Now that the days are getting warmer, easy access to copious amounts of water is essential for any outdoor activity. If it’s a long day hike, a backpacking trip, an endurance run, or a bike ride, using a hydration pack will ease your dehydration. The best backpacking companies are manufacturing great hydration packs and there are dozens to choose from which may seem confusing.
Keep in mind the three simple rules to follow when selecting your new hydration pack:
- What activity are you using it for?
- How much water does it hold?
- How much gear can it store?
A day’s worth of water might not be enough, so be sure to always bring extra bottles to carry in the side pouches. Always check the weather and be sure to bring enough food or snacks in case you get lost. But if you’ve already covered all the basics, check out the best hydration packs we’ve listed below
1. Hydro Flask Journey
This bag contains up to three liters, or 105 ounces, of liquid and that’s not counting the gear space. It’s a clear winner for the best hydration pack based on space and comfort. With straps that won’t dig into your shoulders or leave you feeling the weight, the pack sits high on your back for ultimate comfort. It has a plastic backplate and an internal frame for stability which will make a long hike more comfortable or a bike ride easier to bear because the weight will be secure and nearer to your shoulders. The pack weighs 2.8 pounds which will only grow with your added water weight. Overall, a great hydration pack for hiking or cycling.
2. Osprey Skarab 18
With a 2.5 liter capacity and a foam frame, the Osprey hydration pack will keep you going on a long hike. The back frame keeps you sweat-free and comfortable while the water capacity will keep you hydrated. This pack is best for day hikes or long bike rides and will sit high up on your back for maximum comfort. It has a few adjustable straps and a wide lip opening for adding water or cleaning. With plenty of mesh pockets for extra storage and spots for snacks or a hammock, the Osprey won’t let you down.
3. Camelbak HydroBak
Camelbak is known for its lightweight running packs and this one will be sure to please. With its impossibly light frame and 1.5-liter capacity, you’ll be good for a long endurance training run or ride with this pack. It doesn’t offer much space for storage aside from an energy gel or a bar but if you’re running you probably don’t need too many pockets for extra stuff. It’s a little on the small side for a day hike and definitely not suitable for a backpacking trip. But for runners, it’s the ultimate hydration pack for its lightweight frame at only five ounces before water.
4. CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Bike Hydration Pack
Made with mountain bikers in mind, CamelBak has created a sturdy hydration pack for those on two wheels out in the woods or in the desert far from water. With three liters of water storage and plenty of pockets for snacks and a first aid kit — because why not — CamelBak has you ready for a long day on the trails. With a magnetic tube for easy access sipping, you’ll get 20% more water with every gulp. An ideal pack for biking but too heavy for running, the CamelBak M.U.L.E. has you covered for a trip to the great outdoors.
5. HydroSleeve Hydration Pack
Maybe something a little more unusual than your average backpack but the hydrosleeve holds as much water as a regular bottle at 7.5 ounces and sits comfortably on your wrist. If it sounds heavy or uncomfortable it might not be for you, but for those tired of coordinating a tube with their hands, this may be worth a try. With the tube brought straight to your mouth from your wrist, you can keep running and take a sip mid-stride and not worry about throwing off your rhythm.
6. Platypus Duthie AM Utility Hydration Pack
The Platypus offers the ultimate amount of water storage at 15 liters or 2.2 pounds of water. Suspended above your back with streamlined technology, the Platypus will hover above your back to provide airflow while on your bike. The frame is a mesh tension designed to provide support as you arch over the handlebars to prevent the bag from slipping over your shoulders. The reservoir suspension keeps the bagneatly secure as you ride to provide a comfortable riding position. The bag weighs 2.3 pounds and with such a large capacity it would be too heavy to take on a day hike but for the rigorous mountain biker, it’s a game-changer.
7. Gelindo Insulated Hydration Pack
The Gelindo hydration pack holds up to 2.5 liters of water and has an extra thick hydration compartment to keep your water cool for up to four hours. While the rest of the pack heats up with the sun and your body heat, your water will stay insulated and cool, ready to refresh you when you need it. This pack also has four large storage pockets and is a great option for an overnight backpacking bag or camping bag. It can hold large items like tents, a sleeping bag, or anything else which makes it a great option for backpacking.
8. Gregory Inertia 30
This hydration pack holds up to 30 liters of gear and 100 ounces of water. Best for day trips or long hikes, the Gregory Inertia will sit comfortably on your shoulders as you head out into the great unknown. This frameless pack may feel a bit heavier if you’re used to a foam or plastic frame but it will still be the best option for day hikes. The pack weighs 1.1 pounds and is made out of nylon. For optimal use, pack it full and take it for a walk around the neighborhood before you head out on your hike so you can adjust to the weight.