Hydration Packs: Tips on how to Select


detail of the hose and mouthpiece on a hydration pack

Hydration packs are designed principally to move water and make consuming handy and environment friendly. In truth, with most hydration packs, you don’t must cease, and even decelerate, to take a sip of water; you merely seize the drink tube that’s related to the included water reservoir (generally referred to as a bladder).

While you’re searching for a hydration pack, you first need to make sure that the pack is designed for the exercise you plan to make use of it for, after which contemplate issues like capability, match and further options. This text walks you thru the method and covers:

  • Kinds of hydration packs: First discover a pack that’s designed for the actions you do
  • Capability: Make sure the pack has sufficient house in your water and equipment
  • Match: Ensure that the pack matches your torso size and hip dimension
  • Options: Think about extra options, like chunk valve on/off switches and quick-disconnect tubing

Remember that almost all newer daypacks and backpacks that don’t include a hydration reservoir are designed with an inside sleeve that may maintain a reservoir. If that describes an present pack you personal or are interested by buying, you possibly can merely add a reservoir to it to make it a hydration pack.

Kinds of Hydration Packs

There are two basic varieties of hydration packs: hydration backpacks and hydration waistpacks. Inside these teams, there are packs made particularly for various outside actions, together with climbing, operating, mountain biking, biking, snowboarding and snowboarding. The widespread function amongst almost all of them is the included hydration reservoir that makes consuming simple. A handful of packs (normally ones designed for operating) embrace water bottles fairly than a reservoir.


Hydration Backpacks

a hiker wearing a hydration pack

Mountain climbing hydration packs: These packs are quite a bit like customary packs for climbing and normally function ample cargo house for meals, additional layers and the Ten Necessities that it’s best to keep it up each outing. They vary in dimension from small packs for brief hikes to ones which are large enough for ultralight overnights.

Be taught extra about selecting a daypack or backpack.

Store Hydration Backpacks

a cyclist wearing a hydration pack

Biking hydration packs: These packs are designed particularly for highway biking and mountain biking. These designed for the highway are sometimes compact and low-profile so that they really feel mild and steady in your again and received’t create a ton of wind resistance. Packs designed for mountain biking are sometimes a bit bigger to accommodate additional gear, clothes and bike instruments. All biking hydration packs sometimes have low-profile waistbelts that received’t intrude together with your pedaling.

Store Biking Hydration Backpacks

a trail runner wearing a hydration pack

Operating hydration packs: These are designed particularly for operating. Whereas purchasing, you’ll discover that some are referred to as operating vests, whereas others are operating backpacks. The road between the 2 is typically blurry.

  • Operating vests: As you may anticipate, these seem like a vest and are designed to suit cosy to your physique. They’re just like a backpack in that they’re carried over the shoulders and in your again, however they are typically a bit decrease profile, function extra pockets on the entrance of the shoulder straps, and haven’t got a hipbelt like most packs do. Many embrace devoted spots for storing water bottles on the entrance of the shoulder straps. Most vests additionally accommodate a hydration reservoir (generally offered individually) for runners who wish to sip from a tube.
  • Operating backpacks: These are quite a bit like a backpack that you just’d tackle a day hike however with running-specific options, akin to a low-profile design, a easy hipbelt (a number of haven’t any hipbelt in any respect) and a bunch of pockets which are simple to entry whilst you’re operating. They often present extra storage than vests (largely at the back of the pack), making them a sensible choice for lengthy path runs that require a number of additional meals and clothes. Almost each operating pack accommodates a hydration reservoir for simple sipping on the go (reservoirs are generally offered individually). Many additionally embrace pockets on the shoulder straps or sides when you want to make use of water bottles.

You may study extra about your pack choices for operating in our article, Tips on how to Pack your Path-Operating Gear.

Store Operating Hydration Packs

a skier wearing a hydration pack

Snowsports hydration packs: Designed for actions like snowboarding and snowboarding, snowsports hydration packs are winterized to assist hold your water provide from freezing. Which means there’s normally insulation on the reservoir and drink tube, and generally a chunk valve cowl. Some snowsports-specific packs embrace lash factors or carry straps to permit hands-free transport of a snowboard or skis.

Store for Ski Hydration Packs

Hydration Waistpacks

a hiker wearing a hydration waistpack

Because the title implies, these packs are carried round your waist. A lot of them embrace water bottles fairly than a reservoir, and the cargo house is smaller than most packs present.

Waistpacks might be good for mild and quick adventures, like a hike, path run or cross-country ski, the place you don’t want to hold a lot gear and also you don’t need your motion hindered by a much bigger pack in your again.

Store Hydration Waistpacks

Hydration Pack Capability

Ensure that the hydration pack you select can carry sufficient water and equipment to satisfy your wants.


Hydration Pack Reservoir Capability

Water isn’t mild (1 liter weighs roughly 2 kilos), so take into consideration how a lot you actually need to hold and whether or not you’ll be capable to refill alongside the best way, after which buy a hydration pack consistent with that.

After all, you don’t must fill the reservoir to the brim on each outing. To maintain weight low on shorter journeys, carry solely the quantity of water you anticipate needing. For instance, with a Three-liter reservoir, you possibly can fill it midway for a fast hike or all the best way for an extended journey in a scorching local weather.

an assortment of hydration reservoir sizes and how much the water weighs

Listed here are some issues to consider associated to reservoir capability:


zero.5 liter or much less (16 fluid ounces or much less): Packs with minimal water capability are normally waistpacks that embrace one or two water bottles. They’re greatest for light-weight pursuits like operating or strolling.

1 liter or 1.5 liters (32 or 50 fluid ounces): A sensible choice for minimalists, children, and short-distance bike commuters, hikers and runners.

2 liters or 2.5 liters (70 or 85 fluid ounces): These in style reservoir sizes provide a pleasant stability of affordable weight and bulk whereas offering a ample amount of water that in most conditions would require solely occasional refilling.

Three liters or extra (100 fluid ounces or extra): Made for the thirstiest of adventurers or those that don’t need to cease to refill. They’re additionally good for anybody exploring terrain the place water is scarce.


Hydration Pack Gear Capability

The gear capability of hydration packs ranges from lower than 5 liters as much as about 50 liters. To determine how a lot house you want, run by way of a psychological stock of the gear you carry. Can the pack accommodate your favourite jacket? Does it present sufficient snack house for the size of journeys you’re taking?

an assortment of hydration packs with various gear capacity ratings

Listed here are some concerns for gear capability:

5 liters or much less: Most of those small packs are constructed for light-weight pursuits like operating, highway biking and ultralight climbing. Their compact and low-profile design offers room for under a handful of necessities, like an additional layer, some power bars and your keys.

6 liters to 10 liters: A number of packs on this vary are designed for mountain biking or path operating. They’ve sufficient house to simply match an additional layer or two, meals for the day and your digital camera.

11 liters to 20 liters: These midsize packs are sometimes constructed for climbing, mountain biking or path operating and have additional pockets for staying organized. Their bigger capability allows you to carry sufficient garments, meals, emergency tools and further gear for longer explorations.

21 liters or extra: Any hydration pack over about 21 liters is normally designed for climbing. These have sufficient cargo room and luxury and load-support options to carry out properly on lengthy hikes. Some are even large enough for light-and-fast in a single day adventures.

Hydration Pack Match

the shoulder and sternum straps of a hydration pack

When you’ve discovered the kind of hydration pack you need and the capability, it’s time to verify it matches you correctly.

The suitable match presents:

  • A dimension acceptable in your torso size (not your total peak)
  • A comfortably cosy grip in your hips (if the pack doesn’t have a hipbelt, go solely by torso size)

In an fitnessinf retailer, you possibly can work with one among our pack specialists to get the appropriate match. For those who’re at dwelling, recruit a buddy and comply with the instructions in our article, Backpacks: Sizing and Match.


Torso Size

Some packs can be found in a number of sizes, from additional small to massive, which match a spread of torso lengths. These ranges fluctuate by producer and gender. Verify the product specs tab for dimension particulars.

Different packs have an adjustable suspension that may be modified to suit your torso. That is useful when you’re usually in-between sizes.


Waist Dimension

Hydration pack hipbelts normally match a variety of hip sizes, from the mid-20 inches to the mid-40 inches or larger. You’ll find this measurement on the product specs tab.


Girls-Particular Hydration Packs

These packs have hipbelts and shoulder straps which are contoured with the feminine type in thoughts. Torso dimensions are typically shorter and narrower than males’s packs, too. As a result of they’re obtainable in smaller sizes, girls’s backpacks usually work properly for younger backpackers of both gender.


Youth-Particular Hydration Packs

These usually provide smaller capacities and embrace an adjustable suspension to accommodate a toddler’s progress. You too can strive girls’s backpacks or small sizes of some males’s packs.

Hydration Pack Options

anatomy of a hydration pack

Chunk valve shutoff swap: Some chunk valves twist to open and shut; others have a swap to make sure water doesn’t get out once you don’t need it to.

Tube portals: This can be a slit within the backpack that lets you thread the sip tube from the reservoir contained in the pack to the outside. Many packs provide two portals so you possibly can place the tube to hold over both shoulder. Some packs provide a single, centered portal.

Clips: Many hydration packs embrace a clip on a shoulder strap to maintain your tube positioned for simple entry.

Fast-disconnect tubing: Some reservoirs embrace a drink tube that simply disconnects from the physique of the reservoir, which is good when it’s time to refill the reservoir midhike. You merely disconnect the tube with the press of a button and pull the reservoir out of your pack. This lets you depart the tube in place, which is very helpful you probably have it routed by way of a tube portal.

Large-mouth opening: Large-mouth openings normally permit you to match a hand contained in the reservoir, which makes cleansing simple. For those who select a reservoir with a smaller opening, you should purchase a cleansing package that features brushes for scrubbing out the within.

Chilly climate add-ons: Assorted winterized add-ons can be found, together with insulated sip tubes, insulated reservoirs, reservoir covers and chunk valve covers. They are often helpful, although they add slightly bulk and weight to your system.

Raincover: A raincover is a pleasant add-on when you recreate in all varieties of climate.


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