper pulls on the cargo pockets and top carry handles.

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, 8L with helmet

Beyond that the packs differ a bit – The 8L model (seen above) includes a mesh helmet carrier that stows away in a zippered bottom pocket and two external attachment points for affixing gear like pads or body armour.

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, 12L, blue

The 12L pack offers a stuffable pouch behind the tool pocket for carrying helmets, extra layers or pads, and has two bottom straps for extra hauling capacity. It retains the other attachment points from the 8L model as well.

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, 12L, inside pocket

Both of the larger packs are available in USWE Red or Horizon Blue. The 8L pack weighs 545g and its dimensions are 42x19x12cm. The 8L model goes for $139.95. The 12L EPIC pack hits the scale at 590g, and it measures 48x23x12cm. MSRP is $149.95.

USWE Epic Series hydration pack, on rider
*Photos c. USWE

All EPIC Series packs are now available online and at specialty retailers.


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2 years ago

I really like this backpack, but….I’d like to hear from big and tall riders. i’m 6’3″ w/ a 48″ chest. I’d like to hear from larger riders. Can you wear this backpack???

2 years ago
Reply to  tim

Tim, I weight 220 pounds and wear size L in the top and 34 in bottom, height 5.7 feet, so I’m not tall but wide enough. I have the smallest of all the models the Outlander 2 (not in this review), it’s enough to carry 1.5lt of water in short to med rides, it’s very small, looks like I’m wearing a backpack of a small child but I love it. It doesn’t move at all, I ride mainly enduro, the straps are adjustable and elastics so you can wear it tight without pulling too much of them, my only recommendation to you is to buy the isolated hose, because the red color of the hose, it tends to get warmer, aside of it it’s the best hydration pack that I had in my life about the fit and not moving at all after buying many Camelbak, DaKine and Osprey.

2 years ago

For my eMTB rides I’m looking for the ultimate pack to haul a spare 504wh battery around. The battery weighs about 6-7 lbs, so it’s like a gallon of water on your back. Anyone have any suggestions? So far USWE is on my short list. Thanks, nooner.

Zach Overholt
2 years ago
Reply to  nooner

It’s pretty big, but the evoc FR TRAIL E-RIDE 20 is worth a look. The bag is specifically designed for holding a spare battery with a padded cradle in the center of the pack with its own strap to hold it in place. I haven’t tried any other e-bike specific bags, but the evoc seems fairly well designed if that’s your intent.

Obvious concerns with strapping a battery to your back is crashing and having the battery injure you, or the battery getting damaged. The back protector keeps you safe from the battery, and the battery compartment is pretty well padded and shielded from the rest of the bag’s contents and the trail.

2 years ago
Reply to  Zach Overholt

Great suggestion, thanks Zak!

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