How do you choose the best hydration pack for running as well as for backpacking? A water pack is essential to avoid dehydration while enjoying your outdoor adventure.
In the past, I have been using a water bottle backpack which was somehow inconvenient due to the fact that it consumes space.
But I still bring a water bottle for backup, just in case I need extra water. I always include a water filter so I can filter water from any water source. One of the best things about water filters is that you can use them while on the go.
I use a CamelBak water backpack and an Osprey hydration pack. Both of these brands are excellent and I have been using them for five years. They’re easy to maintain and they’re very durable.
However, there are other brands in the market and you’ll need to look for a hydration pack that is made from high-quality materials. Choosing the best hydration pack depends if you’re going to use it for running or backpacking.
Let’s take a look at the things that you’ll need to consider when choosing the best hydration pack. This will make it easier for you to decide which one to buy.
How To Choose The Best Hydration Pack For Running & Backpacking
Hydration Pack Fit
The first thing that you’ll need to consider is the fit. Just like backpacks, you’ll need to make sure that the backpack fits properly.
This is essential because you don’t want to have a pack that is very uncomfortable. In fact, if your backpack fits properly, you’ll experience less shoulder and neck strain. You’ll avoid issues with back pain as well.
So you should find an adjustable hydration pack. The shoulder straps and sternum straps should fit properly. Most hydration packs have side compression straps that will provide the perfect fit.
This will be your own preference. You’ll just need to think about how much water you really need to carry. Specifically, you’ll need a versatile hydration pack that you can use for running and for backpacking.
For instance, if you plan to go on long-distance hikes or long-distance running then you’d probably need a large capacity hydration pack. However, you can always bring a water filter if you choose a smaller capacity hydration pack.
Hydration Bottles Or Bladder?
This will depend on your preference, but technically, I use both. The only difference is that bladders are close to your body and you can sip water through the bladder hose while on the go.
On the other hand, bottles tend to fall off from the mesh pockets while running or backpacking. There are some brands that offer a lock system for water bottles. Sometimes, it’s hard to reach a water bottle and they consume a lot of space.
However, bladders are more difficult to clean and fill unlike water bottles, you can easily clean it and fill it water.
Hydration Pack Bladder And Water Bottle Placement
The hydration reservoir and water bottle placement are essential. You’ll need to make sure that you’ll be comfortable carrying and reaching them. You also need to take note that it should not hinder your range of motion.
When you’re running, your arms sway from side-to-side, so you’ll need to choose something that does not hinder your elbows. It would be very inconvenient if your elbows or arms are hitting your water bottle while running. The same is true for backpacking.
This is the reason why I always bring a bladder that rests on my back and a water bottle placed on the side mesh pocket.
With these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the best hydration pack that you can use for running and backpacking.
Best Hydration Pack For Running and backpacking
Ultimate Direction Ultra 4.0 Hydration Belt
The Ultimate Direction Ultra 4.0 Hydration Belt has a nylon mesh that is breathable and comfortable. You can hydrate yourself while on the go. It also has a lumbar pack for hot summer runs. It has enough space for two bottles of 500 mL.
You can adjust the compression waistband for a perfect fit. In fact, you can stash keys and an energy gel into the zippered pockets. The Ultimate Direction has a lightweight construction and is perfect for running and won’t get in the way of your stride.
Osprey Packs Duro 15L Backpack
The Osprey Packs Duro 15 Hydration Pack is lightweight and is a perfect hydration pack for running and backpacking. This pack includes a Hydraulics 2.5-liter reservoir with attached hose and sternum magnets.
The waistbelt also adds perfect stability and eliminates bouncing while running. You can also stash your trail essentials such as a headlamp, GPS, and energy gels into the multiple zippered pockets.
Salomon Agile 6 Set Backpack
The Salomon Agile 6 Set Backpack has a 7-liter carrying capacity. This is a lightweight hydration vest that is excellent for running and backpacking. The Salomon hydration pack also features air mesh straps that are soft and breathable.
It has a minimalist design and a pole carrying system to stash your gear when you need your hands to be free. The Agile includes two soft flasks and is compatible with a 1.5-liter bladder.
Salomon Agile 12L Set Backpack
The Salomon Agile 12-liter Set Backpack is perfect for trail running and backpacking. It has a low-profile design and a comfortable fit and hugs your body as you move. Aside from the 12-liter capacity, you’ll have plenty of space for snacks and a layer.
It also includes two 15 ounce flasks that are easily accessible and it also includes a 4D pole holder to stash your trekking poles and keep your hands free. The reflective details will enhance visibility when running during the night. The clasps are very easy to use even when you have your gloves on.
CamelBak Octane XCT 7L Backpack
The CamelBak Octane XCT 7L Backpack includes a 2-liter Crux reservoir for quick hydration. The back panel is well-padded and has an air channel for increased ventilation. The Octane is a lightweight hydration pack with dual hip-belt pockets to stash snacks and energy gels.
You can secure keys and other small gear in the front pocket. The reflective detailing also helps increase visibility when running during the night.
Osprey Packs Tempest 6L Lumbar Pack
The Osprey Packs Tempest 6L Lumbar Pack is lightweight and breathable making it perfect for running. The Tempest includes two BPA-free, 20-ounce water bottles. The fabric is made from tough materials and makes the Tempest durable for trail running.
The mesh hipbelt offers excellent ventilation and soft cushioning to keep you comfortable while running. It also has two zippered hipbelt pockets and a zippered pocket to stash your essentials. The Tempest is also hydration compatible.
Arc’Teryx Norvan 14 Hydration Vest
The Arc’Teryx Norvan 14 Hydration Vest is a lightweight hydration pack and includes a 2-liter water bladder. This is perfect for long-distance trail runs. The 14-liter capacity will secure your essentials. It also has zippered mesh pockets for small essentials.
You can put extra flasks into the front mesh pockets for extra hydration. One of the best features of this pack is the roll-out rain cover that protects your gear from the rain. It has perfect comfort and fit and won’t hinder your stride.
Osprey Packs Dyna 15L Backpack – Women’s
The Osprey Dyna 15-liter Backpack is a lightweight vest pack that features a 2.5-liter reservoir with a hose to keep you well-hydrated. The waistbelt provides perfect stability and eliminates bouncing while running or walking.
The multiple pockets provide extra room for your trail essentials. The Dyna has trekking pole attachments that add as extra storage for your outdoor adventure.
Osprey Packs Dyna 1.5L Backpack Women’s
The Osprey Packs Dyna 1.5-liter is a lightweight and compact vest pack that keeps you hydrated while running. It also includes multiple pockets for your trail and running essentials. The magnetic sternum and waist strap helps stabilize the load.
The Dyna 1.5-liter has a strong and durable fabric that can hold up against abrasive surfaces and withstand abuse.
CamelBak Ultra Pro 34oz Vest Women’s
The CamelBak Ultra Pro 34oz is a lightweight vest that is perfect for long runs. It also features a 3D vent mesh that maximizes airflow and breathability. The dual-sternum straps are adjustable and provide excellent stability while running.
The Ultra Pro also has nine pockets to keep your essentials organized. The reflective details provide low light visibility, which is perfect for nighttime running.
Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set Running Vest Women’s
The Salomon ADV Skin 8 Set Running Vest has a precise and comfortable fit which is perfect for running. It also features SensiFit shoulder straps that conform to the chest for a secure fit. It also includes 500 mL soft flasks for hydration.
In fact, the vest is bladder compatible to ensure extra hydration during long-trail running. You can also use the multiple pockets to help organize your trail essentials. It also has quick-link compression straps to allow on-the-fly fit adjustments. The multiple pole holder allows versatile pole packing.
When choosing the best hydration pack for running or backpacking, you’ll need to take into consideration the hydration pack fit, capacity, placement, and if you would choose a bladder or bottle hydration pack. I have narrowed down the list for you so it would be easier to choose high-quality brands.
Always keep in mind that an excellent hydration pack should consist of a good comfortable fit to avoid strain and back pain. The hydration capacity really depends on your outdoor activity or preference. For instance, if you’re planning for long trail running or long-distance hiking, then it would be essential to choose a high-capacity hydration pack.