When you start exploring the world of hydration packs for Running, it seems simple enough: Pick one that fits your size (from small to extra-large), matches your color style preference, and has a few pockets for all your essentials. But once you start digging into this market, you discover there are lots of different styles with lots of bells and whistles, and you wonder if it’s worth the effort to unravel this web of technology just to find a simple backpack.
Put your technological worries aside: As long as you can fill it with water, and pour water into your mouth, then you’re good to go. Our buying advice and product reviews for hydration packs will help you get started on the right foot. You’ll learn about the different styles, sizes, and other features of running hydration packs, whether you’re a novice or an old pro at fuel-filled backpacks.
Our review of running hydration packs includes advice on the best way to use them, as well as the pros and cons of the most popular styles. Read on for more details about our top product picks, as well as information on hydration belts and handheld bottles that can also help you stay well-hydrated when you run outside this summer.
A hydration pack is a running fuel belt that contains a bladder, or bag, of water. The reservoir can be as small as a liter (32 ounces) or large enough to hold liters (68 ounces). There’s also a variety of styles, which we detail below. Some packs are designed for women; others come with pockets and compartments for added storage. If you plan to run with your hydration pack, make sure that it is designed specifically for runners and has the weight distribution needed to be comfortable while you’re running.
Before you choose a pack, think about how you’ll use it. Are you training for a marathon? You may want to invest in a full-featured hydration pack that includes water bottles and pockets for energy gels and other small essentials. Otherwise, keep it simple: Some packs are very basic and designed only to carry water. Those are good for long runs or races when you don’t need to carry anything except fuel. If you enjoy mountain biking and other activities that complement running, some of these packs can be used on any adventure.
The sizing is typically small, medium, and large. The best advice we’ve gotten for sizing a hydration pack is to put it on, tighten the straps to your liking and leave it on. You don’t want it too tight, but you also don’t want your reservoir to shift when you move. If the pack is too big or small, the strap will dig into you.
There’s a wide variety of styles for hydration packs on the market: from traditional backpacks with shoulder and chest straps to fanny packs that are worn around the waist. Many styles have a tube that allows you to drink on the run, while others require you to stop your running to take a gulp of water. You can also wear some types across your body, which provides easy-drinking access when you’re moving at high speeds.
This style comes in a variety of design options. Popular brands include Osprey, Camelbak, and Nathan. These are generally available in widths to fit all body types, ranging from XXS (extra-small) to 3XL (extra-large). Some packs have female-specific waist belts designed for a narrower range of hip sizes.
Another difference between men’s and women’s packs is the tube length: A shorter tube may be needed for smaller frames. The only advice we can offer on sizing with this style is to make sure everything fits securely around your body; it should not ride up or shift as you run or bike. If you want extra storage, some of these packs have exterior pockets for stashing energy gels or other essentials.
There are a variety of pack styles available, each with its own pros and cons chose Hydration Pack for Running that suits you:
Waist packs Hydration Pack for Running (fanny packs):
These are small, lightweight, and inexpensive; they fit easily in your running shorts’ back pocket or on the waistband of your favorite yoga pants. The best part: They don’t bounce, which is a great benefit for trail runners. However, some aren’t designed to fit larger phones; make sure you can carry the item with you while running.
Fanny packs are convenient – no need to take off your pack when you want to see how far you’ve run or if it’s time to turn around.
A major downside of waist packs is that it’s easy to lose track of how much water you’ve consumed; they’re also small, so there’s not a lot of room for extra gels or nutrition without overloading them. Additionally, the waist belt isn’t as comfortable as some other options for runs longer than five miles, which may require you to switch packs.
The shoulder-strap style:
This option is one of the most popular for runners, particularly those who like to train on trails or with an extra layer of clothing. Many versions come with a bladder in the back and a pocket for stashing all your essentials – phones, keys, cash. Some have velcro pockets, which are great for nutrition but may be loose enough to allow items to fall out while you’re running.
If you like the idea of a traditional backpack-style pack with storage space, make sure it fits your body securely and comfortably. It should not bounce when you run or bike, even if you wear an extra layer.
Some packs come with a hydration-pack system that allows you to refill the bladder on the go, but most backpacks have an extra compartment where you can store more water. The type and amount of storage will determine what other items you can carry with you for longer outings.
The no-bounce pack:
These are generally designed for runners who go on longer treks – from a few hours to a full marathon. They’re designed for holding more supplies, including food and phones, and are often made with a larger waist belt to reduce the bounce of the pack. The reservoir is usually located in one of the shoulder straps or close to your body; some packs have both areas covered.
If you go on long runs, a no-bounce pack may be your best bet. But if you’re not running for more than four or five hours, consider other options (such as waist packs) because the larger size of this style may feel cumbersome. The downside: No-bounce packs tend to be one of the more expensive options.
While most packs range from 2 to 5 pounds (0.9 to 2.3 kg) when empty, the weight will increase when you fill it with water and other supplies. As a general rule, you should be able to comfortably carry 10% of your body weight; if not, a lighter pack may be better.
Wear it right
You can make your pack more comfortable when wearing it for long distances by adjusting the straps and adding a little extra padding or warmth in the areas where the skin is likely to chafe. If you’re carrying a lot of gear, tuck some of the contents into one of the pockets; having a few things easily accessible can help you avoid slowing down.
If you’re looking for comfort, it’s best to try out different packs at your local running specialty store. And remember: You don’t have to spend a lot of money or opt for an expensive model to get the pack that works best for you. If you’re going on a short trail run, your local drugstore or discount store may have a backpack that does the trick for a lot less money.
I hope this guide helps you pick the perfect hydration pack for your next run. If you want to learn more about what we have to offer, please reach out to Eperz and let us know! We love hearing from our customers and would be happy to answer any questions or help with anything else. Thank you so much for reading, it’s been a pleasure helping you find the right type of water storage system for your needs!