Hydration packs give you the freedom to carry enough water without having to worry about where to store it.
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Hydration packs are useful to any outdoor adventurer. Rather than carrying too many bottles, which take up unnecessary space and can be heavy, a hydration bladder gives you the freedom to keep enough water without the bulk.
There are a multitude of water bladders ranging in size and capacity. We share our favourites with you to help you choose the right one for your adventure.
I’ve been hiking for over 20 years and personally use a hiking backpack that has an integrated pocket to hold a water bladder and an opening for the drinking tube. But it’s a matter of personal preference.
The other advantage I’ve found of using a water bladder is that I find I drink way more than I do carrying just a water bottle since you can drink while hiking without having to stop and break your rhythm.
Having said that, I always carry a water bottle in addition to my 3-liter water bladder. It’s easier to drink from when sitting down for lunch or a snack. It’s also a backup in case your water reservoir leaks, as mine did on a recent hiking trip in the Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria.
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Osprey Water Bladders
The Osprey Manta men’s hydration pack comes with a BPA-free hydraulics 2.5-litre reservoir. This backpack has a magnetic strap bite valve that is easy to reach.
The back panel and harness allow for the perfect fit without putting any excess pressure on your back. This great hydration pack comes with an integrated rain cover too.
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If you love multiple sports and want a versatile hydration pack, the Raven is perfect. It has a hydration compartment and comes with a BPA-free hydraulic 2.5L reservoir.
The bite valve is easy to reach, and there are compartments perfect for storing sunglasses, food and other essentials.
It’s also a great option if you plan to hike and bike as there’s a LidLock bike helmet attachment on the front of the pack.
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The Siskin is excellent for multiple sports like cycling and hiking for men. It comes with a 2.5-litre water bladder with a bite valve that is easy to reach on the sternum strap.
This hydration pack also has a LidLock helmet attachment as well as a light attachment on the front.
The Skimmer is a great hydration backpack for women. There is a wide-mouth opening that is perfect for cramming all your necessities in, no matter how bulky.
It comes with a hydration compartment that includes a 2.5-litre water bladder. The mesh pockets are perfect for adding extra gear, and it even has trekking pole attachment points.
The Skarab 22, designed for men, has a wide bucket-style opening that makes it easy for you to store bulkier items. It comes with a 2.5-litre water bladder.
You’ll have more than enough space with the dual entry stretch mesh pockets and zippered slash pockets. There are also trekking pole loops.
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CamelBak Water Bladders
3 Liter Hydration Packs
The Ambush is made with 500D double-rip Cordura Fabric that is highly durable. This hydration pack has an easy refill opening that allows you to top up water without having to remove the bladder from your pack.
The external pockets are perfect for storing your essentials.
The MULE is still one of the most popular CamelBak hydration packs you will find. Its Cordura fabric is highly durable and hard-wearing, and it can hold more than just a 3-litre water bladder. The MULE also includes the low-profile Mountain MOLLE panel for the attachment of accessory pouches of your choice.
The ThermoBak has a broader shape than most hydration packs. This water bladder is great for those with a wider torso and sternum. The external fill allows you to add ice and clean the water bladder easily.
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This ThermoBak is made with a longer shape. It is great for a slimmer torso and offers a snug yet comfortable fit. This hydration pack is excellent for day hikes, long-distance cycling and trail running.
2 Liter Hydration Packs
This is a great hydration pack for hiking and running. It is made with ultra-lightweight fabric and is ventilated so you don’t overheat. The waist belt and harness include pockets to store essentials. And the reservoir is also easy to fill.
The Ultra 10 is made with ventilated mesh to keep you cool and comfortable while you’re on the move. It comes with convenient pockets that give you easy access to your phone and other essentials. The mesh overflow pockets are perfect for stashing your rain gear.
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This is a great multi-sport hydration pack. It is easy to refill and the Magnetic Tube Trap keeps the valve close by. The pack is breathable and lightweight. It has a helmet hook as well as extra compartments to keep your essentials.
Insulated Water Bladders
The Thermo Bag is the perfect addition to your hydration pack. It has Thermal Control insulation that will keep your water from freezing in extreme cold and heat. It is available in two sizes to ensure the perfect fit.
I recommend the 3-liter for longer hikes and the 2-liter for shorter hikes.
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The Unbottle insulated water bladder is perfect for keeping your water cool. It has attachment loops that allow you to add the pack to any of your existing gear.
Plus, Camelbak is known for its durability and is the brand I trust the most.
The Velocity water bladder will fit most hydration vests. It will keep your water cold in warm conditions and won’t sweat.
The Blaster bite valve offers you higher flow. It is fully reversible and dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean and keep gunk free (an issue for many water reservoirs).
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Keep your water insulated with this heat-reflective foam sleeve. It includes an insulated hose and a zippered bite valve to protect against ice.
This is the perfect addition to your hydration pack if you’re hiking in extreme temperatures.
Best Hydration Packs for Trailrunners
This Camelbak hydration vest is lightweight and exceptional for ultra runners. The 1.5-litre water bladder delivers more water per sip and the 3D micro mesh will ensure that you stay cool and comfortable while you run.
This hydration pack includes secure pockets for your phone and an overflow pocket for your rain gear.
This 2-litre hydration vest offers you a quick-release valve system that makes it easy for you to hydrate on the go. The vest also includes two front bottle pockets, perfect for longer runs.
This hydration pack is lightweight and made with breathable fabric that won’t chafe. There are several sizes available so you can choose the right fit for your needs.
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The Duro water bladder can store up to 1.5 litres and is excellent for runners. It includes slash pockets on the harness and a trekking pole attachment. The mesh pockets in the harness are perfect for storing food and essentials. The mesh lining ensures you stay comfortable and chafe-free.
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The Alpha is a great budget hydration vest. It is lightweight, moisture-wicking and breathable, so you’ll be comfortable while running. You can store a 2-litre water bladder in the back and two bottles in the mesh sleeves on the front of the vest.
5 Top Tips for Choosing a Hydration Pack for Hiking
Choosing the Perfect Hydration Pack.
Quenching your thirst while hiking is crucial.🎒💧 That’s why choosing the right hydration pack can make or break your adventure.
See our top 5 tips for choosing a hydration pack.
Tip 1: Consider the Capacity
How much water do you need?🤔 The answer depends on the length and intensity of your hike, as well as the weather. A good rule of thumb: carry 0.5L-1L of water per hour of hiking.🚶♀️🚶♂️
Tip 2: Ensure a Good Fit
A well-fitted pack prevents discomfort and strain.💪 Look for adjustable straps and consider your torso length, not just your overall height.
Tip 3: Examine the Design
A good hydration pack has a functional design. Look for features like insulated water reservoirs to keep your drink cool, and easy-access pockets for snacks and gear.🎒
Tip 4: Check the Material
The pack’s material matters!💡 Pick durable, lightweight, and water-resistant materials to withstand all weather conditions. 🌦️🌨️🌞
Tip 5: Ease of Cleaning
Hydration packs need regular cleaning to prevent bacterial growth.🦠 Choose a pack with detachable parts for easy cleaning!