The American College of Sports Medicine recommends ingesting fluids before, during and after exercise. The right hydration pack provides more convenient access to water in one or two ways. The first is in easy-to-reach bottles on a vest. The second is through a straw-like reservoir connected to a bladder in the pack for hands-free access. Today’s modern hydration packs are comfortable, durable and lightweight. But, picking out a suitable pack depends on how you plan to use it.
Consider distance, terrain and weather conditions when deciding what type of hydration pack is right for you.
Water bottles are easier to refill, and you can often drink from them without taking off the pack. Hydration reservoirs can hold more water, and the straw-like device allows you to hydrate more often without having to grab a bottle. However, when water runs low, a reservoir can be challenging to refill when not at home. Depending on the type of vest you’re looking for, you might have to purchase bladders and reservoirs separately.
Most reservoirs hold 1.5 to 3 liters. Depending on the vest, bottles and reservoirs are swappable to fit your needs. Remember that water is heavy: 3 liters of water weighs 6.6 pounds. That's not great if speed and comfort are your primary objectives. It could be advantageous if you intend to travel long distances without anywhere to replenish your supply.
Comfortable and made with soft, easily stretchable fabric, the vest holds two 20-ounce soft bottles. It’s lightweight, and the minimalist design still includes pockets for carrying small supplies.
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One of the more inexpensive products on the market, this comes with a 1.5-liter hydration reservoir included. The mesh is breathable and the vest is lightweight, but it only comes in one size.
Sold by Amazon
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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.