- 1. CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack
- 2. CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack
- 3. CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
- 4. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack
- 5. Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
- 6. MARCHWAY Tactical Molle Hydration Pack Backpack
- 7. Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack
- 8. Vibrelli Performance Hydration Pack
- 9. CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack
- 10. Hydro Flask Hydration Backpack
For earth lovers, spending time in nature is a lifestyle, and every lifestyle comes with tools and accessories that define them. For campers, hikers, climbers, and others who engage in thirst-inducing outdoor activities, hydration packs are a vital part of the lifestyle. However, identifying the right fit can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time purchasing one. Here, along with answers to some of the common questions about water backpacks, are the best products you should consider for your exciting lifestyle.
The Best Hydration Pack
Three Liter (100 Oz) Crux Reservoir
Air Director Back Panel
Michael Eidson developed his first hydration pack in 1989. Ever since, his company, CamelBak, has risen to become one of the leading names in hydration packs. This reputation is down to the craftiness and thoughtfulness that goes into every product, and the CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack is an excellent example of this. As a hydration pack, this backpack strikes a perfect balance between weight and storage. Its Crux reservoir holds as much as three liters of water and also comes with a self-sealing bite valve and an ergonomic cap that ease the task of loading and refilling the reservoir.
Those who are already familiar with this product, know it is more than just a hydration pack. Aside from its efficient water bladder system, it is also a highly functional backpack capable of handling all your storage needs while mountain biking or engaging in other outdoor activities. Despite being lightweight, it is fitted with up to five storage pockets where you can keep your electronics and other tools safe. Also, you can expect to enjoy all these benefits with little to zero tradeoff in comfort.
All in all, this is a great product that comes with an air director back panel that provides ventilation and keeps your back from sweating. It also has universal helmet hooks and a removable stability belt, as part of its features since it’s an all-you-need backpack along with your mountain bike shoes.
Enough space for a day’s worth of water
Doubles as a lightweight storage bag
Comes in seven different colors
Bladder might leak after a few times of use
Magnetic strap breaks easily
Fewer pockets than older versions
1.5l Crux Reservoir with an ergonomic handle
Lightweight and Comfortable Maneuverability
Multiple Storage Space
Crux On/Off Lever
The CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack is a smaller version of its big brother, designed for kids. Still, it is equally a worthy buy for those with modest needs. At 1.5 liters of water, it carries half the content of the bigger version but has the ease of use that makes the M.U.L.E a crowd favorite.
Young explorers will also have access to multiple storage pockets where they can keep essentials such as rain gear, snacks, extra clothing, and more. Even more, your kid doesn’t have to worry about the weight of a filled bag on their back; as the Mini M.U.L.E backpack is lightweight and offers exceptional maneuverability for maximum comfort.
No doubt, CamelBak’s thoughtfulness when it comes to design shows itself in this product in the form of safety features. It comes with a safety whistle and reflective accents, to locate your kids during a hiking trip or while on a mountain trail.
Has a sporty look
Useful for both kids and small adults
Retains cold water for long hours
Might have leaking bladder issues
Bladder cleaning is difficult
1.5-liter Crux Reservoir
Crux On/Off Lever
Got Your Bak Lifetime Guarantee
Sometimes, all you need and want in your hydration pack is water, especially if you are a runner or cyclist. In that case, one of the best hydration packs worth considering is another CamelBak product, the HydroBak Hydration Pack. Simplicity is the goal, and this pack delivers just that to an admirable degree.
Made in six different colors, all with one excellent design, it comes with a 1.5 liters Crux reservoir, designed for easy loading and refill. What’s more, the reservoir’s tube is designed wide enough to quench your thirst with each sip. There’s also an intuitive Crux level that controls the flow of water.
Also, while you are focusing on gunning for new records, you don’t have to worry about dangling essentials. The HydroBak Hydration Pack comes with a zip pocket, just large enough to keep items like your keys, phone, and energy bars. Furthermore, it comes designed with a ventilated harness that keeps your back cool, freeing you from back irritation while you work up some sweat.
Like every other CamelBak product, buying the HydroBak comes with the Got Your Bak Lifetime Guarantee. This warranty covers the product’s lifetime.
Comes in multiple colors
Delivers more water per sip
Comfortable on the back
Reservoir too small for long runs and bike rides
Pocket space too small for large phones
Might be hard to seal bladder lid
Sewn-In Rain Cover
2-Liter Hydration Bladder
Air Mesh Back Panel
Buying a specialized water backpack is all well and good. But, sometimes, you want a robust accessory capable of handling all of your outdoor needs. For hikers, backpackers, cyclists, runners, and climbers, the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack is worth a second look. It is a lightweight product with plenty of space to offer, specifically 1100 cubic inches of space.
In terms of hydration, Oasis 1100 has a water bladder with a capacity of 2-liters and a sip tube wide enough for you to quench that thirst in one or two sips. And because this is an all-purpose hydration backpack, it also has a 2-inch opening for ice, which comes in handy for romantic picnics. Furthermore, the rest of the bag has 18L of space large enough to fit all of your gears and outside the main pocket space are two other zipped pockets with two additional mesh pockets.
There’s so much to enjoy with this unique accessory, it’s simply that gift that keeps on giving. It further has customizable comfort features like notched foam stabilizer, mesh covering, and sturdy straps designed to give you an athletic look and comes fitted with a waist belt, which can expand up to 60 inches.
Useful for different outdoor activities
Upgradable hydration bladder
Strap might be unideal for women
Bladder is open to leakage.
Prone to failed zippers after a period of use
External Hydration Reservoir Pocket
Spacermesh Shoulder Straps
Attachable to Compatible Packs
Osprey’s Daylite Daypack works in the same way as the Oasis 1100. It is a hydration pack that doubles as a robust backpack. So, for those after a regular day backpack for office and travel, which is also useful for outdoor activities, this is the product for you.
The chameleon trait of the Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack is all thanks to the built-in hydration reservoir pocket, with a role that changes depending on your needs. And although this Daylight Daypack is not supposed to hold a lot, it manages to store a handful thanks to its stylish design.
Aside from its main zipped pocket, it has a shove-it pocket on the outside, capable of storing small items and comes with side mesh pockets to hold water bottles, beer cans, and other kinds of drink. As for usage, thanks to a mesh-covered back panel with slotted foam, carrying this Daylite Daypack is just as easy on the back as it is on the eyes.
Useful for daily and special outdoor needs
Dedicated 14” laptop space
Comes in ten colors
Has shallow side mesh pockets
Struggles with holding heavy items
Design might have ergonomic issues
3l Hydration Bladder
360 degrees rotatable mouthpiece
Stylish Design for Multi Occasion Use
High-Grade Water Repellant Nylon
You could call the Marchway Tactical Molle Backpack a running hydration pack, a hydration vest, or a drink backpack, and you would be correct. This Marchway product is a streamlined backpack geared at those who need plenty of liquid. It has a reservoir suited to carry three liters of water accessible through a mouthpiece with a Shut On/Off valve.
The versatility of this hydration pack goes beyond its size. It also has a quick-release valve for easy refill and a large opening for ice on days when you need to spice up your drink. Furthermore, the mouthpiece comes with a 360 degrees rotation for easy drinking, regardless of activity. Beyond hydration, as a backpack, Marchway’s Tactical Pack comes with two front pockets for storing several small items.
Additionally, the defining feature of this pack is the military-grade material that is composed of a heavy-duty 1000 denier water-repellent nylon and military-grade webbing, both of which ensure its durability.
Making it ergonomic is the fact that it has three straps for your waist, shoulders, and chest, with air mesh designed to allow ventilation and save you from sweat-induced irritation. And because of its slim design, the Marchway Tactical Molle Hydration backpack can also double as a hydration vest.
Great for any outdoor activity
Easily replaceable bladder
Stiff Shut On/Off valve
Filled bladder limits available space
Bladder might leach, resulting in a chemical taste
Water Resistant and Fashionable Design
Durable BPA Free Water Bladder
Four Hours Thermal Insulation
Three Storage Compartments
Despite having a smaller market share and profile compared to hydration pack designers like CamelBak and Osprey, this brand stakes a big claim with its Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack; placing it among the best hydration packs on the market. Like some of the backpacks here, it is dual utility, fit for outdoor and daily use, like an office or school bag.
What’s more, the water bladder has a volume of two liters, and its compartment is insulated to keep your drink cool for up to four hours. It equally protects your valuables in case of a leakage. Speaking of leakage, aside from the food grade hydration bladder, the opening has a large design that is supposed to make it leak-proof.
As for the rest of the backpack, there are three storage compartments, which include the front stretch mesh pocket, which is large enough to secure your outdoor or office items. And just as it does an excellent job storing quite the number of items, it also has a high ease of use. Additional features include the adjustable waist straps, made out of soft material, and breathable mesh padding to keep your back ventilated.
Great as a daily driver and for outdoor activities
Easy Bladder cleaning
Useful for kids, teenagers, and adults
Sip Tube mechanism might be bad
Reported leaching from the bladder
Might be too small for tall individuals
Patented High Flow Bite Valve
Insulated Bladder Pocket
Multiple Storage Pocket
External Mesh Pocket and Bungee
If bulky running or hiking hydration packs are not for you, and you are not a fan of the tactical backpack, then consider the Vibrelli Performance Hydration Pack. It is the perfect slim companion for your outdoor needs. Despite packing a storage space and a two-liter hydration bladder, it maintains its lightweight dress through intelligent design.
The bladder itself is free of harmful chemicals such as PVC and BPA. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about leakage thanks to the insulated bladder pocket. Quenching your thirst is equally a seamless process thanks to Vibrelli’s patented Bite-Valve and the top-fill of the bladder is large enough for you to refill easily or add ice if the aim is to start a party in your backpack.
Note that the Performance Hydration Pack is not a utility backpack, but it does have enough space to keep your essentials, whatever they are. Vibrelli takes things further with an emergency whistle built into one of the straps and a rear reflector in case you ever get lost and need help.
No doubt, sidekicks are perfect complementary fits, and this hydration pack is one. With a weight of 415g, fully adjustable waist and chest straps, as well as breathable shoulder straps, it fits perfectly on the wearer.
Featherweight and has a slim design
Has safety tools
Available in three colors (black, red and blue)
Short waist strap
No protective cover for the mouthpiece
Storage is too small
2.5l Crux Reservoir
Magnetic Tube Trap
Overflow Storage Compartment
As far as the best hydration packs go for the minimalist, the CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack is another product worth considering. Unlike other CamelBak products on this list, this hydration pack is for runners and cyclists. It simply has a 2.5L Crux reservoir and not much of anything else.
The 2.5-liter water bladder further has a quick-release flap on the front, which speeds up the refill process. What’s more, the Crux On/Off Lever controls the flow of water, leaving you to focus on your run or ride. More so, the sip tube is also fastened on the shoulder strap, giving this a solid compact look.
Even though this pack’s primary purpose is holding water; it does a little more. For storage, CamelBak’s Rogue Hydration Pack has two external pockets, just large enough to keep small essential items like your phone, keys, and wallet. Then for security, there are reflective accents that keep you visible during dark hours.
Decent water pack capacity
Available in six colors
It is super light
No waist strap
Accessing the bite valve is challenging while riding
Water bladder cap might leak
External Airflow Design
Cold Flow System
BPA-Free Insulated Reservoir
Hydro Flask, through its range of products from coolers to wine bottles to tumblers, has developed a reputation for designing pieces capable of maintaining their temperature for several hours. This is why the Hydro Flask Hydration Backpack is one of the best hydration packs you can buy.
Using its cold flow system, this backpack can retain cold water for more than four hours, making it ideal for trails and bicycle rides in hot regions. With a total size of 10-liters, three liters is for its insulated reservoir, making it the best option for sunny days.
Additionally, the rest of the backpack features internal compartments and stretch mesh pockets for you to store your gears and personal items. Those items are further protected from leaks and rainfall with waterproof fabric and coated zippers, ensuring the insides are always dry.
The Hydro Flask Hydration Backpack is equally lightweight and has an intelligent design, which makes it easy to carry. There is also an articulated back panel that ensures airflow on your back by creating space between you and the pack. Lastly, it has an adjustable shoulder, hip, and sternum straps, all of which are padded.
Excellent for hot summer periods
Significant storage space
Has limited storage for the price point
Refilling can be difficult
Hydration Pack FAQ
Q: How long can you keep water in a hydration pack?
A: All things being equal, the water in a hydration bladder is safe to drink for six months. Like every other container designed to hold water, a hydration bladder can hold it for as long as possible, even up to a year. But this refers to only ideal conditions i.e., the water itself is from a clean and safe source, and the hydration pack is free of dirt and harmful chemicals.
To achieve this condition, make sure you regularly clean out your hydration pack. Use chlorine or household bleach to wash the bladder. Also, make sure you source water from a trusted outlet. As long as you do these, you can keep water in the pack up for six months to a year.
Q: How do you keep water cold in a hydration pack?
A: Typically, the best hydration packs or water bags can keep water cold for three to five hours. How exactly long the water stays cold depends on the temperature. However, you can buy a few extra hours by getting ice packs or dry ice and putting them in the water when it gets hot.
Another method is to buy highly insulated hydration packs, such as Hydro Flask Hydration Backpack. They keep water cold in the bladder for longer hours without the added effort of getting ice. The challenge, however, is they are more expensive than your regular hydration backpack. So, consider the tradeoff before making a decision.
Q: How long do hydration packs last?
A: It all depends on the quality of the product you buy. Good hydration packs, when maintained properly, can last up for five to ten years. However, for optimum maintenance of your bag, read the spec, and make sure you keep the material away from toxic chemicals. For instance, not every hydration pack is made with waterproof materials, so, you should reduce its exposure to water.
Also, you can extend the life of a hydration pack by months and years by replacing defective parts. Hydration packs have detachable parts, like the bladder and sip tube; thus, you can have them replaced if they encounter any defect without necessarily having to buy a new hydration pack.
Q: How big of a hydration bladder do I need?
A: For size, hydration bladders tend to come in 2l and 3l, although some do some in 1l. The right choice depends on two factors – your needs and the size of your hydration pack.
If you are a casual runner, or you only plan on quick hikes and short trail runs, 1 or 1.5-liter bladder size is right for you. It is also good enough for kids and commuters.
The most popular choice is 2-liters, which is best for those who intend to spend the whole day outdoors. Of course, it depends on how thirsty you get, but on average, it is enough for most users, and you only have to refill a couple of times if you get very thirsty.
The largest size of the lot is 3-liters, which works best for those who need plenty of water, for whatever reason. The good news is, it costs about the same amount of money as the first two, and you can always fill it according to your needs.
Ultimately, the perfect bladder size depends on your hydration pack. If you are a minimalist, then a small 1l bladder might be the only compatible size.