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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
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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
2-Liter; Durable, kink-free sip tube and push-lock cushioned bite valve; Large 2-inch (5 cm) opening for ice and easy cleaning
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Large capacity
- The zipper may give out over time
- Bladder leaks when full
Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack
Included 70-Ounce (2 Liter) BPA FREE food grade hydration bladder, test report will be sent to your e-mail
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:
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.
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.
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.
- Keeps drinks cold
- Large capacity
- Leak-proof design
- Lightweight design
- Not suitable for people over five feet 10 inches
CamelBak M.U.L.E Moutain Biking Hydration Pack
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Enhanced water flow
- Safe to use
- Ergonomic design
- Not a lot of storage compartments
Water Buffalo Hydration Pack Backpack
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.
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.
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.
Besides the stretchy secure material, this pack has rugged ripstop nylon and a sturdy metal zipper that doesn’t stick and is rust-resistant.
The meshed and padded straps are all you need to stay cool throughout. They are breathable and don’t allow heat build-up.
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.
- Keeps water cold
- Large capacity
- Leak-free design
- Not that adjustable
CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
Lightweight cycling Hydration pack: The HydroBak cycling Backpack is exceptional for those short Bike rides; The 50 ounce crux reservoir provides enough water for a two hour ride, with a zippered pocket and ventilated harness for comfort
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?
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.
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.
- Good ventilation
- Minimalist design
- Almost no storage space
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.