The Best Hydration Packs for Hiking and Trail Running


Source Dune X-Fit

Source Dune X-Fit

A hydration pack is great for trail running and shorter hikes, where you don’t need to carry much hiking equipment besides water, power bars and other essentials. Another benefit of hydration packs is that they come with hydration systems (water reservoirs) included while you usually have to buy the hydration system for a bigger backpack separately. Hydration systems are very practical for speed hiking as they allow you to drink on the go without stopping. Furthermore, they keep the weight of the water well-distributed, which improves stability. However, hydration packs also have limitations; they are not suitable for long hiking trips, hiking in changing weather and trips which require additional technical equipment such as climbing harness, helmet, crampons, ice axe etc. Another alternative for short hiking trips is a lumbar waist pack; check our list of the best ones here.

In this review we selected and reviewed the best hydration packs for hikers and trail runners in order to make your buying decision easier. We were especially looking for products that come with high-quality hydration systems and provide great stability and functionality. As everybody has different needs for water and cargo capacity, we included hydration packs of various sizes.

For more information about hydration systems read our article Hydration Systems VS. Water Bottles where we listed the advantages and disadvantages of hydration systems in comparison to simple water bottles. To learn more about hydration on hiking trips check out our article How much water to take on a hiking trip.

If you came to a conclusion that these hydration packs are too small for you, please check out our reviews of the Best Daypacks, Best Medium Size Backpacks (40-50 liters) and Best Large Backpacks (+ 50 liters). All backpacks in these reviews are also hydration system compatible, but the majority of them do not come with water reservoirs included.

This selection was updated on the 7th of February 2017.

1. Buying a Hydration Pack for Hiking or Trail Running – What is important?

Weight:

A hydration pack for hiking and trail running should be as light as possible – this allows you to go faster and reach goals easier. In this selection we only included hydration packs which (empty) weigh less 600 grams.

Backpanel:

The backpanel of any pack significantly influences the overall comfort and therefore it matters how it is constructed and with which materials. Backpanels on hydration packs are usually made of breathable foam which creates an air channel in the middle for better ventilation.  Unlike bigger backpacks, hydration packs don’t have aluminum stays in the backpanel as they are not designed for carrying heavy loads.

Hydration System:

The hydration system that comes with the respective pack should allow easy maintenance and provide great durability. Hydration systems that allow easy maintenance have fairly wide openings so that you can easily clean them and often feature antimicrobial films which prevent/minimize the growth of microorganisms. Durability greatly depends on the quality of joints – such as the mouthpiece/tube and tube/water reservoir. Additionally, a hydration system should use a bite valve as it provides the most hassle-free access to water.

Cargo capacity:

The hydration packs in this selection offer limited capacity; 1.5 to 3 liters of water, some power bars and other essentials such as wallet, keys etc.  However, in some of them you may be able to squeeze in bigger items, like a rain jacket and such. How much cargo capacity you require, greatly depends on your needs for bringing gear and extra apparel along.

Pockets:

Pockets allow you to organize your gear; it is a great benefit if a hydration pack has pockets for your cell phone, sunglasses, keys etc.

2. The Best Hydration Packs for Hiking and Trail Running Review

Best Hydration Packs

Best Hydration Packs

  1. Source Dune X-Fit
  2. Source Rapid
  3. Camelbak Octane XCT
  4. Osprey Rev 1.5
  5. Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

Comparison

Feature/Product Source Dune X-FitSource Rapid Hydration Pack Camelbak Octane XCTOsprey Rev 1.5 Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race
Weight13.2 oz.15.2 oz.11.3 oz.12.0 oz.1 lb. 2.7 oz.
Weight (Metric)375 g 430 g 320 g 340 g 530 g
MaterialRipstop 70-Denier Nylon Ripstop 70-Denier NylonNylon Nylon
Ripstop 210-Denier Nylon (PU Coating)
Hydration Capacity 1.5 Liter2 or 3 Liters 3 Liters1.5 Liter2 Liters
Cargo SpaceEssentials only2 Liters 0.5 LitersEssentials only1 Liter
BackpanelPadded (foam with air channel) Padded (foam with air channel)Padded (foam with air channel)Breathable meshPadded (foam with air channel)
Chest Strap YesYesYesYes (double)Yes
Hip BeltYesYes YesNoYes
Source Dune X-Fit

Source Dune X-Fit

1. Source Dune X-Fit

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Source Dune X-Fit is an extremely well-designed hydration pack that offers great functionality. The unique thing about this hydration pack is that it uses an innovative shoulder straps system (X-Fit) in order to provide good fit. Described simply, the shoulder straps adapt to your body’s movements and therefore do not restrict you while hiking, running etc. Furthermore, the loose ends of the shoulder straps are attached so that they do not disturb you during your activity. The hydration pack is made of lightweight, but very durable 70-denier ripstop nylon and equipped with a backpanel of breathable mesh foam with an air channel in the middle for better ventilation. The shoulder straps also provide great breathability as they are made of mesh fabric. Stability is additionally increased with the chest strap (adjustable by height) and wide comfortable hip belt. The hydration pack also has two zippered hip belt pockets, hydration system pocket and a front pocket with key clip. The hip belt pockets come in very handy as they are easily accessible while the big front pocket is best for storing items that you do not need during the activity such as for example a wallet, keys etc. In addition to that, the pack is equipped with hiking poles attachment system, light holders and a bungee cord. The bungee cord is very practical as it can be used for attaching a rain jacket or similar apparel. The pack comes with the Source WLP hydration system which can hold up to 1.5 liters of water. The water reservoir uses Glass Like Film technology (smooth surface), Taste Free technology (BPA and Phtalate free) and Grunge Guard technology (antimicrobial protection). These technologies make the water reservoir more resistant to the growth of bacteria and easier to clean/maintain. The tube of the hydration system is insulated and equipped with a Helix bite valve for hassle-free drinking. The Source Dune X-Fit is an excellent hydration pack for trail runners and hikers. However, as it offers very little storage capacity, it is best for short-term activities.

 

Pros:

  • Fit
  • Stability
  • Included Hydration System
  • Easy Accessible Hip Belt Pockets
  • Equipment holders

Cons:

  • /

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Video

ource Rapid Hydration Pack

ource Rapid Hydration Pack

2. Source Rapid

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Source Rapid hydration pack is a little bigger than the Source Dune X-Fit hydration pack and thus suitable for those who need a little more space for storing their gear as well as a water reservoir with a bigger capacity – the hydration pack comes with a 3 or 2-liter water reservoir. The pack is, like the Source Dune X-Fit, made of durable lightweight 70-denier ripstop nylon and features a backpanel made of breathable mesh fabric with an air channel for better ventilation. The Source Rapid hydration pack has great options for storing gear. On the front side of the pack is a detachable pouch which offers a volume of 2 liters and therefore perfect for storing food, clothing or other accessories. As it is attached to the pack with straps it can be easily detached if you don’t need it and you want to save weight. Additionally, the pack is equipped with an insulated pocket for water reservoir, a front zippered pocket and two side mesh pockets. For better stability and comfort, the pack has an adjustable chest strap and (removable) waist belt. The chest strap buckle is equipped with an emergency whistle. The shoulder straps are made of breathable mesh fabric for maximum comfort and the right shoulder strap is equipped with a mouthpiece holder which ensures that the hydration system’s tube is easy accessible at any time. The pack comes with the Source Widepac Hydration system which allows easy cleaning as its reservoir is equipped with a wide opening at the top. Like the Source WLP hydration system, it features the Helix bite valve, Glass Like Film technology, Taste Free technology and Grunge Guard technology. However, it is not equipped with an insulated tube. The Source Rapid is best for hikers who want a hydration pack with great storage options.

 

Pros:

  • Storing options
  • Included Hydration System
  • Detachable pouch

Cons:

  • Narrow Hip Belt

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Camelbak Octane XCT

Camelbak Octane XCT

3. Camelbak Octane XCT

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Camelbak Octane XCT is best for those who want a hydration pack like Source Dune X-Fit but with a bigger water capacity. The Camelbak Octane XCT comes with the 3-liter Camelbak Antidote water reservoir and offers 0.5 liters of storage capacity in addition. The pack is made of ultra-light materials and has a comfortable and well-ventilated backpanel which is made of foam. Also the shoulder straps offer great breathability for maximum comfort. For better stability, the pack is equipped with a chest strap and hip belt. The chest strap has a tube holder so that the tube stays easily accessible, but out of your way throughout your activity. The pack is equipped with many well-placed pockets; it has two zippered hip belt pockets, two pockets on shoulder straps and a big zippered front pocket. The hip belt pockets as well as the pockets on the shoulder straps allow easy access and are thus perfect for storing power bars, energy gels etc. In the big front pocket you will find a key clip and a small pocket for a cell phone. The Antidote water reservoir goes in a sleeve with Velcro closure, placed behind the backpanel. It has a wide cap closure which requires a only quarter of a turn to be opened or closed. Additionally the reservoir is equipped with the so-called “dryer arms” and “quick link”. Dryer arms allow fast drying while the quick link allows you to connect different accessories to the reservoir, such as a water filter. The tube has a bite valve and a locking mechanism in order to prevent leakages. The Camelbak Octane XCT is a great hydration pack for hikers and trail runners as it can hold up to 3 liters of water while still being comfortable and stable.

Pros:

  • Stability
  • Fit
  • Pockets
  • Included Hydration System

Cons:

  • /

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Osprey Rev 1.5

Osprey Rev 1.5

4. Osprey Rev 1.5

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Osprey Rev 1.5 is the smallest hydration pack in this review and therefore most suitable for trail running or other short-term activities, like shorter (less than 4 hours long) hikes. The Osprey Rev 1.5 offers great comfort and fit; the first is provided by highly breathable shoulder straps and backpanel while the stability and fit are increased with two sternum straps. Unlike other hydration packs in this review, the Osprey Rev 1.5 doesn’t have a hip belt as it is a relatively short pack which doesn’t cover the lumbar area.  However, as the pack features two chest straps, it won’t bounce during the run/hike. Even though the pack is very small, it offers surprisingly good options for storing essentials. The pack is equipped with mesh harness pockets, shoulder strap mesh pocket, shoulder strap media pocket and front zippered pocket. The media pocket is designed to hold a Smartphone and as it uses a TPU film cover, the cell-phone doesn’t even have to be taken out of the pocket to be used. The front zippered pocket is lined with fleece and thus perfect for storing more fragile gear, such as sunglasses. The pack is also equipped with a bungee cord which allows you to attach a rain jacket or similar gear. The pack comes with the Osprey Hydraulics LT water reservoir which holds up to 1.5 liters of water. The reservoir is made of a polyethylene material that is BPA- and PVC-free. It also has an antimicrobial film in order to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Osprey Rev 1.5 is due to its stability, functionality and comfort a great hydration pack for trail runners and hikers. However, it also has one downside; the reservoir’s cap closure is not as wide as on other water reservoirs and therefore you might have some problems cleaning it.

.

Pros:

  • Stability
  • Fit
  • Pockets
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • Relatively narrow cap closure

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Video

Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

5. Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race is a very practical hydration pack that offers great comfort and fit. The pack is made of very durable 210-denier ripstop nylon and equipped with very breathable shoulder straps and backpanel. The pack also has a chest strap and hip belt for better stability during high-impact activities such as for example (trail) running. The included hydration reservoir is placed in the main compartment while other gear can be stored in one of the many conveniently placed pockets. The pack is equipped with easy accessible zippered hip belt pockets, a shoulder strap pocket, a front zippered pocket and two front mesh pockets. In addition to that, there is also a small zippered pocket in the main compartment. The pack comes with the Evoc hydration system that holds up to 2 liters of water. The water reservoir is BPA- and PVC-free and has a wide opening at the top for easy cleaning. The tube is insulated and the mouthpiece can be locked to prevent leakages. All in all the Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race is a great hydration pack for hikers, trekkers, trail runners and other outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Pros:

  • Pockets
  • Price
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • Weight

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