Whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail or just getting some fresh air on your lunch break, hydration packs are a must-have for any adventurer. Hydration packs are designed to carry water and other essentials like snacks, maps, and cell phones. These packs can be small enough to fit into your pocket or large enough to hold all of your gear for the day.

When choosing a hydration pack, there are several factors to consider. First, you will want to choose a size that fits your needs. A small pack may be ideal if you don’t plan on carrying much with you while on your adventure, while a larger pack might be better suited for longer trips where comfort is key.

Additionally, consider what type of material will best suit your needs: most hydration packs are made from nylon or mesh fabric so they are breathable and comfortable against your skin even when fully loaded with gear; others come in bright colors so they can easily be spotted from afar if dropped off in an open space (such as fields or forests).

In this article, we’ll detail the different types of hydration packs and explain how they work. We’ll also talk about how to choose one that’s right for you.

Types of Hydration Packs

There are two general types of hydration packs: hydration backpacks and hydration waistpacks.

Hydration Backpacks

These are usually pretty expensive, but if you’re an avid hiker or sportsperson, it’s worth it. They’re also great for people who spend a lot of time in nature since they’re lightweight and easy to carry around with you.

Hiking hydration packs: Hiking hydration packs are the most popular type of hydration pack. They’re meant for people who like to go on long hikes and need water, snacks, and other supplies with them. Hiking packs often have a large pocket that holds a water bladder or reservoir and a small pocket that holds snacks or other items. Some hiking packs even have a third large pocket that can hold your phone and keys.

Cycling hydration packs: Cycling hydration packs are designed to be worn by cyclists. They hold a reservoir of water or other fluid, which you can use during your ride. The reservoir attaches to the pack itself and is held in place by straps that go around your waist, chest, or shoulders.

Some cycling hydration packs also include pockets for storing other items like food and tools. These tend to be larger than some other types of packs and may have different features, like rain covers and back padding.

The best cycling hydration packs will have an adjustable fit so they can be worn comfortably while you’re riding, even if you’re wearing a helmet or other gear. They should also be easy to fill with water or another drink quickly if needed during a race or competition.

Running Hydration Packs: Running hydration packs are designed to keep you hydrated while you’re running. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, and they’re meant to be worn on your back. They may have a pocket or two for storing snacks, but they’re not made to hold much more than that.

The running hydration pack is typically used by marathon runners who have a lot of experience with running. That’s because it’s important to know how much fluid you need while you’re running so that you don’t dehydrate yourself.

  • Running vests: Running vests: These are the most common and most popular options for running. They are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use. They typically have two large pockets on the front of your back that can hold water bottles or other essentials like keys or a phone.
  • Running backpacks: These are similar to traditional hiking backpacks but they are made specifically for runners who need more storage space than just one or two bottles of water. They’re great for people who love to run long distances because they give extra space for storing snacks or other essentials like gloves and hats during cold weather months!

Snowsports hydration packs: The snowsports hydration pack is a special type of hydration pack that is made specifically to suit the needs of those who enjoy winter sports. These packs often have a number of features that make them more durable, and they are often quite large in order to hold enough water and other essential items for a day on the slopes.

There are many different kinds of snowsports hydration packs available today, including ones that come with avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes. These types of packs include specific features like an additional pocket for storing your goggles and sunglasses so that they don’t get damaged when you are skiing or snowboarding.

There are also backpacks designed specifically for mountain climbers and hikers. These packs are often larger than most other hydration packs because they need to hold more than just water; they also need plenty of room for extra clothing and food supplies as well as tools like climbing ropes or flashlights. It’s important when choosing one of these types of backpacks that you make sure it has strong stitching so it won’t break under pressure from all those heavy objects inside!

Hydration Waistpacks

These are pretty cheap and easy to find, so they’re great if you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank but still gets the job done. They come in different sizes depending on how much water you want to carry with you on your journey—some hold up to two liters while others will fit up to three liters inside their small compartments!

Hydration Pack Capacity

The capacity of a hydration pack is a very important factor to consider when you are purchasing one. The capacity refers to how much water the hydration pack can store and carry with you when you are out on an adventure. Your capacity needs will vary depending on your activity level, the weather conditions, and how long you plan to be out in the wilderness.

Hydration Pack Reservoir Capacity

Here are some things to think about related to reservoir capacity:

0.5 liter or less (16 fluid ounces or less): Packs with minimal water capacity are usually waistpacks that include one or two water bottles. They’re best for lightweight pursuits like running or walking.

1 liter or 1.5 liters (32 or 50 fluid ounces): A good choice for minimalists, kids, and short-distance bike commuters, hikers and runners.

2 liters or 2.5 liters (70 or 85 fluid ounces): These popular reservoir sizes offer a nice balance of reasonable weight and bulk while providing a sufficient quantity of water that in most situations will require only occasional refilling.

3 liters or more (100 fluid ounces or more): Made for the thirstiest of adventurers or those who don’t want to stop to refill. They’re also good for anyone exploring terrain where water is scarce.

Hydration Pack Gear Capacity

Here are some considerations for gear capacity:

5 liters or less: Most of these small packs are built for lightweight pursuits like running, road biking and ultralight hiking. Their compact and low-profile design provides room for only a handful of essentials, like an extra layer, some energy bars and your keys.

6 liters to 10 liters: Lots of packs in this range are designed for mountain biking or trail running. They have enough space to easily fit an extra layer or two, food for the day and your camera.

11 liters to 20 liters: These midsize packs are often built for hiking, mountain biking or trail running and feature extra pockets for staying organized. Their larger capacity lets you carry enough clothes, food, emergency equipment, and extra gear for longer explorations.

21 liters or more: Any hydration pack over about 21 liters is usually designed for hiking. These have enough cargo room and comfort and load-support features to perform well on long hikes. Some are even big enough for light-and-fast overnight adventures.

Hydration Pack Fit

Finding a hydration pack that fits you can be tough. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the right fit.

Torso Length: Torso length is the distance from the top of your shoulder to the bottom of your waist. If you have a short torso, you’ll want something that’s between 14 and 18 inches long. If you have a longer torso, then a 17 to 20-inch length will work better for you.

Waist Size: Your waist size is also important when choosing a hydration pack since you want to make sure it fits comfortably around your hips without being too tight or too loose. Again, we recommend measuring from hip bone to hip bone (make sure you’re standing up), and then looking for a pack with a waist size that matches or exceeds yours.

Women-Specific Hydration Packs: These packs are designed for women and have features that make them easier to carry and more comfortable than traditional packs. For example, these packs tend to have shorter straps so they don’t fall off your shoulders as easily. They also tend to be smaller than traditional packs so they won’t get in your way when you’re climbing over rocks or going through narrow trails.

Youth-Specific Hydration Packs: These packs are designed specifically for their purpose—to make it easier for kids to carry their water while they’re adventuring. They’re smaller and lighter than adult-sized hydration packs. They come with special features like padded straps that make carrying the pack more comfortable. And they come in fun colors and patterns so kids will love them!

Hydration Pack Features

There are a few features that can make or break your hydration pack. If you’re looking for a pack that will keep you well-hydrated, but won’t leave you stranded with a broken bite valve, here are the features you should look for:

Bite valve shutoff switch: This feature stops fluid from flowing through the tube when it’s not in your mouth, which means no more spilling on yourself or accidentally dumping water on your friend’s face.

Tube portals: These allow you to route your tube through different areas of your pack so that it doesn’t get tangled up or damaged.

Clips: Clips provide an easy way to attach accessories like keys or flashlights to your pack so they’re always within reach.

Quick-disconnect tubing: This makes it easy to switch your reservoir from one pack to another without having to deal with any of that fiddling around that you usually have to do when you want to change things up.

Wide-mouth opening: A wide-mouth opening helps when you want to fill up or clean out your bladder by hand. It also makes it easier for you to put ice in your water before heading out on a hike or backpacking trip.

Raincover: The raincover will keep your pack dry even in the worst conditions. It’s also great for use in the winter when you might want to protect your water supply from snow or ice—or just hide it from bears!


We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to choosing hydration packs. The most important thing to remember is to choose a pack that fits your needs. If you’re looking for something simple, there are plenty of options out there. But if you’re looking for something more specialized or durable, it’s important to do your research and make sure that the pack will last for years (and miles) to come.

Good luck!