Product Review: Hydration Packs

Product Review: Hydration Packs

It’s summertime, which means the weather is getting hot and runs are getting more sweaty. The sweatier the run the more important carrying water with us on runs becomes. I’ve tried a few different kinds of hydration packs and I thought I would share my knowledge with those that are in the market for a new hydration option.


Backpack Style

gooseberry hydration backpack for runnersThe backpack style hydration packs are my number one choice. The Gooseberry brand backpack is the one I personally use for all my long runs. It was only about $20 on Amazon and it has held up through numerous runs over the past 4 years.

Capacity: The backpack style hydration packs but I personally think the best size for runners are those that hold in between 1 and 1.5 liters.

Features: Compact – only holds the water bladder and a small pocket for keys or chapstick, etc.

Why Yes or Why No: YES – The backpack style allows you to put it on and forget about it. Because of the small size it doesn’t bounce, move, or chafe. It is out of the way of any arm movement.


Belt Style

I am personally not a huge fan of the belt style hydration packs, but I do know a few other runners that even prefer them over backpack style.

fitletic hydration belt for runnersCapacity: The water bottles for belt style hydration packs are typically only about 6 ounces in capacity. Some belts do however allow you to attach multiple bottles on.

Features: Customizable – many belt hydration packs allow runners to add and subtract the number of bottles they carry at a time, among other customizable options. Extra Storage – most belt style hydration packs come with an extra pocket for keys, phones, etc.

Why Yes or Why No: MAYBE – This wouldn’t be my first choice, but if I didn’t have the option of a backpack, I don’t mind using a belt. I personally have found these hydration packs to get in the way of my natural arm swing and to bounce, chafe, and rub certain areas.



Nathan handheld water bottle for runnersCapacity: Anywhere from 6 to about 21 ounces.

Features: Easy Access  – Since the bottle sits in your hand the whole time it is quite easy to sneak sips of water throughout the entire run.  Most bottles also come with hand straps to help runners hold on to the bottle more easily during a run. Storage – Some straps also have small pockets for keys, hairtyes, GUs, etc.

Why Yes or Why No: NO – I prefer not to use a handheld bottle because it ends up feeling like I’m running with a weight in my hand and can make my arm ache after a little while. The other thing that annoys me personally is the sloshing that happens inside the bottle after you’ve taken the first few sips.




The vest option allows for runners to slide bottles in and out of pockets on the front of a vest, or on the back of a vest. The vests are a newer product to the market and I have not yet had the opportunity to try these.



What is your favorite way to hydrate during a long run or race? Share with us in the comments!