Hydration Packs


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I've tried to carry water in every way imaginable. I think this piece of gear works best.

Logging miles in brutal conditions? Be sure and replace what you sweat out.

This collapsible bottle is one of our favorite pieces of yoga gear because of its versatility: it can be frozen or filled with hot water. We found it ideal for hikes and home workouts. When it’s empty, the bottle compresses into a small disc for easy storage.

In our roundup of fall running essentials, this pack was our tester’s favorite for long runs. “It fits comfortably, its straps and pockets minimize bounce, and at six liters there’s just enough storage for the necessities,” wrote Andy Cochrane. The pack also includes two soft flasks for on-the-go hydration.

Contributor Aaron Gulley tested a slew of bike-specific hydration packs and this one was among our top three favorites. The Skyline was the smallest pack in the test—with only seven liters of gear capacity and a three-liter hydration bladder—but still had enough space for tools, a sandwich, and a…

Putting away your equipment correctly will allow it to last for years to come.

Hydro Flask's mountain bike packs are designed to keep water cold for up to four hours

Step one is pretty damn simple: dry the thing

The last thing you want is to go for a drink and end up sipping dirty water

We gave this jacket a Gear of the Show award in 2018 because of its innovation in convenience. “686 built a water bladder into the powder skirt, with a tube that runs up the inside of the jacket, near the zipper, ending with a bite valve right at your…

Built for hot day hikes, the Aleia has a mesh panel that’s suspended off the pack’s back, to promote airflow and prevent sweat buildup. There’s no bladder included, but the Aleia has a dedicated sleeve to drop in a reservoir of your choice and a spacious top-loading compartment. Its 22-liter…

We can’t help but love the nine-liter Tokul. It’s loaded with smart details, like magnets to keep the hydration hose secured when you’re not using it, a front pocket big enough for a helmet, reflective hits for visibility, and a foam back panel with ventilation channels. The included three-liter reservoir—with…

The streamlined Hydrobak is designed to carry a 1.5-liter reservoir and not much else. But that simplicity is its selling point, making this pack your best option on hot days: it weighs next to nothing and has a mesh harness that’s super breathable and quick drying.

Platypus is known for its compressible water bottles, but the brand has been perfecting their line of hydration packs since 2013. The Tokul X.C. 8.0 is a minimalist pack with a 9-liter capacity and a 3-liter reservoir included.

Back in 2012, the Zealot made the cut as one of our favorite pieces of MTB gear. Not much about this classic pack has changed since—it still holds up. Testers found it easy to stow and retrieve a jacket in the outside pocket, while the ribbed…

The Nathan VaporHowe 12L vest is simple and lightweight, and features a 1.8-liter hydration bladder that doesn't slosh around on your back

Our gear editor praised Patagonia’s Nine Trails packs for their clean efficiency: “With a minimalist design and well-considered features, Patagonia has proven that when it comes to daypacks, simpler is better,” he writes. It’s available in both men’s and women’s sizes from 14 liters to 36 liters.

The Halo was designed for ultramarathons and all the extra gear they demand. The front bottle pockets keep water at the ready but also have lash points to holster trekking poles, while the pockets on the lower straps hold your phone, gels, or bars. The bladder-compatible Halo also has two…

Osprey blends running-vest performance with backpack capability in the Duro, which has four front pockets—two extra-large stretch-mesh ones for a phone and water, and two smaller ones for food. Six liters of space in the main compartment is enough for a jacket, headlamp, and other accessories, plus the included 1.5-liter…

The Ultra Pro 2in1 name is appropriate, since this model comes with a ten-liter pocket that completely detaches from the vest. Use the vest solo for fast, short runs, or attach the pocket for longer missions when you’ll need more food and gear. It comes with two long-straw flasks and…

The athleisure company is branching out from its mainstay apparel and yoga accessories

The Trail Mix 7 is built specifically to better fit around a woman’s bust. Compression straps that bring the load tighter to your back, reflective hits for 360-degree visibility, and seven liters of storage (in addition to the two-liter bladder) are icing on the cake.

A 15-liter backpack built on a running-vest chassis, the Distance is a hybrid hauler with dual front stretch pockets for snacks, a bladder sleeve, and dual side-compression straps that keep the load close. And its water-resistant, 210-denier nylon helps keep gear dry.

A peek at Hydro Flask’s Journey Series hydration pack, Mountainsmith’s Zerk 40L Fastpack, and OluKai's Hawai’iloa boot collection

First looks, analysis, and interviews, all delivered from our team at Winter OR

After years of making some of our favorite running hydration packs, Salomon is launching the Advanced Skin 8 Set

Our columnist Bryan Rogala walks through some easy steps to ensure a long healthy life for your hydration pack. 

With tips, hacks, and processes from the hydration pros

We put them through the wringer to find out which would come out on top

We torture-tested the new crop of MTB-specific packs. Here are the 3 that held up best to the abuse.

Nathan’s Zeal race vest packs a lot of hydration into one small, efficient must-have.

What’s the best way to haul water when running long distances?

There are dozens of hydration packs out there. Which ones are best for specific activities, such as mountain biking, running marathons, or a weekend hike?

Outside reviews the best gear for the 2012 Summer Buyer's Guide, including the Arc'teryx Incendo.

Beat dehydration this summer with one of these great reservoirs: The Geigerrig Hydration Pack bladder, which comes standard in the brand's hiking and biking packs; the Platypus Big Zip SL, the most secure bladder we tested this season; or the Hydrapak Shape-Shift, which you can zip up in the middle to create a more dispersed load.

Outside picks the essentials for March, including the Arc'teryx Motus Crew.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Salomon Quest 30 pack

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