SOURCE RIDE 15L PACK – TEST
SOURCE RIDE 15L PACK
Keep ’em Separated
Source was founded in 1989 in Israel as a technology company that made sandals and travel products. It has since grown into a company that employs over 200 workers and builds not only the hydration packs we’re testing here, but also the sandals they became known for and many tactical gear products for militaries as well. The company has strong ties to each of the communities it sells in, and Source is active in more than 25 countries now. In fact, each year 5 percent of Source’s profits are donated to social or environmental causes in the local communities.
The Ride 15L is one of Source’s premier hydration packs. It’s designed to be spacious enough for long day trips, but lightweight and compact enough for shorter rides as well. The Ride includes a 3-liter Widepack hydration reservoir that has a three-layer membrane, as well as Source’s Taste-Free and Glass- Like technologies to make the reservoir taste-free from the start and easy to keep that way. The reservoir also uses Source’s
Grunge Guard treatment, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. The pack features lightweight rip-stop fabric and holds up to 15 liters of gear, but the pack is collapsible in case you don’t need to pack everything but the kitchen sink for your next ride. The pack also has reflective straps for visibility, an integrated whistle, tons of pockets with organizers to keep your gear in order and adjustable straps for helmet storage. The Ride 15L sells for $115 and is available from local bike shops or through www.sourceoutdoor.com.
Field test results:
The Source packs may look pretty standard, but they have several features that set them apart. For starters, we tested our Ride 15L pack with the upgraded D/Vide reservoir, which is essentially two reservoirs in one. The pack has ports on both sides for two separate tubes, which means riders can have one dedicated section for an energy or electrolyte mix and one for water. You could also do two flavors, so you could switch from cherry to grape without getting sick of either. Since there are two hoses coming from the pack, with dedicated ports for each, you could even carry the water for someone else whom you don’t want to share a bite valve with. The hoses are color-coded to make the pack even easier to use. The construction quality is top-notch with lightweight fabric that won’t cause any more sweating issues than other packs we’ve test- ed. The Ride 15L is one of Source’s bigger offerings, so if you don’t need that much storage, you can easily go with one of its smaller options without giving up the key features.
However, the Ride is surprisingly compact-feeling on the trail given its storage capacity, especially when the main pocket is in the compressed mode. The padded shoulder straps are also remarkably comfortable and easy to use, although they position the pack relatively high on the back. Taller riders may not be able to find a fit that’s comfortable on the trail. The storage is well thought out and will keep even a pack rat organized. The helmet storage area is a nice add-on, although it’s a bit small to handle larger trail-or enduro-style helmets without a little finagling. Cross-country lids will fit without issue. The whistle Source integrated into the sternum strap is a unique feature, but not one that we used, although it would be nice to have in an emergency.
Source has taken a well-built pack and added features you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re tired of carrying a bottle in addition to your hydration pack to have two drink options, this seems like a much better solution. The inside of the reservoir is also remarkably clean-tasting, whether it’s brand new or has been filled with orange-flavored Gatorade for a month. Even if the pack itself doesn’t trip your trigger, you owe it to yourself to use one of Source’s reservoirs. They truly are the best, cleanest-tasting reservoirs we’ve ever used. You can purchase them aftermarket in the Divide version tested here or in a more standard single-hose version. The Source reservoir would be an upgrade to any other hydration pack.
The Ride 15L pack is on the large side, but that’s because it’s designed for the adventure rider. It’s truly ready for almost any big ride (short of a cross-country bikepacking journey) you can throw at it. In spite of the few peccadilloes we mentioned, this is certainly the pack we reach for when we’re heading out for a long ride and don’t want to deal with a chemical-new taste or the dreaded pond-scum-old taste that other packs usually have. Our Source pack’s water supply tastes like something you’d get from bottled water, and that’s something that will make you thirsty for a Source pack.
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