How USWE Hydration Packs Conquered the Absa Cape Epic

The USWE logo is a common sight on the shoulder straps of the hundreds of riders competing. A game changer has been implemented, evolving the way you hydrate on MTB marathon racing forever…


A Trend Emerges

To understand how it all started we need to rewind time to 2018, when world renowned athletes Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic of Cannondale Factory Racing Team were looking for an edge during the upcoming Absa Cape Epic race. Their secret weapon? The USWE Hydration pack. Instead of passing bottles they could bring their hydration on their backs. A game changer that would give them that little extra to press the advantage. What they ended up doing made them able to just paddle past the water stations gaining a lot of time and momentum. The whole MTB-scene was in shock. WTF!? No other elite players did or had done anything like it before.  

Daniel Hespeler, team manager of Cannondale Factory Racing commented on the advantages of using hydration packs:

“As a top contender we focus on all key details and keeping our riders hydrated during a marathon race is extremely important. Being able to play with the combination of bottles and hydration packs, gives us more flexibility to dose the right amount of nutrition, without having to stop at every waterpoint. Choosing USWE was a no-brainer, they’re the number one pack on the market offering the perfect race-fit with their harness technology.”

Another advantage during marathon races like Cape Epic is safety. You’re often racing high speed alongside of hundreds of other cyclists and when riding in tricky terrain simple things like reaching for your bottle can be a lot harder and riskier than you might think. With a hydration pack you can drink with both your hands safely on your handlebars, even in tough terrain.

See the start of the trend in the video below with the Cannondale Factory Racing Team from Cape Epic 2018.


Video Telling the Story of USWE's Athletes at the Absa Cape Epic

In 2022, 16 USWE-supported athletes competed and plenty of other competitors also opted to take their hydration hands-free. Not only do the 2-3L water bladders allow riders to drink water easily during the long hours in the saddle, the No Dancing Monkey technology offers a perfect, bounce-free fit, too. 

See our athletes adventure, and how the hydration pack helped them overcome one of the most grueling and unrelenting routes in the races 18-year history. We present to you the last part of our GRIT series:


Choosing the Right Pack

USWE has a couple of models we recommend for long races regardless if you are riding for the first time or fighting for first place. They all use the harness with the built in stretch, designed completely different than a “normal” backpack. It uses a four point suspension which easily clicks in place with the front chest buckle for an absolute snug and secure fit. The ways to adjust the pack are huge and the fit together with the stretch works extremely well. This patented technology is called No Dancing Monkey™ and will make the pack stay on with absolutely zero bounce, and the stretch will expand with your chest when you breath. Its almost like having no pack at all!

> Read more about the No dancing Monkey™ tech here




The most popular lightweight hydration pack during Cape Epic

The OUTLANDER PRO is a superlight race hydration pack developed and designed for MTB marathon athletes and weekend warriors. The pack is being stripped off to go minimum on weight and to maximize the ventilation at the front. We’re using an ultralight mesh-membrane harness with fixed size to make this happen. This is a Factory Racing pack!

  • Zero bounce with No Dancing Monkey™ 1.0 - Our patented harness system with 4-point performance suspension
  • Only the essentials - Stay as lightweight as possible with a slick 2L hydration pack
  • 2.0L / 70oz Elite Hydration Bladder included

> Check out the Outlander Pro 2L now!

  1. Outlander PRO 2L Hydration Pack Outlander PRO 2L Hydration Pack
    Best Seller



Recommended for anyone who is fast or who wants to be fast. The Outlander fits a 1.5L / 50oz hydration bladder, phone and credit card. If you want to bring more gear choose a bigger model, like the Outlander 3.


> Check out the Outlander 2L now!



Recommended for you who needs to bring a multi tool, tube, pump and 1.5L / 50oz of hydration. It has a detachable outer pocket, pop it off when you want to go full on race mode!


> Check out the Outlander 3L now!



Premium mode with extra-extra.

Equipped with a 2L / 70oz hydration bladder with a smooth Plug-n-Play tube coupling for extra secure and easy handling and two tube clips attachment for the drinking tube. The super light backpack has a total of 3L storage and comes with a detachable organizer pocket for your favorite tools and food. pop it off when you want to go full on race mode!


> Check out the MTB Hydro 3L now!

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