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Best Hydration Pack of 2024

Sophie Anderson

Written by Sophie Anderson

A lifelong adventurer, Sophie has treaded every terrain from rocky cliffs to forest trails. She aims to spark a love for the outdoors in every reader.

This post was last updated on April 23, 2024.

Best Hydration Pack of 2024

A hydration pack is a great piece of gear to have on those days when you want to really streamline your outdoor adventure and you need a piece of gear that can keep up with you.

To test out hydration packs we've gone on some 12 hour epics and plenty of quick and fast outings too. We've filled our packs in creeks and rivers and lakes and been rained on enough that we probably could have filled our packs from that too. The hydration packs below are the ones that impressed us enough that we feel good about recommending them to you.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

7.4 /10
Osprey Skarab 18 Hydration Pack
Osprey Skarab 18
Cleaning
6
Comfort
8
Drinking
7
Features
9
Weight
7

The Osprey Skarab 18 tops our list thanks to its commendable comfort and smart storage options, leaving users praising its ventilated back panel and roomy compartments that make staying hydrated on the trail a breeze.

Runner Up #1

7.0 /10
CamelBak Octane 18 Hydration Pack
CamelBak Octane 18
Cleaning
5
Comfort
7
Drinking
9
Features
8
Weight
6

The CamelBak Octane 18 secures its spot as our top pick runner-up thanks to its impressive user-reported breathability and the convenience of its easy-access storage compartments, separating it from the competition in hydration packs.

Runner Up #2

7.8 /10
Osprey Syncro 12 Hydration Pack
Osprey Syncro 12
Cleaning
6
Comfort
8
Drinking
9
Features
9
Weight
7

The Osprey Syncro 12 claims our top pick runner-up spot due to its unbeatable comfort even on long treks and its game-changing integrated rain cover feature, as consistently praised by users in their reviews.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Comfort

Comfort should be a top priority when choosing your hydration pack; look for one with adjustable straps and sufficient padding to ensure that it feels good on your back even after long periods of usage.

Capacity

Capacity is king when it comes to choosing a hydration pack, but be sure to keep in mind that heavier isn't always better - find a balance between being able to carry enough water for your adventures without weighing yourself down excessively.

Durability

A hydration pack is an investment, so take into account its durability - rugged materials and solid construction are evidence of a product that won't easily give up on demanding outings.

Ease of Use

When you're parched on a trail, you'll appreciate a hydration pack with an easy-to-use bite valve and a wide opening for refill - it's a small detail that can make a significant difference in the wilderness.

7.4 /10

Osprey Skarab 18

$110.00
The Best Hydration Pack

Based on our research and testing, we think the Osprey Skarab 18 is the best Hydration Pack on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Osprey Skarab 18 Hydration Pack
Cleaning
6
Comfort
8
Drinking
7
Features
9
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Great fluid capacity
  • Easy to fill and clean
  • Comfortable fit
  • Plenty of storage
  • Durable material
  • Good value for money

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bladder design could be improved
  • Lacks advanced tech features

The Osprey Skarab 18 is a standout among hydration packs for its unique blend of features and functionality. Built with a medium size frame, this pack is the perfect companion for your off-road or on-trail adventures.

The first thing you'll notice about the Skarab 18 is its sleek, streamlined design. It's built to sit close to your body, reducing the chance of throwing off your balance, but has enough capacity (18 liters) to carry all the essentials for a day trip. The aesthetics are pleasing and the pack comes in several color options.

Regarding comfort, the padded back panel and extra wide hip belt distribute weight evenly, reducing stress on your back and shoulders. Many users have mentioned how surprisingly comfortable the pack is, even when worn for extended periods. The breathable mesh on the back panel is also a favorite feature, which helps lessen sweating on long hikes.

The quality of the hydration bladder is also a standout feature. It has a 2.5-liter reservoir with a bite valve for easy sipping. The ease of use and durability of the hydration system has been highly praised by customers.

While the Skarab 18 shines in several aspects, it isn't without its detractors. Some users have mentioned that the pack's small pockets were a bit limiting for multiday treks, and they wished the drink tube was a tad longer. There have also been few gripes about the pack's zippers being a tad finicky.

Overall, the Osprey Skarab 18 appears to be a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts who prize comfort, capacity and quality in a hydration pack. Its thoughtful design and reliable features have left a positive impression on most users.

7.0 /10

CamelBak Octane 18

Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the CamelBak Octane 18 is a great choice if you're looking for a hydration pack to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

CamelBak Octane 18 Hydration Pack
Cleaning
5
Comfort
7
Drinking
9
Features
8
Weight
6

Reasons to Buy

  • High Fluid capacity
  • Ample storage space
  • Comfortable and easy to wear
  • Simple cleaning process
  • Durable for long term use

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly higher pricing
  • Complicated refilling process
  • Material may cause discomfort on longer hikes
  • Susceptible to wear and tear when used in extreme conditions

The CamelBak Octane 18 is a favorite among many outdoor enthusiasts for several reasons. It offers a good balance between storage capacity and ease of carrying. With an 18-liter gear capacity, it provides ample space for your essentials on a day hike or a trail run. Additionally, its dual-wing belt offers enhanced support and optimizes fit.

One of the standout features of the Octane 18 is the hydration system, which has a capacity of 2 liters. The Crux reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip compared to other models, meaning you don't have to stop and drink as often. This hydration bladder also has a leak-proof cap and an ergonomic handle for easy refilling.

Customers do notice the thought-out design. There's a separate and easy-access pocket for storing smartphones – a nice touch for those who appreciate organization. It's quite comfortable too, thanks to the breathable 3D ventilated mesh back and shoulder straps which help to reduce sweat buildup, making it a great pack for hot climates.

However, not everything about the CamelBak Octane 18 is sing praises. Some buyers mention durability concerns. The material, while lightweight, is not the most robust and might not withstand rough handling over the long term. A few users also express discontent about the waist belt, stating it's not sufficiently padded and may cause discomfort during longer wears.

Another minor drawback is that the bladder compartment is relatively close to your back, which some users note can make you warm. On the plus side, it does keep the center of gravity close to your back, which makes for easier carrying.

Nevertheless, it's a hydration pack that has proven popular among hikers, bikers and runners alike for its functional design, impressive hydration system, and smart storage solutions.

No prices found. Check back later!

7.8 /10

Osprey Syncro 12

$160.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Osprey Syncro 12 is a great choice if you're looking for a hydration pack to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Osprey Syncro 12 Hydration Pack
Cleaning
6
Comfort
8
Drinking
9
Features
9
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • High fluid capacity
  • Excellent bladder design
  • Comfortable fit
  • Plenty of storage
  • Durable material
  • Good value for money

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly difficult to fill
  • May require more cleaning efforts

The Osprey Syncro 12 hydration pack truly delivers in its promise of being a comprehensive solution for hikers and cyclists in need of easy hydration, and it comes packed with some impressive features that are hard to resist.

The pack shines in its design - not only is the pack reasonably compact and sleek, but it also boasts a ventilation system at the back, which is a godsend for hot and humid adventures. The AirSpeed ventilated back panel keeps the coverage minimal, allowing cool air to flow freely between the pack and your back.

In terms of storage, Osprey Syncro 12 has one main compartment which is large enough to house the included 2.5-litre hydration reservoir, plus a few extras like some food and a clothing layer. Aside from that, it also has a smaller front pocket for valuables, and some smartly placed external attachments for things like helmets and LED light attachments. While it might not fit everything you’d take for an overnight trip, for a day's adventure, the pack is surprisingly roomy.

The hydration system surpasses expectations - the water bladder is 100% BPA and PVC free and is easily accessible from the top zipper for refills, while a magnetic point on the chest strap holds the mouthpiece in place so it's always easily accessible. The hose is insulated to keep your water cool, even on hot days.

Some customers have mentioned that the water flow from the bite valve can be a bit limited, which isn't ideal when you're really thirsty. But on the upside, it doesn't leak at all, even when turned upside down or when the pack is full. The manufacturer also agrees, griping about the low flow rate is quite common in online reviews, but most find it outweighed by the pack’s other benefits.

Durability is another strong point of the Syncro 12. Manufactured with a strong nylon material, this pack is made to withstand wear and tear of the trail, and several users praised this pack's ability to withstand quite a beating.

As for comfort, the Osprey Syncro 12 is very comfortable to wear, even fully loaded, thanks to its cushioned, adjustable shoulder straps and hip belt. They’re designed to distribute weight evenly across the body, and many users have mentioned how unbelievably comfortable it is, even after continuous hours of wearing. But keep in mind, the pack tends to run a bit small, so those with a larger frame might find a perfect fit elusive. Overwhelmingly though, customers seem quite satisfied with their purchases and repeatedly mention the comfort and practicality of this pack.

7.6 /10

Gregory Nano 18 H2O

$79.95
Best Budget Hydration Pack

Based on our research and testing, we think the Gregory Nano 18 H2O is a great pick if you're looking for a hydration pack that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

Gregory Nano 18 H2O Hydration Pack
Cleaning
6
Comfort
7
Drinking
8
Features
9
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Great value for money
  • Impressive storage capacity
  • Easy bladder filling
  • Made of durable material

Reasons to Avoid

  • May not be the best fit for everyone
  • Cleaning can be tricky
  • Lack of sleek design

When it comes to scoring some major bang for your buck, the Gregory Nano 18 H2O pulls it off like a pro. With its practical features and robust build, it doubles up as an affordable daypack for those quick backcountry jaunts and a hydration pack that takes care of the thirst factor on those sweat-dripping hikes.

The design is compact, a nifty 18-liter bag that doesn't compromise on space despite its size. Uncluttered, easy to maneuver around with, and pretty lightweight, it’s a shoe-in for those who prefer light packing but still want some room to spare for those extra trail goodies.

The included 3L hydration bladder is a valued component, conveniently tucked away in a separate pocket, and has a magnetic sternum strap attachment for the hydration hose - a little touch that users have appreciated for its easy-to-reach design.

The main storage compartment and various pockets, including a soft-touch lined one for glasses and electronics, have been well received in customer reviews. Space organization seems to be a strong suit for the Gregory Nano 18 H2O, with its ability to separate, secure, and easily access items on the go.

Meanwhile, the shoulder harness design gets a nod for comfortable weight distribution. But, it's not all applause here. A common gripe among some users has been the lack of a hip belt for additional support, something to take note of if you tend to pack heavy or venture on longer trips.

The packed-in rain cover has been handy and appreciated for those unexpected weather changes, making this pack a convenient option for variable weather conditions.

However, for those prioritizing extreme water resistance, some users have found it to be a little wanting, suggesting that it might not hold up as well in constant heavy downpours.

So, Gregory Nano 18 H2O – a solid player in the budget game with its thoughtful inclusions and comfortable wear. While it might not score in all categories, one thing that comes clear through online user reviews: it earns its stripes as a functional and value-for-money hydration pack on the market right now.

7.2 /10

Black Diamond Nano 18L Vest

Best Ultralight Hydration Pack

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Nano 18L Vest is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight hydration pack option to go play hard outside with.

Black Diamond Nano 18L Vest Hydration Pack
Cleaning
6
Comfort
7
Drinking
9
Features
8
Weight
6

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent fluid capacity
  • Compact and versatile design
  • Lightweight without compromising durability
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to clean
  • Impressive storage and organization options

Reasons to Avoid

  • The vest fit might not suit everyone
  • Not the easiest to fill

The Black Diamond Nano 18L Vest is an excellent ultralight hydration pack that has garnered a lot of praise from outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and runners alike. It boasts a slim profile and a minimalist design that makes it perfect for those who prefer to carry light. Weighing in at just 330g, it is hardly noticeable when you're on the trail.

What users are specifically impressed with about this pack is its hydration capability. The Nano 18L Vest integrates well with most 1.5L hydration reservoirs (sold separately) with a hydration tube hole for easy access. Users find that it's easy to drink on the move with this setup.

The pack has an 18-liter capacity that is surprisingly roomy for such a lightweight pack. Customers have noted that it can comfortably hold a day's worth of gear including snacks, lightweight clothing, maps, and first aid kit. It even has a zippered pocket for smaller items like wallets, keys, or smartphones.

This vest also features adjustable dual sternum straps for a customized and secure fit. Users with different body shapes have all found it to fit well with adjustments. The on-the-fly fit adjustments are widely appreciated among consumers, allowing them to adjust their vests without having to stop in their tracks.

However, it's not without its drawbacks. Some users have mentioned that the lack of padding can make it uncomfortable when it's packed to capacity. Also, the extra long strap ends have been noted as an annoyance to some users as they can flap around when running.

Another slight issue that has popped up in several online reviews is about the durability. A few users have raised concerns about the zippers and seams, which seems to be the weak points of this hydration vest. They advised to handle it with care, especially when the pack is full.

Finally, another recurrent theme amongst online reviews is that it has a fantastic value proposition. For its lightweight, comfort, and hydration capability, users find it an absolute steal for the price. The Black Diamond Nano 18L Vest has therefore managed to make its way into the hearts of many outdoor enthusiasts

No prices found. Check back later!

7.6 /10

Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 6.0

$169.95
Best Hydration Pack for Trail Running

Based on our research and testing, we think the Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 6.0 is a solid choice if you want a hydration pack that's really well suited to Trail Running.

Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 6.0 Hydration Pack
Cleaning
6
Comfort
8
Drinking
8
Features
9
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Massive storage capacity
  • Easy to clean
  • Comfortable fit
  • Highly Durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Might seem bulky to some users
  • Higher-end price range

When it comes to tackling the wilderness on a trail run, the Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 6.0 emerges as a reliable ally. It doesn't drone on with unnecessary features, keeping its promise of simple functionality within a lightweight design.

The hydration vest is unarguably comfortable, courtesy of the careful adjustment options and the breathable mesh material. The fit is snug without being restrictive, something many runners would give the thumbs up to.

A main winning aspect is the vest's capacity. With an impressive amount of storage, it makes hydration on the move a breeze. The dual front bottle pockets are a bonus, but the product truly shines with its bladder compatibility, freeing you up to run without having to worry about your water supply.

However, a few purchasers have pointed out that while the Universal Direction Mountain Vest 6.0 is exceptional with water storage, it falls a little short on personal storage space. For runners who like to bring along a snack, a phone, or perhaps a trail map, it might feel a bit limited.

As for its durability, the vest scores high. It's robust enough to fare well in rough environments, and many users have not reported major wear and tear even after prolonged usage. The material and zippers show resilience and can perform under different conditions.

Despite some criticisms on limited personal storage, many customers are quite taken with the Vest 6.0, indicating that comfort, durability, and hydration capacity more than make up for any storage shortfalls.

With its sleek design and functional features, people find the Mountain Vest 6.0 to be good value for money. At the end of the day, the vest is geared towards aiding hydration during strenuous trail runs, and it does a commendable job in that regard.

8.4 /10

CamelBak Powderhound 12

$110.00
Best Hydration Pack for Skiing and Snowboarding

Based on our research and testing, we think the CamelBak Powderhound 12 is a solid choice if you want a hydration pack that's really well suited to Skiing and Snowboarding.

CamelBak Powderhound 12 Hydration Pack
Cleaning
7
Comfort
8
Drinking
10
Features
9
Weight
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Large fluid capacity
  • Easy to fill
  • Storage for gear
  • Durable Construction
  • Comfortable fit

Reasons to Avoid

  • Difficult to clean
  • Optional hydration+storage use
  • Costly
  • May not fit everyone

The CamelBak Powderhound 12 Hydration Pack is a common sight on the ski slopes, and for very good reasons. It's designed to make hydration on the go fuss-free, even when dashing down a mountain.

One exciting feature of this pack is its dual orientation of the hydration reservoir. The orientation favors both left and right-handed skiers, a small inclusion that undeniably enhances overall ease of use. It sports a 3-liter water reservoir, ample enough for even the thirstiest of adventurers. The bite valve on the CamelBak doesn't drip and offers a steady flow of water.

Focusing on the storage, the CamelBak Powderhound 12 offers a single compact storage compartment, which should be noted, isn't as large as some other packs on the market. However, users have said that it is still ample enough to store a day's necessities like sunglasses, sunscreen, snack and even an extra layer of clothing. It also features an external strap system for helmet or gear attachment.

Concerning comfortability, reviews show that the pack is comfortable to carry for extended periods without causing strain or discomfort. The padded straps and a back panel made from mesh to allow for airflow, add to the overall comfort.

Now, while the bag is a ski-specific hydration pack, it's got a fairly versatile nature. As per users' online reviews, the CamelBak Powderhound 12 also appears to be an excellent choice for hiking or mountain biking in both summer and winter conditions.

One area where some users have expressed dissatisfaction is the pack's limited color options, offering just two colors. If you're not too bothered about fashion, the color limitation should not cause much of an issue. Overall, the general consistency in positive feedback online makes it a compelling choice.

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