The 10 Best Hydration Packs

Updated September 12, 2017 by Chase Brush

10 Best Hydration Packs
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. You're not going to show up for that all-day hike or 5K run with a water bottle in your pocket, are you? No, you're going to invest in one of these innovative hydration backpacks, which come in a litany of sizes to provide the perfect balance of weight and capacity for your next excursion. They're ideal for any outdoor activity, from trail running to mountain biking to long-distance walking. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hydration pack on Amazon.

10. Teton Sports Trailrunner 2.0

The Teton Sports Trailrunner 2.0 comes in a compact and lightweight size, but that doesn't keep it from carrying a full two liters of water -- which should be more than enough to last you through your next race. The reflective trim also keeps you visible on busy streets.
  • 9 inch mesh pocket for sundry items
  • built-in orange safety whistle
  • bite valve can be difficult to use
Brand Teton Sports
Model 1000
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Camden Gear 1.5 Liter

The Camden Gear 1.5 Liter is easy to adjust, so you can achieve the perfect fit for almost any body, regardless of gender or age. Plus, it offers enough carrying capacity apart from the bladder to serve as a small day pack for moderate hikes or bike trips.
  • wide cushioned waist straps
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
  • it is a bit bulky
Brand Camden Gear
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

8. Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest

Though you'd probably only rarely need to, the Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest allows you to port a whole bathtub -- or, more specifically, nine liters -- of water during your next canoe trip or desert trek. It's loaded with attachments, including loops for an ice axe.
  • waterproof and tear-resistant fabric
  • separate bottles for other liquids
  • may not fit over heavy clothing
Brand Ultimate Direction
Model 80458314GMMD
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Source Outdoor Dune 1.5L

The lightweight and minimalist Source Outdoor Dune 1.5L is the perfect partner for your next Spartan race or endurance run. Its ergonomic X shape helps the pack bind tight to your back, keeping the bladder from bouncing around without restricting your body's movement.
  • 70d nylon ripstop construction
  • bpa- and phthalate-free
  • fairly expensive for so small a pack
Brand Source Outdoor
Model 20-MH-COL
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Osprey Packs Raptor 14

Hardcore mountain bikers will appreciate the Osprey Packs Raptor 14, whose Atilon foam frame-sheet allows you to move freely while it distributes weight across the entire back panel. It's got plenty of room for gear, plus attachments for your helmet and light.
  • removable roll-out tool pouch
  • mesh hip belt helps stabilize load
  • takes a long time to dry
Brand Osprey
Model 10000250-P
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Unigear Tactical

Designed to imitate the kind of equipment used by U.S. military personnel, the Unigear Tactical is a stealthy and effective choice for survivalists on the go. It's easily customized, too, incorporating MOLLE straps that let you attach other gear to the pack's exterior.
  • wide-mouth bladder takes ice chunks
  • large organized bottom pocket
  • chest strap isn't very comfortable
Brand Unigear
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Teton Sports Oasis 1100

If you're looking to invest in a day pack but still want something that can reliably hold your water bladder, the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 is a good compromise. It's perfect for long hikes or even for a quick overnight camping trip, provided your partner carries the tent.
  • large pocket for clothes and gear
  • multiple adjustment points
  • two-liter bladder
Brand Teton Sports
Model 1001-P
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. CamelBak ThermoBak Omega

Whether you're a hunter or soldier preparing for deployment, the sleek but sizable CamelBak ThermoBak Omega will serve you well. The whole thing is built to military-grade specifications, so you can be sure it will hold up in tough environments.
  • comes in different camo patterns
  • holds up to 3 liters
  • made in the united states
Brand CamelBak
Model 60302-ACU
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Osprey Packs Rev 6

The Osprey Packs Rev 6 is designed for all-day comfort, featuring flexible shoulder straps and a thickly cushioned mesh back that move with you during any activity. A removable drop-down DigiFlip media pocket provides secure storage and quick access to your phone.
  • biostretch body wrap harness
  • soft and highly breathable materials
  • reflective graphics
Brand Osprey
Model 10000424-P
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. CamelBak Classic

From one of the most iconic names in the business, the CamelBak Classic offers immediate thirst quenching during any outing, be it running around the block or through-hiking the Appalachian trail. The minimalist design means little added weight beyond fluid ounces.
  • ergonomic mesh shoulder straps
  • small zippered pocket for keys
  • easy to fill with quick release flap
Brand CamelBak
Model 62176
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The Benefits Of Hydration

It is common knowledge that the body needs water to survive. In fact, the body is mostly water, making up some 60 percent of human body weight. But why is it so important to include water in your diet?

Flavorless water may seem like it is simply a boring way to stay hydrated, but it is actually a vital nutrient for every one of our body's processes. The body uses water to create new cells at an astounding rate. Millions of cells are replaced every second as part of the body's normal function.

Perhaps most noticeably, water makes up the saliva of the mouth. This is why the feeling of thirst involves a dry mouth more than anything else. It is the body's way to tell the conscious mind it is time for a drink.

Water also helps to regulate the body's internal temperature through sweating and breathing. The ideal temperature for the body is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and water is constantly used to balance the cells and stay as close to this temperature as possible. When the body is too hot, excess water is pushed out of the pores in the skin as sweat. This sweat then evaporates on the skin, which cools down the body temperature.

The brain uses water as a cushion of protection from the hard skull, while the skeletal system uses water to lubricate the joints and spinal column. The bones in well-lubricated joints do not grind against each other, and a hydrated body can also reduce arthritis symptoms. A lack of water in between the vertebrae is also a contributing factor in degenerative disc disease.

A well hydrated body also has more access to essential nutrients digested from food. Water helps carry the carbohydrates and proteins in our diets to the cells which need them. This is an especially important function after periods of hard stress on the body, such as workouts.

The Water Detox

Not only does water carry nutrients, it also helps eliminate toxins from the bloodstream. This may be one of the most important functions of water in the human body.The body is consistently exposed to toxins in different environments. This is particularly bad in heavily polluted urban areas, near farms using chemical pesticides, and in old buildings which may contain mold, lead, or asbestos.

The body can also pick up toxins from food. Over-processed foods, unnatural food additives, and pesticides on foods all contribute to the body's toxic load. Many detox programs and weight loss schemes have risen to popularity by combating this very problem, though some cleansing diets can actually put stress on the liver, causing more harm than good.

There is a continuous pattern of detoxification in a healthy body, and water plays an integral part in every one of its functions. First, the body disposes of cellular waste like lactic acid. Water carries these wastes out of the cells and into the bloodstream. Then the lymphatic system moves larger waste products to the veins to be exhaled, or to the liver to be processed and eliminated. The liver then separates these wastes into two categories. Water soluble wastes are sent to the kidney to be eliminated in the urine, while other wastes are added to bile and sent to the digestive system for elimination as fecal matter.

When these processes work together in harmony, even a heavily tolled system can be treated without much outside emphasis on detoxification in the diet. The one requirement of every one of these functions is drinking plenty of water. Adequate water intake is the number one tool to detoxifying the cells.

Choosing A Hydration Pack

Hydration packs are the peak of convenience for quenching thirst. A tube running from the packs reservoir directly to the user's mouth makes taking a drink as simple as possible. This influences how much water an athlete can drink without interrupting their flow. The more hydrated the body is, the better it performs.

Not all hydration packs are created equally.The type of hydration pack chosen will largely depend on the needs of the user. Packs provide benefits to a number of athletes from hikers and cyclists to snowboarders and skiers.

In the realm of cycling, a hydration pack can provide a relatively hands free way to keep the body hydrated. Mountain bikers normally choose to have packs with a large capacity, as the vigorous activity involved in mountain biking requires a lot of water. On the other hand, a road cyclist may choose a slim model, as their focus is more on speed. Touring cyclists fall somewhere in between these two, as they require large amounts of water, but may not enjoy carrying a heavy pack on their back all day.

For hikers, a balance must be struck. A day hiker may use a smaller model hydration pack, whereas a backpacker may simply need a small reservoir to put in their existing backpack. Trail-runners or alpine scramblers may want to reduce their weight still further, opting for minimalist packs. There are special packs designed with weight and capacity in mind, ensuring proper hydration is never out of reach.

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Last updated on September 12, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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