How to Choose Your Hydration Pack

Whether you’ve embraced the active lifestyle for years or you’re just now getting ready for a big hiking or biking adventure, it’s time to consider what you’ll need. Your shoes, attire, and gear are all essential for your success. When it comes to your hydration, you almost certainly will need a hydration pack in order to make your journey a success. With most packs, you don’t have to stop or even slow down to get a satisfying gulp of water. You simply grab the pack’s tube, take a sip, and keep pushing forward.

However, not all hydration packs are built the same. Some packs are designed for hiking while others are designed for biking. Once you find a pack that aligns with your intended use, then it’s time to consider the features, the fit, and how much water it can hold. Keep in mind that most new backpacks and day packs that don’t already come with a hydration reservoir will likely have a space that is intended to hold one. If you already have a pack like this, think about just adding a reservoir.

Types of Hydration Packs

When it comes down to it, there are two general types of hydration packs: hydration backpacks and hydration waistpacks. Of course, there are packs of each kind that are meant for anything from hiking to running, mountain biking to skiing, and so on. What they all have in common is a hydration reservoir that was designed to make drinking easier.

Hydration Backpacks

  • Hiking: Hiking hydration packs are a lot like standard hiking packs, as they have a lot of extra space for food, layers, and any other essentials you might need on your hike. You can find small packs for shorter hikes or large ones that hold enough for an overnight journey.
  • Cycling: These packs were made for people on the go, specifically road cyclists and mountain bikers! These packs are compact and sit close to the body, as this will avoid too much wind resistance. Packs designed for mountain biking may have more space in them to store items you may need, and they usually have a waist belt to keep them in place as you pedal.

Running Hydration Packs

There are hydration packs that have been specifically designed for runners, so notice the ones that are labeled “running vests” versus “running backpacks.” They may seem similar, but they are a bit different.

  • Running vests: These packs look just like a vest and have been designed to sit closely against your body. They are close to a backpack, but they tend to be less noticeable. They also don’t typically have a hip belt like most packs do.
  • Running backpacks: These are similar to hiking backpacks, but they often have running-specific features. There may be a simple hip belt and several pockets that you can access while you run. They also usually have more storage than a vest, meaning you can store snacks to eat on your long trail runs.

Snow Sports Hydration Packs

These packs were made for those people who can’t get enough of the slopes! If you are big into skiing, snowboarding, or other snowsports, these packs were designed for you. They usually provide some sort of insulation on both the reservoir and the drink tube in order to prevent freezing. Some specific snow sports packs will have lash points or carry straps so you can haul your skis or snowboard around completely hands-free!


Just as they sound, waistpacks are designed to go around your waist. Usually, these packs just have space for a water bottle and not necessarily a reservoir to pour water into. The cargo space is also usually smaller, so these are a good option for smaller adventures where you don’t want the heavy weight of a full pack slowing you down.

Shop Infuze!

At Infuze, we know exactly how important it is to stay hydrated. We also know how boring it can be to sip plain old water on your trip. That’s why we created a way to naturally infuse your water without compromising the cleanliness of your water reservoir! No more sticky residue, and no more gross aftertaste weeks after you poured flavored water in your pack. Shop our collection of infusers today!