Hydration is a key element to having a great hike. Your body needs the water or electrolytes to keep you going; without it, you could be in a dangerous situation out on a long trail. Sure, you could lug around your giant water bottle, but some hiking packs don’t have the room for something of that size.
A better option is to invest in a hydration pack that allows you to carry a good amount of water inside your pack without compromising space.
Not all daypacks you pick up for hiking offer hydration bladders inside them, so here is a list of our favorites that make hydrating on a hike a simple task, especially in your carrying a little one with you.
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What to look for in Your Hydration Packs
When you’re looking for a hydration pack, how much water the bag can hold might make or break your decision. Most bags go between 5 liters to 50 liters of water, with hiking backpacks occasionally offering 80 liters or more.
You want to evaluate how much water you actually will consume on the trail and base your decision on that. Remember that a full hydration bladder can also take up a lot of space in your pack, so account for what you need to bring along with you.
The water valve can also have some handy features. A bite valve shutoff is the best way to get water without fussing with the pack. Other options include clips and switches, so choose what works for you.
Hopefully, these hydration packs work with your lifestyle and hiking adventures. Remember, if you have a pack you know and love, you can also buy a sleeve to go within it, but these are our favorite that already comes with them equipped.
Osprey Skarab 30
- Why we like it: Convince and storage
We love the Osprey brand when it comes to hiking essentials. Their packs always get the job done for almost anything you need out on the trail, and, of course, they offer an incredible hydration pack.
The pack is spacious, and you get a 2.5 liter hydration bladder with two zippered pockets, a hip belt pocket, and a front dump pocket. If you need a little more, Osprey also offers a 30-liter version, so you can bring your entire house with you if necessary.
REI Co-op Flash 15 Hydration Vest
- Why we like it: Perfect for trail running
If you like your packs in a vest style, REI has this fantastic option that includes hydration. They combine storage and hydration in one pack, making it perfect for continuing a trail run without compromising on hydration. The pack fits like a vest, with the front having multiple stretch pockets and a large zipper pocket.
It has a 15-liter capacity but also has space for two small water bottles in the front. We love that the pack also comes in two sizes so that it can fit various body sizes.
Gregory Nano 18 H20
- Why we love it: It gives us what we need on a budget
For those not looking to spend an arm and leg on a pack, the Gregory Nano 18 H2O is the perfect option. The pack can hold 3 liters of water which also offers quick drying if needed, plus 18 liters of gear. It’s lightweight and can remove the hydration bladder if you don’t need it.
The pack isn’t ideal for long hikes, though, since it doesn’t offer as much support as other packs and can’t carry as much. It is the perfect pack for anyone who occasionally goes hiking and wants a hydration bladder with them with a steal of a price.
CamelBak Octane 25
- Why we like it: Cushioned hip belt
CamelBak is one of the original hiking hydration packs on the market today. This pack has excellent on-the-go storage, a large zipper on the front for easy entry, and a cushioned hip belt with a pocket.
The hydration bladder can hold 2 liters of water and is easy to fill with an on and off valve. There is an integrated raincoat built into the pack, which is awesome, and is great for those who like to spend their entire day on the trail since it can hold a little more gear, and the capacity goes up to 25 liters.
Hydroflask Down Shift 14
- Why we like it: COLD WATER
Ok, so you can’t bring your beloved Hydroflask with you on the trail, but the brand makes an awesome pack as a replacement. The hydration pack is insulated to help keep your water cold and can hold 2 liters of water.
The pack holds 14 liters total and has a suspended back panel that keeps your hydration sleeve separate from your body.
For your phone and sunglasses, the pockets are lined with fleece for a little protection, and the webbing in the hip band helps keep the sweat at bay.
Evoc Ride 12L
- Why we like it: Lightweight with good storage
The Evoc Ride 12L is a lightweight option that doesn’t skimp on storage for those packing a lot or destined for longer hikes. The pack is comfortable with a supportive structure that offers straps to carry items like helmets.
The hydration bladder holds 2 liters of water, but you can replace it with a 3 liter option since the pack is big enough to hold it. The water valve is awesome and has a high flow blaster that gives a great flow rate.
Thule Vital 6L
- Why we like it: Drinking hose
Sometimes the drinking valve makes all the difference when it comes to a hydration pack. The Thule Vital 6 has a simplistic design that sits the hose on the right shoulder with a long, flexible magnetic strip to hold it. This allows for an easy grasp and a secure return when you’re done using it.
The pack is comfortable to wear and has wide hip and shoulder straps for even weight distribution. With a 6 liter storage volume, you can’t hold a lot of stuff with this pack, but the hose and water bladder make up for that.
Gregory Citro 24 H2O
- Why we like it: Large water capacity
Large water capacities in a hiking pack are a blessing in disguise. The pack can hold 3 liters of water but also 24 liters of capacity in the entire pack. The pack’s structure makes it easy to carry heavier loads but offers a lightweight feel.
The water reserve is easy to fill and clean, and the stiffer plastic makes it easy to dry and maintain shape. The pack also comes in a Juni 24 H2O option specially made for women.
Teton Sports Oasis 18
- Why we like it: Affordable and padded back panel
For $50, the Teton Sports Oasis 18 pack is a great option. The pack is durable and has plenty of pockets for what you need to bring along with you. The rain cover that comes with the pack is great for those surprise rains, and the hydration sleeve can hold 2 liters of water.
The water flow is a little slower than the other pack’s mention but still does a great job keeping you well hydrated while hiking. The pack can carry 18 liters of gear, making it worth the $50 price tag.
Platypus Hydration Pack
- Why we like it: Versatile and designed for women
The Platypus Hydration Pack isn’t only affordable and designed with women in mind. The straps were made for the female form, giving lasting comfort and a moisture-wicking mesh.
The hydration sleeve holds 3 liters of water, and the entire pack carries 8 liters of cargo. The quick disconnect drinking hose makes it easy to get water while on the trail, and with suspension looks, you can add a bottle of water if needed. Since the pack is on the smaller side, it’s also great for running.