The 13 Best Hydration Packs

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:

Terra Hiker Hydration PackTerra Hiker Hydration Pack

The Terra Hiker Hydration Pack is a hydration pack that is primarily focused on providing the user with hydration. The center compartment contains a water bladder that holds up to 2 liters of liquid, and the side pockets hold pockets that are designed to carry water bottles for back-up hydration purposes. This pack is especially light, weighing less than half a pound when the water bladder is not included. The pack is also designed in a fashion via which the user wears the pack like a vest, meaning the weight of the pack when the bladder is filled is efficiently distributed across the user’s back, chest, and shoulders.

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.

Purchase / $24

CamelBak M.U.L.E.CamelBak M.U.L.E. 

The CamelBak M.U.L.E, while initially designed for mountain bikers, has become one of CamelBak’s best selling items for all different kinds of athletes. The main reason why the M.U.L.E has become so popular is that it is able to carry enough water for a full day of exercise, up to 3 liters, while also staying lightweight enough that it doesn’t become a burdensome weight. It also has enough room to carry your gear and anything else you might need for a long exercise regiment, such as snacks, keys, and electronics.

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.

Purchase / $110

Osprey Escapist 32 DaypackOsprey Escapist 32 Daypack

This hydration pack is Osprey’s best-selling item in the hydration pack category, and for good reason. The pack is perfect for hikers who are looking to haul a large amount of water for a multi-day hike. It is also equipped with a BioStretch hip belt and harness, which allows you to secure the pack to your body in a way that ensures the pack won’t shake around as you move. It also distributes the weight of the pack in a manner that makes the hydration pack feel much lighter than it is in actuality.

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.

Purchase / $130

Gambler Ski Hydration PackGambler Ski Hydration Pack

The Gambler Ski Hydration Pack is ideal for those people looking for a hydration pack that can handle cold weather conditions, whether for a ski trip, snowboarding expedition, or other cold adventure. Yet, while this pack was certainly designed for outings in cold temperatures, the Gambler has also become popular with mountain bikers and motocross riders, as its stability and balance make it an attractive option. The Gambler’s bladder holds up to 3 liters of water, which is enough for a day of long activities without being too heavy.

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.

Purchase / $71

Rabosky Hydration PackRabosky Hydration Pack

The Rabosky Hydration Pack is a great choice for people looking for a hydration pack for day hikes. The bladder is centralized in the pack, meaning the pack never slopes to one side and is particularly well-balanced. The bladder holds up to 2 liters, which is plenty for a day hike say on your local nature trails, and unlike with some other hydration packs, it is built with a sizable screw top that allows the pack to be easily opened. This is especially useful for people who may have difficulty gripping smaller screw tops. The bladder is also built with thermal insulation, that ensures the water can be kept very cold for hours on end.

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.

Purchase / $60

Osprey Viper 9Osprey Viper 9

The Viper 9 made by Osprey, which holds 3 liters of liquid, is a great multi-use hydration pack; it is owned by hikers, runners, and bikers alike. The pack’s body is made with a 210-Denier Poly Honeycomb fabric, an unbelievably durable material that makes sure the pack will last for a long period of time without sustaining any visible damage. The Viper 9 comes with an elastic system for easily attaching your helmet to the pack, as well as a space on the front panel that allows you to attach a blinker light, a crucial functionality for people looking to run/bike in nighttime conditions.

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.

Purchase / $100

Mubasel Gear Hydration PackMubasel Gear Hydration Pack

This Mubasel hydration pack is designed with minimalism in mind, the entire focus of the pack is on hydration, no frills or unnecessary features are included. The shoulder straps are built with soft padding that allow you to carry the bag with as little stress on your shoulders as possible. The pack on its own only weighs slightly over .5 pounds, making it one of the lightest hydration packs available today, even when the 2 liter bladder is filled. This lightweight design is great for the end of your hike or exercise regiment, as the pack will barely even feel like it’s there when you’re on the end of your water supply.

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.

Purchase / $28

OXA 40L Hiking and Hydration PackOXA 40L Hiking and Hydration Pack

This OXA hydration pack is the supreme choice for those looking for a hydration pack that can also double as an overnight backpack for serious camping expeditions. In addition to a 2 liter bladder, the pack provides plenty of space for a sleeping bag, small tent, or whatever else you might need for your outing. It also comes with a special sleeve that is designed for storage of your laptop or other electronic device. It is designed with a durable material that is meant to tolerate harsh camping conditions, while also being lightweight and not difficult to carry.

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.

Purchase / $36

Nathan Fireball Race VestNathan Fireball Race Vest

As you might have guessed from the name, the Nathan Fireball Race Vest hydration pack is designed for people looking to go fast, specifically runners who sustain high speeds. The hydration pack is built in a way that allows it to contour to your body shape, making it as aerodynamic as possible. A side-adjustable chest strap means the pack can be fitted perfectly for you and won’t bounce around while you’re running. If worn correctly, you won’t even notice the Race Vest is slung over yourself, instead it will feel like an extension of your own body. This product is ideal for a high speed runner who is looking for a light-weight hydration system that won’t slow him/her down.

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.

Purchase / $100

MIRACOL Hydration BackpackMIRACOL Hydration Backpack

While there are many advantages to the hydration pack produced by MIRACOL, this pack’s claim to fame is that it can do a better job of keeping water cold than nearly any other hydration pack available in stores today. The pack is designed with a patented thermal insulation system that keeps fluids in its 2 liter bladder at cold temperatures for up to four hours, while other packs only keep the water as cold for a few hours at best. This pack is perfect for people who just can’t take it when their water doesn’t stay cold, and are looking to invest in a product that will make sure they don’t have to drink lukewarm water on their next hike or bike trip.

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.

Purchase / $33

CamelBak Lobo Hydration PackCamelBak Lobo Hydration Pack

The Lobo, despite its playful name, is a no-nonsense practical hydration pack option that will get the job done without any extra bells and whistles. It boasts a sleek design, that is both visually attractive and also aerodynamic. Despite its smaller size, it carries a full 3 liter water reservoir, meaning you should have plenty of water for a full day of physical activity. Yet, despite this sizable water reservoir, the Lobo also contains storage compartments to carry snacks, keys, wallets, or anything else you might need. These storage compartments aren’t overly large, however, as the Lobo is designed for someone who is primarily focused on water needs.

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.

Purchase / $100

Platypus Duthie A.M. 10.0Platypus Duthie A.M. 10.0

This is the ultimate hydration pack for those going on all-day excursions in the mountains, whether on a mountain bike or on foot. The pack provides 12 total liters of storage space, with external and internal pockets to store food, tools, and other equipment, as well as a fleece-lined pocket specifically designed for eyewear protection. The 3 liter BigZip hydration reservoir is able to hold enough water for a full day in the mountains, and is designed with a low-profile shape that distributes weight evenly. The reservoir is designed in a way that won’t alter the taste of your liquids, and it is equipped with a hook system that holds the reservoir in place, so it won’t move around while you’re in motion.

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.

Purchase / $140

CamelBak Fourteener 20 Hydration PackCamelBak Fourteener 20 Hydration Pack 

The Fourteener 20 is comparable to the Lobo, but is focused a bit more on carrying equipment instead of being designed solely for water transportation. Similar to the Lobo, it boasts a 3 liter water bladder, but the overall size of the pack is made bigger in order to accommodate more storage space. This makes it a great all-day pack for someone who is looking to carry a substantial amount of water while also having enough room for extra gear.

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.

Purchase / $30

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.