Best Hydration Packs and Vests in 2020


Source Dune X-Fit

Source Dune X-Fit

A hydration pack is very useful for trail running and shorter hikes, where you don’t need to carry much besides water, power bars and other small essentials. Hydration packs come with hydration bladders (water reservoirs) and thus allow you to drink on the go without stopping. However, hydration packs also have limitations; due to their small cargo capacity, they are not suitable for long hiking trips and hikes that require technical equipment such as a climbing harness, helmet, crampons etc.

In this review we selected and reviewed the best hydration packs for hikers and trail runners to make your buying decision a little easier. We only listed lightweight products that come with high-quality hydration bladders and provide great functionality and durability. To suit everyone’s wishes and needs, we included hydration packs of various sizes (e.g. cargo capacity and water capacity).

To learn more about hiking hydration and hydration bladders, read our articles How much water to take on a hiking trip and Hydration Systems VS. Water Bottles.

If you think that the hydration packs in this review are too small for your needs, check out our other selections of packs.

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

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

Weight:

A hydration pack for hiking or trail running should be lightweight because lightweight equipment puts less strain on your muscles and thus allows you to hike/run faster. In this selection we only included products that (empty) weigh less than 1 lb. 6 oz. (600 grams). Read more about why it is important to use lightweight gear for hiking in our article Why hike lightweight.

Backpanel:

A hydration pack should have a ventilated backpanel for good breathability. A ventilated backpanel has air channels or is covered with suspended mesh fabric. Such a design allows air to flow between your back and the backpanel. Unlike bigger backpacks, hydration packs don’t have a frame (aluminum stay) because they are not designed for carrying heavy loads.

Hydration Bladder:

The hydration bladder that comes with the respective pack should be easy to maintain and durable. Hydration bladders that are easy to maintain have wide openings so that you can easily clean them. Many hydration bladders also feature an antimicrobial film which prevents/minimizes the growth of microorganisms. The durability of a hydration bladder depends on the quality of joints – such as the mouthpiece/tube joint, tube/water reservoir joint etc. In this review we only included hydration packs which come with durable and easy-to-maintain hydration bladders. Furthermore, all hydration packs in this review come with hydration bladders with bite valves. Bite valves provide the most hassle-free access to water. Learn more about different types of valves in this blog post from Source.

Cargo capacity:

The hydration packs in this review are suitable for carrying 1.5 to 3 liters of water, some power bars and other small items. However, in some of them you may be able to squeeze bigger items, like a rain jacket or similar.

Pockets:

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

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
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2. The Best Hydration Packs for Hiking and Trail Running Review

Best Hydration Packs

Best Hydration Packs

The Best Hydration Packs – List

  1. CamelBak Circuit Vest
  2. Camelbak Octane XCT
  3. Osprey Duro 1.5
  4. Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race
  5. Source Dune X-Fit

Comparison

Feature/Product CamelBak Circuit Vest Camelbak Octane XCTOsprey Duro 1.5Evoc CC 3l + 2l RaceSource Dune X-Fit
Weight5 oz.11 oz.10 oz.1 lb. 2.7 oz.13.2 oz.
Weight (Metric)160 g 310 g 300 g 530 g 375 g
MaterialNylon Nylon Nylon
Ripstop 210-Denier Nylon (PU Coating)Ripstop 70-Denier Nylon
Hydration Capacity 1.5 Liter2 Liters1.5 Liter2 Liters 1.5 Liter
Cargo Space3.5 Liters 0.5 LitersEssentials only1 Liter Essentials only
BackpanelBreathable meshPadded (foam with air channel)Breathable meshPadded (foam with air channel)Padded (foam with air channel)
Chest Strap Yes (double)YesYes (double)YesYes
Hip BeltNoYesNoYes Yes
CamelBak Circuit Vest

CamelBak Circuit Vest

1. CamelBak Circuit Vest

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The CamelBak Circuit hydration pack is shaped like a vest and thus provides great fit and stability during fast-paced activities such as running, trail running and lightweight hiking. The hydration vest includes 1.5-liter Crux water reservoir which is one of the most popular water reservoirs currently on the market. The two open front harness pockets are designed for CamelBak Quick Stow flasks in case that you need more than 1.5 liters of water on your adventure. The CamelBak Circuit also has a secure zippered pocket on the back, reflective panels, dual sternum straps, a tube clip and a top-quality backpanel which provides great breathability. The CamelBak Circuit hydration pack is a great option for various fast-paced activities.

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Pockets for Quick Stow flasks
  • High-quality backpanel

Cons:

  • Very small cargo capacity

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Camelbak Octane XCT

Camelbak Octane XCT

2. Camelbak Octane XCT

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Camelbak Octane XCT is best for those who need a medium-sized hydration pack. The Camelbak Octane XCT comes with the newest 2-liter Camelbak Crux hydration bladder and offers 0.5 liters of storage capacity in addition. The hydration pack is made of ultra-light materials and has comfortable and breathable backpanel and shoulder straps. For good fit, the hydration pack has a sternum strap and hip belt. The sternum strap is equipped with a tube clip to keep the tube within easy reach. The Camelbak Octane XCT also has two zippered hip belt pockets, two pockets on shoulder straps and a big zippered front pocket.

The 2-liter Crux hydration bladder has a wide cap closure which can be easily opened or closed. The hydration bladder also features “quick link” system which allows you to connect different accessories, such as a water filter, flow meter etc. The tube has a bite valve and a locking mechanism to prevent leakages. The Camelbak Octane XCT is, due to its functionality, quality and storage options, a great option for hikers and trail runners.

Pros:

  • Stability
  • Fit
  • Pockets
  • Included Hydration System

Cons:

  • /

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Osprey Duro 1.5

Osprey Duro 1.5

3. Osprey Duro 1.5

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Osprey Duro 1.5 hydration pack is another great option for fast-paced activities. The hydration pack has a very innovative design to provide good fit. It is shaped like a vest and therefore it tightly encloses your body and does not bounce around. The hydration pack also has two sternum straps, breathable shoulder straps and a comfortable mesh backpanel. Both sternum straps are adjustable in height. The pack offers surprisingly good options for storing essentials. The Osprey Duro 1.5 hydration pack has two mesh shoulder strap pockets which fit Hydraulics Soft Flasks, one zippered shoulder strap pocket, two mesh lateral pockets and a zippered pocket on the back side. It is also equipped with a convenient trekking pole attachment system. The Osprey Duro 1.5 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 which is BPA- and PVC-free. It also has an antimicrobial film to prevent the growth of microorganisms.

.

Pros:

  • Stability
  • Fit
  • Pockets
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • Relatively narrow cap closure

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Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

4. Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Evoc CC 3l + 2l Race is a very practical pack that provides great fit. The pack is made of durable 210-denier ripstop nylon and equipped with breathable shoulder straps and backpanel. It also has a sternum strap and a hip belt for better fit during high-impact activities such as (trail) running. The included hydration reservoir is placed in the main compartment while other gear can be stored in one of the many pockets. The Evoc CC is equipped with two zippered hip belt pockets, a shoulder strap pocket, a front zippered pocket and two front mesh pockets. It also has a small zippered pocket in the main compartment. It 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 pack for hikers, trekkers, trail runners and other outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Pros:

  • Pockets
  • Price
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • Weight

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Source Dune X-Fit

Source Dune X-Fit

5. Source Dune X-Fit

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Running
  • Trail running
  • Biking

The Source Dune X-Fit is an extremely well-made hydration pack. The unique thing about this pack is that it uses an innovative shoulder straps system (X-Fit) for good fit. Described simply, the shoulder straps adapt to your body’s movements and therefore do not restrict you while hiking or running. Furthermore, the loose ends of the shoulder straps are attached so that they do not disturb you during your activity. The pack is made of lightweight 70-denier ripstop nylon and equipped with a foam backpanel. The shoulder straps provide great breathability because they are made of mesh fabric. For good fit, the pack also features a sternum strap (adjustable in height) and a comfortable hip belt. The Source Dune X-Fit is equipped with two zippered hip belt pockets, hydration bladder pocket and a front pocket with key clip.

It also features trekking poles attachment system, light clip and a bungee cord. The bungee cord is very practical because it can be used for attaching a rain jacket or similar apparel. The pack comes with the Source WLP hydration bladder which can hold up to 1.5 liters of water. The hydration bladder features the Glass Like Film technology (smooth surface), Taste Free technology (BPA and Phthalate free) and Grunge Guard technology (antimicrobial film). These technologies make the water reservoir more resistant to the growth of bacteria and easier to clean. 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 pack for trail runners and hikers. However, as it offers very little cargo capacity, it is best for brief activities.

 

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

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Video

3. Questions and Answers

What is a hydration pack used for?

A hydration pack is perfect for short and fast-paced activities such as trail running and hiking. Hydration packs come with a hydration bladder which allows you to drink on the go without stopping.

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Post Author

Post Author

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.

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