Right off the bat, the convenience of hydration packs jump out at you. You may have doubts now, or at first, but once you’ve used one then you’re stuck!
The Benefits of Hydration Packs:
Ease of Use: You carry it on your back and the tube runs as close to your mouth as you can get it without becoming inconvenient. No matter what you’re doing (hiking, biking, climbing, etc) there is no slowing down or stopping necessary. As long as the drinking tube to stays in place then it’s a grab, drink, and go, go go!
Hydration Levels are Higher: Because it’s more convenient and easier to drink from a hydration pack then you tend to drink more. Which means that you’re better hydrated during and after the activity. This means, as an athlete, you perform better. #boom!
Everyone’s Doing it: All of your hiking homies, biking buddies, and running regulars that are still using large, bulky plastic water bottles (disposable or not) will be envious of you. They’ll want to be you. They’ll buy their own hydration packs and hoist you on their shoulders in thanks and adoration. Okay, probably not, but you get the picture. You’ll be the cooler one in the group. And better hydrate.
Choosing the Reservoir Size of a Hydration Pack:
1 to 1.5 liters or 34 to 50 fluid ounces
If you want to go minimal but have hydration handy, then this is the size for you. Most usually likened to kids, short distance bikers, bike riding with a light load, etc.
2 liters or 68 fluid ounces
This is the most commonly bought and used hydration pack size. This reservoir is best for those who are looking for a great combination of weight and load as well as a more than adequate reservoir of water. In many cases, the water won’t need refilling except on occasion.
3 liters or 102 fluid ounces
The large and in charge of hydration pack reservoir sizes. These are for those users who will not want to stop and refill that often or if the water is scarce in the location where you are partaking in the activity. Of course, a 3-liter hydration pack brings a heavy load to carry during action events. However, that can be countered by using the size as versatility; just because the reservoir is 3 liters doesn’t mean you always have to fill to the max and bring only what you foresee needing.
So, Why Not Always Choose Hydration Pack Over Water Bottle?
Weight: Yup, the hydration pack is going to be a large, bulky piece of weight hanging off of your back or waist. Lugging around a sack of water gets heavier as time goes on. Of course, you’re drinking the weight away as you go but, still…it’s there.
Cost: The average cost of the hydration packs that we use and review at Hiking Hydration is somewhere between $50 and $100. A bottle of water could be, literally, free. Also, a hydration pack for hiking and camping is another piece of gear to wear. You’d be much better off to get a hiking backpack with a hydration pack already built-in.
Cleaning and Sterilization: It’s easier to rinse and clean a water bottle with your eyes closed than it is to clean a hydration pack, hoses, and mouthpiece with both eyes open and an extra set of hands.
Loss of Water: Lock valves sometimes won’t tighten correctly. Hydration pack reservoirs sometimes fail or…puncture. Guess what? Water bottles don’t.
Ration: You can easily look at a water bottle or give it a shake and know how much water you have left. With that hydration pack on your back then it’s difficult to tell how much you’re drinking (because it’s so convenient to do so) and how much remains.
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking Anyway?
Our favorite hydration pack company, Camelbak, is our go-to authority on hydration and how it supports performance and safety during activity. They recommend that you drink at least 1 liter of water for every hour of activity.
Now, too much (excessive) water intake is life-threatening. Use common sense, though. The greater risk here is dehydration. Athletes and active people understand this or should understand it.
The US National Library of Medicine has conducted a study on water and hydration. Basically the whole study says that drinking water is good and not drinking water is bad. In one spot, under “III. Water consumption and requirements and relationships to total energy intake“, the study states: “Water consumption, water requirements, and energy intake are linked in fairly complex ways.” Water consumption and need equal energy.
Here’s our Table of the Best Hydration Packs
- 1 The Benefits of Hydration Packs:
- 2 Choosing the Reservoir Size of a Hydration Pack:
- 3 So, Why Not Always Choose Hydration Pack Over Water Bottle?
- 4 How Much Water Should You Be Drinking Anyway?
- 5 Here’s our Table of the Best Hydration Packs
- 6 Osprey Packs Hiking Backpack
- 7 Deuter Speed Athletic Daypack
- 8 Osprey Packs Stratos Backpack
- 9 CamelBak Fourteener Hydration Pack
- 10 Osprey Packs Tempest Backpack