When it comes to mountain biking hydration packs, I generally look for three things.  Does it carry all my gear?  Is it stable? And, does it allow air on my back.  The first two are pretty important and I can forgive a pack if it doesn’t do the third.  The Gregory Drift 10 carries all my gear in a stable fashion and mostly succeeds at keeping my back cool.

Gregory Drift 10 hydration pack review

Gregory Drift Features

Gregory includes two big compartments on the Drift pack that run the entire height – top to bottom – of the pack.  These compartments are in addition to a separate hydration pouch pocket.  Between the two, you get plenty of storage.  Each compartment also includes some sub-pockets to organize things.  As is the style these days, Gregory includes a tool pouch that stashes in a pocket in the middle compartment.  They also sew in a pair of sleeves to keep your pump (and/or shock pump) from rattling around.  In the front compartment, Gregory includes a zipped and padded pocket called a Crash Pad – perfect for your phone.  An iPhone 6s fits well.  Larger phablets may be a tighter squeeze.

On the outside, you get two hip-belt pockets – one mesh and one solid.  They’re relatively large, again fitting an iPhone.  There is also a stretchy, mesh pouch on the outside of the pack that can serve for stashing armor or a jacket.  Straps with side-release buckles make for easy helmet storage.  So, the Drift pack can pull enduro duty.

The back pad on the Drift is made of mesh over 3D foam with cut out vents, called Matrix.  Gregory also includes their Shift RS tech, which lets you adjust the hip belt up and down to account for torso length.  You generally don’t get that kind of customization in a 10L hydration pack, so bonus!  The Matrix foam extends to the shoulder and hip straps, providing some airflow.  Also, Gregory includes an innovative and secure system for stashing sunglasses, if you don’t want to risk them falling out of your helmet vents.

Gregory’s hydration bladder is pretty interesting.  It’s designed in three dimensions instead of two, so it holds itself open.  This is especially useful for cleaning and drying, which you can do with the included drying hook.  The bladder uses a standard, Nalgene-sized cap, so it is filter compatible, and clips easily into the pack.

Review: Gregory Drift 10

I told you that I look for three things in a mountain biking hydration pack.  Let’s go through them:

Does it hold all my stuff?

Sho nuff.  Gregory did a good job of dividing and organizing storage to hold the stuff I usually bring on a mountain biking trek.  The pump sleeves and sewn-in pockets kept things from shifting around and made them easy to find.  I like the large hip belt pockets for easy access to important things like sunscreen and food without having to remove the pack.

While I don’t ride with armor, the stretchy, mesh sleeve on the outside made for a good stash spot for my jacket.  I’d say that the pack has an honest 10L of space in it.  If you carry more stuff, there’s always the Drift 14.

Stable carry?

Absolutely.  Gregory’s Shift RS system means you can get the hip belt where it needs to be to keep the pack from moving around.  It was stable while bombing chunky sections on a rigid plus bike.  It didn’t move when I took it out gravel grinding and tried to stand and hammer up a steep section.  The Drift was pretty solid under all conditions.

Back ventilation?

It’s not perfect, but it’s better than most.  Gregory’s Matrix foam system means that there isn’t a panel laying flat on your back and that some air can move around in there.  It’s not a lot of air, but it’s better than nothing.  There are better designs out there – Platypus’s Duthie comes to mind – but the Drift is satisfactory.

Gregory Drift 10 hydration pack review

Who should buy one?

Folks who carry a decent amount of gear, but not too much, on the trail; enduro riders who want to stash armor and helmets between stages; anyone who felt like the standard torso length that other manufacturers design into their packs was too long or short; people who hate cleaning their hydration bladders.  All of you would like the Gregory Drift 10.