What Are Hydration Packs | What To Look For In Hydration Packs? | The Benefits of Hydration Packs 

Hydration packs are specifically designed backpacks or waist bags carrying a bladder full of fluid. The bladder feeds the hose, leading over the shoulder, and is clipped on the chest strap of the bag. The specific design of the hydration pack makes a comfortable means of drinking. 

what is hydration packs

What Is The Primary Function of Hydration Packs?

Hydration packs’ primary function is to carry your fluid supply with ease and comfort. There are also packs that have the ability to take other supplies as well. The amount of storage for other essentials, including tools, phones, and food, varies significantly. You can select which pack best suits the amount of cargo you demand.  

There are a lot of benefits that come with the use of hydration packs. They keep your hands free when running or cycling, allowing you to focus on the road and on the journey. For cyclists driving a full suspension bike, hydration packs can indeed be helpful since bottle cages are hard to fit.  

What To Look For In Hydration Packs?

Comfort with hydration Pack


One of the most essential elements to look for when buying a hydration pack is comfort. You want to ensure that you can run or drive freely with it. Therefore, the best hydration packs are built with breathable and lightweight materials. Also, there are padded straps for more comfort.  

Fluid capacity 

The capacity varies about one liter in the hip pack, down to three liters in the backpacks. However, the fluid capacity depends on how much you will need. Also, consider the temperature, the availability of refills, and how long the journey will be.  

hydration pack fluid capacity img

How much should you drink? 

A general recommendation is roughly half a liter every hour. However, the necessity will also be dependent on your personal chemistry, heat, and humidity.  

Gear Capacity 

One main advantage of having a hydration pack is the capacity to haul gear. High-end mountain bikes are getting more reliable. However, bent wheels, broken chains, and flat tires can still happen, and when these happen, it is crucial to have the tools to fix such problems.  

With a hydration pack, carrying extra clothes, food, and accessories such as goggles and cameras will be relatively easy.  

Most hydration packs are designed with modern features such as ventilated shoulder straps, hip belts for stability, and sternum straps that tug the shoulder straps altogether.  

For the back panel, look out for channels to have the airflow you need to stay cool. Other packs also have suspended mesh back.


Since you’ll have the hydration pack wherever you go, it is essential to choose one that are made with breathable materials. You would get too sweaty during the hike if the pack doesn’t allow airflow. So, a breathable element is a must-have, but it must also be leak-proof for additional gear protection. Also, super wide hydration packs might minimize airflow, causing heat accumulation. 

Bite Valve and Hose 

The bite valve may be small, but it is vital since this part brings the water up to your mouth. Most bite valves are made of soft rubber. Others require an easy squeeze to allow the flow of water; others will need some pressing with the use of the tongue.  

The hose on hydration packs can be cut to length. The pack itself with mounting clips and hose guides stops the hose from flopping or swinging when riding. Optional accessories such as sleeves keep the fluid warm or cold. There is also a semi-rigid build for tilting the bite valve close to the mouth.  

Built-in body armor 

Another excellent factor with hydration packs is like having a built-in body armor. Falling on a pack is better than landing on the ground or on your back. Hydration packs are built tough, allowing them to survive the force of a hit.  

To take this protection to another level, other pack manufacturers incorporate an impact-absorbing plate and a body armor style. These features enhance a much better protection for the wearers. 

Care and Feeding 

Cleanliness is vital to pack bladders. They must be cleaned and emptied after use and dried. Most manufacturers install drying inserts to keep the internal surfaces apart; other riders also modify coat-hangers to do the job. You can also keep the pack in the fridge, keeping the nasty stuff from developing.  

Always keep it clean, or else the bacteria growth may lead you to buy a new bite valve, a new hose, or even an entire reservoir.  

Access and Filling the Reservoir 

Hydration packs depend on how you get at the bladder itself. There are reservoirs installed inside the main pack; this design helps saves weight. Others have a specific compartment for safety from tube valves, multi-tools, and pokey tire pumps.  

Other reservoirs have a detachable hose that makes filling more accessible. Filling bladders with permanent hoses will require carrying the bag over to the faucet or getting the hose out of the bag.  

Other features  

Other features found in various hydration packs include hooks for whistles, pockets for tools, cords for lashing on a jacket, expandable compartments, headphone ports, helmet carry straps, etc.  

What Are The Benefits of Hydration Packs? 

Easy access.

Using a water bottle may require frequent stops to get it from your bag and drink it. On the other hand, you don’t need to stop to sip water with a hydration pack. With its drinking tube, you can drink wherever and whenever you want. 


A hydration pack allows you to carry more water. Having a hydration pack on your back is more comfortable when cycling or walking than having bottled water rattling in your backpack.

Convenience. H

Hydration packs vary in many shapes and sizes. You can opt for packs that fit your activity. You can easily fold them down for storage when out of fluid and carry them with ease. 


One advantage of hydration packs is their robust construction. They can survive a lot of abuse and still manage to provide users excellent performance. The sturdy material makes a hydration pack withstand any beating and still won’t leak unless you cut it open.

What Are The Types of Hydration Packs?


This type may look like your average backpacks, but they actually have drinking tubes and water reservoirs. They fall into different categories depending on the kind of activity they are built for. One example is hiking hydration backpacks; they usually have more storage space for tools, goods, and other parts of the gear.  

We also have cycling hydration backpacks that are designed for mountain biking and road cycling. These packs are low-profile and compact, made for carrying, and have less wind resistance when riding a bike.  

There are also running hydration backpacks that fit perfectly to the body. They have great features that include pockets for easy access when running. Lastly, we have snow-sports hydration backpacks built with outside insulation that keeps the fluid from freezing. These packs also have feature straps for transportation on skis and snowboards.  

Waist Packs 

Waist packs are designed to wrap the body around perfectly. These packs may have a hydration reservoir, but some of them include water bottles. They make a good choice for activities that don’t need much gear, such as running or cycling on short distances. The hip belt makes carrying the pack comfortable, especially for those who have back problems. The main disadvantage with waist packs is their small capacity; they can’t carry that much gear and extra water.   


Hydration Pack Pricing 

  • Under $50:  There are hydration packs within this price range. However, they are likely to have some compromises as cheaper packs have less water capacity. They may also be more challenging to clean, adjust and are harder to refill.  
  • Over $60:  Within this price range, you can find hydration packs that possess some extra features. Pricier packs have removable or adjustable straps, wide-mount opening, quick-disconnect tubing, etc.  


Q: What should I look for in a hydration pack when I’m trying to stay as light as possible?  

A: If staying mobile is your goal, choose hydration packs that can do more than just hold water. Either you’re going for a hike or a multi-day adventure, opt for packs that can hold the gear to minimize the number of bags you’ll be bringing. 

Q: Should I pick a hydration pack with a frame? 

A:If you carry just a few items such as light snacks, water, etc., then a pack with a frame won’t be essential. But, if you wish to carry a substantial amount of gear, opt for packs with frames to have that critical support you need.

Q: Which one is better: shoulder straps or no straps? 

A:Packs with an atomic cut make an excellent option for extended wear. But in terms of comfort, lumbar packs without straps make the best option.  

Q: How much water will I need? 

A: The amount of fluid you will need to carry depends on your time outdoors. Also, the time between water availability is another consideration. A 2-liter bladder is usually the most considerable option. Some packs offer dual bottles located in the front pockets, an alternative option for the rear-carrying reservoir.  

Keep in mind that front bottles don’t provide as much water storage and are sold separately. Generally speaking, the amount of water needed varies from runner to runner. As a result, it is essential to identify how much you will require for your activity.  

Q: How much gear should I be carrying? 

A: The gear you will need depends on your personal preferences and the running conditions. For example, heavy weather may require you more layers. The time of day will determine if lighting will be a consideration. The length of your journey will dictate how much nutrition you must carry.  

If you are running under three hours in fair weather, a 3-liter pack will do the job. Suppose you run under changing weather conditions. In that case, you might want a larger pack to accommodate more clothing layers and storage options.  

Q: How much time can I use the hydration pack? 

A: While the fit is obviously an element for any hydration pack, it becomes more essential the longer you are running. In general, packs differ in features and pack capacity. Some brands offer a high-end option that is classified based on materials and fit.  

These packs use better fabrics, personalized fit, and usually at a higher price range. The use of better durable fabrics also means more comfort and lifespan. These packs are ideal for runners who are using them frequently. Regardless of how much you will be running, a high-end pack makes the best option for runners with specific fit needs and sensitive skin.