If you are in the market for the best hydration pack, you may be wondering which one to settle for. It is even possible you will be tempted to buy the first one you see. We have prepared this guide to help you drop some dollars for the right pack. Let’s start with the various factors to consider when buying. 

Factors to consider when buying a hydration pack

Sharkmouth Tactical Molle Hydration Pack

Type

There are two types of hydration backpacks: hydration waist packs and hydration backpacks. Hydration backpacks come in large capacity, over one liter, and are ideal for long hikes and cycling as they displace the weight on your shoulders.

On the other hand, the hydration waist packs can hold up to one liter and are suitable for short jogs. These ones are not suitable for running or cycling as they may bounce up and down. 

Reservoir capacity

Hydration packs come in varying sizes with a majority of them holding from a few ounces to three liters. Make sure to pick the right one for you.

Gear capacity 

Does the pack have extra storage compartments? Some hydration packs have extra storage compartments, and others only have the capacity to hold the water reservoir. Depending on your needs, make sure to choose a suitable pack.

Hydration pack fit

You don’t want something that will feel tight, or that will put on too much tension on your shoulders. Such a pack will make you feel weighed down and will restrict proper blood flow. For the best experience, consider packs that have included proper padding to ease the amount of tension put on your shoulders.

Bite valve shutoff switch

Has the pack included the bite valves? Bite valves prevent water from leaking out the end of the straw when it is dangling. This valves further make sure nothing leaks even if the valve is switched “on”.

Tube portal

The tube portal is the area where you attach the straw to the hydration bladder. Most bladders have one type of positioning. Luckily, newer bladders are beginning to have multiple tube portals making it easier to position the straws on either the right or left-hand sides.

Mouth opening

Bladders with wide-mouthed opening are easier to refill and clean. You can easily fit a sponge or brush in them unlike those with a small opening. We enjoin you to settle for one with a wide-mouth opening because it is easier to clean and refill.

Best hydration packs

Now that you know what to look for when shopping, here are the five options we urge you to consider:

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; 2-Liter Hydration Backpack with Water Bladder; For Backpacking, Hiking, Running, Cycling, and Climbing (Bright Green)
  • SATISFY YOUR THIRST FOR ADVENTURE: Lightweight and comfortable; This hydration pack is a terrific companion for all your day-long or overnight hydration needs
  • FREE HYDRATION BLADDER: 2-Liter; Durable, kink-free sip tube and push-lock cushioned bite valve; Large 2-inch (5 cm) opening for ice and easy cleaning
  • CUSTOMIZABLE COMFORT: Backpack for men, women, and youth; Adjusts to fit all frames comfortably; Notched foam stabilizer and mesh covering means you can wear this pack for hours
  • TRUSTED QUALITY: Over 1,000 verified 5-star reviews testifying to the quality and design; Large main pocket protects gear, clothes, and lunch; Bungee cord system for cycling and climbing helmets
  • TETON SPORTS PROMISE: Reach out to our AMAZING product support team if you have any questions or concerns; YOU CAN COUNT ON US to get you taken care of and back OUTDOORS with TETON Sports

If you are in the market for a lightweight hydration pack for hiking and climbing, you can’t go wrong with this duo-designed pack that doubles as a backpack. It has a large capacity that is perfect for carrying extra camping gear and is padded to guarantee extra comfort. The only problem with it is that the bladder can leak if you put too much into it. 

Essentially, the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack offers the following:

Comfort

Made of lightweight material, this pack works for various body types and is ideal for long treks and extended trips. Plus, the padded foam stabilizer sides are perfect for day-long or overnight hikes. Additionally, it has adjustable waist and shoulder straps hence ideal for adults and kids.

Rain cover

It comes with an integrated rain cover that prevents water from getting into the pack. This cover also keeps any water that leaks into the pack. Not to mention that it is sewn-in, so need to worry about it slipping. 

Capacity

It does hold up to two liters of water, has a push-lock design, and a five-centimeter opening that allows easy cleaning and addition of ice cubes.

Durability

It has bungee cords that strap the water reservoir and prevent it from slipping. These straps further enable you to tighten your pack to avoid item bounce. 

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Large capacity
  • Waterproof
  • Adjustable

Cons 

  • The zipper may give out over time
  • Bladder leaks when full

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack with 2L BPA Free Bladder - for Running, Hiking, Cycling, Camping
  • 1.PERFECT SET - Included 70-Ounce (2 Liter) BPA FREE food grade hydration bladder, test report will be sent to your e-mail
  • 2.THERMAL INSULATION - With the insulated bladder compartment, your drink can be kept cool for up to 4 hours, that's cool!
  • 3.GOOD VOLUME - Includes 3 storage compartments that will fit your clothes, keys, purses, phones etc. the front stretch mesh pockets allows you to pack even more on your hike
  • 4.100% LEAKAGE PROOF DESIGN -The opening is large design, you will never be bothered to dry the bladder as the screw one, just bottom up, it will dry itself, with click in connection instead of traditional screw one, it will never get loose and causing leakage
  • PERFECT OUTDOOR GEAR: Padded shoulder straps, breathable system and lightweight design are the perfect tool for outdoor sports, Mubasel Gear offer 60 days 100% Satisfaction Guarantee of the pack and free replacement of the bladder.

You can’t go wrong with this pack if looking to keep your water cold for long. It can keep your water cold for up to four hours, thanks to its enhanced thermal insulation. The padded shoulder straps plus the leak-proof design makes this unit ideal for climbing, hiking and other outdoor activities.

Here is why the Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack is a must-have:

Water bladder

The two-liter bladder has the capacity to keep your water cold for long and has a large opening that does not allow spills. It is made of high-quality, BPA-free, and FDA-approved material. 

Straps

The shoulder straps are well padded to prevent bone bounce and facilitate even weight distribution. They are also breathable so no need to worry about sweating and heat build-up. 

Storage

With three extra storage compartments, this unit gives you the freedom to bring along other items. Additionally, the front lining mesh pockets stretch to provide more storage room. You will truly appreciate the comfort and adjustability of this pack during a long trek.

Pros

  • Keeps drinks cold
  • Large capacity
  • Leak-proof design
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Not suitable for people over five feet 10 inches

CamelBak M.U.L.E Moutain Biking Hydration Pack

CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Bike Hydration Pack - Easy Refill Hydration Backpack
  • DURABLE MOUNTAIN BIKING HYDRATION BACKPACK: The CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Backpack has a narrow-gauge design that keeps it light and maneuverable. Even when it’s fully loaded for mountain biking, it won’t get in your way.
  • MORE WATER PER SIP: This backpack is built around the Crux reservoir, which is easier to load and refill and delivers 20% more water with every sip. The magnetic tube trap keeps the tube secure and accessible when you need it.
  • PRACTICAL AND FUNCTIONAL BACKPACK: The M.U.L.E. hits that sweet spot between size and storage. This backpack is lightweight but still allows you to pack three liters of water and a day’s worth of snacks and gear.
  • INFUSED TECHNOLOGY FOR ENHANCED COMFORT: CamelBak has designed the M.U.L.E. 100-ounce backpack with reflective accents for improved visibility, a removable stability belt, and an air director back panel for improved cooling.
  • IF WE BUILD IT – WE’LL BAK IT: Our Got Your Bak Lifetime Guarantee covers all reservoirs, backpacks, bottles, and accessories from manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product.

This is designed for mountain bikers and does deliver 20% more water than other packs in the market. Its slim design and reflective strips further make this pack a must-have.  Compared to other hydration packs, CamelBak M.U.L.E Moutain Biking Hydration Pack has limited space for extra storage.

Here is why we believe you need to give it a shot:

Deliver more water per sip

Has a unique magnetic tube that allows it to secure water and make it more accessible. This straw can pump water faster and has a quicker reload times.

Lifetime guarantee

No worries if your pack has any issues as your unit will come with a lifetime guarantee that covers all bottles, reservoirs, and any issues with accessories. In case of any manufacturing issue or defect, you will get a replacement.

Narrow design

You can’t go wrong with this unit if looking for a hydration pack suitable for biking, thanks to its narrow design. Besides, it lacks an extended width; hence it does not hit the bottom of the bike seat.

Functionality and safety

It comes with a small backpack with a capacity of three liters and is suitable for carrying extra snacks or gear. It also features reflective strips and stability belts, hence suitable when cycling at night, in dark conditions, or near the road.

Pros

  • Enhanced water flow
  • Lightweight
  • Safe to use
  • Comfortable
  • Ergonomic design

Cons

  • Not a lot of storage compartments

Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack

Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack - Water Backpack - 2L Water Bladder
  • AFFORDABLE QUALITY THAT LASTS: Compared to high-end brands that cost $50 or more, this 2L water pack backpack features rugged ripstop nylon, sturdy metal zipper & more, all for under $25.
  • COOL WATER FOR UP TO 5 HOURS: When you’re in beast mode, your insulated water backpack with 2-liter hydration bladder (70 oz.) keeps you hydrated longer. Leak-free & BPA-free, you can grab 1 more mile with ease.
  • COMPACT WITH IMPRESSIVE EXTRAS: Padded ventilated straps & back plus reflective safety trim make this water bag backpack perfect as a kids’ or women’s petite backpack. Handy clips keep water tube within easy reach, so you can keep going.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT COMFORT WITH AMPLE STORAGE: With its sleek profile, this pack feels so light you'll hardly know you're wearing it. Holds all your gear in the roomy main compartment, inner sleeve, exterior pocket & bungee.
  • 30-DAY GUARANTEE & LIFETIME WARRANTY: Not thrilled with your hydration pack with storage? Return it within 30 days for a full money-back refund... or anytime (ever) for a free replacement.

Even when on a tight budget, you will still afford this medium-quality pack. In fact, it the cheapest option on our list.  It is slim and compact and has one large compartment that can hold some of your possessions. The only downside with this pack is with its straps. They don’t conform to most body types, and that can lead to slight irritation if you are moving around a lot. 

Water reservoir

If you love sipping cold water, thus pack will not let you down. Its two-liter reservoir keeps water cold for up to five hours. You can add a few ice cubes to keep your water cold for long. Additionally, the reservoir features FDA-approved and BPA-free material.

Durability

Besides the stretchy secure material, this pack has rugged ripstop nylon and a sturdy metal zipper that doesn’t stick and is rust-resistant. 

Straps

The meshed and padded straps are all you need to stay cool throughout. They are breathable and don’t allow heat build-up.

Extra 

The extra compartment located on the front of the pack is large enough to hold possessions such as wallets and phones you want to bring along. 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Keeps water cold
  • Large capacity
  • Compact
  • Leak-free design

Cons

  • Not that adjustable 

CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack

Designed by a well-known brand, CamelBak, this minimalistic and small pack has all the great features you need for a remarkable outdoor experience. Although this pack is suitable for moderate hikes and short jogs, its quality is excellent and lasts longer. If looking for a pack with a large capacity, you will not love this. Its main compartment holds up to 1.5 liters, enough to keep you hydrated for short distances. But why give it a try?

Design

The CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack has a small inside, a secure zip pocket, and lightweight mesh straps that are well ventilated to increase airflow. The zippered pocket is thin and won’t dig into your skin. 

Straw and screw cap

The straw design is so excellent that it does offer 20% more water than other packs. The huge screw cap makes it possible to refill and clean the bladder.

Lifetime guaranteed

Anytime you have an issue with your unit, the company will do its best to fix it. You can also get a replacement in case of any manufacturing defect.

Pros

  • Good ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Minimalist design

Cons 

  • Almost no storage space

FAQs:

How does a hydration pack work?

The hydration pack works by sitting on either your waist or back and has an insertable bladder that helps distribute the weight of the water.

A straw is attached to the bladder and extends to the length of your mouth. You adjust the bite valve to sip water while lightly chewing on the end of the straw.

Do I need a hydration pack?

Well, a hydration pack isn’t essential but handy if you are an outdoor person. They come in handy if you plan to travel long distances and engage in activities that require both hands such as cycling.

Can I put ice in my hydration pack?

Yes, you can if your hydration pack has a wider opening. If you are looking to put ice into your pack, we enjoin you to buy an insulated bladder. It will keep your water cold for long.

Can you put a hydration pack in a regular backpack?

While this may seem a good idea, it is not as water reservoir needs to be adequately secured to avoid leaking and slipping. So make sure to settle for a sturdy and quality hydration pack.

How do you keep water cold in the hydration pack?

There are several ways to do this. You can put it in an insulated backpack and add some ice cubes. Alternatively, place the water reservoir in the freezer an hour before your trip.

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