When you head out on the trails or into the woods on a hike or to go backpacking, one of the most important things to have with you is enough water. Of course, water bottles are a simple solution, but these items can take up a large amount of pack space and are often hard sided, making them difficult to pack around. Hydration packs help to address these issues, as they utilize a soft-sided water bladder that can fit inside the pack in a much more space-efficient manner and supply plenty of water. These products are available in a variety of different styles and sizes, ensuring that you can find the best hydration pack for any outdoor adventure.
Packs come in a variety of different sizes, generally ranging from half of a liter to more than three liters in capacity. The size bladder you need depends on the amount of water you drink, the length of your treks, and the amount of extra weight you wish to carry. Each liter of water weighs approximately 2.2 pounds, so each extra bit of water can weight down your pack, especially for longer trips.
- .5 to 1.5 Liters: These packs are ideal for very short trips or for children because they are light and provide a smaller amount of water.
- Two or 2.5 Liters: These hydration packs provide an adequate amount of water for most trekkers and do not add too much weight to your pack, weighing around five pounds when full.
- More than Three Liters: Some bladders can hold upwards of three liters of water, providing plenty of fluid for the longer treks or enough to supply a couple individuals. The size of these products reduces the need to refill your pack along the way.
Extra Gear Capacity
Hydration packs can vary widely in total capacity, ranging from as low as one liter to up over 30 liters. The size of pack depends on how long of a trip you plan to take, the type of adventure you plan to go on, and how much gear you need to carry.
- Less than Five Liters: These packs include a small water bladder and enough space for limited items, such as a poncho, phone, keys, and first aid kit.
- Five to 15 Liters: This size of hydration pack allows for a little extra space to include more items, like a jacket, extra layer, camera, snacks, and others. These are ideal for short day hikes.
- 15 to 25 Liters: These packs are ideal for longer day hikes or more technical adventures. They supply enough extra space to bring along extra gear, a change of clothes, more food, and other trek necessities.
- More than 25 Liters: These packs can be used for overnight hiking trips or extended treks. These items provide plenty of space for all of the essentials and can hold plenty of water for any distance. These packs are also generally designed for improved support and airflow for comfort.
- Sizing: Some hydration packs are sized as small, medium, large, and others, so be sure to consider what size pack you need for the best fit.
- Support: Some packs include hip straps that can be fastened to take some of the weight off the shoulders. These straps are often found on larger packs and can be helpful for longer treks.
- Inclement Weather: On some packs, the tubing is insulated, as are other parts of the bag, ensuring proper functionality in colder weather. Some packs also include a built-in rainfly that can be used if needed.
There are a large number of different products choose from when selecting the best hydration pack. However, taking into consideration the type of treks you go on, the amount of space for water and gear you require, and other additions that you might need will help you find the perfect pack for your needs.