If there’s one thing you need to ensure while running, it’s that you stay hydrated the entire time and make sure that you drink a lot of water! That’s why I invested in the best running hydration pack, so I wouldn’t have a huge issue in carrying a water bottle while running. However, I was surprised that there were SO many types of hydration packs, I didn’t know where to start!
I wanted to make sure that my hydration pack fit me and my runs best, which is why I had to do a LOT of research. So read on! I’ll be showing you a comprehensive guide and my personal reviews on the best running hydration packs.
- 10 Best Running Hydration Packs 2019
- 1. The Lightweight and Secure: Osprey Packs Raptor 14 Hydration Pack
- 2. The Breathable and Stretchy: CamelBak MULE Hydration Pack
- 3. The Comfortable and Good Fit: Nathan NS5025 Hpl Hydration Running Backpack
- 4. The Safe and Excellent Storage: Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack
- 5. The Attractive and Durable: Nathan Hydration Running Vest
- 6. The Convenient and Solid Construction: Nathan Vaporhowe Hydration Pack
- 7. Easy-to-Use and Refill: CamelBak Octane Dart Hydration Pack
- 8. The Ultimate Vest For Long Runs: Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Running Hydration Vest
- 9. The Simple and Versatile: High Sierra Propel 70 Hydration Backpack
- 10. The Affordable and Good Room: CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
- What Are Hydration Packs?
- The Benefits of Running Hydration Packs
- Anything to Watch Out For?
- How to Choose the Best Running Hydration Pack
- How to Care For and Use Hydration Packs for Runs
- Frequently Asked Questions: Running Hydration Pack
- Wrapping It Up
10 Best Running Hydration Packs 2019
1. The Lightweight and Secure: Osprey Packs Raptor 14 Hydration Pack
What makes the Osprey Packs Raptor 14 Hydration Pack the best is its amazing value and features offered. It comes with the excellent strength and durability all runners need, as well as the convenience of getting items out while running.
It comes with a lot of storage space for a lightweight hydration pack, having the front panel and a zippered organizer pocket, so I can put some accessories and a jacket as I run. It’s got eight slip pockets and a tool pouch, which makes all my items organized inside.
Furthermore, I really appreciate how it stabilizes loads. Even if I pack in a lot, it doesn’t bounce and I stay in pace at the correct position. The 3-liter reservoir is also just enough for me and is effortless to put in. All in all, a great investment if you need something that can fit your liquids and other miscellaneous tools and items for running and cycling.
Yes, while it’s a bit more on the expensive price, you’ll get your money’s worth for its organization, good liquid storage, as well as the comfortable feel built to last.
- Has excellent quality built to last, easy to adjust the feel
- Great storage space with pocket slips to organize
- Stays in place and there’s no bounce as you run
- Quick light attachment for high visibility during night runs
- It’s lightweight and comfortable enough, offers good security
- It comes at a more expensive price compared to other packs
- There’s no quick-release tube for drinking conveniently
2. The Breathable and Stretchy: CamelBak MULE Hydration Pack
For those who want something that offers both excellent water reservoir and storage, then you’ll love the CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack. It has the better bladder compared to other packs, also claiming to deliver 20% more water every sip, having the excellent reservoir that’s easy to refill and never leaks no matter how intense your urn is.
I also appreciate the magnetic tube trap, that always keeps the tube secure when not in use, but also easy to access without ruining your speed as you run. Furthermore, I admire its design as well, made of the strong and stretchy material with a storage compartment for small items.
The material itself is also extremely comfortable to use and breathable, keeping my back cool and without too much pressure as I run. It even has the reflective accents for early morning or night runs, which is what makes the hydration pack have the complete package. All in all, CamelBak really does impress and I have no major issues with it.
- Amazing material that’s comfortable and cooling as you run
- Good water reservoir without any leaks and accessible tube
- Easy to fill and clean water bladder and hydration pack itself
- The pack offers a lot of storage and pockets for organization
- The pack and straps may not be suitable for taller runners
- Some complaints of a heavier weight compared to other packs
3. The Comfortable and Good Fit: Nathan NS5025 Hpl Hydration Running Backpack
If your main focus is the comfort and a good source of water, then the Nathan NS5025 is your best bet. I like it because it’s VERY lightweight and breathable, offering the comfort I need for longer and more intense runs when I get sweaty! The bag doesn’t soak up the sweat and my back remains cool, so I don’t feel stuffy or have my runs affected from the pack at all.
As for the material in terms of durability, I can see that it’s built to last. Coming from a reputable brand like Nathan, it’s built with high performance and long lifespan in mind, having the nylon and polyester material with high-quality construction. Even after a few months of using it, it’s had no torn seams or damage whatsoever. The hydration pack is similarly designed to wear like a vest, which adds to its comfort and has it more natural to run with.
The 2L bladder is also pretty easy to use as well, having a strong and secure seal to prevent leaks but still makes it easy to access. Plus, it even has the propulsion harness which ensures that it doesn’t move around as you run, making it free from accidents or spills. Definitely, a worthy price to have a good water source for years.
- Excellent material made to last and less susceptible to damage
- Has enough room for small items and cargo without causing bounce
- Very adjustable for all body types, shapes, and heights
- Can be a bit confusing as to where to put the straps at first
- The phone pocket may be too small for some runners
4. The Safe and Excellent Storage: Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack
This is another Nathan hydration pack which I highly recommend because of its high-quality material and excellent design. Though a bit heavier than most packs, you get your money’s worth for longer excursions and runs, especially if you plan to use it on hikes. The Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack is well-known for its comfortable feel causing NO bounce back at all, keeping your gear and water close without the worry of messes or impacting a run.
Furthermore, the pack itself is extremely cooling and breathable, wicking away moisture as you run and providing better ventilation for your entire upper body to stay as comfortable as possible while running. Besides this, it offers the huge storage space for a hydration pack, having the two stash pockets, small slip pockets, and a pill pocket. You can also place other things inside such as layers and extra clothing as desired.
The bladder itself is also easy and convenient. Refilling is a breeze and the tube is accessible while you run, giving you the water you need without problems of it getting stuck. All in all, a lightweight pack that provides everything from the stable water source to waterproof storage. It’s best for runners who plan to use it for hiking, too.
- Big storage compartment for clothes and essential accessories
- Great for runs, cycling, and hiking for long periods
- Easy to access tube for drinking quickly
- Excellent quality bladder and material to last for years
- It isn’t made of waterproof material
- The pockets may not open as wide as runners prefer
5. The Attractive and Durable: Nathan Hydration Running Vest
For the ladies out there who want something more suitable to their eye and bodies, then you’ll love the Nathan Hydration Pack. This is a 2L pack with the extremely durable bladder than Nathan is well known for. But it’s not just the bladder and the cute colors that I’m after, but the excellent and long-lasting quality that makes the pack even more of a valuable investment.
It has the reflective design for night runs, as well as the breathable mesh shoulder and back area for more comfort while running. The tube and bladder are smooth and well-connected to drink from easily without it getting stuck as you take sips. Furthermore, it has the 3-way harness that distributes weight best, so there’s no worry about the bounce or anything moving around as you run!
- Feels comfortable and cooling, no bounce while running
- Easy to adjust and suitable for any body shape
- Hydrates well and hassle-free to drink from the bite valve
- Front pockets may be too small for some
- It might chafe if you use a heart rate monitor
6. The Convenient and Solid Construction: Nathan Vaporhowe Hydration Pack
Nathan is really well-known for their running and hiking products, with the Vaporhowe Hydration Pack being no exception. While it’s a bit more on the expensive side, you actually get more than its cost because it has the advanced technology to give you the individual fit according to your needs. Plus, it’s the ultimate racer’s vest with a whopping 12L size and 1.8L bladder inside.
The design is body-mapped, fitting any form and staying breathable with the mesh material from shoulder to back. Furthermore, it has multiple pockets that are easy to access as you run without having to put the pack down.
- No chafing or pressure marks, it’s all comfort and breathability
- Body-mapping to fit any unique shape and size
- It’s easy to access the bladder and storage pocket
- It comes at an expensive price for a hydration pack
- May be difficult to buckle for those with larger chests
7. Easy-to-Use and Refill: CamelBak Octane Dart Hydration Pack
For this who just focus on water and need something extremely lightweight for it not to impact runs, then the CamelBak Octane Dart is a great choice. While it may not have the biggest storage space, it’s still enough to add in all the running essentials from phones to tabs. It’s made with the ultralight material and doesn’t affect your runs in any way.
It actually almost feels like you’re wearing nothing at all, especially since it doesn’t bounce or slosh around. The bite valve and tube are easy to access and I can just focus on running as I hydrate, great for my intense sprints.
- Accessible pockets and bite valve to hydrate while running
- Never bounces and you don’t feel anything
- Has a great water flow and no leaks experiences
- A bit difficult to get the bladder out to refill
- Storage is only good for very small items
8. The Ultimate Vest For Long Runs: Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Running Hydration Vest
For those who need something for longer runs that require you to bring more items, then the Ultimate Direction SJ is a great choice. While it has a lot of storage space, it’s still extremely lightweight for its size and offers the snug fit without it bouncing around as you run.
It’s called the Ultimate Running Hydration Vest as it’s the volume is 7L and includes two water bottles to get you started. While I do wish it had a bladder included, it’s still good enough to store and hydrate as I run with my hands-free.
- Made of lightweight and breathable material for better runs
- There’s no bouncing and his snugly for all sizes
- Excellent storage space and comes with two water bottles
- There is no bladder included in the package
- Rear pockets are inaccessible unless you take off the pack
9. The Simple and Versatile: High Sierra Propel 70 Hydration Backpack
Another lovely hydration pack comes from the High Sierra Propel. It’s actually one of the ultimate hydration packs because of its size, having the good storage space for your accessories and a light jacket while accommodating a 2L bladder included with the pack.
While it may not be the best in terms of comfort, it sure is durable and does the job in keeping you hydrated well. Plus, it comes at such an affordable price, making it suitable for those on a budget.
- Comes at a very affordable price but still with good value
- Great storage space with enough compartments for essentials
- It’s very easy to clean the bladder and hydration pack
- High Sierra offers excellent customer service
- It comes without a chest clasp and may bounce
- There are some complaints of the bite valve leaking
10. The Affordable and Good Room: CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
Last but not least, another CamelBak, this time the HydroBack, which is the original and lightweight one that offers a mix of comfortable properties and easy hydration as you run. At such an affordable price, it offers the easy refilling and usage of the bladder, as well as the excellent design.
The bladder is normal and of good quality, but what makes it a great buy is its design. It’s breathable and comfortable, even having the reflective accents to ensure that you’re visible as you run at night.
- Extremely comfortable and cooling, never bounces while running
- Has the reflective accents and strong material to run anytime
- Can fill the bladder without taking it out of the pack
- There have been a few instances of the bladder leaking
- The pack might bounce a bit as you run
What Are Hydration Packs?
I know a lot of you have felt this before- Not being able to bring your water bottle or having to lug it uncomfortably as you run. It really kills off your stance and has you irritated, actually hindering you from drinking water and staying hydrated! I HATED having to carry water bottles and use armbands and pockets for my phone and keys, which just threw me off.
That’s where hydration packs came along, which are lightweight backpack-shaped packs that hold not just your water, but your small accessories as well. They come in different sizes, types, and shapes, though it all boils down to having something that keeps you hands-free as you run without too much weight.
Lighter than a backpack but still providing necessary storage, it’s a great accessory for runners to stay hydrated and keep their belongings secure. I love using it during extremely long runs and marathons, and it holds a ton of benefits, which I’ll be talking about in the next section.
The Benefits of Running Hydration Packs
You’re probably wondering: How do hydration packs benefit me and my runs anyway? I’d rather not spend more if I can use a regular backpack or just hold my stuff! However, you’ll be surprised how much easier runs can get with the right hydration pack.
Stay Hydrated and Improve Runs
No need to use a water bottle and stop to drink, as I can just sip through my hydration pack and drink while I run. It helps me stay hydrated and improves my runs because I have more energy without the risk of heating up.
Lightweight and Convenient Carrying
What I love about hydration packs is the fact that they’re lightweight and won’t throw me off balance as I run. It’s better and easier to carry because of the storage space and pockets, and I won’t need to keep my hands occupied with a bottle or phone.
More Storage Space
Instead of using pockets, armbands, or even a fanny pack for my phones and other small accessories, I’m able to put it all in one pack. No need to place it in various areas on my body, which is a bit uncomfortable and inconvenient to find.
Versatile and Functional Purposes
Hydration packs have so much purpose and use, I don’t use it just for runs actually! When I’m hiking or biking, I’m able to bring my pack and still reap the similar benefits from it. I also like working out with it since it gives me a bit of extra weight and has me stay hydrated without the need to take any breaks.
Anything to Watch Out For?
While the benefits of hydration packs are vast, there are some things to watch out for when wearing one.
For starters, there may be a different feel to it as you begin to run. After all, even if it’s lightweight, it’s still an added pack and additional load from the water and small accessories. So there MAY be a chance that it affects your body’s biomechanics as you run. However, this can be fixed over time once you get used to carrying the pack and focusing more on proper running stance.
As long as you don’t add too much weight in your pack and on your back, you won’t have to worry about injuries or the product throwing off your runs. You just have to find the right fit for your unique body type and size.
That’s why it’s important to choose the right hydration pack according to your individual needs. That way, it can prevent any minor issues as you run, reaping the advantages I mentioned above.
How to Choose the Best Running Hydration Pack
Like mentioned, you need to ensure that you choose the suitable hydration pack according to your body’s needs. After all, we have different requirements and comfort levels. With that being said, here are helpful factors to help you make the right choice and get your money’s worth:
What’s the Fit? Size and Design
This is a crucial factor to look into when choosing a hydration pack, as you want the assurance that you’re comfortable and well-supported while running. It has to be the right fit that’s easy to adjust according to your body type and size, fitting snugly but not too tight.
As for the size and design, evaluate the pack’s purpose and how long you’ll be using it for. As a runner, I recommend something slim that can fit my water well and small accessories. However, some may opt for bigger packs if they’ll be going on runs that last longer than half a day!
What are the essentials you’ll be taking while running? If you need to bring a lightweight extra layer, some snacks, and other running accessories, then you might want something bigger. If you’ll just be bringing the basics such as your phone and a towel, a small and/or slender one works just fine.
Work on getting a model big enough for your needs without it being heavy on your back. Remember, don’t add too much or it creates an unnecessary weight that throws you off.
How much water or liquids do you need while running? This depends on the duration and intensity of your usual runs, as well as what you prefer. How many liquids do you want or need to carry?
For those who want something lightweight and just enough, opt for something two to three liters big. However, if your needs vary per run, then getting a pack that comes with a bladder and additional pockets for bottles is good!
How the Liquids Are Carried
Like mentioned, you can either go for packs that carry bottles or ones that have bladders, or even both! Bladders offer enough hydration close to the body and even have a drinking tube so you won’t have to step aside while drinking. But, you’ll need to fill and clean it on your own, a bit more tedious compared to using bottles.
However, while bottles are easy to store and maintain, they are also a bit difficult to get out of your pack and drink from while running.
Sturdiness and Durability
Last but not least, make sure that the pack you get is made of the solid construction built to last. You wouldn’t want your pack ripping while you run or after a few uses!
Furthermore, I highly recommend that you get a pack that’s made of weatherproof material and doesn’t rip easily. That way, you won’t have to worry about it getting wet and damaging if you run during various weather conditions and areas.
If you want to learn more about how to choose a runny hydration pack, here’s a helpful video:
How to Care For and Use Hydration Packs for Runs
Now that you know more about the hydration pack and how to choose one, the next thing to learn about is how to properly use and care for it. To hydrate better and maintain your hydration pack for it to last for years of runs, here are some helpful tips to follow:
- Learn when to drink water, not drinking too much but just enough! Have one glass half an hour before your run, sip every mile (or every few minutes when feeling thirsty)
- Before you begin your run, make sure that your hydration pack is adjusted and tightened enough that it won’t bounce or disturb your momentum. Jump and do a quick run for testing to make sure it’s comfortable. Also, ensure that all your items are zipped up and secure, as well as your water, filled and ready to drink from conveniently
- Clean your hydration pack according to manufacturer’s instructions, it can either be machine-washed or hand washed. I would spot clean it and wipe the entire pack with wipes to put off the smell and any dirt that came its way during the run. I also don’t place it in the dryer and air dry it under the sun
- If you have a hydration bladder inside, you just need to fill the bladder with warm water, then add one cleaning tablet (or other home cleaning materials). Seal and shake, then allow it to soak for up to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse once done, repeating the process using water and dish soap this time
- To dry your hydration bladder, simply disassemble everything and place it on your dish rack for drying, setting it upright
Frequently Asked Questions: Running Hydration Pack
For more information on hydration packs and running properly, here are the frequently asked questions about it:
Can I drink more than just water while running?
Yes, of course, you can drink other liquids than just water to fuel up your run! However, I do NOT recommend that you go to sports drinks, which are simply made of artificial chemicals and don’t do much for your body.
Instead, stay hydrated by adding electrolytes to your water, or coconut water for added taste. These are helpful for those who are heavy sweaters, run long, or feel fatigued and/or muscle cramps during and after runs.
What else should I put in my hydration pack other than liquids?
What you else you should (or can) put in your hydration pack is entirely up to you and your pack size. As for me, I make sure that I have my keys and phone, as well as some snacks if I know it will be a long and/or intense run. However, if I do go on longer runs or hikes, I sometimes put in an extra layer and small absorbent towel in case of the weather change or a lot of sweat!
Will I need a hydration pack even for short runs?
Again, this depends on you! If ever you do go on extremely intense short runs (like sprints), then you might find a need for a hydration pack, though the added weight may affect your speed. As for me, if I’ll be running for under 45 minutes, I won’t need to wear a hydration pack. I believe it’s best suitable for marathons, hike runs and runs that last over an hour.
What’s the difference between a pack and a waist pack or fuel belt?
Waist packs are similar to hydration packs where it can hold a water bottle or two, as well as some accessories. However, what makes this different is that it causes discomfort around your stomach over time and would bounce. This is opposed to a hydration pack that won’t bounce wherever you run or cause back and belly discomfort. That’s why I like hydration packs more!
What’s a fair budget range for hydration packs?
Hydration packs can go as cheap as $25 to as expensive as over $100. Set your budget to what you can afford, though I recommend that you have the middle ground and set something reasonable to avoid getting something low-quality. This means avoid scrimping and getting the cheapest, but there’s no need to overspend when there are valuable hydration packs that give you more value than what you pay for.
Wrapping It Up
If you’re the type who loves to go on long runs and need the water (and storage space) during marathons and long excursions, you need a hydration pack! These are extremely useful in ensuring that you stay hydrated the entire time and have all your belongings without the hassle of bringing multiple water bottles. Yes, I know inconvenient that feels!
Of all the different types of hydration packs tried and tested, the best one would have to go to the Osprey Packs Raptor 14 Hydration Pack. What I love most about it is that it’s lightweight and bounce-free, I don’t feel any trouble on my back as I run. Furthermore, it fits my necessities and water amazingly and is easy to access, staying secure regardless of where I run.
Hopefully, this article on the best running hydration pack helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and look into investing in any of these packs now. If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences with any of these running hydration packs, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated!