CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
If you like outdoors sports and are spending a long time outside, chances are you are looking for the best hydration pack. These hydration packs are extremely popular for long daytime events like music festivals or hiking. Hydration packs are basically backpacks that have a hydration system built inside made of plastic or rubber. This bladder or liquid reservoir is filled up using a cap mouth and usually also includes a tube that allows you to drink directly with a mouthpiece. These tubes usually have a bite valve that opens so that you can suck in liquids. Most hydration packs also have a healthy layer of insulation, so they can keep your cool liquids cold for longer periods of time.
Hydration packs vary a lot in size as some are small and lightweight for runners while others are large and more fitted for long distance trekking. You can have reservoir sizes ranging from a mere 40 ounces to 400 ounces or more. Most hydration packs will also include storage for your personal items and have mesh or zipper pockets. In order to find the best hydration pack for your needs, you have to ask yourself what you will mostly be using it for. If you are running or cycling or doing any kind of activity that requires speed, you should get a small and light pack so that you don’t get worn down by the backpack.
Ideally these hydration packs should also have some straps to secure them to your body tightly. If you are going camping, trekking, hiking, or to a festival/theme park, you may want to get a medium to large pack in order to last you the entire day. And since you won’t be going fast, you won’t need to worry about getting bogged down by the hydration pack.
Best Hydration Pack Reviews
- CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack (Top Pick)
- TETON Sports Trailrunner 2 Liter Hydration Backpack
- Osprey Packs Syncro 15 Hydration Pack
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
CambelBak makes some of the great backpacks and is known as the brand that pioneered the hydration pack. It is still very solid today, even with the inflow of new competition. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. is the best hydration pack if you want one of the best-selling long running backpacks in the industry. It has everything you need and no redundant extras.
For a backpack that can carry a 3 liter water reservoir, the M.U.L.E. is an incredibly lightweight hydration pack. There are three interior pockets and three exterior ones for you to store a day’s worth of food and gear for whatever outdoor adventure you are going on. There are even external hooks that let you carry a helmet on your pack.
This pack also has a new hose system to give you 20% more water per sip and makes it easier to refill as well as preventing leaks. The tube is held secure by the CamelBak’s MagneticTubeTrap technology which snaps it in place and doesn’t get in your way. You can also attach a rain shell or an extra layer to this hydration pack. Overall, the CamelBak strikes the perfect balance between weight, size, storage, and durability.
TETON Sports Trailrunner 2 Liter Hydration Backpack
If you want the best hydration pack that is cheap, sturdy, and functional, the Teton Sports Trailrunner is the best backpack for you. First of all, this pack is extremely portable, weighing in at less than a pound. The bladder holds 2 liters of liquids and features a large 2 inch opening so you can slip ice in, a feature that is not always found in hydration packs believe it or not. The drinking tube is thick and sturdy and won’t kink, tangle, or get in your way.
The material and construction is agreeable but definitely not the best material. It definitely doesn’t feel like one of those premium packs like CambelBak or Osprey. It is ok though as the Teton Sport Trailrunner doesn’t pride itself on being the most durable. Instead it is packed with lots of features like a built in whistle for emergencies, strap clips, and a reflective trim for cars to spot out. Keep in mind this is a minimalist pack and is quite small so it won’t fit a lot of things. It has only one large mesh pocket, so if this is a concern of yours, you should look into getting a bigger pack.
Osprey Packs Syncro 15 Hydration Pack
The Osprey Syncro series is one of those fancy hydration packs that also acts as a backpack. It is the best hydration pack for those of you who want a real backpack along with the ability to drink hands free. This pack is designed for the extreme outdoors and is constructed with incredibly durable materials. It features a 2.5 liter bladder with a magnetic hose and bite valve attachment.
The best feature of this backpack is the Airspeed Suspension Technology, which is definitely one of a kind in the hydration pack world. If you will be doing any kind of activity where you will be wearing this and sweating a lot, this is the pack for you. What it basically does is that it allows air to flow across your back so that you don’t get sweaty under your pack. This is achieved by using a thin mesh attached to a frame that kind of holds the backpack away from your back.
Additionally, it has an integrated raincover, which is huge plus because you just never know when it will rain. There is also a lidlock helment attachment and a blinker light attachment. And in terms of pockets, there are definitely plenty to store your equipment and food. There are two zip pockets, one that holds your bladder and the other to hold your gear. There is an organizer pocket inside of the first zip pocket to further store smaller items.
Choosing the Best Hydration Pack
Hydration packs are a great alternative to carrying around a water bottle. This is especially true for long distance runners, cyclists, and trekkers who need the convenience of being able to drink hands free and from a lightweight source. Putting water on your back is much more effortless than carrying it around in your hands for long periods. Additionally the hydration pack presents a great value proposition because most also have side pockets to put other gear.
Ever since the CamelBak came out and made the hydration pack mainstream, all sorts of different brands have emerged in the industry. They come in many shapes, sizes, and features. However, they all pretty much work the same way. A rubber or plastic bladder is filled with the liquid of your choice and stored inside a normal backpack. The bladder is attached to a hose that connects to your mouth to allow for hands free drinking.
When you bite down on the hose value and suck, you force liquids inside the bladder into the hose and into your mouth. Since you will be using the hose a lot, you should be cleaning the mouthpiece often to prevent the buildup of germs and bacteria. There are quite a lot of things to consider when searching for the best hydration pack. We have detailed some things you should consider below.
Flexible Design: Ideally, you want a hydration pack with a flexible design so that you are comfortable wearing it all day. It should never feel stiff on your back and should allow air to flow freely around your body and back. There are some packs that are designed in a way so that the back curves and does not stick to your back, so they your body heat and sweat does not touch the hydration pack and there is a pocket of airflow to keep you cool. If you are doing any kind of hiking or trekking, you will need the extra flexibility because you will be moving and twisting your body around a lot.
Adjustable Strap/Compression Straps: You should look for hydration packs with easily adjustable straps and compression straps. The straps should hold firmly in place while and be durable enough to withstand heavy loads and sudden body movements and jerks. They should also be able to adjustment seamlessly and the strap should never really get stuck. Compression straps are also important for those who have want a better weight transfer of the pack. For those who don’t know already, compression straps are the ones that crisscross the sides and they help you control light and heavy loads better.
Easy to Clean: Generally, you should look for hydration packs that are easy to clean. Your bladder and hydration pack will get dirty over time. It is quite natural. You should rinse our and dry your bladder every time after use. Generally you should look for bladder material that is rather resistant to the buildup of bacteria and germs. This is normally caused by sugar drinks inside of the bladder. In order to get rid of the smell of your previous drinks you should mix baking soda with water when flushing it out.
Pockets: Most hydration packs come with side pockets to store your valuables like keys and wallets. Make sure you find one with at least one zipper pocket, which will prevent your important items from spilling out. You may also want to look for mesh pockets for storing extra water bottles or sunglasses. The point is, pockets are important be sure you find the best hydration pack with many pockets.