to top 10 table

10 Best Running Hydration Packs Reviewed

last updated Sep 29, 2018

As an athlete or runner, a lot goes into staying healthy—and water is right at the top of the list. If you slack off on your nutrition and supplement intake, the absolute best thing you can do is make sure you are providing your body with the appropriate amounts of water. The Best hydration packs featured below will ensure you always have plenty of water with you.

Most people don’t drink the recommended amount of water per day, which can be dangerous and even lead to health issues for runners and athletes that partake in any strenuous activity. With that said keeping hydrated is key, with these packs makes it a lot easier to stay close to some clean water without the annoyance of a water bottle. I mean come on how cool is it to have a backpack, with the convenience of a water pocket. Where you won’t even have to stop your activity you can simply sip on the run.

Runners need to consistently rehydrate—especially during longer runs like marathons. It’s pretty impossible to store big bottles of water during these runs, which is why hydration packs were invented in the first place! Please remember to also hydrate before any activity so while you fill up, drink up.

Below you will find our list of the top ten best hydration packs out there, along with their Pros & Cons and what to look for before making your purchase!

Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1390
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
13
Products Evaluated
Last Updated: September 29, 2018
Avatar
By Giselle Killebrew:

This update brings three new additions we are sure you will love. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. is a tried and true hydration pack that has been a while for a long time. The Source Outdoor Dune is an excellent option for short and medium distance runners looking for a lightweight option for their runs. The Wacool hydration pack is the perfect affordable option looking to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Sorting Options
Comfort Breathability Durability Weight Price By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Comfort
98%
Breathability
95%
Durability
97%
Weight
96%
Price
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Comfort
94%
Breathability
92%
Durability
90%
Weight
93%
Price
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Comfort
93%
Breathability
95%
Durability
89%
Weight
96%
Price
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Comfort
96%
Breathability
97%
Durability
95%
Weight
92%
Price
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Comfort
94%
Breathability
92%
Durability
95%
Weight
90%
Price
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Comfort
92%
Breathability
89%
Durability
82%
Weight
96%
Price
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Comfort
93%
Breathability
95%
Durability
80%
Weight
91%
Price
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Comfort
95%
Breathability
92%
Durability
89%
Weight
93%
Price
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Comfort
92%
Breathability
94%
Durability
90%
Weight
93%
Price
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Comfort
93%
Breathability
91%
Durability
95%
Weight
88%
Price
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Osprey Raptor 14
  • High Sierra Propel 70
  • Source Outdoor Dune 1.5L
  • Salomon Advanced Skin Backpack
  • Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0
  • Wacool 2L
  • TETON Sports Trailrunner
  • Nathan Intensity
  • CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
  • Osprey Rev
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Hydration Packs

1. Osprey Raptor 14

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Osprey Raptor 14
Comfort
98
Breathability
95
Durability
97
Weight
96
Price
80
best offer for today
Pros:

Includes a roll of tools with its own pocket

Has 8 pockets; 3 internal and 5 external

Prevents leakage

Reinforced zippers

Lightweight design (0.71kg)

Cons:

Not waterproof

Some users found it to be small

Osprey reloads the Raptor series with a new 14-liter design and an integrated 3-liter Hydraulics™. This hydration pack features BioStretch technology as well as an internal hydration sleeve.

Read more

Asides being extremely practical, the Raptor 14 also features a lightweight design for an of 0.73kg. A magnetic lock provides the pack with a strong seal 3-litre prevent leaking of liquids. The design features reflective graphics and counts with a version for women.

2. High Sierra Propel 70

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
High Sierra Propel 70
Comfort
94
Breathability
92
Durability
90
Weight
93
Price
95
best offer for today
Pros:

Bounce reduction strapping system

Plentiful storage pockets

Moderately sized

Versatile usage

Lightweight Nylon/Mesh

Cons:

Limited color choices

Simple, straightforward, no gimmicks the Propel 70 is not the world’s most flashy pack but it delivers solid performance and great functionality. Everything you need from a hydration pack is here and it can do a whole lot more than simply go for a jog.

Read more

This pack comes in lots of different color and is pretty affordable. It is lightweight and made of Mini-Hex Ripstop material--making it really durable. It is BPA free and can hold up to 2 liters during your runs.

3. Source Outdoor Dune 1.5L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
 Source Outdoor Dune 1.5L
Comfort
93
Breathability
95
Durability
89
Weight
96
Price
86
best offer for today
Pros:

Lightweight

Holds 1.5 liters of water

Has storage spaces

BPA & Phthalate free

Adjustable straps

Cons:

Not for long runs

The Source Dune hydration pack is an excellent option for runners who run shorter distances or go on shorter trails. It holds less water--making it extraordinary lightweight!

Read more

This pack holds 1.5 liters (50 ounces) of water. This minimal addition of weight will ensure the pack remains light and you aren't weighed down a bit. This pack also have adjustable straps--so you can make it fit you perfectly. The pack also has a belt and sternum strap for optimal security and stability.

This pack has a tasteless reservoir and is BPA & Phthalate free. It also comes in several colors and with ample storage spaces.

4. Salomon Advanced Skin Backpack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Salomon Advanced Skin Backpack
Comfort
96
Breathability
97
Durability
95
Weight
92
Price
79
best offer for today
Pros:

It will be also great for camping and hiking

There’s zippered pouch

Very breathable

Durable

Cons:

One of the most expensive on our list

You need to buy the Salomon Hydrapack Soft Bladder 1.5L separately

Salomon is a great brand, especially if we’re talking about running hydration packs. The material here is great- it’s Elastic Power Mesh. This is why this one is very breathable and you don’t sweat that much during running.

Read more

This one really provides big comfort while running. We can’t talk about chaffing or any skin irritation here. The design is simple- the hydration pack wraps your body and you can carry the water whenever you are. These backpacks are available in many colors so everyone can find something. These backpacks really allow your skin to breathe and there’s no unpleasant odor. They are available in many sizes so if you measure yourself properly, we’re sure you will find the right size for you.

5. Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0
Comfort
94
Breathability
92
Durability
95
Weight
90
Price
87
best offer for today
Pros:

Great for longer runs and marathons

Extremely durable

Cons:

Some runners didn’t like the drinking from the rubber spout

Here we go with the big hit amongst the runners- Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0. This brand is known from high-quality hydration packs and water belts.

Read more

This pack is full of features. There are pouches that are compatible with your smartphone. There are fully adjustable straps to provide more comfort. This is nylon with silicon and Polyurethane so the material is waterproof and it’s really durable- this means that this pack will be also great for trail running. There’s special Hex Mesh that is extremely breathable and really lightweight. Moisture-wicking material helps you to stay dry during your runs and there are even gel pouches. There are two pockets so you can keep your keys inside. This backpack has a great design- it’s not very big so you can run easily but it is a great source of hydration at the same time. This isn’t cheap but the price reflects the high quality. It comes with two bottles.

6. Wacool 2L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Wacool 2L
Comfort
92
Breathability
89
Durability
82
Weight
96
Price
98
best offer for today
Pros:

Lightweight

Breathable

Holds over 7 liters

Highly affordable

Adjustable shoulder strap

Cons:

Not durable

The Wacool pack is highly affordable and lightweight option for you runners out there. It comes with an easily refillable bladder with a wide opening.

Read more

This pack can hold over 7 liters and comes with additional storage space. It is adjustable, and made of Nylon.

7. TETON Sports Trailrunner

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
TETON Sports Trailrunner
Comfort
93
Breathability
95
Durability
80
Weight
91
Price
98
best offer for today
Pros:

Available in many colors and sizes

This product has a limited lifetime warranty

Great price for a high-quality product

Cons:

Some reviewers said that the liquid may leak from time to time

The next great hydration pack on our list is TETON Sports Trailrunner 2 Liter Hydration Backpack. As the title implies, this one will be great not only for the road runners but also for those who like off-road running.

Read more

This one has a 2-liter hydration capacity which is a lot. This backpack is very lightweight- it’s only 9 pounds. The good thing is that the hydration bladder is included here so you don’t need to buy it separately. It’s very easy to open so you can add ice there and you can clean it easily. We adore the price of this one- this is one of the least expensive backpacks and it’s still high quality product. Many reviewers really appreciated the extraordinary design of this product. It’s not very bulky like the others packs. The shape is really great. There are also many safety features. For example we can use orange whistle or strap claps. There’s also reflective trim which is great because you’re more visible on the roads. As this one is intended for trail running, this is very durable product. It’s perfect for marathons, cycling or hiking. There’s special chest shock absorber to reduce the bounce while running.

8. Nathan Intensity

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Nathan Intensity
Comfort
95
Breathability
92
Durability
89
Weight
93
Price
87
best offer for today
Pros:

Special build for women

3-point harness to prevent bounce

Superior breathability

Lightweight design

Cons:

Harness straps are messy

Some smartphones won't fit in the phone pocket

Nathan delivers the Intensity Race Vest as a model thought for women. This hydration pack is specially design to fit the female slimmer form. The Intesity Race features a 2L bladder and multiple pockets for additional storage. To provide superior breathability, the product build includes highly breathable mesh.

Read more

The vanguardist design includes a patented 3-way strap system that prevents bouncing. The tight fight allows both the bladder and other contents to stop bouncing during runs. The multiple pockets include a frontal space for an hydration bottle and a zipped pocket compatible with smartphones.

9. CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
Comfort
92
Breathability
94
Durability
90
Weight
93
Price
85
best offer for today
Pros:

Lightweight

Additional storage options

Easy to refill

Additional hooks for your helmet

Magnetic tube trap to keep everything secure and easily accessible

Cons:

Designed more for bikers

Can get heavy if you pack a lot of stuff into it

This CamelBak hydration pack has been a popular choice among runners for about 2 decades now. It has a lightweight fill port and a magnetic tube trap to properly secure your tubes and ensure they are always easily accessible.

Read more

This pack is an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts in general--whether you run, bike, hike, etc. It comes with additional storage pockets, keeps you cool and dry, and comes with additional external hooks to hold onto your helmet if you are a biker or participate in triathlons.

10. Osprey Rev

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Osprey Rev
Comfort
93
Breathability
91
Durability
95
Weight
88
Price
86
best offer for today
Pros:

Comfortable, lightweight, breathable

Decently sized 1.5 Liter reservoir

Harness pockets for gels, snacks, etc

Comes with bladder and mouthpiece

Cons:

A bit small

Only 3 color options

Beautiful design meets performance in this small but extremely efficient running pack.

Read more

Take your game to the next level with features such as a reverse spacer mesh back panel for premium breathability or the DigiFlip media pocket provides secure storage and quick access to your phone. This pack will keep you hydrated and provide 10 other uses you didn’t even know you needed.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

When it comes to running, carrying hydration backpacks during your whole trip can get quite annoying. Because of this, we determined comfort as a research parameter during our investigation of the best hydration backpacks. In order to provide superior comfort, we looked for breathable, non-irritating and lightweight materials, as well as a unique build. The concept of hydration backpacks is to assist the user by facilitating the experience thanks to its portable supply of hydration, but it stops being so convenient when it starts to become annoying–and even painful.

In order to be suitable for running, the design of the hydration pack should be materials that are comfortable to carry. A running water backpack can’t become an obstacle or a difficulty for the runner, as it would miss the point.

For our list, we selected backpacks with materials that can fit aerobic activities. While there are some very good normal water backpacks out there, they won’t be of much help to a runner; apart from being uncomfortable; these backpacks might simply not be adequate for running overall.

Breathability

For some hydration backpacks, breathability becomes an issue–, especially during sunny days.

In order to compile an effective list of the best hydration backpacks, we searched through those products that offer the most breathable materials and build in general. While the materials used for the backpack have an important impact on the breathability of the product, there are other factors to consider, such as the design.

After surfing through multiple designs that cover the whole back of the user, we determined that a bigger backpack offers more space, but reduces the breathability and enhances the heat accumulation under the backpack. At this point, it becomes a matter of personal opinion whether to opt for more space at the cost of breathability, or the other way around.

For the materials, we looked for breathable structures of mesh. Ones that are light enough to allow the pass of fresh air, yet tough enough to stop any external liquids (such as rain) from leaking into the backpack. Additionally, we gave special consideration to those products which feature materials resistant to heat. By resistance to heat, we mean the ability of the materials to avoid absorbing or accumulating heat.

Durability

Water backpacks are particular pieces of equipment that aren’t as easy to replace, or as cheap to buy them frequently. This is why we’ve taken into consideration the durability of the products during our research for the best hydration backpacks. In order to determine the durability of the products, we looked for backpacks that feature resistant and durable material, as well as a solid build to guarantee an effective quality.

A running water backpack can’t be made out of any material. In order to bring you a list of the best hydration backpacks out there, we selected only those backpacks that include resistant, flexible and adaptable materials. We know that a calm run can quickly turn into a mess due to unfortunate rain, and it can catch you completely off-guard when wearing your bag. Taking this into consideration, we gave the upper hand to water-resistant or waterproof bags. Materials that are susceptible to water damage or deterioration will not only reduce the durability of the product, but it may also affect any pertinence found inside the bag if the water leaks. Lastly, we took into consideration the easiness to wash the materials and the overall backpack.

Weight

For our investigation, the weight of the hydration backpacks was evaluated as a research parameter. The total weight of the backpacks has a decisive impact in the quality of the product (not including anything stored in the backpack, of course). For a runner, it is utterly important to count with the lightest equipment possible. Not only is it much more comfortable to carry, but light materials notably reduce the effort your body needs to make in order to run–especially during long runs.

For our list of the best hydration backpacks, we looked for products which feature a lightweight design and materials. However, it’s not all about the weight; aside from being lightweight, the materials must also meet high standards of quality and durability.

Value

Some people are ready to spend a lot of money on hydration packs as this may be essential during their running. The other want something cheaper. We try to put on our list products that are high quality but they are also affordable. On the other side, you will find also here the product that cost more than 100 dollars because sometimes it’s better to invest, especially if you’re a professional runner. You need to decide how important hydration packs are for you.

If you’re going to take part in marathons very often, it would be good to buy something good and it may be a little bit expensive. Remember however that cheaper products are also great and they can really provide comfort. Try to search also for discounts or you can find the older version of the product and perhaps it will be cheaper. Evaluate the price as it’s an important factor.

Other Factors to Consider

Insulation

Hydration backpacks are a great solution when it comes to portable hydration. However, the whole concept is lost if the product fails to keep the liquids at a decent temperature. We added the capacity of a product to maintain low temperatures as a research parameter, as we considered it to be of utter importance for runners to have access to refreshing hydration, instead of bland warm drinks. In order to keep the liquids in their original temperature (assuming they hydration drink is cold when stored), the pouch must feature special materials that contribute to the “cooling” of the hydration drinks.

We discarded those products that fail to maintain cold temperatures over time and gave the upper hand to those hydration backpacks that are able to keep the hydration drinks refreshing. To improve our list of the best hydration backpacks, we selected those products that can keep the low temperature for long periods of time.

For this list, we looked for products which feature the latest thermic materials and technology to maintain the drinks is. This not only involves keeping the temperatures low, but it also involves the amount of time it stays cool.

Use

The main purpose of the water backpacks is to carry a water bladder that can be easily accessed anywhere. It pretty much comes down to this–more water, more effective.

During our search for the best hydration backpacks for runners, those products that include a bigger bladder or water pouch had an advantage. However, we still took into consideration all of the other parameters; a big pouch is useless if the product reaches low standards on the rest of the features.

The capacity of the water backpacks is not always determined by the size of the water pouch, as these products usually feature multiple other pockets and spaces that can come in very handy. We kept this in mind while searching for the best hydration backpacks. The capacity of the overall backpacks is an important factor to consider while searching for hydration backpacks, as it will allow you to store multiple other things in separated pockets.

Style

Besides being a helpful piece of equipment, running hydration backpacks can also get to be very fashionable equipment. We know there are a large number of runners who care about the appearance of their equipment; at the end of the day, no one wants to look ugly or weird. However, when we talk about design, it’s not limited to the visual attractiveness but also the quality of the design on the overall build.

In this parameter, we included multiple approaches. Even though it’s a secondary research parameter, those hydration packs that come in a wide variety of colors and feature a fashionable design called our attention.

During our research, we looked for bags that had an easily accessible and comfortable design. This not only involves the color options of the backpacks, but also the designs of the pockets and other features of the back. “Are the pockets big enough?”, “Is there enough space?”, “Is the bladder separated from the rest of the pockets?” These are all valid questions when evaluating the design of a hydration backpack. It feels good to look good, but keep in mind that functionality should go first!

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are these packs suitable for long runs? Or will my hydration warm up?
a:

A: Hydration packs are specially made to maintain the temperature of the liquid during long runs. You’ll be able to enjoy refreshing liquids.

q: Q: Does a bigger bladder mean more efficiency?
a:

A: It really depends on what you’re using it for. Based on your activity, specific bladder capacity and the whole size of the bag might be more optimal.

q: Q: Will my shoulders get tired on carrying the pack?
a:

A: No. The products featured in this list are made of lightweight materials to provide both comfort and lightweight properties. Breathable mesh will make the carrying experience less troublesome.

q: Q: Should I focus on bladder capacity or overall space?
a:

A: Once again, it depends on what you’re using it for. A larger bladder would allow you to carry more hydration, of course, but you never know when you’ll need additional space.

q: Q: Can the liquids leak from the bladder?
a:

A: As long as they’re in good condition, the products listed in this guide will prevent leakage. You won’t have to worry about liquids getting into the other spaces.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Hydration Pack, Free Online Encyclopedia,
  2. OspreyPacks, Hydration Packs, Hydration Vest Manufacturer,
  3. OutsideOnline, Are hydration bladders more trouble than they’re worth?, Online Sports Publication, Oct 01, 2008