Best Running Hydration Pack – Buying Guide (2017)

Are you a runner that’s tired of carrying your water bottle like it’s a football? Well then you need a running hydration pack. A running hydration pack (also known as a running vest or running belt) is a backpack or waist bag designed to carry your water, food, cellphone and other small accessories that you can utilize (or need) while running, biking or walking a long distance. As you can see, this product will save you a lot of headaches. So say goodbye to the days where you constantly patted your pockets to ensure that your iPhone was still there. Below, we share our editors’ top picks for the best running hydration vests and belts for the money, as well as some tips on what to look for when shopping for one of these packs.

Editor Rated: Top 10 Best Running Hydration Packs 2016 - 2017

PACKEDITOR RATING
Riskbek Hydration Pack with attachable Running Belt
Riskbek Hydration Pack with attachable Running Belt
5.0 Stars (5.0 / 5)
Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack
Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack
4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)
Fit Harmony Hydration Belt
Fit Harmony Hydration Belt
4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)
Mubasel Gear Hydration Pack with 70 oz 2L Bladder
Mubasel Gear Hydration Pack with 70 oz 2L Bladder
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Camden Gear Hydration Running Belt
Camden Gear Hydration Running Belt
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Adalid Gear Hydration Belt for Running
Adalid Gear Hydration Belt for Running
4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)
Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0
Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0
4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)
G4Free Sports Trail Runner Hydration Pack
G4Free Sports Trail Runner Hydration Pack
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Ultimate Direction Reservoir
Ultimate Direction Reservoir
4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)
Geigerrig Rig 500 Hydration Pack
Geigerrig Rig 500 Hydration Pack
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

What Should You Look For When Buying A Running Hydration Pack

The last thing you want to do is purchase the first running hydration pack you see at Walmart. The following are six questions you should ask yourself prior to buying one:

How Much Fluid Does It Hold?

Of course, you can’t be running on a hot, summer day without adequate fluids. Most running hydration packs’ carrying bladders varies in holding capacity; between 1 to 3 liters of fluid. The size you want should be dictated by the length of the trail. If you are running a trail that requires several hours to complete, it’s best to get a pack that stores at least 2 liters of fluid.

How Much Cargo Does It Hold?

It is vital you get a pack that won’t lose your precious cargo. You’ll likely have several small items that requires storage while running. As with fluid, each running hydration pack has a different holding capacity for cargo. Some have enough space to store big items such as clothing (e.g., jackets) while others can only hold small items such as car keys, food and cellphones. If you plan on being out all day, it is better to get a pack with enough cargo capacity to store clothing.

How Does It Fit You?

It is all in the fit! It is strenuous enough to run several miles through a canyon, wilderness, or whatever destination you venture. Don’t add to your stress by wearing an uncomfortable running hydration pack. While most packs hardly differ in overall size and shape, some will fit you better than others. Your height, upper body mass, and the shape of your spine dictates the comfortability level. In addition, the straps, waist straps and back length vary depending on the size and volume of the running hydration pack.

Note: There are specialty packs available such as unisex packs, female specific packs and kid’s hydration pack

What Features & Designs Comes With It?

Get a pack that agrees with your activities. The design and features of a running hydration pack is probably the most important factor to analyze prior to buying one. Do you covet a pack that is super lightweight, strong, and non-absorbent? Or how about one that hold external bungee cords for attaching extra clothing, pole straps & ice axel for rock climbing and/or reflective tape for night running? Please choose a pack that possess features and designs that agree with your activities.

Does It Come With A Hydration Bladder?

Warning: Not every running hydration pack comes with a hydration bladder. While most packs come with the hydration bladder, some requires you to buy it separately. Please check the pack to determine whether or not it is equipped with a hydration bladder.

How Much Am I Willing To Pay For One?

Is the pack you want within your budget? You may be an avid runner, but it is not necessary to overspend on a running hydration pack. There are packs listed online as low under $100 to as high as over $200.

Hydration Running Vest vs Belt

All runners know the importance of staying hydrated while you run, especially in the summer heat. But what is the best way to achieve this goal? There are many options available, but two of the most popular options are hydration vests and belts.

A hydration vest is a vest that you wear much like you would an article of clothing. They are usually made of a type of canvas or mesh and they have a bladder that holds water. The bladder is usually located in the back and there is a piece of tubing that runs from the bladder to the front of the vest, allowing the runner to drink as they run. The tubing usually has a valve that the runner can bite down on to close the tube off to prevent leaks.

A belt is usually made of webbing or mesh and typically have some way of holding water bottles in place. Many styles provide water bottles- usually two- as part of the package. Some also have a small storage compartment on the belt for keys, change or other small items.

Both hydration methods will allow you to carry more water than simply holding a single water bottle in your hand. They also will allow you to have water in an easily accessible location while allowing your hands to be free. Typically both systems are adjustable to accommodate a wide range of body sizes, though some people may have difficulty finding a device that fits properly.

Each system has unique advantages as well. Hydration vests allow you to carry quite a bit more water than most belt systems. They also allow you to drink while running; no need to stop to open a bottle. They also allow your shoulders and back to carry the weight rather than your hips, which some people may consider a big advantage. Because they do fit on your shoulders, they may not slip as much as a belt might. Some people may prefer them simply because they don’t like the feel of something on their waist or hips when they run.  However, for all their advantages, there are some disadvantages as well. Vests tend to cost more than belts do, because they are more complicated systems. They also tend to be bulkier, as a result of their design and the ability to hold larger amounts of water.

Belts have the advantage of being smaller and lighter than vests. They are also less expensive to purchase, so they might be a more practical choice for someone new to running, especially if they are unsure if they will stick with it. However, they are limited in the amount of water they can carry. Most are not designed to hold more water bottles than the number they provide. This could mean needing to stop and refill the bottles if running long distances, or in extremely hot conditions. Furthermore, they can be clumsy to use; a runner might have to stop to get a bottle from its holster and open it to drink then replace it when finished. For some runners, this might be a disadvantage.

Whatever system you are interested in, do some research to find what works for you.

Hopefully, this guide navigates you towards a running hydration pack that aids your expedition(s). It is best to buy one that meets most of your demands while being within your budget. Happy trails!