When you’re running in 90-degree weather, guzzling water is a must. We’re talking five to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 30 minutes of action. Not only is proper hydration key to better performance and health, it’s the single most important thing you can do before, during and after your run. But carrying your favorite water bottle as you climb hills and sprint through flat roads just won’t do. That’s where hydration packs come in.
Not to be confused with fanny packs, hydration packs are lightweight backpacks or vests that include silicone water bottles or valves, so you can easily sip as you run. Adjustable mesh shoulder straps, breathable fabrics and bonded seams help wick moisture and prevent chafing. And don’t forget the bells and whistles: Zipped pockets make your phone, keys and energy gels easily accessible and securely stored. Reflectivity is a bonus, too, especially if you’re trekking through back roads and forests at night.
5 Hydration Packs for Every Adventurer
1. Trail Runner
You’ll look like a pro pounding dirt paths in this ultra-lightweight six-ounce mesh vest. The CamelBak Ultra Pro Circuit vest includes two 17-ounce Quick Stow Flasks in the front and a water reservoir in the back of the pack that can store up to two liters of water. The flasks use a bite-and-sip valve with a twist off cap for easy hydration. They’re also available in an insulated version, which keeps water colder than the standard type. But the best part is the zipper pocket for holding anything from essentials to trekking poles. To help keep you safe during your early morning or evening runs, reflective fabric lines the front and back. ($120, camelbak.com)
2. The Minimalist
The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 Set hydration vest packs it in with three zippered pockets and two 16-ounce soft flasks. Two pockets have tough elastic strings that hold the flasks in place. Elastic strings also keep the pack close to your body for freedom of movement — sans chafing. Plus, the sweat-wicking fabric keeps your body temperature at an ideal 99.5°F. What makes this vest truly unique is the Sensifit technology that allows the fabric to conform to your body shape, even on the run. ($140, salomon.com)
3. Mile-High Seeker
Designed by Orange Mud founder and former adventure racing athlete Josh Sprague, the Endurance Pack is made for biking, running and hiking. At nine and a half ounces, the versatile Endurance Pack comes with a trekking pole attachment and a two-liter HydraPak bladder. If you need to pack extra clothing, the main cargo compartment has you covered, while the shoulder pocket can store smaller things, like your phone and granola bars. And for more agua, the front chest pocket has a 15-ounce soft flask. Adjustable sternum and side straps ensure that you’ll find the perfect fit for your outdoor adventure. ($134.95, orangemud.com)
4. Endurance Addict
Made with nylon stretch mesh, the Osprey Dyna 6 for women is durable enough to outlast ultramarathons and multi-day hikes. A large zipper pouch stores the water reservoir, which holds up to one-and-a-half liters of water. The magnet attachment in the bite valve of the bladder hose makes it easy to sip and go. For emergencies or warding off animals on the trail, the whistle comes in handy. Side panel pockets and larger food compartments let you store extra snacks for your friends on the trail. ($110, ospreypacks.com)
Ultrarunner Stephanie Howe, Ph.D, was the inspiration for this this Nathan Sports VaporHowe 4L Race Vest. With a sophisticated design and coral color, this vest has all the right feminine touches. The pack rides higher than most, offering women more comfort from the waist up. Equipped with two soft flasks and a smaller bladder in the back, all your hydration needs are taken care of. Side slide-in pockets and the front zipper pocket make the Vapor great for stashing sunscreen and wipes. ($150, nathansports.com)