Top hydration packs for the outdoors
Whether it’s a jog around your neighborhood or a multi-day bike tour, when exercising outdoors, it’s vital that you stay properly hydrated.
Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, headaches, decreased performance and other serious health issues. Hydration packs provide a convenient way to increase your fluid intake with a mostly hands-free alternative to bulky water bottles.
Not only do they free up space and reduce pack weight, but they allow you to quench your thirst while on the move.
Types of hydration packs
Hydration packs can be used for any high-energy activity, though they’re most commonly used for hiking, cycling/mountain biking, running/trail running and for cold-weather activities like skiing and snowshoeing. While hydration packs can often be used interchangeably, we’ll take a look at some of the top packs in each category so you can find the best option for your lifestyle.
Hiking hydration packs
When your water bottle is stashed away deep in your hiking pack, it can be tempting to forego a needed drink. Hiking hydration packs make it simple to sip while you’re climbing exposed switchbacks or strolling through a lush forest.
For short day hikes, this hydration pack provides 1.5 liters of water storage and features adjustable shoulder, waist and sternum straps. Even if you run into some inclement weather on your hike, the water-resistant ripstop nylon material helps keep all of your accessories safe and dry. Available at Amazon
The Oasis 1100 is built like a standard day pack, supplying 18 liters of storage capacity for all your hiking needs, but it also features a sturdy water bladder and integrated rain protection. This affordable pack is fully adjustable so you can achieve a custom fit. Available at Amazon
A small day hiking hydration pack, this option features a handy front mesh pocket, adding extra storage for snacks, a rain jacket or other gear. The large opening included on the water bladder is designed for easy maintenance and cleaning. Available at Amazon
We all have busy schedules, and not everyone has time for a long hike. In those cases, the Patagonia Nine Trails Waist Pack is perfect for a short trail or even hikes around a local park. Large enough to fit your phone, wallet and other necessary items but small enough to rest pleasantly around your hip, the included 1.5-liter reservoir means you won’t have to worry about carrying a water bottle. Available at Backcountry
Cycling hydration packs
Depending on the length of your ride, you need a pack that can accommodate a water bladder with sufficient capacity. Having enough pack storage to fit other essentials such as food, extra clothing and a helmet is another important aspect to consider when choosing a cycling pack.
CamelBak is the original pioneer of hydration packs and continues to be one of the most trusted names when it comes to quality gear. The sizable 2.5-liter reservoir, four exterior pockets, reflective accents, comfortable mesh padding and magnetic drinking tube holder are just a few reasons the Rogue has become a favorite among bikers. Available at Amazon
This low-profile design from Osprey sits comfortably against the curves of your back, while also allowing for airflow and ventilation, keeping you cool on hot and humid rides. The back loop is perfect for attaching a light, and the side mesh pockets add extra storage for days when you feel like adding extra miles. Available at Amazon
Similar in style to the Katari 3, the Kitsuma 3 features women’s sizing and fits. The Osprey Airscape suspension system transfers the weight of the pack evenly across your back and shoulders, so you can move more freely with less discomfort. Available at Amazon and Backcountry
The CamelBak M.U.L.E. is a lightweight and durable option made with sustainable materials. The 3-liter hydration capacity means you won’t be thirsty on any of your backcountry outings, while the ability to securely attach your helmet to the pack’s exterior keeps your equipment safe and accounted for when not in use. Available at Amazon
Running hydration packs
You don’t need a heavy pack weighing you down while you’re out on a run, which is why the best running hydration packs are small, lightweight and efficient at delivering water when you need it most.
This minimalist pack weighs less than one pound and is designed for all body types, providing a close fit that won’t get in the way. Complete with a whistle and reflective trim, you can be confident running day or night. Available at Amazon
Another affordable option, this lightweight pack weighs in at only 12 ounces. Though the actual hydration bladder is sold separately, it has the capacity to hold a 2-liter reservoir and contains a total of seven storage pockets for easy access and organization. Available at Amazon
This snug-fitting vest is meant for speed and comfort. It comes with a high price tag, but the breathable and stretchable materials, well-balanced fit, included water flasks and overall ease of use make it well worth the investment. Available at Amazon
Another great option for trail running, the Circuit Vest not only includes a 1.5-liter reservoir, but also features two front water bottle pouches for those times when you need extra hydration to reach your goal. One of CamelBak’s best-selling hydration vests, this model increases water delivery by 20 percent, so you can hydrate quickly and efficiently. Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods
Insulated hydration packs
The insulating properties and aluminum foil lining of this hydration pack will help keep your water bladder from freezing in cold temperatures and keep your water cool in warmer temperatures. No matter the activity, the lightweight sturdy design provides all-day comfort. Available at Amazon
With the Powderhound, you have the option to attach and carry skis on the outside of your backpack. The fully insulated interior compartment and drinking tube sleeve limits the risk of your water freezing when you’re on the slopes, snowshoeing or out on a chilly morning run. Available at Amazon
Matthew Young is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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