The 10 Best Hydration Packs, According to a Running Coach

Stave off the thirst with the CamelBak Velocity 70 oz. Hydration Pack

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When you’re in the middle of a run, hike, or ride, stopping or slowing down to drink fluids can wreck your momentum and interrupt your flow. A hydration pack is a smart, hands-free way to carry your fluids and other running essentials. You can drink through the tube that’s connected to the pack’s reservoir without losing your concentration or form.

Reviewed & Approved

Durable and functional with a hands-free 70 oz reservoir, CambelBak’s Hydration Pack is our top overall choice. But if you’re on a budget, then we recommend the Kuyou Hydration Pack.

Whether you’re hitting the bike trails, training for a race, or planning an epic hike, having a hydration pack handy will help prepare you for anything. When purchasing one, it’s important to keep factors like type, capacity, and fit in mind. We reviewed hydration packs from top brands for these features and elements like convenience (e.g. zippers), activity, and price.

Here are the best hydration packs on the market.

Best Overall: CamelBak Velocity 70 oz. Hydration Pack

4.8
CamelBak Velocity 70 oz. Hydration Pack

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

CamelBak's durable, functional Velocity Hydration Pack provides convenient, hands-free hydration and the ample storage that outdoor enthusiasts want in a hydration backpack, making it our top pick. It features a 70-ounce reservoir, allowing plenty of room for your fluid of choice, and the easy open and close cap makes it a cinch to refill on the go. Lightweight and easy to carry, the pack features adjustable mesh straps and a sternum strap that provide a secure and very comfortable fit.

The wide-mouth opening is not only easy to clean but also allows plenty of space for ice cubes to keep your fluids colder for longer. The two external zippered pockets are perfect for stashing small essentials such as a phone, keys, and nutrition, while the stretch overflow panels expand to allow more storage.

CamelBak offers multiple color options to choose from, and the recommended torso fit range is 15 to 21 inches.

Best Budget: Kuyou Hydration Pack

Kuyou Hydration Pack

Courtesy of Walmart

If you’re looking to try out a hydration pack but don’t want to invest a lot of money, Kuyou's Hydration Pack is a great entry-level option. It has many of the features you would expect from a high-end pack, but at a much lower price.

Made with high-quality nylon and a mesh back panel, it’s extremely durable and breathable, lightweight, and easy to carry. The leak-proof, BPA-free bladder holds three liters and has a soft mouthpiece that’s easy to use, whether you’re hiking, biking, or running.

The pack also features fully adjustable straps and a low-profile athletic cut, so it can fit all sizes comfortably. Meanwhile, the storage pockets are big enough for essentials such as keys, wallet, phone, or even another small bottle for extra hydration. It's available in multiple color options, which all feature reflective details for enhanced safety as you take on your outdoor adventure.

Best for Hiking: Teton Sports Oasis 1100 18L Hydration Pack

Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack

Courtesy of Amazon

Known for its affordable and durable outdoor gear, Teton Sports delivers with the Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack at a great price. Perfect for hikers, it features a leak-proof, 2-liter water bladder that’s easy to clean and fill with fluids and ice. In addition to the ample hydration storage, the backpack’s thoughtful design and 18-liter capacity provides plenty of room for other hiking essentials.

With adjustable shoulder, waist, and chest straps, this durable backpack allows for a custom fit. The high-density notched foam stabilizer and mesh covering also add to the overall comfort, so you can wear it for hours at a time without overheating or feeling weighed down.

Choose from multiple statement color options.

Best Waistpack: Osprey Seral Lumbar Bike Hydration Pack

Osprey Seral Lumbar Bike Hydration Pack

Courtesy of Amazon

If you prefer not to carry your fluids on your back, Osprey's Seral Lumbar Bike Waistpack is a nice, hands-free alternative. It features a 1.5-liter reservoir with a magnetic bite valve that attaches to the hip belt for easy access while you’re riding, running, or hiking.

Two zippered hip belt pockets keep your snacks secure and easily accessible, while the larger zippered main compartment lets you organize other essentials.

Additionally, the ErgoPull closure system provides a stable and comfortable fit, while the AirScape back panel allows for ventilation to keep you and your items dry and cool. Though there's just one size, you can adjust the waist straps for a customized feel and pick from multiple color options.

Best High Capacity: CamelBak Velocity Trail 100 oz. Hydration Pack

CamelBak Velocity Trail 100 oz. Hydration Pack

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

With a 100-ounce reservoir, CamelBak's Velocity Trail is ideal for hikers, distance runners, cyclists, or anyone who wants access to plenty of fluids on the go. The Big Bite Valve and leak-proof cap make it easy to drink without spilling, and the pack’s Crux reservoir allows for 20% more water per sip.

With seven pockets, you can fit all your essentials and even have enough room for an extra bottle, if you need one. As a bonus for cyclists, it comes with a helmet carry strap so you can stay hands-free. For a personalized fit, adjust the sternum strap how you'd like while the padded shoulder straps allow for comfortable carrying and a secure feel.

Whichever color you choose, the reflective detailing ensures you stay visible during dusk or dawn.

Best for Running: Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack

Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack

Courtesy of Amazon

With plenty of room for fluids, Mubasel's Gear Hydration Backpack is both affordable and lightweight, making it a no-brainer for runners who want easy access to hydration but don’t want to be weighed down. The minimalist pack features an insulated 2-liter, BPA-free bladder and has a large opening, making it easy to clean and dry.

The zippered pockets can securely hold valuables, and the front stretch mesh pocket expands for even more storage. Though only one size is available, the adjustable waist, chest, and shoulder straps allow for a secure, bounce-free fit. And no matter the weather, the breathable mesh back and foam padding add to overall comfort.

The pack doubles as a pillow when you need a breather, and each color option features reflective details.

Best for Marathon Training: Nathan Hydration Running Vest with Bite Valve

Nathan Hydration Running Vest with Bite Valve

Courtesy of Amazon

Distance runners love the design, comfort, and storage options of the Nathan Intensity Hydration Backpack. Designed specifically to fit the female body, the pack’s three-way harness helps evenly distribute the storage weight, so your back is less likely to get sore or fatigued. With a 2-liter bladder and an easy-to-use bite valve, it’s designed to keep you hydrated and hands-free during long training runs.

The front zippered pocket is convenient for securely stashing your phone, while the other pockets have plenty of space for other necessities you need on long runs. With its breathable, mesh shoulder straps and adjustable chest straps, the hydration pack helps eliminate common issues that occur on long runs or marathons—from overheating to a loose, bouncy fit.

With only one size, it's designed to fit most, while every color option is complete with reflective trims.

Best for Mountain Biking: CamelBak Women’s L.U.X.E. Mountain Bike Hydration Pack

CamelBak Women’s L.U.X.E. Mountain Bike Hydration Pack

Courtesy of Amazon

Ideal for a day of riding the trails, CamelBak's L.U.X.E. Mountain Bike Hydration Pack is lightweight and low-profile, yet it still has plenty of cargo space. With a 3-liter reservoir and 10 liters of total storage capacity, it can hold all the essentials you need for a substantial ride.

The adjustable sternum strap and stability belt offer a secure, bounce-free fit, while the ventilated back panel and harnesses prevent overheating. Other nice-to-have features mountain bikers will appreciate are the zippered pockets and built-in helmet hook.

It's available in multiple colors so you can stand out on the trails.

Best for Skiing: CamelBak Zoid Ski Hydration Pack

CamelBak Zoid Ski Hydration Pack

Courtesy of CamelBak

CamelBak's Zoid Ski Hydration Pack is cold weather friendly, making it perfect for staying hydrated when you’re hitting the slopes. The drinking tube zips into an insulated sleeve in the shoulder strap so you can still comfortably sip when the temperature dips below freezing.

The 2-liter reservoir features an ergonomic handle for easy refilling, as well as an on/off lever to prevent leaks. The efficient design has plenty of room for your phone, wallet, keys, and a snack, and it is low-profile enough that you don’t have to take it off to get on a chairlift. No matter which color you choose, you're sure to stand out on the slopes.

Best for Kids: CamelBak Kids Mini M.U.L.E. Hydration Backpack

4.4
CamelBak Kids Mini M.U.L.E. Hydration Backpack

Bass Pro Shops

Whether they’re hiking, biking, or running, little outdoor explorers will love the convenience and comfort of the CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. that’s made just for them. With a fluid capacity of 1.5 liters, the pack will make sure they stay hydrated during their adventures.

The lightweight, breathable harness and back panel allows for a comfortable fit, while the pack’s storage compartment has plenty of room for essentials such as snacks or a jacket. It also comes equipped with safety features, including reflective strips and a built-in emergency whistle.

While there's just one size, choose from multiple color combos or patterns that are sure to please.

Final Verdict

For a reliable hydration pack that works for many different outdoor activities, the Camelbak Velocity 70-Ounce Hydration Pack stands out for its performance, design, and versatility. If you’re looking for a less expensive, entry-level pick, the Kuyou Hydration Pack is a high-quality, reliable option that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

What to Look for in a Hydration Pack

Type

When choosing a hydration pack, the first thing you need to consider is what you’re going to be using it for. If you need a sleek, lightweight pack that’s good for racing or short runs and hikes, you’ll want to choose a minimalist design that focuses on hydration. If you need a pack for long hikes, ultramarathons, or lengthy bike rides, you’ll want one with a larger carrying capacity for both fluids and gear.

Capacity

Smaller packs have just enough room for a hydration bladder and maybe a small pocket or two for your phone and keys. For long treks, you may want a larger capacity so you can be prepared with extra gear, food, and clothing. Just keep in mind that while more room can be tempting, you’ll also want to make sure the pack is not so heavy that it weighs you down.

Fit

Look for a snug fit that stays close to the body. Most packs have adjustable shoulder, chest, or waist straps or are made specifically for men or women so you can find a custom fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you use a hydration pack?

    Hydration packs are carried on your shoulders and give you instant access to hydration without having to stop, whether you are hiking, running, or biking. The pack has a hose attached to the reservoir that gives you easy access to the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is typically a push cap (more common) or a bite valve. To use a push cap mouthpiece, you simply pull with your hand or teeth on the cap and then suck the water through. For a bite valve, you bite or squeeze the mouthpiece with your teeth to allow the water through. 

  • Why might I need a hydration pack?

    You will need a hydration pack if you love outdoor physical activities such as running, hiking, or biking. If you'll be outside for a long period of time and don’t want to rely on finding a place to refill your water bottle or lug around many water bottles, a hydration pack allows you to carry fluids more comfortably. A hydration pack also allows you to drink without stopping, which may be useful if you are biking or training for a race. 

  • How do you clean a hydration pack?

    It's important to clean your hydration pack thoroughly and often to prevent bacteria and mold from growing in it. The good news is that hydration packs are easy to clean with just a few tools. First, soak the water bladder and any other removable parts in warm, soapy water for about 20 minutes. Then scrub with water and dish soap, using a flexible cleaning brush that can get into the hard-to-reach parts. Rinse and and allow to air dry. 

  • How long do hydration packs last?

    As long as they are cleaned regularly and don't get damaged (say by being scraped by a tree branch or if you fall off your bike), hydration packs can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. 

  • What is the proper way to wear a hydration pack?

    You can wear hydration packs in a few different ways: on your back, waist, or front as a vest. It's a matter of personal preference and needs. You can buy hydration packs to fit your torso and waist size for extra comfort. 

Why Trust Verywell Fit? 

As a long-time running coach, avid runner, and certified personal trainer, Christine Luff understands the importance of picking the right gear, especially when it comes to hydration. She is always researching and testing athletic and outdoor gear, tools, and gadgets for her work as a fitness writer and to recommend to her trainees and running buddies. 

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