The Best Hydration Packs for Trail Runners
Stay safe and hydrated while running the trails with a lightweight, sleek, and comfortable hydration pack.
Summer’s upon us, and that means trail running weather. Runners are a unique breed—and trail runners even more so. The desire to get out into the woods, crank your legs up and down, let the sweat drip down your face and leaves smack you, and limbs scratch you as you breathe heavily. Or, to risk your ankles at every moment on any loose rock or root.
More than that, trail running in the woods in the heat of the summer can be dangerous. Leaves have a tendency to hold in humidity, and if you manage to get outside of them and into the open, then you’ve got the hot sun beating down on you.
As soon as you start running, you start dehydrating. And water, as you may have heard, is key to our survival. In fact, in desert conditions, we can only live for about two days. Granted, only the most masochistic of us are going running in the desert, but you get the point: water is important.
According to Runners World, about 75 percent of the energy we exert when we’re running is turned into heat and then lost, which is why we heat up when we work out. And, our bodies sweat to help us keep our cool. Hence the dehydration. The best way to counter that is to drink water. Of course, carrying a large container with you isn’t exactly practical when you’re running, but a hydration pack — what is essentially a backpack with a water bladder and drinking tube — definitely is. Here’s a list of some great hydration packs for trail runners, so you never hit the trail alone.
CamelBak Hydrobak Light Hydration Pack, 50 oz.
CamelBak may not have invented the hydration pack, but they did build an entire brand around it because they do it so well. The Hydrobak Light carries 1.5 liters of water. That may not get you through a half marathon on a hot day, but it’ll keep you pushing longer. If you need to carry other gear with you, like a rain jacket or gloves, there’s another one liter of dry storage. It’s lightweight and durable and features the Air Support Light Back Panel which gives you plenty of support—and offers breathability. It weighs 6 oz. without water.
ExtremeMist Personal Cooling System (PCS) Detachable Hydration Waist-Pack
Not every run is the same. Along those lines, not every hydration pack will work for every run. When you need to mix it up, the Extreme Mist Personal Cooling System is what you’re after. It sits around your waist so it pulls weight away from your shoulders and places them on your hips. It has two large, zippered pockets and dual bottle holders. Best of all, if you want to attach a large water bladder to it, you can simply zip one on.
CamelBak Rogue Light Hydration Pack, 70 oz.
It should come as no surprise that there are two CamelBak hydration packs on this list, and the Rogue Light is another great option for trail runners. Slightly larger, it holds two liters and offers an additional 5 liters of storage space as well. An overflow pouch stretches out to hold another layer, like a light wind jacket, for unexpected changes in weather. A ventilated harness is lightweight and breathable, and an adjustable sternum strap keeps it secure and comfortable. It clocks in at 8 oz. without water.
ExtremeMist Complete Hydro Pack
Built to work in conjunction with the ExtremeMist PCS system, it includes a two-liter water reservoir. The rubberized bite valve has an on/off switch and connects to the straps via magnet. In the event that something happens out on the trail that’s not ideal, there’s a loud safety whistle built into the clip and reflective tape for those late-night runs.
Salomon ADV 12 Skin
Built for particularly long runs, the Salomon ADV 12 skin is made to fit your unique body type. When you’re adding anything to your body on a long run, you run the risk of chafing, rubbing, and bouncing. Especially if a pack isn’t sticking close to your body, it’s a danger with any hydration pack. But with mesh sides that fit comfortably to your ribs, it contours nicely for a seamless fit. Soft flasks stay balanced for your run and don’t jostle, and put the water on both your front and back. Plus, a number of other pockets let you carry other necessary gear along with you.