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Hydration packs Reviews and Buyer's Guide (Feb 2019)

If 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.

The 132 Best Hydration Packs


RankHydration PackRating
1Camelbak GamblerCamelbak Gambler
Available on Amazon
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4.9049 reviews
2Osprey RavenOsprey Raven
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
4.64213 reviews
3Camelbak PowderhoundCamelbak Powderhound
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
4.6212 reviews
4Camelbak SparkCamelbak Spark4.6228 reviews
5Osprey TalonOsprey Talon4.581,648 reviews
6Camelbak LoboCamelbak Lobo4.57754 reviews
7Osprey DynaOsprey Dyna4.5663 reviews
8Dakine SessionDakine Session4.5626 reviews
9Camelbak HAWGCamelbak HAWG4.54130 reviews
10Camelbak AventuraCamelbak Aventura4.53124 reviews
11Fox ConvoyFox Convoy4.5210 reviews
12Camelbak FourteenerCamelbak Fourteener4.51358 reviews
13Camelbak PhantomCamelbak Phantom4.4934 reviews
14Osprey SkarabOsprey Skarab4.4769 reviews
15Osprey VerveOsprey Verve4.4767 reviews
16Ultimate Direction FastpackUltimate Direction Fastpack4.4582 reviews
17Camelbak MarathonerCamelbak Marathoner4.4196 reviews
18Camelbak KUDUCamelbak KUDU4.4027 reviews
19Fox PortageFox Portage4.4012 reviews
20Osprey MantaOsprey Manta4.39376 reviews
21Platypus SiouxonPlatypus Siouxon4.3855 reviews
22Platypus TokulPlatypus Tokul4.3778 reviews
23Osprey RaptorOsprey Raptor4.36729 reviews
24Camelbak HelenaCamelbak Helena4.36160 reviews
25Camelbak AmbushCamelbak Ambush4.3531 reviews
26Osprey SkimmerOsprey Skimmer4.34164 reviews
27Osprey DuroOsprey Duro4.34106 reviews
28Gregory TempoGregory Tempo4.3311 reviews
29Maxpedition FalconMaxpedition Falcon4.33555 reviews
30Osprey RadialOsprey Radial4.32208 reviews
31Osprey MokiOsprey Moki4.32128 reviews
32Camelbak ScoutCamelbak Scout4.32162 reviews
33Deuter RaceDeuter Race4.32469 reviews
34Camelbak SnoBlastCamelbak SnoBlast4.30107 reviews
35Camelbak Cloud WalkerCamelbak Cloud Walker4.29462 reviews
36Camelbak Rim RunnerCamelbak Rim Runner4.29373 reviews
37Marmot KompressorMarmot Kompressor4.28244 reviews
38Camelbak SolsticeCamelbak Solstice4.2837 reviews
39Camelbak MotherlodeCamelbak Motherlode4.28145 reviews
40NRS PFDNRS PFD4.28572 reviews
41Jack Wolfskin MoabJack Wolfskin Moab4.2840 reviews
42Camelbak CircuitCamelbak Circuit4.26113 reviews
43Camelbak MULECamelbak MULE4.25293 reviews
44Salomon TrailSalomon Trail4.2540,197 reviews
45EVOC StageEVOC Stage4.25107 reviews
46Osprey SyncroOsprey Syncro4.241,156 reviews
47Camelbak ThermobakCamelbak Thermobak4.24400 reviews
48Salomon S-LabSalomon S-Lab4.24556 reviews
49Camelbak CoronadoCamelbak Coronado4.2312 reviews
50Camelbak SkylineCamelbak Skyline4.2369 reviews
51Platypus DuthiePlatypus Duthie4.23124 reviews
52Triwonder MarathonerTriwonder Marathoner4.221,102 reviews
53Gregory JunoGregory Juno4.2126 reviews
54Camelbak CaperCamelbak Caper4.2043 reviews
55EVOC FREVOC FR4.19356 reviews
56Camelbak AuroraCamelbak Aurora4.17397 reviews
57Nathan FireballNathan Fireball4.1536 reviews
58Maxpedition CondorMaxpedition Condor4.15495 reviews
59Camelbak BlowfishCamelbak Blowfish4.1495 reviews
60Camelbak SequoiaCamelbak Sequoia4.13106 reviews
61Camelbak ZoidCamelbak Zoid4.1263 reviews
62Osprey MiraOsprey Mira4.11176 reviews
63Osprey HydrajetOsprey Hydrajet4.1122 reviews
64Camelbak SkeeterCamelbak Skeeter4.1187 reviews
65Camelbak ClassicCamelbak Classic4.11925 reviews
66Camelbak TrailblazerCamelbak Trailblazer4.1153 reviews
67Nathan VaporcloudNathan Vaporcloud4.1075 reviews
68Osprey RevOsprey Rev4.08396 reviews
69Dakine AMPDakine AMP4.0812 reviews
70Gregory DriftGregory Drift4.0810 reviews
71Camelbak QuanticoCamelbak Quantico4.0742 reviews
72Osprey ViperOsprey Viper4.06587 reviews
73Orange Mud EnduranceOrange Mud Endurance4.0511 reviews
74Gregory CitroGregory Citro4.0411 reviews
75Nathan HPLNathan HPL4.01297 reviews
76Osprey ZealotOsprey Zealot3.99233 reviews
77Camelbak DartCamelbak Dart3.9923 reviews
78Nathan IntensityNathan Intensity3.9925 reviews
79Camelbak OctaneCamelbak Octane3.98191 reviews
80Deuter CompactDeuter Compact3.9846 reviews
81Exos BravoExos Bravo3.95554 reviews
82Ultraspire AlphaUltraspire Alpha3.9127 reviews
83Camelbak CharmCamelbak Charm3.90580 reviews
84Camelbak MagicCamelbak Magic3.8876 reviews
85Camelbak HydrobakCamelbak Hydrobak3.871,691 reviews
86Camelbak RogueCamelbak Rogue3.871,308 reviews
87Nathan ZealNathan Zeal3.8556 reviews
88CamelBak DaystarCamelBak Daystar3.8211 reviews
89Nathan VaporairNathan Vaporair3.79112 reviews
90Ultimate Direction PBUltimate Direction PB3.7887 reviews
91Teton Sports OasisTeton Sports Oasis3.752,027 reviews
92Patagonia Fore RunnerPatagonia Fore Runner3.7010 reviews
93Nathan ElevationNathan Elevation3.7023 reviews
94Salomon AgileSalomon Agile3.7064 reviews
95High Sierra MorayHigh Sierra Moray3.69196 reviews
96Gregory PaceGregory Pace3.6726 reviews
97Orange Mud HydraquiverOrange Mud Hydraquiver3.65130 reviews
98Ultimate Direction SJUltimate Direction SJ3.65170 reviews
99Ultraspire AstralUltraspire Astral3.6350 reviews
100Salomon SkinSalomon Skin3.60255 reviews
101Nathan FireStormNathan FireStorm3.5990 reviews
102Geigerrig GuardianGeigerrig Guardian3.5925 reviews
103Teton Sports TrailrunnerTeton Sports Trailrunner3.581,741 reviews
104Nathan MoxyNathan Moxy3.5741 reviews
105Salomon X AlpSalomon X Alp3.5615 reviews
106Camelbak MolokaiCamelbak Molokai3.5213 reviews
107Salomon SenseSalomon Sense3.50293 reviews
108Outdoor Products RipcordOutdoor Products Ripcord3.50127 reviews
109Camelbak PursuitCamelbak Pursuit3.4974 reviews
110Outdoor Products MistOutdoor Products Mist3.48507 reviews
111Camelbak AreteCamelbak Arete3.47232 reviews
112Geigerrig RigGeigerrig Rig3.46484 reviews
113High Sierra PropelHigh Sierra Propel3.44310 reviews
114Nathan SpeeddrawNathan Speeddraw3.39586 reviews
115Salomon HydroSalomon Hydro3.3998 reviews
116Camelbak FranconiaCamelbak Franconia3.2942 reviews
117Camelbak UltraCamelbak Ultra3.26103 reviews
118Nathan MercuryNathan Mercury3.25285 reviews
119High Sierra QuickshotHigh Sierra Quickshot3.23802 reviews
120High Sierra WahooHigh Sierra Wahoo3.22191 reviews
121High Sierra LongshotHigh Sierra Longshot3.19230 reviews
122Camelbak PalosCamelbak Palos3.18123 reviews
123High Sierra PiranhaHigh Sierra Piranha3.18489 reviews
124Camelbak DelaneyCamelbak Delaney3.12327 reviews
125Camelbak FlashFloCamelbak FlashFlo3.00166 reviews
126Dakine ShuttleDakine Shuttle2.94176 reviews
127Camelbak ChargeCamelbak Charge2.9015 reviews
128Camelbak ArcCamelbak Arc2.89138 reviews
129High Sierra WaveHigh Sierra Wave2.89782 reviews
130High Sierra RiptideHigh Sierra Riptide2.8130 reviews
131High Sierra MarlinHigh Sierra Marlin2.8076 reviews
132Nathan SwitchbladeNathan Switchblade1.4817 reviews
How we rate the bags

We have checked 74,117 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.


Buyers Guide to Hydration Packs


Cycling couple with hydration packsWhether 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:

Running

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.

Cycling

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.

16 More Hydration Packs


Classic hydration packs and models that haven't yet got enough reviews to be ranked.

RankHydration PackRating
Dakine DrafterDakine Drafter
Dakine NomadDakine Nomad
Gregory AmasaGregory Amasa
Camelbak LUXECamelbak LUXE
Camelbak Mini-MULECamelbak Mini-MULE
Camelbak KickerCamelbak Kicker
Camelbak BootleggerCamelbak Bootlegger
High Sierra TakopahHigh Sierra Takopah
Deuter AttackDeuter Attack
Nathan JourneyNathan Journey
Nathan GritNathan Grit
Ultimate Direction WaspUltimate Direction Wasp
Platypus B-linePlatypus B-line
Ultraspire ZygosUltraspire Zygos
Ultraspire VelocityUltraspire Velocity
Dakine Low RiderDakine Low Rider

Last updated on February 22, 2019

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