The first hydration pack must have appeared from as early as the 1990s. Since then, it has become a must-have item for hikers whenever they look to conquer a new journey.
Over decades, the design and features of a hydration pack have been innovated and evolved, giving us the best gear these days.
However, among countless models, how can you know which one is the best hydration pack for hiking?
Here are the best hydration packs for hiking you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: TETON Sports Oasis 1100
- Best for Desert Hikes: CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack
- Best for Bad Back: OlarHike Hydration Backpack Pack
- Best for All-Day Hikes: Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack Backpack
- Best for Small People: TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack
- Best for Short Hikes: SHARKMOUTH FLYHIKER Hiking Hydration Backpack
|6 Best Hydration Packs For Hiking|
|TETON Sports Oasis 1100|
Best for Desert Hikes
|CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack|
Best for Bad Back
|OlarHike Hydration Backpack Pack|
Best for All-Day Hikes
|Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack Backpack|
Best for Small People
|TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack|
Best for Short Hikes
|SHARKMOUTH FLYHIKER Hiking Hydration Backpack|
Best Overall: TETON Sports Oasis 1100
- Multifunctional & versatile – able to be used as a hydration pack for hiking and an everyday backpack
- Roomy interior with good organizing – 18-liter capacity & tons of pocket
- Full of adjustment – able to synch the bag tight if the loading weight is less
- Convenient to use – added with lots of accessories
- Wish the zippers were better
If you want something that would hold as much water as possible but also serve double duty as a backpack for day trips, then this is a perfect choice.
It provides 2-liter storage space for water and 18-liter capacity, along with tons of pockets and tons of adjustability. You can also synch the bag tight if you aren't carrying much.
Having it gone through so many rock climbing and hiking with us, we still don’t find any wears or issues with the water bladder leaking.
We love that it has two straps to secure to our body and also a little lanyard to hook keys or secure trekking poles.
The added deployable rain fly and emergency whistle for those "caught with pants down" moments are two big bonuses.
|TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Specifications|
1100 Cubic Inches (18 L)
18-liter capacity & tons of pocket; able to synch the bag tight; lots of accessories
Finding the best overall hydration pack for hiking at a low price is challenging but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is a shining example.
Best for Desert Hikes: CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack
- Keep a higher amount of water – 3-liter hydration capacity
- Feel cooler and better breathable to wear - an air director bACk panel & Infused technology
- Able to keep ice longer
- The water hose is short
- A bit pricey
Designed with a large bladder, the CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack is ideal for hiking in the desert.
Making it outstanding from other candidates is the ability to hold ice during the long day.
We tested it by filling the pouch with ice and 2.5 liters of water. Along the way, we also kept refilling with water. A pleasant surprise is that there was still some ice left in it at the end of the day.
Besides, the back padded area and vents for air circulation on front straps are FANTASTIC.
|CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack Specifications|
9L/540 cu in
3-liter hydration capacity; an air director bACk panel & Infused technology
Nothing is more refreshing than to have ice-cold water during a long hot hike in the desert. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack is the only option that can do it.
Best for Bad Back: OlarHike Hydration Backpack Pack
- Lightweight and stay close to your body for minimal pressure on the back - two buckles
- Good organizing – provide you with lots of pockets and compartments
- Easy to drink water – feature long drinking tube
- The straps are pretty long
We really appreciate the realistic design of this backpack, especially for the two buckles to keep it close to your body, which never hurts your back and shoulders.
It is also lightweight, even after carrying 2 liters of water, essentials, lunch, and snacks.
There is a nice slot for the drinking tube to feed through and it clips to one of the straps for easy access.
Another big plus is there are extra pockets and compartments throughout to easily separate hiking necessities for quick access. The best part is additional thermal insulation to keep water cool for 4 hours without condensing on your back.
|OlarHike Hydration Backpack Pack Specifications|
two buckles; lots of pockets and compartments; a long drinking tube
If you have a bad back or back injury but still want to enjoy hiking, the OlarHike Hydration Backpack Pack is highly suggested.
Best for All-Day Hikes: Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack Backpack
- Comfortable and painless - Adjustable shoulder/chest straps
- Good resistance to impact, weather, and wears – made from PVC lining & 900 Denier Polyester
- A bit hard to clean
- The hose does kink quite easily when drinking it
This hiking hydration pack gives you a 2.5-liter reservoir and 15-liter capacity, which is good for hiking.
The hose is quite notable. It’s covered in material for insulation and damage protection while sporting a very unique mouthpiece that has a dust cover.
What caught our attention during the tests was its superb comfort, delivered from the adjustable chest and shoulder straps for a good fit of 27” to 50”. The back, besides, has sufficient padding for extra support when you wear it for a long day.
It is also extremely durable and obvious military-grade with good resistance to impact, weather, and wears.
|Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack Backpack Specifications|
Adjustable shoulder/chest straps; made from PVC lining & 900 Denier Polyester
The Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack Backpack gives us a higher level of comfort compared to other counterparts here, making it the best choice for all-day hikes.
Best for Small People: TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack
- Lightweight, compact, and easy to use
- Give great fit for small-framed people – adjustable chest, waist, and shoulder straps
- Easy to drink water – generous hose length and effective mouthpiece
- The storage space is very limited
- The liquid does taste like plastic at first
One of the greatest things about this pack is how much it can be adjusted, including the waist strap, chest strap, and shoulder straps. These straps are designed for comfort and neatness. Once all the buckles are tightened, they will never hang loose.
So whether you’re short or have a small frame, rest assured that this backpack will never slosh all over while you’re hiking.
Such petite design also helps the pack itself very lightweight and compact for one-day hiking trips. Besides, the hose length is generous and mouthpiece is effective for easy water feeding.
Overall, definitely value for money and highly recommended for hiking purposes.
|TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack Specifications|
.9 pounds (.4 kg)
122 cubic inches / 2 Liters
adjustable chest, waist, and shoulder straps; generous hose length and effective mouthpiece
Designed with great adjustments and fit, the TETON Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack is exactly what a small hiker keeps looking for.
Best for Short Hikes: SHARKMOUTH FLYHIKER Hiking Hydration Backpack
- Very lightweight yet roomy - a capacity of 15 liters, a 2.5-liter bladder, and 0.95-pound weight
- Easy access – well-organized pockets and compartments
- Easy to clean – wide bladder mouth
- The water taste lightly of silicone
With a capacity of 15 liters and 0.95-pound weight, this hydration pack is perfect for short-day hikers. It is neat, lightweight, and comfortable to carry but still ensures enough storage space for your essentials, especially water.
There is a 2.5-liter bladder that works well for use in a dry climate.
As its mouth is wide enough to reach out inside, cleaning this product isn’t a serious problem.
The best thing is everything comes in well-organized with lots of pockets and compartments. Plus, the cute, bright colors make it fun to use.
|SHARKMOUTH FLYHIKER Hiking Hydration Backpack Specifications|
a capacity of 15 liters, a 2.5-liter bladder, and 0.95-pound weight; wide bladder mouth; well-organized pockets and compartments
In need of a good hydration pack for short hiking trips? Look no further!
How To Choose The Best Hydration Pack For Hiking?
You should choose a pack that’s appropriate for your torso length and snugs grip on your hips comfortably.
A pack can come in various sizes, ranging from extra small to large, so check the specs carefully and pick the one suitable for your torso length. Or you can choose a pack with an adjustable suspension that you can modify to fit your torso.
The hipbelt on a hydration pack can measure from mid-20 to mid-40 inches, make sure your new pack fits your waist.
When it comes to capacity, there are hydration pack capacity and gear capacity to think about.
You need to estimate how much water you will need on your hiking trips, depending on the duration or distance. You can choose among 0.5 liters or less, 1-1.5 liters, 2-2.5 liters, and 3 liters or more. Remember, the more water you carry, the heavier the pack will be.
In terms of gear capacity, you can choose from 4 options: 5 liters or less, 6-10 liters, 11-20 liters, and 21 liters or more.
Raincover: helps protect your pack and gear in case of bad weather.
Cold weather add-ons: a hydration pack can come with insulated sip tubes, reservoir covers, insulated reservoirs, as well as bite valve covers, all of which are particularly for winter.
Wide-mouth opening: lets you fit a hand in the reservoir, making cleaning easier.
Quick-disconnecting tubing: allows for quicker reservoir refill mid-hike.
Clips: help you position the tube firmly for easy access.
Tub portals: allow for threading the sip tube from the reservoir inside the hydration pack to the exterior.
Bite valve shutoff switch: prevents the water from getting out unexpectedly.
Ease of Filling
You need to fill the reservoir before starting your hike. A pack should allow for easy filling so you can save a lot of time. To achieve this, you should choose flexible hydration sleeves or hydration bladders and make sure the reservoir can be accessed easily.
Which Brands Make The Best Hydration Pack For Hiking?
Founded in 1989, this brand aims for the evolution of hiking gear to solve the one problem: thirst. Its imagination, courage, and conviction have made it the world-leading brand in hydration solutions.
Having been around for 6 years now, this brand has helped worldwide hikers and campers achieve great trips while maintaining their health through its products.
TETON’s packs, sleeping bags, tents, hammocks, are made to let everyone enjoy their outdoor activities, no matter where you are. The brand thrives for the best products with continuous effort.
Can you put a hydration bladder in a backpack?
Yes, you can. As long as there’s nothing in it that can poke a hole in the bladder, it’s possible to put a hydration bladder in your backpack.
Do hydration packs keep water cold?
Modern hydration packs come with inbuilt insulation to help keep the water cold. But to maintain the cold water all day long, you will need extra insulation and some ice.
How do you pack a hydration bladder?
First, find a good location on the backpack for the hydration bladder.
Then, make sure the bladder’s hose exit end is at the bottom.
Next, you will need to run the hydration bladder along with the idea harness then clip it in place.
Before finishing off, try it out and make sure the liquid can get to your mouth.
How do you use a hydration pack?
There are two major things to learn here: the hydration pack push caps and the bite valve.
Push caps are the most common and simple to use. You pull the uppermost part of the cap outwards using your teeth and hands, then you suck the water through. Once you’re done drinking, push the cap back, and secure the water seal.
For the bit valve, you just have to squeeze or bite the mouthpiece using your lips. This will open a slit that the water out. Then just suck the water.
How do you keep a hydration pack cold?
A hydration pack often features inbuilt insulation to keep the water cold. But if you’re hiking all day long, you should add extra insulation and use some ice as well.
Hiking is fun and inspiring, but remember to keep yourself hydrated so you can complete your hikes and maintain good health rather than destroying it.
We hope that you will make use of these guidelines in choosing the best hydration pack for hiking to use in your future exploration trips.