Hydration packs are becoming increasingly popular in the trail running community. Learn all there is to know about them in this article.
Running is a prevalent form of cardio, and the trendiest accessory these days is the hydration pack. If you’re serious about your running, and you’re looking to take your game to the next level, you need this accessory.
It has been around for a surprisingly long time. Still, the evolution of hydration packs from the days of bottles and straws to a fully designated running accessory has been rocky. In the past, hydration packs were heavy, wonky, and didn’t provide much support to people seeking to burn those calories.
Why you need a hydration pack for trail running
Hydration packs bring quite a lot to the table and help runners improve their game by making hydration that much more available. Anyone who has ever done any type of sport will know the bane of getting thirsty in the middle of your set.
Whether you’re lifting weights, doing CrossFit, or running – having to stop what you’re doing to get a sip of water is going to impact your set significantly.
Let’s elaborate on that. Hydration is essential, it’s a no brainer, but it might play an even more prominent role in our sports performance. Through proper hydration, you’re maintaining a healthy level of water in your system. That will not only keep you energized – it will significantly impact both your health, your performance, and safety. Through proper hydration, your body will efficiently regulate its internal temperature, making sure you don’t overheat.
If you’re running for cardiovascular purposes or are a professional marathon runner, you’re going to want to stay as hydrated as possible. Aside from the thermal regulation, the health and performance benefits, sports hydration is going to have some essential safety purposes. Drinking water in your running is going to shield your body from a multitude of things. Through this, you’re going to cushion your joints, thus significantly impacting their durability and longevity.
Sports are straining and can put a real toll on your body. The way that muscle mass grows is through tearing your muscle fibers through exercise and then repairing them afterward. Endurance is also built through a combination of exposure and rest.
Rest is one of the critical aspects of recovering from tough training, and optimal water consumption is going to ensure that you’re well-hydrated. This way, you will make sure that recovery is speedy, possible injuries are minimized, and DOMs/Muscle cramps are significantly reduced.
But, with a hydration pack, you’re entitled to many more benefits than just correctly hydrating yourself. We’ve established that hydrating yourself is essential, but what about the other essentials.
Well, hydration packs come with many benefits for trail running enthusiasts, such as:
- Ample storage space for your phone, jacket, and items
- More water holding capacity for longer running
- No need to stop for water all the time
- Optimal hydration opportunity
- Backpack, belt, or vest form
But, hydration packs can vary widely based on their make, model, type, and quality. We’re going to discuss some of the best options that you can buy right from the comfort of your home through Amazon. But, before we get into that, it’s important to note all the characteristics a good hydration pack should fulfill.
What are the characteristics of the best trail running hydration pack models
There are different hydration packs, but they mostly boil down to three different types. Hydration packs come in a belt, backpack, or vest form. All of these have their respective pros and cons, but all should fulfill the following.
Sturdy materials to resist wear and tear
Hydration packs should be made out of high-end materials. There is nothing worse than having your hydration pack snap or break from running. Running is going to put some strain on the pack itself, and its endurance is crucial.
That is why it’s essential to invest in a hydration pack. The best-buy budget option isn’t always the best one, as they’re rarely up to quality standards. While you might wind up saving a bit of money in the short term, you’re sacrificing endurance, quality, and longevity for a minuscule price difference.
Depending on the type of hydration pack, you’re going to want it to have a different material makeup. Always avoid cheap plastics, linens, and things that don’t look reliable. If you get a lower end hydration pack, its inferior materials could leave you in quite a waterless pickle.
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Compression fit to reduce chafing and bouncing
This is another critical thing that every single type of hydration pack should fulfill, but mostly backpacks and vests. When you’re running, you’re quickly moving your body, and your hydration pack should move with you, not independently.
If your hydration pack is loose and bouncy, it’s going to induce chafing, slow down your pace, virtually counter all the performance and endurance benefits that hydration packs bring in the first place.
Getting a compression fit might sound uncomfortable at first – and that’s because it does take some time to get used to. But, after you get used to it, you’re bound to enjoy every moment of it.
Compression fitting hydration packs also have the added benefit of better dispersing the weight that the pack brings to the table. This will improve your performance and increase optimal calorie burning and muscle growth potential that trail running brings to the table.
Properly insulated hydration bladder
When you’re carrying a hydration pack, there is one more thing that can malfunction. The last thing you want is to get drowsed in cold water if it’s cold at all. Lower-end hydration packs might not have a high-quality hydration bladder, which might cause leaks, spills, and cause you to lose your water prematurely.
That is especially bad if you’re running on a long trail. It’s not only an inconvenience – it could leave you dehydrated. This is why it’s essential to invest in a high-end hydration pack that has a superb design.
Another essential thing about the bladder is its insulation. Without it, the ice-cold water would become lukewarm at best when exposed to the elements. The best hydration packs on the market have layers of insulation, making sure that your water is as crisp and cold as when you put it in the pack.
Additional storage space for a phone, small tools, spare clothes, etc.
When you’re trail running, you’re going to experience some gorgeous natural landscapes, woods, and sceneries. This might prompt you to take a compelling photo, have a quick picnic, or just relax in a forested area. Well, this is made possible by the ample storage space that’s found in the best hydration packs available.
While belt hydration packs don’t come with much storage space, vests and backpacks certainly do. A good hydration pack backpack will have enough storage to fit several things, such as your phone, your Bluetooth speaker, some small tools, a spare set of clothes, and even a quick snack.
When you’re trail running, it’s essential to take a break. Even if a hydration pack might cut down the time you require to rest, taking a moment to experience the view and the beauty of your trail is always advised.
Just because you can run for a prolonged time without having to stop to fill your bottle up with water doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make stops. Never force yourself to do something that you’re uncomfortable with. Running too much and not taking a well-deserved break could lead to many problems.
It’s not a track marathon. So, remember, slow and steady wins the race!
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Consider the aesthetics and how comfortable it feels
This is yet another characteristic, or better said, a collection of features that a hydration pack should fulfill. We’ve decided to dedicate a new section to it because we are talking about cosmetics instead of construction and function.
But aesthetics are very important in any sport. This is why you continuously see professional soccer players in their trademark flashy, neon shoes – and runners in their fancy running shoes.
Hydration packs shouldn’t only be sturdy, high quality, and bounce resistant – they should also be comfortable. Depending on the type of hydration pack you pick, the comfort is going to be different.
Compression fitting hydration packs aren’t always going to be uncomfortable, as they’re lined with sponges and other comfortable materials. When you’re picking the best hydration pack on the market, keep in mind that you’re going to want to wear it during the duration of your run.
This means that you should always take into consideration the comfort and support options that your pack of choice has to offer.
A good hydration pack should fulfill the following cosmetic and comfort purposes:
- Comfortable for prolonged periods
- Matches the rest of your running outfit
- Compression and comfort fit
- Safe storage for phones, cameras, and other small items
- A silicone lined headphone cord slot
- No impact on the utility of the pack
- Sturdy, steady, but comfy
Aesthetically complimenting the rest of your running gear or outfit is also going to be very important. If you pick a hydration pack with all of these parameters in mind, you’re going to be a star on your next trail run.
To make this choice more comfortable for you, we’ve decided to list five of the best hydration packs below. All of the items on our list are excellent in our objective opinion. We are not sponsored by any of these items, and our opinions are professional, personal, and, most importantly, honest.
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List of trail running hydration packs with Brand/Model
KUYOU Hydration Pack
Water Capacity: 2L
This is the standard form of hydration backpack, which combines the perfect lightweight materials with durable materials. It’s material makeup isn’t it’s only redeeming feature, as the whole product is well optimized for trail running.
It has an industry-standard 2L water hydration bladder, meaning that it can hold up to two liters of water and insulate it properly. Since the insulation is superb, you can rest assured that your water is going to remain chill and crisp hours after putting it in the pack.
Unlike most other hydration backpacks, it doesn’t come with a bite down mouthpiece, but a pull mouthpiece. You get the hose out, pull on the rubber mouthpiece, and your hydration needs are instantly met. There is no reason to complicate something so basic, yet so functional.
TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack
Water Capacity: 2L
Much like the KUYOU hydration pack, the TETON sports TrailRunner is a hydration backpack. It’s lightweight, durable, and made out of high-end nylon, ensuring that you’re going to be using it for a long time.
It’s an ideal sports companion, especially useful for trail running, biking, and thinking. Since it’s made out of high-end materials, it’s insulation properties are superb. It also comes with ample storage space, meaning you can store everything you need for your run.
The fitting properties of this product are also adequate – as the waist, chest, and shoulder pads are fully adjustable. This ensures a snug fit, no bounce, and no dreaded chafing.
Hydro Flask 10 L Hydration Backpack
Water Capacity: 10L
This is a heavy-duty hydration backpack, and it is for people who are into long hikes, trail runs, and don’t mind carrying up to 10L of water in their backpack. The sheer amount of water that this hydration pack can hold is staggering, and it ensures that you’re going to be well hydrated every step of the way.
The added weight is also good cardio. Adding weight to your backpack will increase the number of calories you burn, and the amount of energy you spend on your trail. While this might not be an ideal option for newbies to the sport, veterans are going to adore its slick aesthetic, high water holding capacity, and self-sealing bite valve.
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It comes with superb insulation, which ensures that three liters of water are going to be kept chill up to four hours since pouring. An excellent hack is to chill your water a bit too much (in the freezer) before putting it in the pack, to make sure it remains cold for longer periods.
Fitletic Hydra 16 Hydration Belt
Water Capacity: Two 8 Ounce hydration bottles
Now, unlike the previous three additions to this list, this product is not a hydration backpack. It’s a hydration belt, which allows you to hold up to two eight-ounce bottles and a multitude of other small items.
It’s a compact accessory for anyone looking for a lightweight solution to their hydration needs. It’s holding capacity also allows you to hold your smartphone, iPod, or any other small item right on your belt.
This product includes two hydration bottles that have a quick-release cap, allowing you to quickly pour water into your mouth after a training run. The whole belt is also very adjustable, ensuring a snug fit, which prevents chafing, bouncing, and worst of all, dropping anything on your trail.
CHERAINTI 2 Liter Leak Proof Water Reservoir
Water Capacity: 2 Liters
What if you’re absolutely in love with your current backpack, and you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world? Perhaps a hydration belt isn’t your fit and doesn’t serve all the purposes that you want.
Well, then utilizing a hydration bladder is the ultimate solution. This is neither a backpack or a belt – it’s a hydration bladder pouch that can be placed right in your existing backpack. It’s the ideal compromise that allows you to get an excellent hydration pack, without having to sacrifice the storage space and your current backpack.
The water bladder is also military-grade, meaning that it’s high quality, durable, and leak-proof.
Including a hydration pack into your trail running arsenal is going to bring you into a whole new world of running – and change your trail running experience forever. No longer are you going to have to stop for water all the time, or plan your trail around water pouring stations.
Water hydration packs come in many different shapes, forms, and sizes, meaning that they can accommodate everyone – beginners and veterans alike.
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