When engaging in any form of strenuous physical activity, there is nothing more important than staying hydrated. In order to replace all of the liquid your body loses through sweating, it is essential that you replenish with water or other sports drink. Without adequate hydration practices, you may suffer the symptoms of dehydration, which include dizziness, shortness of breath, and headaches. In cases of severe dehydration, you may even need to be hospitalized.
In order to stay properly hydrated while engaging in physical activity, you need some sort of vessel to carry your liquids. Traditionally, people have used water bottles for this purpose, but water bottles are a burden to carry when participating is most forms of exercise and can only hold a limited amount of liquid. Who wants to carry around a water bottle while going on a jog? Wouldn’t you much rather have both of your hands free?
There are a wide range of hydration packs on the market today, each with their own unique advantages and features. Here are 13 of the best hydration packs available:
While the pack may be extremely light, there is still room to pack any gear you may want to bring with you on your adventure. Also, the shell of the pack is built with waterproof ripstop nylon, meaning the pack will stay totally waterproof on those rainy days. The main appeal of this particular pack, however, is the amazingly low price. For those looking for a high-quality hydration pack at a low cost, the Terra Hiker Hydration Pack is a great option to consider.
There are also a number of other features that make the M.U.L.E an excellent choice in hydration pack. It is built with a Crux reservoir, allowing you to take in much more water with each sip than with a traditional hose system. Specially designed small passageways have been added to the back of unit, in order to allow air to travel through and keep your back cool while exercising. The latest model also includes a magnetic tube strap that stays securely in place, allowing you to drink from the bladder hands-free without worrying that the valve will fall to the side.
Additionally, the pack is equipped with an external hydration sleeve, which allows the user to conveniently refill the bladder without having to unpack the entire bag. Other features include an attachment for carrying helmets, a specially designed pocket that carries sunglasses without scratching them, a built-in rain cover that can be employed in rainy situations when you want to make sure your valuables don’t get wet, and an attachment for a blinker light. The size of the bag and the flexible materials also allow you to carry lots of gear, ideal for someone who wants a bag that can both carry a large quantity of water and important gear.
There is one main feature that makes the Gambler work well in sub-zero conditions. The water reservoir and the water tubes are super-insulated, meaning the liquids in your pack won’t turn into a block of ice if the temperatures drop below freezing. This is a key feature, as a frozen water supply can ruin an entire day of activities. The water bladder is also oriented vertically, meaning the weight is distributed up and down the back rather than just on the lower back. Also, there’s plenty of room in the pack for other winter gear that is necessary in order to survive in freezing conditions.
The hydration pack also boasts fully adjustable chest, shoulder, and waist straps, making it easy to carry, and enough storage space to carry anything you might need for a day of adventuring. All Rabosky hydration packs are built with a state-of-the-art airflow system, with makes sure your back and shoulders won’t get overheated as a result of carrying the bag. The shell is built out of a durable polyester material that is both waterproof and tear resistant, meaning the Rabosky Hydration Pack is a great choice for anyone looking for a hydration pack that will last for years to come.
A few other features also make the Viper 9 a top-notch hydration pack. It is built with a Biostretch harness that not only effectively distributes weight to minimize stress on your shoulders and back, but also feels comfortable on your skin. Additionally, the 3-liter bladder is designed in a way that matches the shape of the back panel, which helps to stop the water from sloshing around during movement and provides the user with a better sense of balance. The back panel is also built with Osprey’s Airscape technology, which stops the pack from adjusting when moving quickly and keeps the back cool.
However, while the design of this hydration pack may be focused on the water supply and on minimizing weight, it does not mean the pack comes with no other features. There are small compartments to carry any items you might want to bring along, which are secured with rugged SBS zippers. The pack is also equipped with a nylon shell that is completely waterproof, meaning everything inside the pack can be kept safe from the elements. The pack also fully opens up when unzipped, making it much easier to clean than other models.
The straps of the bag are built with extra padding, designed for people carrying a considerable amount of weight for a camping adventure. The pack is also built with compression straps that allow you to secure large loads, without having to worry that anything will fall out of your pack mid-hike. The shell of the pack is made with a polyester material that is resistant to water, meaning anything inside of the pack, including your valuable electronic devices, will be kept safe from the weather. The water tube is also easily accessible, as it runs from a hole in the top of the pack through the shoulder straps to a spot right next to your mouth.
The vest is able to store a 1.5 liter hydration bladder, which is an ideal size for a runner looking to keep the pack light while also maintaining a large enough water supply to stay hydrated. The pack also comes with two 12-oz insulated SpeedShot Flaks with push-pull blast valves. These allow the runner to carry extra amounts of water for emergency situations, that can be accessed quickly and effortlessly. The pack is also built with expandable mesh pockets where the runner can store gels and other necessities.
This backpack is also highly durable, it boasts “military-grade” durability, and only weighs a single pound, despite the advanced thermal insulation system. The backpack also provides the user with a number of different pockets that can securely store any of the user’s things. Also, the bladder is made with a BPA-free material that has been FDA-approved, meaning the bladder will never contaminate your liquids with toxins of any kind.
The Lobo is built with a magnetic tube strap that keeps the water valve in place and prevents it from ever becoming detached accidentally. Also, for those who plan on using the Lobo for biking, the Lobo comes with a bike tool organizer pocket that is specifically built for storing those tools that are needed for quick mechanical repairs on your bike. The Lobo is built with highly sturdy material, and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
The pack itself is easy to carry, as it is constructed with a lightweight wire frame that greatly reduces the stress load on your back and shoulders. The wire frame makes the pack feel as if it’s supporting itself and floating above your shoulders, and the wires are well-padded, so you won’t feel the wire digging into your skin. Also, the pack is furnished with Platypus’s Rainfly technology, which allows the user to deploy a waterproof flap to protect the bag from rain.
The Fourteener 20 is designed with the NV Back Panel, which delivers excellent air ventilation while simultaneously providing the user with a suspension system that makes the pack feel lighter. The shoulder and waist compression straps are much thicker and more robust than the ones of the Lobo in order to accommodate for the extra weight. The pack contains a number of different pockets great for organizing all of the different items you might want to place in your pack.
Which Hydration Pack is Right for You?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question; the answer depends entirely on your individual needs and interests. The factors you should consider when making your decision include the size of the bladder, amount of storage space, cold-weather capability, weight-support system, among others. By applying these factors, and using the guide above, you can identify the hydration pack that best suits your requirements.