Best Hydration Packs for Runners

Running with a water bottle in your hand is a bit of a faff, let’s face it. As many a clued up trail runner knows only too well, a hydration pack that houses a water bladder (usually, there are exceptions with inbuilt reservoirs) can mean an extension to a running route or hike due to the ability to carry an extra 3 litres of water. We’ve reviewed the leading designs from the best hydration pack brands such as Camelbak, Salomon and Osprey among others. Look out for the added extras such as pockets, extra bottle capacity and adjustable straps for the shoulders and chest (often pivotal to a comfortable run as the pack will be securely fitted and won’t wobbling all over the shop as you run).

Our Pick

Camelbak Hydrobak Hydration Pack

Say goodbye to clunky water bottles and stilted drinks breaks interrupting your running streak; the Camelbak Hydrobak Hydration Pack is the answer to all of your problems. The innovative Crux reservoir acts as a refillable bladder and is just as fancy as it sounds.

It holds up to 1.5L of water which is enough for a two-hour journey, and offers a unique design which delivers 20% more water per sip compared to previous models, ensuring effective hydration.

Simply fill the reservoir with water before your trip and the plastic tube will allow you to drink on the go, hands-free – no more rucksack rummaging! The tube even features an anti-microbial hydroguard coating which prevents the build-up of bacteria, so you always have fresh-tasting water at hand. The product also comes with a leak-proof cap and on/off valves, meaning that you can seal off the water supply quickly and easily. Aside from the user-friendly water supply, this hydration pack also comes with some other practical perks. The pack is lightweight with a breathable mesh panel for a comfortable fit, and there is a small zip pocket for keeping essential items such as keys and loose change.

Some customers mentioned that the pocket may not be big enough for large smartphones or more substantial items, but if you’re heading out for a social detox – just you, nature and some bare essentials – then this is the perfect hydration pack for you.

Plus, the reflective detailing means that you can sport your hydration vest even in low-light environments, whether you’re on a two-hour hike or a late-night run.

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  • Innovative Crux reservoir design
  • 20% more water per sip compared to previous designs
  • Leak-proof cap
  • Anti-microbial hydroguard coating prevents bacteria
  • Reflective detailing for low-light environments
  • Zip pocket may not be big enough for larger items

Our Pick

Camelbak Nano Hydration Vest

The Camelbak Nano Hydration Vest lives up to its name in the sense of being lightweight and minimal, but don’t let that fool you into believing that this product can’t deliver – because, boy, does it deliver. The 3D vent mesh enhances breathability and provides cushioning, whilst a total of eight exterior pockets including a stretch overflow pocket and a secure phone pocket mean that you don’t need to scrimp on on-the-go essentials, from earphones to granola bars. And that’s before we even get to the hydration part!

Instead of a bladder, this hydration pack comes with two 500ml BPA-free stow flasks with a collapsible design that allows them to deflate as they lose water, so you don’t have the burden of carrying around bulky water bottles even after you’ve finished drinking.

In terms of fit, some customers mentioned that you may need to tighten the vest every so often, but with convenient dual sternum straps, this is easy to adjust as needed.

The hydration pack also comes with a trekking pole carry, so you can easily remove and replace poles if you’re exploring some particularly rocky terrain.

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  • Lightweight
  • 3D vent mesh for breathability
  • Eight exterior pockets
  • Comes with two collapsable 500ml BPA-free bottles
  • Trekking pole carry loop
  • Not compatible with water bladder
  • Straps may need adjusting throughout journey

Our Pick

inov-8 Race Elite Vest 10 – AW20

The inov-8 Race Elite Vest 10 is trim and compact whilst still offering plenty of storage for your on-the-go essentials and water supply. The pack comes with two handy 500ml water bottles – one secured on either side of the vest – and a total of six pockets where you can store equipment and snacks to keep you fuelled on longer trails. The two side pockets both feature a reinforced base to keep weightier items secure.

Further essentials can be stored in the 10L compartment on the back of the vest, which features a dual vertical zip for quick and easy access, and a unique compressible design meaning that if you’re travelling light you don’t need to worry about your items jiggling around.

The hydration pack also comes with convenient pole holders at the base where you can keep trekking poles tucked away. Some customers mentioned that the water bottles can get in the way when running, but the great thing about this vest is that it’s completely adjustable, so we recommend taking some time to find a fit that feels comfortable and secure to prevent this.

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  • Comes with two 500ml water bottles
  • Six pockets for storage
  • 10L compressible storage compartment
  • Comes with two collapsable 500ml BPA-free bottles
  • Trekking pole carry loop
  • Adjustable
  • Water bottles can get in way

Our Pick

Salomon Active Skin 8 Hydration Vest

Salomon Active Skin 8 Hydration Pack

If you’re looking for a snug, lightweight hydration vest that can also carry all of your essentials, then the Salomon Active Skin 8 Hydration Vest is the product for you. With soft, breathable mesh fabric that conforms to the body and an easy elastic closure, this hydration pack was designed with comfort in mind. The innovative sternum strap allows for easy adjustments and means that you can remove or attach the pack quickly and efficiently, even on the go.

In terms of water supply, this hydration vest comes with two 500ml soft flasks which are held securely in two neat pockets, and the design is compatible with a 1.5L bladder if you’re going on a longer trail and want to add extra resources – though this is not included with the vest.

The product comes in a choice of two colours – black or red – so whether you prefer to lay low with an understated look or you want to add a pop of colour to your sporting gear, you can choose a design that suits you. Both colours feature reflective details for safety, so you can sport your vest even in low-light environments.

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  • Comfortable fit and breathable fabric
  • Comes with two 500ml soft flasks
  • Choice of colours
  • Reflective details
  • Doesn’t come with bladder

Our Pick

Osprey Duro 6 Hydration Pack

Osprey-Duro-6

There’s no need to sacrifice comfort for storage with the Osprey Duro 6 Hydration Pack. This medium capacity hydration vest is comprised of a lightweight, breathable fabric with a dual adjustable sternum strap as well as storage for your water supply and on-the-move essentials, so you can spend less time juggling bulky items, and more time taking in the fresh air and natural landscapes on your running trail. The sternum straps are also elasticated and completely removable, allowing for maximum comfort during energetic movements.

The pack comes with two 500ml soft flasks with bite tubes, making drinking on the go quicker and easier than ever, whilst multiple mesh and zippered pockets along with a large stretch pocket provide heaps of storage for energy bars, equipment and protective layers of clothing. The maximum capacity of the pack is around 6L, providing plenty of space for all of your essentials, and even a few non-essentials! You’ll also find a handy Stow on the Go loop on each shoulder of the vest, where you can keep trekking poles within easy reach.

There’s more to this hydration pack than storage, though. With reflective details for safety on low-light trails and compression straps which ensure a secure and comfortable fit, it’s clear that this pack is fit for purpose. Although it may sit at a slightly higher price point, we think it’s worth it purely for the fact that the Osprey Duro 6 is specifically designed to be durable and resist the wear and tear that comes with an active lifestyle, so you can run, hike and cycle to your heart’s content without worrying about causing damage.

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  • Lightweight, breathable fabric
  • Comes with two 500ml soft flasks with bite tubes
  • Multiple pockets
  • Trekking pole carry
  • Durable design
  • Quite pricey

Our Pick

Ultimate Direction 5.0 10L Hydration Vest

Ultimate Direction Hydration Vest

Sporting a vibrant blue design, the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 5.0 is the perfect hydration pack to add a pop of colour to your activewear. The benefits of this product go much deeper than aesthetics, though. Four-way stretch nylon-elastane fabric, a sternum strap with hook-and-loop adjustability and a variety of pockets for ample storage are among the handy features that come with this hydration vest.

The two rear zippered pockets are ideal for keeping your belongings organised and secure, whilst the large rear compartment allows you to carry a reservoir of up to 3L for on-the-go hydration, and there is even a small weather-resistant pocket for storing small essentials. Although the product doesn’t come with a bladder, it does come with two 500ml Body Bottles which are held securely in place on either side of the vest.

As well as offering maximum storage, the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest is also an advocate for staying comfortable when active. The pack features a special shoulder strap to balance weight distribution, so even if the storage compartments are stuffed to the brim, you can still move around comfortably and freely. This is also thanks to the corded elastic cinch feature which allows you to compress your items and reduce bulk. The product also comes with handy trekking pole holders and a whistle for safety.

This hydration pack is definitely more of a high-end product in terms of price,, but with an innovative design, plentiful storage and the ability to add an extra water supply if needed, we think this is the perfect all-rounder.

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  • Four-way stretch nylon-elastane fabric
  • Multiple pockets
  • Comes with two 500ml Body Bottles
  • Compatible with 3L reservoir
  • Trekking pole carry
  • Doesn’t come with bladder
  • Expensive

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