Top 10 Best Hydration Packs in 2018

Cycling couple with hydration packsIf you are into endurance sports, you know all to well that you can easily feel dehydrated after just an hour or two of training.

Some choose to carry a bottle, so they can hydrate on the road. Personally I think that’s a bad choice, as it’s much easier and comfortable to carry a hydration pack.

With a hydration pack, you can have your arms free to do whatever – and you can also carry a lot more water than you can in a bottle.

But don’t buy the first hydration pack you find. Take some time to review the different brands and models, so you can choose a quality pack that can handle some hard sports.

Having checked many thousands of hydration pack reviews, we can say that the Gregory Tempo 8 is the best choice for most people.

Gregory Tempo 8

Gregory Tempo 8

The best reviewed hydration pack
Rated 4.93 out of 5

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PS: We have checked 15,420 reviews to make this top 10 list!
1Gregory Tempo 8Gregory Tempo 84.93Check Price
2Camelbak Powderhound 12Camelbak Powderhound 124.92Check Price
3Camelbak SolsticeCamelbak Solstice4.85Check Price
4Osprey Hydrajet 15Osprey Hydrajet 154.84Check Price
5Fox Convoy 12LFox Convoy 12L4.82Check Price
6Fox Portage 16LFox Portage 16L4.80Check Price
7Camelbak Caper 14Camelbak Caper 144.80Check Price
8Camelbak KUDU 8Camelbak KUDU 84.80Check Price
9Camelbak Phantom 24 LRCamelbak Phantom 24 LR4.79Check Price
10Osprey Verve 3Osprey Verve 34.74Check Price

How we rate the bags

We have checked 15,420 hydration pack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It’s much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Not sure what hydration packs to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!

1 – Gregory Tempo 8

5 review stars Rating 4.93 based on 11 reviews

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Gregory Tempo 8

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Gregory Tempo 8:

Reviewers like these things about the Gregory Tempo 8

  • Several reviewers thought that the Gregory Tempo backpack is designed for users who are into ultra marathons.
  • Other reviewers found that the backpack makes it easy to secure and release equipment and gears due to its padded pockets.
  • Several users discovered that it was easy to access their hydration bottles due to its dual-loop hydration hose routing with a magnetic clip.
  • Its waterproof pockets received praise from those who have already tried the product for keeping their things secured and dry when exposed to moist and other liquids.
  • Testers lauded the security pocket with key leash inclusion of the backpack which allowed them to keep their valuables securely especially during marathons and other high-intensity activities.
  • Many runners noted that the zero-balance stability of the backpack allowed them to run smoothly without bouncing or striding.
  • Many of those who have tried using the backpack praised the presence of several pockets which allowed them to organize and keep their belongings in place.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user found that the hydration hose is not removable when cleaning the backpack thoroughly.
  • Another user mentioned that the bladder retention strap may open by accident.

2 – Camelbak Powderhound 12

5 review stars Rating 4.92 based on 12 reviews

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Camelbak Powderhound 12

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Camelbak Powderhound 12:

Reviewers like these things about the Camelbak Powderhound 12

  • Many reviewers noted that the Camelbak Powderhound hydration pack is designed for runners, travelers, and hikers.
  • Other reviewers pointed out that the pack could expand through its expansion panel, adding storage when needed.
  • They also said that its tri-zip access makes it easy to reveal the entire contents of the pack.
  • Many users thought that it had designated places to attach helmets, snowboard, and snowshoes.
  • Several reviewers indicated that the pack is equipped with a four-point compression.
  • Others mentioned that the reservoir has a low-profile design.
  • Reviewers thought that its fill port is lightweight.
  • According to some reviewers, its pockets help organize essentials including money and phones well.
  • Several testers also felt that it is easy to adjust the bag.
  • Reviewers said that it was comfortable to use the pack.
  • According to those who used it, the bag has a durable design.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that the pack has a tendency to leak.
  • Another user thought that its seams have a tendency to come loose due to poor stitching.

3 – Camelbak Solstice

5 review stars Rating 4.85 based on 31 reviews

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Camelbak Solstice

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Camelbak Solstice:

Reviewers like these things about the Camelbak Solstice

  • Testers found out that the Camelbak Solstice backpack shifts the load down towards the user’s waist.
  • Others noted that the pack is durable due to the materials used.
  • According to those who used it, the bag is very comfortable to carry.
  • Other testers noted that it features Quick Link System for easy open/close cap.
  • Users also noted that it has a bike tool organizer roll.
  • Other users found that the bag has dual waist belt pockets.
  • Others mentioned that the back panel features a trap door that unzips to give them access to the water supply.
  • Reviewers said that the bag was designed to carry a helmet, armor, multi-tool, CO2 pump and cartridges, spare tube, extra layer, energy bar, phone, keys.
  • Reviewers note that it has an S-shaped harness that curves comfortably around the chest.
  • Other users noticed that it has a slightly shorter back panel for a more ergonomic fit.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A tester discovered that the bag is quite small.
  • A reviewer had issues with compartments of the bag.

4 – Osprey Hydrajet 15

5 review stars Rating 4.84 based on 13 reviews

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Osprey Hydrajet 15

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Hydrajet 15:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Hydrajet 15

  • Many reviewers commend the Osprey Hydrajet hydration backpack for the optimal comfort it delivers.
  • Other users mentioned that they were able to access the main compartment easily through its front panel.
  • Reviewers recommend the bag for daily use or weekend travel.
  • Testers noted that its front panel bungee provides an extra storage system for other items.
  • Several of those who have tried the bag found its main compartment spacious enough to hold several things including extra clothes and essential gears.
  • Other users noted that the bag is equipped with an external reservoir sleeve which includes a 1.5 Liter reservoir.
  • Reviewers indicated that the bag is meant for kids.
  • Testers commend its back panel for providing ventilation and comfort.
  • Other testers noted that its fleece-land shoulder harness offers additional comfort and support.
  • Users also indicated that its webbing hip belt and sternum strap keep the bag stable.
  • Reviewers noted that the pack is designed for kids who want to have on the run.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer found that its size does not fit all body types.
  • A user thought that its side pockets lack the versatility.

5 – Fox Convoy 12L

5 review stars Rating 4.82 based on 10 reviews

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Fox Convoy 12L

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Fox Convoy 12L:

Reviewers like these things about the Fox Convoy 12L

  • Reviewers said that it is a high quality pack build with great materials.
  • Most of the buyers said that the pack is roomy and holds a ton of stuff for their trips.
  • People are happy to have tons of organizational pockets to keep stuffs organized for travelling.
  • A few buyers said that the straps and zippers are strong and hold comfortably.
  • A user said that he used the pack for water rides also and everything was dry inside.
  • Another user said that the pack is light to carry and is very comfortable to wear.
  • Many users are happy to have ample lot of external pockets for stuffs and also netting for small helmets.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that the netting is small enough to fit in a full size helmet.

6 – Fox Portage 16L

5 review stars Rating 4.80 based on 12 reviews

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Fox Portage 16L

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Fox Portage 16L:

Reviewers like these things about the Fox Portage 16L

  • Many of the reviewers said that it is a great all round hydration pack for riding and hiking.
  • Most testers said that it is a perfect lightweight pack for mountain biking.
  • They also said that he pack is spacious with good pockets for organizing stuffs for hiking.
  • A user said he used the pack for snowboarding with camera gear and batteries. To his satisfaction he found them completely dry after the sports.
  • Another user said that the hydration sytem is good with a wide neck making it easily accessible.
  • Most users said that they had a comfortable ride and the bag stayed firm on their back.
  • A buyer happily mentioned that the pack didn’t feel or look bulky when fully loaded.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that the mouthpiece doesn’t have a magnet or clip to hold close to the mouth.

7 – Camelbak Caper 14

5 review stars Rating 4.80 based on 21 reviews

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Camelbak Caper 14

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Camelbak Caper 14:

Reviewers like these things about the Camelbak Caper 14

  • Most reviewers agree that it is a great backpack and hydration system for skiing.
  • Many users said that the side that sits on your back is nicely padded.
  • Most users said that it is large enough to fit energy bars, full water pack, extra shirt, gloves, goggle etc.
  • One great feature mentioned by the users is that it has two strong clips near your chest and your waist to ensure it doesn’t fall off.
  • Another great feature mentioned by the users is that It is insulated, the water does get colder if you are skiing all day.
  • Reviewers said that the bag compresses nicely if you’re not filling it.
  • Most reviewers agree that the backpack is perfect in size.
  • Many users said that the pack look durable and high quality material used.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One reviewer said that if you are in freezing temperatures, the drinking tube WILL freeze, unless it is fully zipped into the protective sleeve.
  • Some reviewers complained that the backpack too long for shorter persons.

8 – Camelbak KUDU 8

5 review stars Rating 4.80 based on 25 reviews

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Camelbak KUDU 8

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Camelbak KUDU 8:

Reviewers like these things about the Camelbak KUDU 8

  • Most reviewers love how the Camelbak K.U.D.U. provides lots of storage space for their tools and other riding essentials.
  • Some reviewers praise the large bladder feature, with 3 liters of water capacity.
  • Other reviewers commend the presence of the back protection pad.
  • Some reviewers mentioned that they like the removable feature of the back protecton pad. It provides them a little more room and eliminates a little weight for those trips where it is not necessary.
  • A reviewer said that she was looking for a pack with just a little more room to supplement her bike packing frame bags and this bag worked perfect.
  • Some reviewers liked how they can set the chest strap height for better comfort.
  • Most reviewers were impressed with how the pack fits perfectly.
  • A lot of users agree that it is comfortable to carry on the back.
  • Most users praised the addition of rain cover and the how the straps fit perfectly.
  • A user loved the fact that the pack was built for tall gents and ladies.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that it is almost too big for just short rides.
  • Some users noted that the bag is a bit heavy due to the spine protection.

9 – Camelbak Phantom 24 LR

5 review stars Rating 4.79 based on 27 reviews

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Camelbak Phantom 24 LR

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Camelbak Phantom 24 LR:

Reviewers like these things about the Camelbak Phantom 24 LR

  • Many users find the hydration bladder comfortably situated and easy to fill.
  • Some reviewers thought the waistbelt makes the pack sit comfortably.
  • Others love how the hydration tube is concealed and protected in the shoulder strap.
  • A lot of users thought the bag has a lot of capacity, suitable for daily use with alaptop and other electronics together with winter gear.
  • Some reviewers like how it stays compact when they want to pack light.
  • Skieers thought the ski straps work great.
  • Others love how the lumbar reservoir keeps the water weight low and close to the back.
  • The insulated drink tube is another favorite feature of the bag.
  • Many skiers love how it fits well and feels comfortable even after several hours of snowshoeing.
  • A lot reviewers appreciate the easy open zipper especially when they’re trying to open the bag with ski gloves on.
  • Others find the goggle pocket and internal pocket nice.
  • The quick release hook for the top strap is also greatly praised by a number of users.
  • Some users love how the helmet strap neatly tucks away into the interior of the bag, keeping it nice and clean upfront.
  • Many users thought it works great for backcountry skiing.
  • A lot of reviewers love how the weight is distributed on the waist, and sort of settles into the lumbar curve of their back, so it feels snug and comfortable all day.
  • Many users noted how the pack feels very comfortable and provides easy access to items with its full zipper option.
  • Skiers love how the full zipper and exterior compression straps allowed them to pack the bag in a way that kept everything from sliding to the bottom.
  • Sturdy, well thought out design, comfort, compact, storage capacity, easy access and durability are cited as the main reasons for choosing this bag.
  • One user finds it very comfortable for riding down the mountain because he barely feels it on his back.
  • Others like the lined top pocket for lenses and sunglasses.
  • Some owners love how it holds multiple layers easily and how the water is distributed nicely.
  • Many users appreciate the presence of separate compartment for storing wet gear.
  • The dedicated gear pockets that keep their avalanche tools organized and accessible are also lauded by a lot of users.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users thought the clips feel light and cheap.
  • Others find the waist belt too thick for their liking.

10 – Osprey Verve 3

5 review stars Rating 4.74 based on 60 reviews

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Osprey Verve 3

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Verve 3:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Verve 3

  • Most testers said that it is a great hydration pack for mountaineers and trekking.
  • They said that is has superb contruction with great built material.
  • Many reviewers said that the pack looks compact but is very spacious inside.
  • Some reviewers said the the harness and help belts are well padded to provide good comfort for carrying.
  • A user said that the large external pocket was very helpful to carry stuffs for easy access.
  • Another user said that the bag kept his back dry with a good ventilation system.
  • Many traveller are happy to have a holder for their biking helmet.
  • A buyer said the bag has the best bladder that he has used over the years.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A few reviewers complained that the pack is little heavy when stuffed.
  • Some also complained for too many unusable straps with the pack.

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Buyer’s guide to hydration packs

Whether you are hiking or going for a run, hydration is the key to staying safe and healthy for the duration of it. Water bottles can be heavy and cumbersome and since you need to stop every time you want a drink, they can be time-consuming as well. This is where a hydration pack really shines and why you need to take one with you on your journey. Now, if you are looking for this type of product, you are going to find that there are a lot of types out there. So, how are you going to make sure that you end up with the one that works best for you?

Tips for Choosing a Hydration Pack

Hydration packs come in all shapes and sizes, and some even have additional features. To decide whether or not a pack is right for you, you need to first understand what qualities are right for you and which ones are redundant. Here, we will take a look at the various aspects that make up the different hydration packs so that it will become clearer which one you should choose. The following is what you need to consider:

Lightweight and Full Hydration Packs

There are some packs that are just hydration packs and nothing more – these are lightweight packs. On occasion, these type of packs may have small pockets or D-rings where you can keep small items with you. The main focus of these packs is efficiency and low weight.

Full hydration packs, on the other hand, resemble small backpacks. This is because while their main function is to hold a hydration reservoir, they also offer storage. They are multi-purpose and have larger capacities to hold a greater number of items.

Deciding Between Lightweight and Full Hydration Packs

So, how to determine which one is better for you? Well, this all depends on the type of activity that you hope to do:


For instance, most runners, particularly those who are short-distance or competitive runners will benefit from a lightweight pack. This is because it will keep the weight down and will let them take only the bare essentials with them on their run. On the other hand, marathon runners or long-distance athletes may require greater amounts of water. In this case, the full backpacks may come in handy. This is especially since certain full-size hydration packs also come with water bottle holders.


With cycling, too, the type of hydration pack will be determined by the type of cycling. Those who are racing or performance-oriented will find that the smaller packs help to keep their weight. Nonetheless, if you are want to go exploring on your bicycle or are headed somewhere where water is scarce, the full packs make more sense.

Hiking and Camping

If you will only be out hiking for a couple of hours, a lightweight hydration pack with a large reservoir could be the only thing that you require. If the trek is any longer than that, however, you should consider upgrading to a full-size pack. The same logic can be applied to camping, especially since this type of pack can help to keep your burden to a minimum.

Reservoir Capacity

As you can imagine, one of the more important aspects of choosing a hydration pack is determining how large its reservoir is. The reservoir refers to the part of the pack that actually holds the water. Reservoirs tend to range from as little to 0.5 liters to upwards of 3 liters.

The size of the reservoir that you require will depend on two main things. First, just how long will your journey be? For instance, if you will be running for an hour or more, you will need to drink at least half a liter, each hour.

The other thing that you will need to factor in is the temperature and the client. The more water that you are liable to lose through sweating, the more you will need to drink to replace it. So, on a warm and sunny day, you can expect to lose more.

If are having trouble deciding on the reservoir size, just pick one that is about 3 liters. Then, when heading out on a short hike, fill it only halfway through. For longer journeys, top it off. This way, you are fully prepared, regardless.

Weight of the Reservoir

Since most people think in terms of liters when it comes to water and hydration pack reservoirs, few stop to think how much weight you will be carrying. Water has weight, so for every liter that you carry with you, you are lugging around a load weighing almost a kilo. You will need to keep this in mind as well when deciding on a reservoir as well as when you are filling it up.

Storage Capacity

If you do decide to opt for a full-size backpack, you will have to think about how much you want to carry with you. The smallest of these type of hydration backpacks can usually hold around 5 liters in capacity. The larger ones can accommodate over 20 liters.

If you expect your run or hike to last less than four hours, you should be able to get away with taking a pack with a 5 liter capacity. For those that are lasting up to a day, you may require anything between 6 liters and 20 liters. The larger packs are good options for those that need to carry gear on their running, climbing, or cycling trip.

If you are planning on staying overnight, you should look for packs that are able to take up to around 28 liters in volume capacity. You should know that you will need considerably more space than this if you want to go on a multi-day trip.

The Hydration System: Types of Valves

While there are numerous things to consider in a hydration system – i.e. the part of the hydration pack that brings the water to you, the valves are perhaps most important. There are a couple of different valves available, with some designs unique to their manufacturer:

Bite Valve

The bite valve is perhaps the most common type of valve available. Here, all you have to do is to bite down and the water will flow into your mouth. When you stop, the flow of water is sealed off. The benefit of this, of course, is that it is a hands-free way to get your water, especially while cycling.

Push/Pull Valves

Then there are the valves that have to be pulled out so that the flow of water can be resumed and pushed back in to stop it once more. With these, you typically have to use your hands to manage them. On the plus side, though, they do tend to prevent leaks a lot better.

When choosing which valve you prefer, there is one more thing to remember. This is the rate of the flow of water. Typically, the higher the rate of flow, the better. This way, you can get the water that you need in quick intervals and minimize the time of your breaks.

The Size of the Bladder Opening

The opening of the bladder is where the water can be filled in. Typically, you can either decide on a smaller opening or a wide opening. While this decision does depend on personal preference, you should know wider openings are often better. With wider openings, you are able to fit your hand inside the reservoir. As such, it makes it much easier to clean out your hydration packs. This can be quite tricky to manage with smaller openings. In fact, with the smaller openings, you usually need a specialized cleaning kit to get the job done.

Positioning of the Bladder on the Pack

Where the bladder will be positioned will be contingent upon what type of hydration pack you are using. More often than not, people prefer bladders that are in an easy to reach position. This way, you don’t have to take off the entire pack to have to refill the bladder. So, if you are short on time and want to incur as little hassle as possible, you should look for bladders that are in the front of the pack and are easily accessible.

The Fit of the Pack

With smaller hydration packs, the fit is not something that you have to be concerned with too much. However, if the pack capacity is upwards of 10 liters, then you will need to start considering how this pack will fit you when you wear it.

To ensure maximum comfort, the pack should sit between the base of your neck and topmost part of your hips. In this position, it will not interfere with your natural gait and your movement will not be restricted in any way. To ensure this, you should first measure the area of the base of your neck to your hips. Then, compare this with the height of the hydration pack that you want to buy.

The bigger hydration packs also come with hip belts. In this case, you will need to make certain that the belt can be adjusted so that it will comfortably sit just above your hips.

The Suspension System

Once more, this feature is more important with larger packs where you will be carrying a greater amount of weight. It is best if you carry the most amount of the load around your hips. Therefore, look for thick, padded and sturdy hip belts with bigger packs. This will reduce the amount of stress on your shoulders.

You will need to check that the load is evenly distributed between both of your shoulders. This way, the weight will not be press down on particular pressure points and cause you discomfort. For this effect, you will require wider shoulder straps. Padded straps increase the comfort factor as well.

Durability of the Bladder

One of the most important things that your bladder needs to do is to keep the water within its reservoir until you choose to drink it. Therefore, the bladder is going to need to be quite durable so that it will not be punctured easily. Some bladders are made from harder plastic which does add weight but makes it a lot harder to tear or break through.

If you want a lightweight bladder but still require durability, look for puncture proof options. This is particularly important if you are planning on carrying a lot of gear in your pack or will be walking across rough terrain.

These are all of the elements that you should consider when you want to choose a hydration pack for yourself. Once you have carefully examined the above features on a pack you want to buy, you will be able to tell whether or not it is what you need.

Selected reviews

Endurance Path reviewed the Camelbak Lobo

This pack was exactly what I was looking for when I bought it and have no complaints. It fit a little more gear than what they advertised, yet not too bulky for such a large capacity bladder.

Posted 27 March 2017 by Steve Hamlin – Read full review

Single Track World reviewed the Osprey Raptor 10

A high-quality pack that oozes brilliant features, the Raptor 10 offers just enough space for all-day riding, with a decently low weight and packability that makes it a great weekday trail pack too. Comfortable, adjustable and very functional, it gets the tick of approval from us.

Posted 12 December 2016 by Wil Barrett – Read full review

Ontario Geardo reviewed the Camelbak HAWG

I’ve beat the crap out of this bag and I bet if I threw it in the washer, it would come out looking next to new. The HAWG has proven itself over time to be the pack that I can bring anywhere, and do whatever I want to do without worrying about it failing. I’m actually fairly convinced that I’ll be using this pack for many more years to come.

Posted 1 November 2014 by Mike C – Read full review

Bike Radar reviewed the Camelbak Lobo

Strikes a great balance between minimalism and practicality. Well worth considering for shorter stints.

Posted 30 June 2014 by Mark Mackarel – Read full review

Bike Radar reviewed the Osprey Raptor 10

The Osprey Raptor 10 is well-designed pack that is ideally suited to mountain bike rides lasting 2-4 hours.

Posted 1 April 2014 by Josh Patterson – Read full review

Utah Outside reviewed the Osprey Raptor 10

Overall, it seems Osprey has thought of everything a mountain biker could ever want or need in a pack. It’s also available in 14 and 6 liter sizes.

Posted 23 May 2013 by Jared Hargrave – Read full review

Bike Radar reviewed the Osprey Raptor 10

Superb pack design and comfort with an excellent bladder to boot.

Posted 27 May 2010 by James Huang – Read full review

Bike Radar reviewed the Camelbak HAWG

The HAWG NV is the slightly cheaper sibling of the HAWG Deluxe, and boasts a narrow back footprint while still offering a full usable 18-litre cargo capacity – enough to swallow everything and more for a big day out.

Posted 11 May 2010 by Justin Loretz – Read full review

Bike Radar reviewed the Camelbak HAWG

Undoubtedly the best CamelBak that we’ve used in ages. As good as recent packs from CamelBak have been, there have been rumbles from some riders that the new NVIS system and heavier duty materials have made bags stronger, but at the expense of weight and load flexibility.

Posted 3 May 2010 by Justin Loretz – Read full review

Notes about this top 10 list

The list was last updated 19/09/2018.

The list shows the best reviewed hydration packs from a much bigger list of selected products. The list should not be considered a complete list of all available, excellent hydration packs

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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