If you’re a runner, staying hydrated is one of the most important things to consider, so it’s no wonder you’re hunting for the best hydration running packs currently available on the market. The last thing you want is to be trapped without water. Even if you remain well hydrated throughout the day, make sure you’re drinking enough water before you start your run, you still need to make sure you’ve got water with you to keep you hydrated when training.
The options are endless when it comes to choosing a hydration running pack, depending on your needs. If it’s a marathon, you’ll want to bring fluids, drinks, and snacks in a lightweight pack. If you’re planning to add one or two-run commutes to your weekly mileage, you’re likely to prefer something more substantial to carry all the essentials, you might appreciate a running backpack more.
In a Hurry? The test winners after 12 hrs of research
There are different types of hydration gear but a hydration running pack is the most reliable. Fill it up, wear it as a backpack, and hit the trails to take on even the hardest ground! Finding the best hydration running pack can be daunting. There are many different models available and narrowing down the best for your individual needs can be difficult. This is why we’ve done the research for you. We have picked 10 of the best hydration packs on the market as well as a buying guide on what to look for before getting that pack.
Don’t forget the gear, just forget you’re carrying it. That’s where freedom begins. SALOMON Advanced Skin Hydration Pack breathes, stretches and wraps around you without cramping your style. You don’t carry this bag, you wear it. A streamlined design that keeps your essential kit tight and close, right where you need it. No frills, just thrills. The sensifit construction is based on the concept of comfortably wrapping your body without hindrance or chafing
Fabric dries quickly and keeps your body breathing. All potential chafing zones have been revisited and made smooth. This is designed so you can reach everything you need on the go, without stopping to think or search. The integrated soft flasks make it easy to drink as soon as you feel thirsty and stay balanced when you run, so you can push the limit and stay hydrated.
2 side compression laces, adjustable on the go
1 main stretch compartment with side zip opening
Compatible with 1.5L bladder
Soft flask included 2 (500Ml/16oz)
Dimensions: 15.7″ H x 7.87″ W x 4.72″ D
Weight: 0.61 lbs
Stretches and fits well without rubbing or chafing
The straps are adjustable so you can move them wider apart
A very comfortable vest that seems to carry more than one would expect
The Nathan VaporAir Hydration Running Pack for Men provides an extremely comfortable and tailor-made design and an option to having two water bottles mounted in the chest. Over-the-shoulder load lifters keep water and gear close to the body for maximum no-bounce comfort. It also has a soft-touch, no-chafe elastic perimeter binding. The performance bladder holds up to 2L of water and has a bite-valve.
Many handy pockets make a breeze for packaging and organizing so you can keep the gels off your devices. The front zip pockets securely holds most smartphones and side pockets securely hug your body for a snug fit and provide room for storage of extra running essentials. It also has reflective hits for runs that last from dusk to dawn
Equipped with 2L bladder with quick-release valve
Two easy-access front bottle pockets
No chafe, soft-touch elastic perimeter binding
Reflective for safe night running
Rear external shock cord for increased capacity
Weight: 0.86 lbs
It has definitely been tested by runners and the vest sits comfortably and doesn’t move
The bladder is an intelligent, flexible design that’s very easy to clean and fill
Tons of pockets
The water stays cool and does not bounce too much
The bladder still moves though not enough to bother you
The CamelBak Circuit Running Hydration Vest for Men includes a 1.5-liter CRUX reservoir that delivers 20% more water per sip and is lighter weight for additional comfort. The secure zippered pocket fits most smartphones and the open front harness pockets are specifically designed for Quick Stow flasks should you need additional hydration.
A one-size fits most design, means you can use it for a variety of activities and thanks to the side compression being highly adjustable it ensures a stable fit over any terrain. The 3d micro-mesh material provides multi-directional airflow and cushioning to maximize comfort and breathability. The ultralight material means it has unrivaled breathability, comfort, and durability
Reflectivity for added visibility
3D Micro Mesh
Secure Phone Pocket
Dimensions: 13.8″ H x 8.3″ W x 3.7″ D
Weight: 0.35 lbs
Minimal – it’s a shell for the reservoir
Large capacity for how light it is
The on-off valve is nice and easy to use
Enough storage for a couple gels, good for a mid-distance run (8-12 miles)
The Nathan TrailMix Running Vest/Hydration Pack for Women is a lightweight, flexible pack with easy storage and ample water to last you down the trail for several hours. This pack features a one-size-fits-all build, along with sternum and sides adjustable straps for customizing the fit to your body. The compression system tightens the load against your back for stability and a comfortable mesh material that wicks away sweat and water.
The included 2 L bladder provides ample hydration between water stations for your long trail days, while the top-filled structure allows for quick filling and cleaning. It has a front storage for quick access to your smartphone, nutrition, and bottles. It has an external daisy chain on back for attaching lighting and other essentials.
Equipped with a 2L bladder
2 easy-access front bottle pockets
2 zippered back storage
Adjustable, one size fits most
Dimensions: 16″ H x 15″ W x 12″ D
Weight: 0.69 lbs
The straps don’t rub in places like under arms
There’s plenty of space for snacks and additional water containers
Compact pack for running
This pack hugs the bladder high and tight to your back so it doesnt move as much as other packs
The only downside is that if a bear or wolf latched onto it, there are two straps that must be undone instead of one quick release
When you’re two miles down the trail with no hydration station in sight, be sure you have the most convenient, lightweight hydration companion available, and at half the price of comparable packs, the TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack. Take it out when you run, hike, cycle, and even to amusement parks. It’s comfortable and provides you with much-needed hydration on demand.
A 2-liter hydration bladder comes with your pack. It’s complete with a lightweight, durable, kink-free sip tube and push-lock cushioned bite valve. The perfect hydration pack for men, women, and youth. The low-profile athletic cut with full adjustment fits anyone comfortably. Comfort-taped straps mesh covering means you can wear this pack for hours! The integrated orange whistle is for your peace of mind. Reflective trim for night safety and strap clips to keep extra straps secure. The pack also has an adjustable waist belt for maximum comfort and stability.
2L hydration bladder included
Deep front pocket and bungee storage
Adjustable in the waist, chest, and shoulders
Integrated orange whistle
Brand: TETON Sports
Dimensions: 16.5″ H x 10.5″ W x 0.7″ D
Weight: 0.88 lbs
Bag is low profile and easy to route the hose
Front straps for chest/hips
2L capacity – perfect for day hikes
Large mesh pocket for storing keys and/or cell phone
Awkward mouthpiece! Compared to my other hydration packs, this one has the most difficult to use mouthpiece
The Osprey Packs Raptor 14 Men’s Bike Hydration Backpack is a premium pack that carries it all without weighing you down. With winged shoulder straps that contour to the shape, you’re in when you reach for your handlebars—delivering superior stability. AirScape suspension evenly distributes weight and a mesh-covered foam backpanel leaves you well ventilated.
An included 2.5-liter reservoir slides into its own dedicated compartment and another devoted space at the base of the pack houses a removable roll-out tool pouch is integrated into its own zippered lower pocket for quick access. It provides a tool organization for bike essentials. Zippered hipbelt pockets keep snacks and smaller items close at hand. Be sure to also check out our list of cycling backpacks for more great items like this.
Dedicated hydration compartment with included Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak
Included removable roll-up tool pouch keeps tools handy and organized
Lid Lock bike helmet attachment
Lightweight sternum strap magnet for easy access to water
Scratch-free heat-embossed zippered slash pocket for sunglasses and electronics
Dimensions: 19″ H x 10″ W x 9″ D
Weight: 1.75 lbs
Good for quick rides (not too big) and good for longs one that you can take some clothes, food and water
Mostly solid design and feels very sturdy and rugged
Pockets are fantastic and the roll up tool pouch is a nice addition
The bladder has its own designated zip up spot unlike other packs
The drawstring to tighten the lid lock attachment is inside the top pocket, very poor design choice as that pocket is very difficult to zip open and shut when there is a helmet attached
People who need a pack that fits perfectly and doesn’t bounce around while railing down dirt should find the Osprey Packs Raven 14 Women’s Bike Hydration Backpack suitable for them. With female-specific shoulder straps, waistbelt, and torso fitting, this pack is designed for ladies only.
A three-liter hydration system with an ergonomic shape keeps you quenched and energized when rolling down the hillside over the aspens. And with plenty of space to pack a rain jacket, a snack larger than an energy bar, and a removable tool pocket for quick trail-side fixes, the Raven 14 will be the perfect companion for all your one-track adventures. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best Osprey backpacks.
Hydration sleeve design with direct-access zip for fast loading
Shoulder strap zipper offers right-side hose path
Zippered, non-scratching sunglass pocket
LidLock clip quickly secures helmet
Removable, roll-up tool pouch keeps tools handy and organized
Magnetic sternum buckle allows quick access to the reservoir bite valve
Dimensions: 17″ H x 10″ W x 8″ D
Weight: 1.63 lbs
If the water in the pack is cold it does a good job of keeping to water cool for a while
Comes with a tool roll and plenty of pockets for food, sunscreen, and other essentials
Designed for mountain biking, very comfortable on long rides
The straps adjust easily to cinch it tight to prevent any movement or loosen to allow more air flow
The clip used to hold the bag in place is hard to actually get on the reservoir bag
Even those shorter cycling adventures require a constant supply of freshwater to maintain hydration and improve performance. The serious cyclist understands this and seeks out a minimalist hydration backpack that is lightweight and comfortable yet provides enough space for essentials. For those in search of a lightweight backpack with an easy to use hydration supply, CamelBak offers the perfect solution. The CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack is the go-to hydration system for cyclists. Its lightweight design allows you to pack lighter, ride faster, and maintain hydration for two hours.
The HydroBak uses our Crux reservoir that supplies 50 ounces, or roughly two large bottles’ worth, of water. The revolutionary design of this hydration backpack delivers 20% more water per sip and features an ergonomic handle that improves refilling. It’s a men’s backpack that features a secure zippered pocket that’s just big enough for storing your essentials like car keys, ID, and other vital items. It also features a lightweight and ventilated mesh harness and breathable air mesh back panel to ensure a comfortable fit while you ride.
The brand new Crux delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for easier refilling, and an on/off lever that makes it easy to prevent leaks
Breathable air mesh back panel for a lightweight, comfortable fit
Reflective accents for visibility in low-light environments
Secure zippered pocket for essentials
Lightweight, ventilated mesh harness
Dimensions: 12.6″ H x 8.5″ W x 3.9″ D
Weight: 0.33 lbs
Ability to fill without taking it out of the pack
Great compact size
Low profile and not bulky
Has a small side storage pocket for storage with a zipper
The tubing is a bit awkward to clean, especially to allow complete drying
The Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Running Hydration Vest is the result of collaboration with Scott Jurek, the world’s most dominant ultra runner. Weighing 11 ounces (16.5 ounces with bottles) and offering 7 L of storage space, the SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 has the best volume-to-weight ratio of any hydration pack on the market. This pack includes a stretch mesh, which is stronger and more durable, and Silnylon, for significantly improved seam strength, the SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 still retains many of its best features.
The water bottle holders double as smartphone-compatible pouches that cinch to keep phone or camera stowed away. Four gel or bar pouches, along with two electrolyte or valuables pockets keep everything you need close at hand. An added zipper at the side of the pack gives you quick access to the main compartment. Side adjustment straps, hidden in the side pockets, and two sternum straps offer a much better fit while securing the pack to your body preventing bouncing.
Cuben Fiber, Hex Mesh and Power Mesh
Comes with two 20 oz Ultimate Direction water bottles
Side adjustment straps
Two sternum straps
Two trekking pole loops and one ice axe loop
Brand: Ultimate Direction
Dimensions: 12″ H x 9″ W x 2.5″ D
Weight: 1.06 lbs
It has enough storage for a long or short run
There is a big back pocket for a light jacket or a hydration bladder if you are so inclined as to use one of those
To get a good fit there are straps in the front and on the sides that can be adjusted
This vest is light and made of quality material which has resulted in zero chaffing even when worn with a thin tee shirt
The side pockets are actually on your back. It’s not a big deal, but they are hard to get to
When you are out on the trail, the timely replenishment of water is very important. The MARCHWAY Tactical Molle Hydration Pack comes with a hydration bladder that frees your hands, you can drink by simply biting the mouthpiece instead of a water bottle, while your other items can also be stored in the backpack. The army style appearance was favored by more sports enthusiasts. Your ideal companion for mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trekking, backpacking, canoeing, and traveling.
The main pocket can hold either large or small opening water bladder, compatible with most of the bladders on the market. Shoulder, chest and waist straps can all be adjusted to your comfortable size, keep the pack snug to your back. Three breathable mesh pads at the backside make rapid airflow, while even the weight to your back for ultra-relaxed carrying. Both reservoir and thermal insulated hose are made from TPU that is cleaner and more resistant to bending than ordinary PVC material.
Heavy-duty 1000 Denier water repellent nylon
1 main pocket fits up to 3L water reservoir
The MOLLE system allows you to carry more items.
Quick-release valve allows you to refill water without connecting hose
Dimensions: 19.7″ H x 8.7″ W x 2.6″ D
Weight: 2 lbs
It has ample storage and comes with a 3L bladder that secured well
Fits great and material of the bag are made with great quality especially the extra pocket is a plus
The mouthpiece rotated to the angle you want
The drinking tube snaps on and off the bladder with a push button quick release with no leaking
The bladder is a bit hard to draw water through the mouthpiece
Weight is one of the most important factors when choosing a running hydration pack. A running hydration pack should ideally be lightweight because less weight brings less tension on the body and therefore allows you to run more comfortably. Put simply, the lighter the better.
For a smooth and comfortable run, the backpanel should have padded foam. Backpannel comfort is a must because when you are running this section straps across your back. A poorly built backpanel can cause rubbing and chafing. Remember, too, how well airflow circulates in the hydration pack. Low breathability results in sweet accumulation that irritates the back. Often there are features that help to circulate airflow like an air channel or high-performance mesh.
It is recommended to pick a pack that comes with a hydration bladder. That way you are sure that the bladder and pack will work together well. The bladder would then have to be easy to open and close. Easy access to the bladder is helpful when you need a swift refill on race day. The hydration pack has to be robust, too. There’s nothing worse than filling a bladder to discover that all the fluids are overflowing miles down a trail.
Size matters when it comes to this sort of pack. You want something that can hold plenty of water during your run so that you can stay hydrated with confidence. Also, you want it to have room for other items like energy gels, keys, your phone, wallet, and perhaps even an extra set of clothing. You don’t want something so big and voluminous that it weighs you down and bounces around while you’re running. Also, you don’t want anything too heavy, or too little. You just want it to be just right for you.
Hydration packs are one piece of gear that is not easy or cheap to replace. A hydration running pack should be made of strong materials. They should be durable, versatile, and have adaptable materials that are easy to clean. We know that a smooth, gentle, and easy run will quickly turn into a mess due to rain or other unexpected events that can take you off guard while carrying your backpack.
Frequently Ask Questions
How do hydration bladders work in hydration packs?
Hydration bladders are constructed of soft, compact plastic and can hold between 1 and 3 liters of water. Bladders rest on the back, protected in the back of the bag by a locking compartment. The most popular are 1.5 to 2 liters. A tube extends from the bottom of the bladder and coils back to the front via the bag, where you can use it for drinking. There is a filter at the end of the bottle to stop liquids from escaping out while you don’t drink from it. Sometimes the valve is a bite-valve, which ensures it only absorbs water as you bite down and drink. Push/pull valves are still common, too.
How much water do hydration bladders hold?
The most common capacity is around 2 liters. Most of the time, this will last you a day’s hike.
What is the difference between a vest and a pack?
There is certainly some difference regarding hydration vests and hydration packs, but basically speaking it is a vest if there is more shielding on your chest and it falls higher-up on your neck. Vests would provide more front pocketing for easier access to items on the run, while packs will only have straps upfront when keeping all the stuff in the pack
How should a hydration vest fit?
Ideally, your vest should be comfortable without poking or yanking it. Annoying patches on the first wear only turns into irritating chafing. We suggest that you shouldn’t plan to carry the same style hydration vest you carry in shirts or backpacks, so the vests are made to suit your body more comfortably. When putting on a vest, first lock the buckles, adjust the straps and move back and forth between places of modification before the fit feels relaxed. And if you have a reservoir the water should be lying right on your back.
We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best hydration packs as well as our guide on features to look for in a hydration pack. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.