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Best Hydration Backpacks (2022): Top Picks for Running, Biking, Hiking and More

The best hydration backpack—or hydration pack, as they’re usually called too—depends on what you’re going to be using it for. As an example, it should have a strong focus on comfort for hiking, or it should be light enough for running. At any rate, there are some common features to look for. That includes whether or not they’re leakproof, comfortable to wear for long periods and large enough to accommodate everything you need.

We’ve narrowed down our recommendations to four hydration backpacks for four different purposes. First, The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8 is excellent for running because it’s lightweight and minimalistic. Next, the Osprey Raptor 14 is great for biking because it can carry a lot of tools and gears. Then there’s the GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack with anti-theft measures, making it ideal for festivals. Lastly, the Osprey Manta 24 stands out because of its superior support and comfort, giving it the edge for hiking.

Best Hydration Backpacks Comparison Chart

ModelImageHighlightsPrice
 The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8Best Hydration BackpacksMinimalist design, lightweightCheck Price at TheNorthFace.com
Osprey Raptor 14Best Hydration BackpacksHelmet lock system, tool roll compartmentCheck Price at Osprey.com
GenZ RaveRunner Hydration PackBest Hydration BackpacksSlash-proof ripstop nylon, inverted zippersCheck Price at LiveGenZ.com
Osprey Manta 24Best Hydration BackpacksHip belt for support that relieves pressure from shoulders, breathable back panelCheck Price at Osprey.com

Best Hydration Backpack for Running — The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8

The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8 is so light it’s almost like you’re not wearing a vest at all.

Best Hydration Backpack for Running
A closer look at the pass-through compartment on the back of The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8 (in photo).

When choosing a hydration pack for running, it’s crucial to take its weight into account, as it can affect your performance. The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8 is among the lightest around, weighing between 120g and 128g depending on size. 

It has a minimalist design, but it still has plenty of storage, including a back pocket for things like packable running jackets and poles. There are two front pockets too for mid-run snacks, and they’re angled in a way that their content will be pushed to your sides for even weight distribution.

The vest itself is made out of breathable and durable ripstop nylon. Also, it’s reflective for better visibility and safety purposes. It includes two half-liter soft water bottles that sit on both sides of your chest, and it features a leash system to secure them in place in a jiffy.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Minimalist

Cons

  • Poles can get in the way of your arms when carrying some in the back pocket

Best Hydration Backpack for Biking — Osprey Raptor 14

The Osprey Raptor 14 can hold your helmet and tools while providing a ton of space for other essentials.

Best Hydration Backpack for Biking
The Osprey Raptor 14 (in photo) features a tool roll compartment and a lock system to secure your helmet.

Besides bladder capacity, other factors to look out for in a hydration pack for biking are its size and storage options. Put simply, it needs to be roomy enough for tools and parts in case you end up with a broken chain or flat tires. Also, it should have plenty of pockets for snacks and the like. That’s where the Osprey Raptor 14 comes in.

It features a lock that secures your helmet to the pack. That way it won’t have to take up space in the main compartment. There’s also a lower compartment that holds a tool roll, so you can be ready for any mishap while out for a ride. 

As for its reservoir, it can hold up to 2.5 liters of water with its Hydraulics LT bladder. What’s more, the hose magnetically stays in place on the sternum strap to keep its bite valve from moving around when pedaling.

Speaking of, it has a hip belt and a harness with winged shoulder straps, making for excellent support. In addition, its back panel fastens to your body, but despite that, it’s breathable, as it’s covered with mesh and has deep ridges for ventilation.

Pros

  • Lots of storage space
  • Dedicated tool roll compartment
  • Helmet lock

Cons

  • Hose sometimes gets loose when riding on rough terrain

Best Hydration Backpack for Festivals — GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack

The GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack makes it a point to prevent theft, even if it may become a tad inconvenient to use.

Best Hydration Backpack for Festivals
The GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack (in photo) has zippers that face inward as an anti-theft measure.

At festivals, it’s easy to forget to hydrate, especially if you’re vibing with the beat and jamming to the bass. That also makes it easier for pickpockets to steal your stuff. One solution to both problems is the GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack that boasts anti-theft measures.

To start things off, it’s made with slash-proof ripstop nylon, and it features inverted zippers so no one else can get to them but the wearer. Its shoulder straps have mesh pockets as well, allowing you to keep valuables such as your smartphone in sight and handy. On top of that, there are two side pockets and a hidden shoulder pocket too.

Also, it comes with a removable two-liter bladder, which should last long enough until your favorite artist finishes their set. If not, then you can always top it up again via its easy-to-access external refill point.

Pros

  • Zippers are inverted (facing your back) for security
  • Durable ripstop nylon to prevent slashing

Cons

  • Pack always has to be removed when opening the main compartment

Best Hydration Backpack for Hiking — Osprey Manta 24

The Osprey Manta 24 effectively relieves shoulder pressure and keeps your back cool.

Best Hydration Backpack for Hiking
The Osprey Manta 24 (left) and the Osprey Mira 22 (right) are more or less the same, but the former is made for men and the latter for women.

Comfort is arguably the most important aspect to consider when getting a hydration pack for hiking. After all, you’ll be carrying it for long periods, be it a half-day or a whole-day hike. In that sense, the Osprey Manta 24 fits the bill to a tee.

First off, it features a hip belt to relieve pressure from your shoulders and a back panel made out of breathable mesh with an adjustable harness. Thanks to that, it has excellent support, and it can keep your back cool.

Moreover, it includes a 2.5-liter Hydraulics LT water reservoir with a magnetic sternum strap to keep the bite valve in place. Also, it offers a lot of storage: four zippered pouches and three internal mesh pockets. Its main compartment is huge too, and at times, you might end up overpacking if you aren’t careful.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Manta 24 is geared toward men, but there’s an equivalent for women called the Mira 22. Across the board, it’s pretty much the same, but it’s a bit shorter and weighs less to accommodate its target audience.

Pros

  • Exceptional support and comfort
  • Lots of storage space
  • Keeps back cool

Cons

  • Expensive

Verdict

These hydration packs each have their own unique strengths designed for specific purposes.

To reiterate, we think that The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8 is the best hydration pack for running because of its lightweight design; the Osprey Raptor 14 for biking because of its ability to lock your helmet to the outside of the pack and tool roll; the GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack for festivals because of its anti-theft features; and the Osprey Manta 24 for hiking because of its superior support.

FAQs

📌 What is the best hydration pack for running?

The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8 is considered to be among the best hydration packs for running. That’s because it can carry all sorts of things like snacks and jackets despite its lightweight and minimalist design.

📌 What is the best hydration pack for biking?

The Osprey Raptor 14 is one of the best hydration packs for biking because of its helmet lock, dedicated compartment for a tool roll and more storage options. Also, it sets itself apart with a deep-ridged and mesh-covered back panel to keep the space between it and your back ventilated while keeping your load close to your body.

📌 What is the best hydration pack for festivals?

The GenZ RaveRunner Hydration Pack is regarded as an excellent hydration pack for festivals. That’s thanks to its slash-proof ripstop nylon and inverted zippers to prevent theft and easy-to-refill bladder.

📌 What is the best hydration pack for hiking?

For hiking, the Osprey Manta 24 is the hydration pack to beat because of its outstanding support and comfort. While your load factors into this, it’s relatively easier to wear for hours with little or no problem.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.