At USWE®, we like to challenge ourselves. Above all, we are triggered by success with things no one else has done before. Therefore, we are pumped to present our world-unique winter backpack,NORDIC ™, which we have developed under very special conditions.


This is our story!



During our multi-year collaboration with the traditionary cross-country ski events Vasaloppet® and Birken®, we have had the opportunity to study and interact with thousands of end users. At marathon winter activities, it’s mainly frozen hydration tubes and bite valves, that become one of the biggest problems for the skiers when using hydration backpacks and hip-packs


An old proven alternative that most people in the industry use, is a type of insulation of the hydration tube like "neoprene / foam sleeve". However, this method does not work optimally when the outdoor temperature drops below -5 °C / +23 °F. No matter how much insulation is used, the temperature drops slowly down the tube, and finally becomes to ice.

So, we decided to go all in and make a (real) winter backpack.



Large parts of our initial product development phase took place in an old freezer building in the very south of Sweden (Kyrkheddinge), in a closed ice cream factory. For several months, we did product tests in below -26 °C / -15 °F cold to test our various ideas that would prevent freezing ice in tube and bite valves.



From the start we had many creative and complicated ideas on how to solve the tube problem. Some of these were e.g. an electric heated tube with battery or with solar cells, heating pads with crystals, etc. But none of these worked optimally and, on top, it would be far too expensive to produce and sell.


So, we chose a completely different solution, which was sooooo much better, simpler and also environmentally friendly :-).




When it was time to do the fine adjustments on the backpack, we contacted the legendary Swedish cross-country skier Johan Olsson (2x World Champion 50km). We knew he was meticulous and extremely picky with his equipment, which was a perfect match for our odd project.


The goal was clear, together we would make the world's best winter backpack for cross-country skiing, running and cycling.

Since that day, Johan has been involved in our USWE® testing and design of the backpack. From securing the fit of the harness system when in action, to the hydration tube and bladder to withstand extreme cold.



”Over the years I’ve been having problems where the tub got frozen on my hydration backpack despite the weather not being too cold. After many attempts on my own where I tried different approaches without a satisfactory result, I had given up the possibility of using hydration backpacks in the winter.


Now when I got to participate in the development of USWE's new winter backpack, I feel it’s incredibly inspiring because I never again need to worry about the tube getting frozen. In addition, the backback is incredibly well made where the fit actually makes me not even think about wearing it when in action”.

-Johan Olsson




USWE NORDIC ™ is a (real) winter backpack that’s using the body as the heat source, a thin permeable membrane and space suit technology, USWE® has with this solution solved both the insulation and the heat source.


The technology we have developed, we have poetically chosen to call Thermo Cell™. It has been successfully tested in -26 °C / -15 °F cold temperature, with a final result measured at +19 °C / +56 °F inside the Thermo Cell™ pocket where the hydration tube was stored.


Well, did it freeze in the tubeat all after being in the extreme cold? Absolutely not!


Thermo Cell™ is equipped with a multilayer insulation cover that reflects the heat on the inside and shields from the cold and wind from the outside. By its design, the Thermo Cell™ closes tightly to the body and a thin mesh membrane permits maximum body heat to pass through. Used in this way the body heat feeds the Thermo Cell™ with thermal energy. Smart!

Thermo Cell™ encapsulates heat from physical activity in an insulating air pocket that protects the tube and bite valve from freezing even in the most extreme winter conditions. Therefore, we have chosen to provide both shoulder straps on the NORDIC™ backpack with Thermo Cell™ so that you’ve the option of choosing a side for the tube, or having tubes on both sides (double hydration bladders). Or optional, why not store gels and bars that you easily reach on-the-go.



  • Exterior Outer layer: Insulation cover for drink tube & bite valve. Stops all wind speed and keeps the cold out
  • Exterior Inner layer: Heat reflective material with the function of reflecting up to 100% thermal radiation
  • Inside: Tightly sealed mesh membrane that permits maximum body heat




NORDIC™ is also equipped with a thermal function for the hydration bladder itself. During the winter, many athletes heat their hydration before the activity to avoid drinking ice-cold hydration. Therefore, NORDIC™ comes with a hydration bladder that can withstand temperatures up to +60 °C / +140 °F and with an outer layer based on the same technology as Thermo Cell™ on the front of the backpack.


Heat the hydration to about +35 °C / +95 °F and it stays above +7,5 °C / +46 °F for at least 4 hours. This is the test results in an extreme cold weather of -26 °C / -15 °F.




USWE's NDM™ Bounce Free 4-point harness system is standard on the backpack to deliver a perfect individual fit. The stretch in the chest straps expands along with the chest during physical exertion, allowing a constant tight and compliant fit. The shoulder straps are ergonomically designed for an even and smooth distribution of the backpack over the shoulders. Together, the chest and shoulder straps form this unique NDM™ 4-point front system that is connected with a rotatable quick-release buckle that securely holds the entire backpack in place.


“What really stands out about USWE's new winter backpack NORDIC™ is the incredible fit. It’s stable and very flexible. The balance in the upper body is extremely important in order to create power down the skis, and then it’s extra important that the backpack is firmly secured without adversely affecting you when you’re in action. In addition, the shell is extremely well made and feels like it can last through all the adventures”

Johan Olsson



  • 100% Bounce free
  • Patented technology
  • 4-point harness system with stretch
  • Perfect individual fit



NORDIC ™ is available in two versions, with 4 liter and 10 liter storage. Both models are equipped with a 2.0 liter Hydrapak Elite™ hydration system with a plug-n-play connector to the tube.



    • Developed for XC-skiing, running and cycling
    • Total storage capacity: 4 liter resp. 10 liter
    • Hydration capacity: 2.0 liter
    • Thermo Cell™ insulation for tube and bite valve
    • NDM™ 4-point bounce free harness system
    • Heat resistant hydration bladder
    • Thermal insulation of the main compartment
    • Reflective points – front & back




In January 2020 we won the Scandinavian Outdoor Award - in the hardware category. The motivation from the jury was:

"For high-intensity winter activities such as running, skating, or cross-country skiing, the USWE Nordic 10 pack offers an innovative, easy-to-adjust carry and well-fitting unisex system that allows for a stable, bounce-free and non-restrictive fit. It also has smart features, including an insulated sleeve for the hose of a bladder that is heated up by the body, reflective points, and a durable, snag-free back panel.”


Sustainability info:We are also proud of the Award jury highlighting our take on sustainability with the following words:


"USWE operate with the highest standards of quality to make the products last. They chose to heat the Thermo Cell with body heat instead of replaceable chemicals or batteries and electricity."


Read the full award here