Are you looking for a better way to carry fluids on your run? Whether it be a long run from home or a trail race through the woods, as runner’s, we need a reliable way to manage our fluid intake.
There are various types of hydration gear, but the most reliable is a running hydration pack. Fill it up, wear it like a backpack, and hit the trails to take on even the toughest of terrain!
It can be overwhelming when you first go to buy a running hydration pack. There are many different models available so it can be challenging to narrow down the best for your individual needs. So we thought we’d narrow them down for you. We chose 10 of the best running hydration packs on the market. This way, instead of choosing from hundreds, you can choose from the top 10.
Not all running hydration packs are created equal. But it’s essential to choose one from a repeatable brand with high user ratings. This will help you pick a running hydration pack of high quality, one you can rely on.
So first, before we get into the best running hydration packs, let’s discuss what factors to take into consideration when choosing one.
How to choose the Best Running Hydration Packs
When purchasing a running hydration pack, consider the weight. A hydration pack for running should be lightweight because less weight will put less stress on the body thus allowing for a faster pace. Simply put, the lighter the better without sacrificing quality.
Often overlooked, the backpanel is an important feature when considering which hydration pack to buy. First, the backpanel should have padded foam for a smooth and comfortable run. Backpannel comfort is a must since this section straps against your back when you run. A poorly constructed backpanel can lead to rubbing and chaffing.
Also, consider how well the hydration pack circulates airflow. Many hydration backs come with features to support this effort. Poor breathability leads to sweet accumulation which irritates the back. There is often features to help circulate air flow like an air channel or high performing mesh.
- Hydration Bladder
You can buy a hydration pack with incredible features, in your favorite colors, for a great price; however, none of this will matter if it does not hold fluids effectively. That’s why it’s critical to understand how a hydration bladder works.
First, be sure to choose a pack that comes with a bladder. This way you are sure the bladder and pack work well together. Next, the bladder should be easy to open and close. Easy acess to the bladder is beneficial on race day when you need a quick refill. Also, the hydration pack must be durable. There’s nothing worse than filling up a bladder only to find all your fluids leaked out miles down a trail.
So the question becomes: what makes a hydration pack durable? The durability of a hydration bladder is based on its different connections. For example, where the tube connects to the bladder or the device that seals the top are vulnerable to leakage. So it’s essential the connections are robust and can handle the stress created by your run.
And don’t forget about temperature! After clocking some long mileage, you’ll want your fluids to remain cool and refreshing. So always check user reviews on how well the liquid holds its temperatures in the bladder.
Lastly, consider how you get fluids out of the thing! Find out what type of valve is used for fluid flow. Bite valves are the most popular choice and are found on some of the best running hydration packs.
What’s the main reason why we use hydration packs? The answer: to carry fluids! So, it’s critical to determine how much liquid the pack can hold and choose the best volume for you. Take into consideration how much fluid you need for your run versus how much extra weight you’re willing to carry. For example, if you plan to run around the neighborhood, you may want a smaller size because you’ll have access to stores for refilling. However, if your running deep into the trails, then a pack that holds a higher volume of fluids may be the best choice. Also, as a beginner, a larger capacity may be worth considering. Running brings many adversities, especially on race day, so having extra fluids will help. With more fluids, there’s better odds you will have enough to get through any tough situations that may arise.
Pockets are another essential consideration when choosing between running hydration packs. First, make sure there are enough pockets for your supplies. You may bring along anything from fuel, a music player, suntan lotion; you name it. Also, consider the location of the pockets. Are they in your preferred area? After time passes, you will find convenience in having easy access to your supplies. Finally, how much room is in the pack itself? You may need a place for your rain jacket once the sun comes out or somewhere for you sweatshirt once you warm up. So, take a look at the pockets and make sure they mesh well with your running style and the supplies you wish to carry.
Buyer beware! Be very careful when considering the price. There are several low-cost yet poor quality running hydration packs on the market today. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, make sure it’s from a reputable brand. Yes, you will sacrifice some features, but it will still be a high-quality pack. That’s versus buying a low-cost option from an unknown brand with many features, but then it falls apart on you.
Here’s the thing, when you have committed to this running thing, it’s essential to invest in yourself. That is, invest in your success. Just like buying a high-quality pair of shoes fitted to your stride, look for a high-quality hydration pack made for your running style. After the many miles you put on it, it will be well worth the money.
Remember, your running hydration pack attaches to you for the whole run, so pick your favorite style. When choosing a style, there are a few aspects to consider. The most obvious is color. Some packs offer many color options, and some offer very few. So, choose your favorite color or one that matches your running shoes. Also, take a look at how the bladder closes, clips, pockets, straps, and the overall design. There are many styles to choose from, so pick one the screams: this is me!
Reviews of 10 Best Running Hydration Packs on the Market 2020
1. Osprey Raptor 14
Osprey recently released a new version of the raptor with a 14-liter design! The 3.0-liter Hydraulics ™ reservoir is a fantastic add-on. The extra fluid in the reservoir helps reduce the splashing of water in your pack. Besides eliminating the irritation this causes, it also helps with stability at high speeds. Not only does this hydration pack hold a lot of fluids, but the Osprey Raptor 14 features a lightweight design weighing in at 0.73kg. More fluids at a lighter weight, not a bad concept for us runners. Also, it uses a magnetic lock design to keep your fluids where they belong: in the bladder! The users of the pack praise it for the many compartments and a firm backpanel for a stable and reliable run. They also like the detachable nozzle for efficient hose routing. It’ a high-quality pack for a high-quality run!
- Pros- Plenty of pockets, easy to fill bladder, breathable, comfortable, lightweight, hose magnet can be adjusted.
- Cons- Hose magnet seems weak if the hose is routed poorly, difficult to dry out the reservoir.
2. Salomon Agile 2
Not too big and not too small, the Salon Agile 2 is one of the more versatile hydration packs on the market today. It feels stable on your back yet still holds it’s flexibility while running. It’s designed with two spacious exterior pockets, and the storage room within the pack is a big plus. The bladder can hold up to 2-liters and has room for an extra flask for addition fluids if necessary. Users praise it for being lightweight and comfortable which is important for any runner at any skill level.
- Pros- Lightweight, durable, comfortable, friction reducing shoulder straps, pockets for storage, pockets designed for a flask, minimalistic design, firm fit.
- Cons- Sacrifice less water capacity from more storage.
3. Osprey Rev 1.5
The Osprey Rev 1.5 is a clean and simple design but can still get dirty on the trails with the rest of them. It’s one of the smaller hydration packs on the market but at no sacrifice for performance and efficiency. The breathable reverse spacer mesh backpanel design allows for excellent breathability. This helps prevent the sweat build accumulated on the lower back seen with other hydration packs. Built for shorter, faster runs, this hydration pack is lightweight with a bladder capacity of 1.5-liters. Be sure to take advantage of the DigiFlip media pocket keeping your phone protected and located for easy access. Its users fell in love with the design for its snug fit and ease of filling it up.
- Pros- Lightweight, breathable, easy to load, harness pockets for fuel.
- Cons- Small bladder, chest straps, limited color options.
4. Nathan VaporAir
Nathan has become one of the most dominant players in hydration technology, and it shows through the design of the Nathan VaporAir. This unique vest-style design acts as a second layer of skin. As you can imagine, this is beneficial because the less you notice the hydration pack when you run, the better. Besides the shape, it also accomplishes a skin like feel through its weight distributions. Its design centers the weight right over the shoulders which significantly reduces the 2-liters held in the bladder from splashing around behind you. A high-performance hydration pack created by a high-performance company. It’s users really enjoy the magnetic hose clamp as well as the bungee used to hold a jacket.
- Pros- Feels apart of you, highly breathable, ultra-lightweight, easy-to-access hydration system, reflective strips for safety.
- Cons- Price, too sophisticated for some.
5. Salomon Advanced Skin Pro 14+3
If a hydration pack for long distance is what you are after, then look no further than the Salomon Advanced Skin Pro 14. Designed for long distances like ultramarathons, this hydration pack holds up to a whopping 17 liters! Not only does it hold plenty of fluid, but it remains lightweight weighing in at 16.5 ounces. During very long runs and races, we need the availability to carry plenty of fluids, fuel, and extra gear. If you’re looking for a pack with this type of accessibility, then Salomon has you covered with this model. Its users say this pack is excellent for serious long-distance running!
- Pros- holds 17-liters, fully adjustable, accessible side pockets, lightweight, comfortable.
6. TETON Sports Trailrunner 2.0
Specially designed for off-road running, the Teton Sports Trailrunner 2.0 is a perfect choice for your next trail run. With a hydration capacity of 2-liters, the bladder easily opens and closes for a quick fill. Here’s when price meets quality. TETON does an excellent job designing a low-cost option but still performing as a high-quality pack. Its functional shape is not bulky and comes with shock absorbers to help offset some of the stress of the trails. Users are saying it’s a great, lightweight hydration pack for dedicated trail runners.
- Pros- built-in whistle, breathable mesh backpanel, color availability, price.
- Cons- limited storage space, bite valve takes time to get used to
7. Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 3.0
The best-selling hydration vest in the world! Who better to design a hydration pack for trail and ultramarathon running then one of the greatest ultra-runners of all time, Scott Jurek. World-renowned ultramarathon runner, who recently broke the Appalachian Trail Thru-hike record, designed a hydration masterpiece. It’s called the Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 3.0. With easy access to fluids, this vest comes with two 20 oz ultimate direction water bottles mounted on both sides of the pack.
This hydration pack comes with a lot of features. Whether it’s the flexible mesh harness, or the lightweight adjustable straps, or the trekking pole holders, this hydration vest has it all. It’s just what you need to take on the long and grueling distances of an ultramarathon. One of the most significant features is its material. Using a silicone/nylon/polyurethane material provides the ultimate waterproof experience. Waterproof packs are beneficial when facing longer mileage because it prevents irritation on the skin. With moisture wicking capabilities, the possibility of chafing reduces significantly. This hydration vest is not all too big but useful for even the longest of the runs. Users are saying its lightweight and breathable. Oh, and it’s super awesome because Scott Jurek designed it!
- Pros- Great for long runs, marathons, and ultramarathons. Extremely durable. Many features.
- Cons- Soft bottles.
8. Camelbak Hydrobak
The Camelbak Hydrobak is the minimalistic runners best friend. Feel unrestricted and comfortable with its mesh shoulder straps and diamond mesh back panel. This hydration pack can hold up to 1.5 liters of fluid in its bladder and an additional 1.5-liters in its reservoir.
One of the most beneficial aspects is its cleanliness. The reservoir features a hydro-guard technology which prevents the development of harmful bacteria. Also, the bladder has wide opening which makes cleaning much more accessible. Give it a clean, fill it up, and give the mouthpiece a bite when thirsty. It also comes with a small front pocket to add any little items you’d like to bring along like keys, gel, or cash. Its users praise it for its cleanliness and comfortable minimalistic fit.
- Pros- Lightweight, breathable, easy access to fluids, no chest straps for extra comfort, light mesh fabric, safety reflector.
- Cons- small carrying capacity, no-chest straps may feel unusual for some.
9. High Sierra Propel 70
The next running hydration pack on the list is the High Sierra Propel 70. This sweet and simple hydration pack is best known for its functionality and performance. It holds fluids, utilizes pockets, and is moderately designed for a dependable experience. With an easy-to-fill bladder, it holds a moderate 2-liters. This running hydration pack is built to get the job done. Users say its bladder is easy to fill up and comes with plenty of pocket storage.
- Pros- Strapping system, plenty of storage pockets, moderately sized, lightweight nylon/mesh.
- Cons- Limited color choices, small overall size.
10. CamelBak Octane Dart
The slim profile of the CamelBak Octane Dart is built with a minimal design for a reliable and secure performance. With its ample compression and bladder holding 1.5-liters, it’s lightweight and easily strapped to the chest for a snug and secure fit. It comes with front-facing pockets for fuel and an easy to bite drinking valve. A thrifty and solid hydration pack to dig deep into your next run hydrated with minimal interruptions. Users are happy to report that it creates no chafing and love the leak proof valve.
- Pros- Zipper pockets, lightweight, minimalist design, secure chest strap, leak proof valve, price.
- Cons- Limited color choices, minimal storage capacity.
Frequently Asked Questions About Running Hydration Packs
Are you ready to take your hydration gear to the next level? There’s no better way to do so than purchasing a new running hydration pack. There’s now only one more question to ask. The question is, “how do I purchase a hydration pack?” The answer is easy, and the process is convenient! As you now know, we’ve narrowed down the top 10 best running hydration packs in the industry. It’s now as simple as viewing the options, choosing your favorite model, and clicking the purchase button. Amazon will quickly bring it to your front door and you can start training right away. Happy trails!