Top 10 Best Running Backpacks Reviewed
Luckily, there are lots of running backpacks to choose from nowadays, and they run the gamut from large to small and everything in between. Some are loaded with features, and some are best suited for the minimalist, and ones that fit all budgets.
A good running backpack will carry a good amount of water and make it easily accessible to you during activities. It will also carry the right amount of gear for your chosen activity while offering a selection of pockets and other storage options to help you stay organized. It should be durable, easy to use, and not break your wallet.
We looked at dozens of running backpacks and chose the 10 best ones to help save you time and money while getting the best pack for whatever you're into, whether it's running, hiking, skiing, or even climbing. Below you will find our list of the top 10 best running backpacks currently available, along with the criteria we looked at to choose them, and some other things you'll want to think about before making your purchase. Scroll down to learn more...
- Sunhiker Daypack
- Camden Gear
- Osprey Viper 9
- Osprey Duro 15
- CamelBak Octane 10
- Ultimate Direction Jurek
- Gregory Miwok 24
- Salomon Trail 20
- Salomon Agile
- OMM Last Drop
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Running Backpacks
1. Sunhiker Daypack
Could use more storage space
The Sunhiker is a highly weather-resistant lightweight daypack that is designed to fit the shape of the human torso to create comfort and effectiveness. Plus it looks cool and is highly functional and easy to use.Read more
The material is a tear-resistant and water-resistant nylon. It has a MatReflective stripe for safety in low light conditions. The shoulder straps are adjustable and made of breathable mesh for comfort. Both sides sport a bottle holder. The pack features volume control for electronics, which is a cool and unique feature among similar products. It weighs a mere 12.3 ounces and it is suitable for not only running, but also for hiking, cycling, camping, climbing, and various other outdoor activities. If you can dream it, the Sunhiker can do it.
Really affordable and a good value considering the durability. It just might outlast your knees so...
2. Camden Gear
Water resistant coating seems to fade when not properly taken care of
The Camden Gear running backpack is the best affordable option to choose from. It comes at a highly cost-effective price and offers many features we are sure you will love.Read more
This hydration backpack is affordable, versatile, and offers a lot of features runners will love. It is highly durable and comes with 6 different storage pockets as well as a 1.5 Liter BPA free water bladder. It is comfortable, highly breathable, and the adjustable straps allow for a secure fit. Its ripstop material makes the backpack highly durable and it is built to last.
This backpack is really affordable and offers a 100% Satisfaction guarantee if you aren't happy.
3. Osprey Viper 9
Constructed from 100% Nylon
Wide panel access to the main compartment maximizes functionality
Zip access hydration sleeve for quick and efficient bladder loading/unloading
Lidlock technology for easily securing a helmet to the bag
Limited storage space
Cool name aside, the Viper 9 has many other things to like about it. This pack has space for a jacket, snacks, and a smaller sized bladder while maintaining a relatively miniature size. It’s durable, with a strong frame but not bulky. A great medium sized option for a run or a day hike.Read more
This one has lots of additional features that we know you will find beneficial. It has side compression straps for load stabilization, a blinker attachment, and lots of storage options.
4. Osprey Duro 15
Airmesh back panel
Trekking Pole storage
Includes hydration bladder
Some users that the design of the pockets was poor
This backpack really draw your attention immediately, and the producer says that this one was born to run. They're right. Getting a backpack with features and technologies focused on runners may be a good idea, and we think you'll agree which was why we were happy to add this one to our list.Read more
This one has a large capacity so it will be great for longer runs. The main compartment is spacious enough to keep clothes, equipment, and many others. The zippered pockets are placed strategically to make the access to the belongings and nutrition much easier. If you buy this backpack, you also receive two soft flasks. The product is also compatible with all Hydraulics™ Reservoirs. The body of the backpack contains a 2.5 L Reservoir so it’s easy to stay hydrated. There are compression straps that help to adjust the backpack to your body. The backpack is lined with mesh, so your back will be ventilated for the whole time.
Expensive, but a good value because of all the features and high-quality construction, and one of the few that comes with a hydration bladder.
5. CamelBak Octane 10
Easy to use
Some users wish it had more storage space
The CamelBak Octane 10 is one of the best running backpacks out there and offers lots of features we know you will love. It's really versatile and can be used on your runs, hikes, and anything you can think to use it for!Read more
This backpack features a 2-liter fast flow reservoir as well as 3D vent mesh that allows for optimal ventilation and maximum breathability. It has a stretch overflow pocket and cargo compression for optimal stability, support, and a secure (and comfortable fit. Lastly, this one also has a storage space for your trekking poles, which we know the hikers out there will also love!
This one is priced above average but it's not too expensive.
6. Ultimate Direction Jurek
Plenty of storage
This one is more of a vest that has a lot of backpack features. It has lots of storage space, is lightweight, highly breathable because of the vest-like design, and easy to use to boot.Read more
This one has lots of features, including a reservoir hose, accessory holders, and front storage for your belongings. It is compressible and offers a comfortable and secure fit.
This one costs a pretty penny, but its definitely worth it as the design is highly specific for running, and in fact is designed for use during ultra-marathons.
7. Gregory Miwok 24
Very spacious backpack
The Gregory brand is known for making great mountain gear. One of their backpacks really draws our attention. This is a very versatile pack and is great not only for runners but also for hikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes.Read more
This backpack is one of the backpacks on our list with the biggest capacity. There’s a large compartment where you can store bigger things and to help you stay super organized, there are 3 pockets, two of which are placed on the shoulder straps for easy access. There’s also a stretch pocket which is very expandable that allows you to take even more thing with you. Users praised the straps for being very comfortable and said they were wide enough and didn’t irritate the skin. The one thing that hikers will definitely love is an adjustable trekking pole system. You can attach your poles to the backpack while you scramble up a bouldering route, then easily unhitch them when you get back on the trail. This is a backpack that is hydration bladder compatible, but it doesn't include one.
Pretty pricey, but worth it for the durability and versatility.
8. Salomon Trail 20
Strap system reduces bouncing
It was too big for some women
Doesn't include water bladder
Our next backpack is produced by the brand who appears a couple times on our list, Salomon. Mostly known in North America for their high-quality ski gear, they've actually been making running shoes and other apparel for years, and are a master at their craft.Read more
The external zippered belt pockets make the backpack more secure when it comes to keeping your belongings safe. There are also other pockets that help you to stay more organized no matter what activity you're conquering. It’s hydration compatible so you can buy a hydration bladder and hydrate yourself anytime you want without stopping to run. There are also holders for normal water bottles. Compressions straps also make the user more comfortable. The soft mesh on the back allows better ventilation of your body, and it also adds to the cushioning. The padding is very comfortable while you're wearing it. Users said that the backpack is big enough to keep a spare set of clothes and other items. It’s also waterproof. It has reflective elements to keep you visible wherever you are.
A little above average in price but won't break the bank.
9. Salomon Agile
Mesh strap system for a snug fit
Waterproof construction to withstand the elements
5L Hydration Pack with enough capacity for all your running needs
Comfortable adjustable straps
Multiple compartments and color options
Compression straps keep items in place
May not stand up to super-duper extreme conditions
This running backpack is one of the best out there, and we think you'll love it to so we put it on our list. It is lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. This one is a perfect option for all the road runners out. Beep beep.Read more
This one is loaded with features and has a mesh back, mesh straps offering spine support, a secure fit advanced strapping system, plus it has lots of different sized pockets for plenty of storage space. This is a perfect option for runners, bikers, and hikers alike.
Pretty decent price and a great value because of all the options it offers the consumer.
10. OMM Last Drop
Very stable and sturdy
Breathability could be improved
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to remove some burden from the backpack and enjoy lightweight carrying and the ease it comes with? Well if you’re looking for a backpack like that the OMM Last Drop is the one you want.Read more
There are removable pads at the back so you can easily lower the weight of the backpack. This is a unique feature among competing backpacks, and one we think you'll really enjoy as it let's you customize your experience. Like many other backpacks on our list, it’s compatible with hydration bladders but they must be purchased separately. It spreads loads in an effective way so you don’t feel overtaxed. Some users said that the ventilation system could work better as it didn’t provide enough airflow. The adjustable chest strap makes the whole construction more supportive and secure. Reflective elements enhance your security as well. This one is perfect for rainy days as it’s water-resistant.
This one comes at a pretty average price and is a great value with everything it brings to the table.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The top lid is found in some running backpacks and in some backpacks it can be removable and others its not. if you are considering on going for a short trip during the day or just a short run in the park then this type of running backpacks would be perfect for that. The top lid can also be used as an additional pack worn around the waist, well this is an additional feature that many manufacturers have started considering with an effort to enhance storage, comfort, and accessibility of most running backpacks. Stylish and still functions well.
Running can be interesting in the wild, and if you plan on going for a run in such a place then make sure that your running backpack has attachment options. This feature helps in making sure there are loops that you can use to keep extra stuff that you might need while you are on the run. Perfect also if you plan on camping after the run. some of the attachment features available are like the daisy chain. It’s a unique feature that enhances the storage capacity of any running backpack. Makes it possible to even carry something you would have seen as impossible to carry for that long run.
Though a minor factor still very important to consider if your running backpack is weather resistant especially to rain. This will not only keep your stuff dry but also make the backpack lightweight regardless of the pouring rain. Most backpacks have a waterproof feature that is usually on the inside parts of the packs so that you are able to keep your stuff dry. But then seems there are zippers that may be able to let a little water get into the inside of the running backpack then its a must to carry a rain cover if the weather has promises of many showers later in the day or night. When looking for a rain cover accessory for your backpack then you should make sure it’s not only water resistant but also wind resistant and most importantly be very light. This will makes sure that you are both protected and you are also light.
For those who sweat a lot then they should make sure that their running backpacks have this very important feature. A running backpack is made sure to have a ventilation effect if it has a suspended mesh on the backside of the backpack. While shopping for running backpacks you will notice that there is a mesh that is intended to deal with hikers and runners who tend to sweat more from their backs. The tension mesh is not in all the running packs, it is designed like a trampoline and are able to play a very important role in making sure that the runner is always kept dry from the back. Sweaty back problems can also be solved by ventilation chimneys, a feature that is being added to more new backpacks.
Your hips happen to be one of your body parts that support most of the weight on your pack, and your hips can be determined by the waist size of your pack and your own waist size. Though many manufacturers have made the packs in such a way that the belts at the hips can accommodate wide ranges of waist sizes and hip sizes. if you have a smaller waist then it’s important you get something that will fit and not something that will not be able to adjust fully to your size. But if you really want to get a particular pack, you can check if they have interchangeable hip belts, then you can just change the hip belts and get one that fits you perfectly.
You don’t want excess space and neither do you want it too tight inside. Find out what obligatory kit you need and decide on the size of the pack by liters. I bought a 5-liter pack as my race will last a day. Neil, on the other hand, has opted for a 10-liter pack as he is running a longer race, will be spending a night out in the mountains so has to carry with him the more obligatory kit.
The torso length is an important feature when determining the fit of the running backpack, but then the torso length varies from manufacturers to manufacturers and is also affected by the gender of the user. You can find packs with several sizes with regards to torso length while some with just a few adjustable sizes, that can be adjusted to fit one’s size. when referring to the torso length its good to refer to the size chart guide if you are making an online purchase and to consult with a salesperson if you are making a physical purchase.
The material plays an important role in determining the durability of any given type of running backpack. The materials are also made to suit different weather conditions and offer different weather-resistant features. When looking at the material then you should consider the weather. If the weather is warm it’s important to have a pack that has sweat-wicking ability mesh. If it’s colder then you would prefer a material that is able to keep you warmer. Also, you can consider whether you have a skin allergy to any particular material.
If you already have made up your mind on what to use your pack for then the next step would be to determine the straps of the pack. Straps are what holds your pack onto your back securely and they can be both an advantage and a disadvantage depending on how you use them. They can cause and also prevent severe back pains. Depending on one’s personal preference you can decide to either keep them tight and firm for a faster run with no bounce, but for a shorter relaxed run then you can opt for a loose fit with minimal bounce. With the proper adjustments then you can achieve the perfect fit with regards to having a good strap.
Budget is always important, and here we looked at the overall value of the pack in comparison to the cost. Quality of materials, design, ease of use, amount of and usefulness of features, durability, and size were some of the factors we considered when determining the overall value of each product on our list. We also pored over 1300+ reviews from real-world users who had purchased the products to see how they felt about the product after using it. Make sure to consider your own specific needs before making your purchase!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Other Factors to Consider
If you are one of those hikers who loves traveling light then opting for a pack that is totally frame-less would be the best option, or at least going for a backpack that has a removable frame. This will make sure that you have minimal weight in your backpack so you can rumble comfortably all day long.
Make sure that when you buy your running backpack that you try it out and check which one suits you best. If you are doing an online purchase then it’s good to check if the website has a guide on the different frame types and sizes available for running backpacks. Make sure you settle for the most comfortable frame that gives a good fit, as this will guarantee you a good running experience.
Pockets are a very important aspect of any given backpack – they are like the heart of the backpack. They determine the storage of the backpack and the accessibility of the backpack. Here are the types of pockets found on the different types of running backpacks. There are different types of pockets that you will find on most running backpacks, depending on the location of the pockets (side pockets and front pockets), type of pockets (hip-belt pockets), and pockets that vary depending on their different type of features they have (shovel and elasticized pockets). All these pockets help in increasing the storage capacity of a running back, but then its always important to make sure that you don’t carry too much that it affects your running.
Though pockets vary depending on size and the type of the running backpacks it’s important to first know the sporting activity you will be involved in before picking out a running backpack with a certain number of pockets. If you are going for a short run, then you will probably need just a bottle of water and an energy bar that means fewer pockets, longer runs might require more pockets for more storage and also always remember that you don’t need to much weight on you as you run. Also, know the size of your pocket, don’t put things that exceed the size of the pockets of running backpacks as this will cause fast wear on the pockets. Just carry what you really need for your running experience.
Make sure that the pockets and pouches are located in such a way that will be most comfortable for you. It all boils down to what placement you consider to be the most convenient for you, as all of these packs are already designed for running. You need the pockets in your backpack to be easily accessible, but not to interfere with your movements while running. If you are one of those hikers who love traveling light then opting for a pack that is totally frame-less pack would be the best, or rather going for a backpack that has a removable frame. This will make sure that you have minimal weight in your backpack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Possibly. However, if you are purchasing a backpack for running, it’s best to stick with the features you need for its intended use, running. However, with that being said, many backpacks can be used outside of running. This may however shorten the lifetime of the backpack since it will be used more frequently and carry heavier loads.
The capacity of the backpack you will buy is totally determined by its use. It’s important to be cautious of the space capacity of the backpack so that you don’t put too much that will end up straining the bag and you also. Also, excessive space is not something you want to have when running. When checking the capacity make sure you look at all the pockets and the compartments of the backpack. Make sure the compartments suite your need. Of late there have been backpacks that the space capacity can be enlarged by extra zippers. You can consider these options also.
The best material for running backpacks would be a durable, preferably waterproof or at least water resistant material. The material should also be able to withstand sun exposure. There are many different types of materials, depending on the brand, though almost all running backpacks are made of a synthetic material.
Before you get into a buying a running backpack it’s crucial that you understand there are different types of packs on the market. These packs vary depending on their use, features, and how they are designed. One backpack may be perfect for a certain type of activity but be terrible for another. Before buying a pack it’s important to know the kind of sporting activity that you will be involved in and that will lead you choosing the pack with the correct features and capacity. Some of the basic features that come with backpacks can include pockets, rain covers, additional compartments, and hydration bladders.
When considering purchasing a running backpack, having a budget in mind might be of high importance to you. However, it is worth noting that it might be worth spending a little more money in order to get a quality, durable backpack with all the features you are looking for that will last you for years to come. If you get a subpar backpack you may have to replace it quickly which negates it's entire value and makes the whole operation more expensive.
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