Keeping hydrated is important for your health on a hike, so it’s essential to have the right gear to keep you from getting thirsty. The best way to make sure you’re staying hydrated is with a hydration backpack.

These packs are specifically designed to help hikers stay hydrated by storing water and other liquids that will quench their thirst along the hike. They can be easier than carrying bottles or a hydration bladder, especially if you’re hiking for several hours at a time without any natural water sources nearby.

If you’re looking for the best hydration backpack, there are quite a few factors you need to consider when making your decision. From weight distribution to storage space, there are many things that will affect your performance and experience while hiking.

Here are some of the most important considerations when choosing the right hydration backpack.

What’s the Best Type of Material for a Hydration Backpack?

Depending on which hydration backpack you choose, you may find that it’s made out of a different material than what you’re used to. This is going to have a lot to do with the benefits each material provides.

There are many different materials used in water backpacks, but the main ones are: Nylon, polyester, and polyurethane.

  • Nylon is the go-to material for hiking gear like backpacks, gloves, and even footwear. It’s durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean. It’s also often combined with other materials to create hybrid hydration packs.
  • Polyester is a synthetic material that’s a popular choice for outdoor gear. It’s also often blended with other materials to create hybrid hydration packs. Polyester is strong and lightweight, but also water-resistant. It’s generally easier to clean than nylon, though it does require special cleaning products.
  • Polyurethane is a synthetic material that’s designed to repel water and other liquids. It’s often used in waterproof backpacks, especially those that are designed for use in rainy weather. It’s a bit heavier and bulkier than nylon, but extremely durable.

Finding the Right Fit for You

Finding the right fit for your hydration backpack is important, as a poor fit can affect your performance on the trail. A hydration backpack can either be fitted to a single shoulder or be a dual-shoulder, which can be adjusted depending on your height.

When fitting a single-shoulder hydration pack, be sure to adjust it to fit snugly on your back. If it’s too loose, it can bounce around while you’re hiking, causing discomfort and distraction.

A dual-shoulder hydration pack can be adjusted to fit both shoulders snugly, so it’s best for people of all heights. If you’re in between sizes, it’s best to go with the larger of the two if possible. This will give you more space in the pack and allow you to carry more gear on the trail.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay?

Hydration backpacks range from $20 all the way up $200+, so finding one that works for you can get expensive. However, you don’t necessarily have to break the bank for a high-quality hydration pack.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hydration backpack, consider ones made of nylon or polyester. They’re generally easier to clean and less expensive than other materials.

If you want a top-of-the-line hydration pack, expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200+. Keep in mind, however, that more expensive doesn’t always mean better. Make sure to do your research and find the best hydration backpack for your needs.

Determining Your Storage Needs

Different types of hydration backpacks offer different levels of storage space. Hydration backpacks can range anywhere from 1 liter all the way up to 4 liters.

For smaller or lighter backpackers, a 1-liter backpack is a great option. It’s smaller, so it doesn’t take up as much space, and lighter than larger hydration packs.

If you’re someone who likes to carry a lot on your hike, or you plan to carry a friend or two, a 2 or 3 liter hydration pack is the best option for you.

If you want to carry a lot of gear, you may want to consider getting a larger backpack. However, it’s important to note that the more gear you carry, the more you have to carry.

Another option is to look into multi-day hydration packs. These backpacks have enough space to carry everything you need for an overnight hike.

Important Features To Look For

There are a few important features to look for in a hydration pack, including: Weight distribution, fabric type, and bladder type.

  • Weight distribution refers to how the backpack distributes the weight of the items in it. A balanced weight distribution is key to comfort on the trail. In order to find out how much weight each pack distributes, you can put some water in the backpack and walk around with it. Once you find one where your shoulders don’t get sore, you’ve found the one for you.
  • Fabric type refers to what the backpack is made of. As explained above, there are different fabric types to choose from, such as nylon and polyester. Each type has different benefits, so it’s important to find the one that works best for you.
  • Bladder type refers to the type of bladder used to hold water. There are a few different types, including collapsible and non-collapsible. The main difference between the two is that collapsible bladders can be collapsed and stored inside the backpack once they’re empty. Bladders are also often made out of a different type of material, so it’s important to consider what works best for you.


Hydration backpacks are an essential piece of hiking gear for avid hikers. They can be used for everything from a day hike to an overnight trek. When choosing the right hydration backpack, be sure to consider all of the factors listed above to ensure you’re getting the best one for your needs.

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