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Hydration Packs

Top Picks

How we choose: The best hydration packs highlighted here were selected based on 498 reviews of 128 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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If you've used a hydration pack that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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CamelBak Cloud Walker

user rating: 5 of 5 (7 reviews)

Really great daypack — durable, spacious, awesome hydration system.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable
  • Awesome hydration system

Reasons to Avoid

  • Wish the small front compartment had top access instead of side access

The Cloudwalker is a great daypack. It features a row of gearloops on the front for clip-on storage or for holding a small-handled implement.  There is a smaller front storage compartment with an organizer pouch inside with small zippered storage space (think wallet) and room for smaller items such as maps, snacks, camera, gps, phone, etc.  The front compartment is accessed via a vertical zipper running along one side of the front. I prefer a horizontal zipper for top access to lessen the risk of something falling out and for better visual access, bit it's a minor gripe.  There is a mesh pocket on one side of the bag for quick-access storage.  The main compartment is roomy enough for a day's worth of stuff for most outdoor pursuits.

Read more: CamelBak Cloud Walker reviews (7)

CamelBak M.U.L.E.

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18 reviews)

Good durable pack for single-day use. I've found this pack carries enough water and materials for up to one full day of hiking (no overnights) and can also be used for mountain biking without being too cumbersome. Offers enough space to pack light rain gear, emergency supplies, light, tools, tubes, camera etc.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable material seems impervious to thorns/prickers, zippers also durable.
  • Pouch/pocket placement and size seems well thought out. Special pouch for cell phone.
  • Rides well when not "maxed-out."

Reasons to Avoid

  • When "maxed-out," this bag puts a strain on your back and shoulders.
  • Waist buckle may not fit larger people or over heavy winter clothing.

After about 18mos with this pack everything is holding up well. The material seems to be impervious to thorns/prickers showing no obvious tears. The water bladder is well protected and has not leaked at all. The zippers have been durable and show no signs of giving in anytime soon. Like most Camelbak products, they might not always be cutting edge, but they work and deliver. Now that we've established it is durable, its uses; I use this pack for day hiking and mountain biking. Occasionally I will use it for my motorcycle as well, when I don't feel like putting my travel luggage on the bike itself for a short ride.

Read more: CamelBak M.U.L.E. reviews (18)

CamelBak Rim Runner

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (15 reviews)

Great day pack, just a few little things make it uncomfortable.

Reasons to Buy

  • Capacity
  • Compression
  • Pockets
  • Design (panel load)
  • Frame sheet

Reasons to Avoid

  • Hip Belt/strap
  • Frame sheet support
  • No extra adjustments

First off, my pack is NOT the one pictured. But it is a Rim Runner according to the tag. This is the model I have. I believe it's a 2007 model. I have used and abused this pack and it has stood the test of hard time.  I love the compression straps, the back padding, the shock cord on the front of the pack and the little loops right above.  This pack has went just about everywhere with me and has taken some abuse. It has bounced off rocks and taken loads it was never meant to haul to secret campsites.  Now days it goes with me on at least 2 hikes a week that are 3-8 miles in length.  This is however a review so its time for some +/-  When I went for a Camelbak I was going for a small daypack and I got more than I thought.

Read more: CamelBak Rim Runner reviews (15)

CamelBak Day Star 18

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4 reviews)

The Daystar is a really nice daypack offering good comfort and storage and an excellent hydration system.

Reasons to Buy

  • Camelbak's hydration system is unmatched, functional, durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • No waist strap, so keep the load manageable

Picked up this women-specific Camelbak for my wife and it's a winner. If you're looking for a nice daypack with a good hydration system, this one should be near the top of the list. The front of the pack features a very tall and spacious storage compartment that spans nearly the entire top-to-bottom area of the pack. Inside is a small organizer pouch with a couple of zippered pockets for items such as wallets or other small or important items you want to protect, and plenty of room for additional storage.  The front storage area isn't deep but will work great for smaller and flatter items like maps, beanies, snacks, etc.  The front of the pack also features several daisy-chain style loops which can handle smaller carabiners or clips for items...

Read more: CamelBak Day Star 18 reviews (4)

CamelBak H.A.W.G.

user rating: 5 of 5 (5 reviews)

I use this pack at least three times a week! It's great, whether you are mountain biking, hiking, dirtbike riding, or jeeping. I have put this bag through the tests, and it has survived! It has a boat load of expandable space and if you are not carrying much it can be snugged down to a smaller size. BUY A CAMELBAK! Many have duplicated it but no one has it down like they do! People I ride and hike with who have off brands, ie Coleman, Walmart, No names ect, and they are always having problems, leaks and complaints.

Read more: CamelBak H.A.W.G. reviews (5)

Salomon Adv Skin 12 Set

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Amazing fit, so many features, and it is variable allowing a lot of flexibility. You'll forget you're wearing it.

Reasons to Buy

  • Good fit
  • A lot of features
  • Comfortable to run in

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not durable
  • Pole straps don't work very well

I definitely don't run much further than 30km at a time, so I was hesitant to pick up a pack designed more for long ultras. But with the variable conditions I run through this has ended up being a fantastic running vest/pack. Despite looking a little silly, I actually take it hiking too just because it is so comfortable. And when I need it just for holding a can of bear spray comfortably it works well as it packs down pretty small. The 3D fit system is amazing. The mesh is highly breathable thanks to having a bit of soft structure to encourage airflow.

Read more: Salomon Adv Skin 12 Set review (1)

Ultimate Direction Fastpack 15

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

A great pack for long days in the mountains; even a bare bones overnighter.

Reasons to Buy

  • Carries very nicely and stable
  • Pockets are laid out nicely
  • Low profile for off-trail travel
  • Quality materials (Robic fabric for the main body) and stitching
  • Roomy external stretch pockets

Reasons to Avoid

  • Don't like the clasps used for the sternum strap

I've now had about dozen mountain runs in the 18-25 mile range with this pack and can state unequivocally, it's a keeper. This is really a nice sized pack for an all day adventure; with its stretch pockets it's very close to 20 liters. I typically have mine loaded with 6-8 lbs (about 1/2 that in water). Pack carries very nicely—no bounce or sway and it's very comfortable. The pockets are laid out nicely and easy to access. I was happy to see that my favorite water bottle (a repurposed Vitamin Water bottle) fits perfectly in bottle pouch.

Read more: Ultimate Direction Fastpack 15 review (1)

Osprey Raven 10

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Excellent for hiking and mountain biking—sits close to your body and high on your back which makes mounting and dismounting on a bike easy. Ample storage space and compartments for riding/ hiking essentials without being bulky. Smart, functional design features like helmet clip and roll out tool storage make it a worthy piece of equipment.

Reasons to Buy

  • Ample storage space/ convenient compartments
  • Excellent women-specific fit with ventilated back panel
  • Sits high and close to the body/ great adjustability for different uses (cycling/ hiking)
  • You can't beat a lifetime guarantee

Reasons to Avoid

  • As with any hydration pack, the bladders are hard to dry. Do yourself a favor and get the drying rack.

Excellent fit and adjustability, ample storage space and compartments. I use it mainly for mountain biking and commuting to work. When mountain biking it stores all the tools I need to replace a tube, and all of the snacks and hydration I need for a good 3-5 hour ride. For commuting to work I remove the bladder and am able to carry a full uniform (shirt/pants/undergarments/shoes) and another kit for the ride home (yeah, I sweat a lot and won't use the same kit twice). Versatile, comfortable, and convenient. It doesn't get much better than that. And thanks to the lifetime guarantee I don't feel uncomfortable putting those zippers to the test. 

Read more: Osprey Raven 10 review (1)

Osprey Raptor 14

user rating: 4 of 5 (5 reviews)

Great pack for short day rides and hikes. Carries the basics. Super comfortable.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great design
  • Functional, well thought features
  • Fits tight for riding and trail running.
  • Side mesh pockets for waterbottles etc.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Channels on foam back are horizontal, rather than vertical, which I think would be better for upward air flow.
  • Also, hip pockets only have elastic, not zippered closures.

I am a woman, 5'8". I have the m/l and the fit is great for me. It's a perfect all around pack for short hikes and biking treks. Holds all the essentials. Lunch, snacks, first aid. A few extra pieces of clothing.Bike tubes whatever. Three liters of water and stretch pockets on the side for added fluids if needed. We just did a overnight trek to Half Dome and a friend used this pack while I used the Manta 25. She was able to fit almost as much gear as I had in my 25! The torso size was slightly big for her,so she will be getting it in the small/medium.

Read more: Osprey Raptor 14 reviews (5)

Osprey Raptor 10

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

设计非常好的背包,基本没有缺点 [Google Translate: Backpack design is very good, basically no flaws.]

Reasons to Buy

  • 三个隔层,适合多种用途(骑行、单日徒步、越野跑训练)[Three compartments, for a variety of uses (riding , one-day trekking, trail running training)]
  • 自带3L水袋 [Comes with 3L water bag]
  • 做工精致 [Exquisite workmanship]

Reasons to Avoid

  • 基本没有缺点,颜色选择略少 [Basically no drawbacks, color selection is slightly less]

非常好的小包,性价比高,可以用来XC骑行、单日徒步、越野跑训练。 自带Osprey3L水袋 背包底部有自行车修补工具专用隔舱。 有骑行眼镜收纳袋,里层面料是防滑细绒,防止划伤镜片。 透气背负。 腰带两侧都有收纳袋,取物方便。 有骑行头盔和尾灯挂点。 [Very good small, cost-effective, it can be used to XC riding, one-day trekking, trail running training. Hydration comes with Osprey3L. The bottom of the backpack is a bicycle repair tools dedicated compartment.

Read more: Osprey Raptor 10 reviews (2)

More Reviews of Hydration Packs

Trailspace reviewers have shared 498 reviews of 128 different hydration packs.

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Other Types of Backpacks

Find more backpacks reviewed in these related categories:

Daypacks (under 35L)

Overnight Packs (35-49L)

Weekend Packs (50-69L)

+9 more types

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