The North Face Enduro
$140, 10 oz.
One size each in men’s and women’s-specific models
After numerous outings dayhikes, trail runs, and mountain bikes rides wearing the Enduro, I’ve decided it may be the most stable hydration pack I’ve ever used. Credit goes to the unique design. For starters, the shoulder straps attach using a hook-and-loop patch in a V-shape over your sternum, like the arms of a kid riding piggyback. A nylon hook-and-loop waist belt wraps around your waist like your kid’s legs. And Boa wire lacing through the shoulder straps and pack—easily adjusted on the go using a dial—allows you to compress the pack as the bladder empties. It feels like your kid is hugging you tighter to hold on. The result: virtually no sloshing or shifting even when running or biking downhill on rough trail.
The deep front pocket fits a light jacket, pump, and spare tube, while its narrow profile covers only the center of your back—meaning less sweating from direct contact. Plus, the perforated, mesh shoulder straps and back pad breathe nicely. The two waist-belt pockets each fit a large energy bar or three or four gel packets and are removable. On the downside: The mouthpiece on the two-liter bladder that comes with the pack dripped unless I locked it; while it does lock with an easy twist, that’s not convenient while biking. And there’s no apparent way to remove the mouthpiece to dry out the hose, which may complicate cleaning it. I did find that I could fit a three-liter bladder inside the pack when I wanted one for longer runs.