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Best Hydration Packs For Day Hiking (Buying Guide & Reviews)

Hydration packs keep you refreshed during your outdoor adventure. But what should you choose and what features should you look for?

Best Hydration Packs for Day Hiking

Photo by Tony Webster

The hydration pack for day hiking comes handy during long hikes and on busy trails. Unlike tumblers and jugs, hydration packs look like backpacks, but with a tube where you can sip water. This makes hydration easier and you don’t have to stop just to get a quick drink. As much as you can purchase the first hydration pack you’ll see, you should peruse your options to get the best bang for the buck.

Hydration packs come in different types and a myriad of features. Take note that not all hydration packs in the market are golden, so make sure that you look for the right one. Here are the top five options for the best hydration backpack for day hiking.

1. CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack

Our top pick is the CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack. It has a 100-ounce capacity and a magnetic tube trap that keeps your tube secure and ready for use. Each sip gives 20% more water so you can easily hydrate yourself during the hike.

Also, this hydration pack is easy to refill with an on and off lever to prevent leaks. Aside from that, it comes with an air director back panel that keeps your back cool even if you have a full bladder on your back. It also has a detachable stability belt for challenging terrains.

CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Pack - 20 Percent More Water Per Sip - Easy
  • DURABLE MOUNTAIN BIKING HYDRATION BACKPACK: The CamelBak M.U.L.E. Mountain Biking Hydration Backpack has a narrow-gauge design that keeps it light and maneuverable. Even when it’s fully loaded for mountain biking, it won’t get in your way.
  • MORE WATER PER SIP: This backpack is built around the Crux reservoir, which is easier to load and refill and delivers 20% more water with every sip. The magnetic tube trap keeps the tube secure and accessible when you need it.

You can also take the crux out of the bag so you can freeze it on the fridge to have cold water during your hike. Aside from storing your hydration bladder, this bag also comes with several pockets where you can stash keys, tools, and small gadgets. This makes the CamelBak an ideal choice for both short and long hikes.

Overall, this hydrating bladder is durable and made for outdoor use. It’s a little pricey, but worth the splurge since it holds up the cold temperature for long.

Pros

  • Magnetic tube holder
  • Air director back panel
  • The crux be frozen inside the fridge

Cons

  • Suits shorter people

2. Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack

If CamelBak doesn’t suit your budget, the Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack is the next best choice. It has an 85-ounce capacity crux encased inside a 900-denier polyester bag. The bag has a PVC lining that resists tears and other rugged outdoor environments.

Moreover, this hydration pack has a wide screw cap so you can easily add ice cubes if you forgot to put the crux inside the fridge. We also like its sleek and elongated construction, which makes it more breathable for your back.

Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack Backpack 900D with 2.5L Bladder for Hiking, Biking, Running, Walking and Climbing (ACU)
  • Adjustable shoulder/chest straps. Fit chest sizes from teenagers/kids with 27" up to adults (men and women) with 50" chest size. The chest straps make sure it doesn't bounce when you move; Whistle buckle for emergency.
  • Rugged 900 Denier Polyester heavy-duty construction with PVC lining, resistant to tears and abrasion; Hands-free hydration hose with bite valve, gently biting the valve opens up the flow of water

Aside from the crux, you’ll also get two front pockets on the bag where you can place small tools, phone, keys, towels, and other bits and bobs. It also comes with a foam pad waist belt

The best thing about the Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack is its 60-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with the hydration pack, call their customer service, and they will send your money back.

Overall, this hydration pack is a total beast for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and mountain climbing.

Pros

  • Durable bag
  • PVC lining
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • The chest straps are a bit uncomfortable

3. SoJourner Bags Rave Hydration Pack

For those who want a vibrant bag to carry during your hikes, the SoJourner Bags Rave Hydration Pack. It’s very lightweight, even with the two-liter water on. It’s also highly adjustable since the chest straps suit both teens and adults.

Aside from that, this crux is BPA and PVC-free. It also has an antimicrobial property that keeps your water fresh and potable. We also like that it’s leak-proof and made of FDA-approved materials. It’s also paired with a stay-put thumb adjustment loops so your shoulder straps can be adjusted on the fly.

Sojourner Rave Hydration Pack Backpack - 2L Water Bladder Included for Festivals, Raves, Hiking, Biking, Climbing, Running and More (Multiple Styles) (Galaxy)
  • HYDRATION BLADDER INCLUDED = 2 Liter (0.5 Gallon) PVC & BPA FREE, ANTIMICROBIAL BLADDER made from food grade & FDA approved materials. Leak proof and easily removable via the main pocket. Oversized 2-inch wide screw cap allows ice for an even cooler drink & makes cleaning easy. Complete with kink-free tube & soft high flow bite-valve with easy 1-handed shutoff button
  • FESTIVAL CHOICE = Bright colors, unique styles, hydration backpack specifically designed for those who want to stand out at their next music festival, rave, edm or edc event and anywhere else style is as important as function.

Like the Unigear Hydration Pack, SoJourner comes with a large screw cap where you can drop ice cubes to bring cold water during your hike. Also, if you’re headed to a music festival or large outdoor gathering, this rave bag will surely blend in with the vibe.

The SoJourner also has a front pocket where you can keep your phone, keys, and other small items. You can also fit a small scarf into the bag. The bonus part is you can choose from a variety of rave colors.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy on the back
  • Padded straps for comfort
  • Attractive colors

Cons

  • The crux isn’t insulated (but not a big deal)

4. TETON Sports Hydration Pack

If you’re looking for a hydration pack that doubles as your hiking bag, you should consider the TETON Sports Hydration Pack. The bag is made of 600-denier Ripstop nylon that can wick moisture and endure harsh elements. Also, it comes with a hydration bladder that can store up to two liters of water.

Also, this has a sip tube that stays handy at all times. Aside from that, it also has a push-lock bite valve. It also has a large opening that fits ice cubes for cold water during your adventure.

Sale
TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Hydration Bladder; For Backpacking, Hiking, Running, Cycling, and Climbing; Black
  • SATISFY YOUR THIRST FOR ADVENTURE: Lightweight and comfortable; This hydration pack is a terrific companion for all your day-long or overnight hydration needs; Size 1100 Cubic Inches (18 L)
  • FREE HYDRATION BLADDER: 2-Liter; Durable, kink-free sip tube and push-lock cushioned bite valve; Large 2-inch (5 cm) opening for ice and easy cleaning (may contain latex)

The best part about this hydration backpack is it comes with a notched foam stabilizer as well as a mesh covering to keep your back cool for hours.

Aside from the hydration bladder compartment, the bag also comes with lots of pockets where you can stash your gears. It also has webbed front storage where you can tie blankets. There’s also an anti-shock chest strap with a free safety whistle.

If you got caught in the rain, you could make use of the sewn-in rain cover. This will keep your bag dry and it will prevent contamination on your drinking water.

Pros

  • Multi-functional hydration backpack
  • Expandable belt
  • Built-in rain cover

Cons

  • The whistle isn’t the best find, but it’s free anyway

5. Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Pack

If your hiking trail exposes you to water, you might as well get the Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Pack. It has a 2-liter capacity in its FDA-approved and BPA-free bladder. Most of all, it comes with thermal insulation, which will keep your water cold or hot for up to four hours!

Also, for a low price, this hydration backpack is surprisingly leak-proof. The bag is also equipped with three storage compartments where you can place your keys, phone, purses, clothes, and other items. It’s perfect for long hikes and camp-outs.

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack with 2L BPA Free Bladder - Keeps Liquid Cool up to 4 Hours – for Running, Hiking, Cycling, Camping (Black)
  • 1.PERFECT SET - Included 70-Ounce (2 Liter) BPA FREE FDA APPROVED food grade hydration bladder, test report will be sent to your e-mail
  • 2.THERMAL INSULATION - With the insulated bladder compartment, your drink can be kept cool for up to 4 hours, that's cool!

Aside from the functional bag and hydration bladder, you’ll also get a free tube brush cleaner. This way, you can keep your drinking tube clean after each use.

Even if it’s an affordable hydration pack, it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Just call them if you’re not happy with the purchase and they will send a refund.

In fact, it’s large that it tends to run a little bulky for short people. It can both be advantageous or disadvantageous.

Pros

  • Large for long hikes
  • Free tube cleaner
  • Money-back guarantee

Cons

  • None so far

Buying Guide

Are you looking for a hydration backpack for hiking? If so, make sure that you consider the following features:

Capacity

When it comes to hydration packs, the liquid capacity is the common make-or-break part. Of course, you’d want one that has a large capacity – anything between two to three liters. It’s suitable for most hikes.

This is necessary so you can bring the amount of water you need. It will also prevent the risk of heatstroke, especially if your day hiking is scheduled on a hot day.

Cargo size

Aside from the size of the bladder, you should also check the size of the bag. Sure thing, it can fit the bladder, but it’s always ideal if it can also house a few items. Look for additional pockets where you can stash your phone and a few things. This way, you no longer have to bring another bag just to have a pair of clothes in tow.

Material

First, make sure that the bladder has a food-grade and BPA-free material. This way, it’s safe to use even after dozens of hikes. Also, check if the tube material lasts long and doesn’t kink or get brittle over time.

Another thing that you have to check is the material of the bag itself. Look for a high-denier fabric that can endure the harsh elements of the outdoors. It’s also a big plus if you can find one that resists moisture.

Another big plus is an insulation material for the bladder. It keeps your water cold or warm for hours.

Fit

Just like other backpacks, you should check the fit of the shoulder and chest straps. Make sure that you measure this, especially if you are on a bigger spectrum. This way, you can hike comfortably and prevent the strain on your back.

Always choose a hydration pack with adjustable straps. If you’re comfortable with chest straps, look for one with removable parts.

Bladder design

Look for a bladder with a large screw cap. This will let you put ice cubes on your water while making cleanup a breeze. A rucksack-style hydration pack is also a good choice since it allows you to carry it on your back. There’s also a hydration belt where the bladder is encased in a fanny pack.

If you’re opting for a rucksack-style, always check the shape and if it will be comfortable for you to carry.

Whatever you choose, make sure that the bladder is easy to fill. Also, make sure that the bladder is leak-proof. The last thing you want to happen is for your water to drip while you’re in the middle of your hike.

Bag design and color

This is just a bonus part, but many hikers consider it paramount. Hydration packs are now available to various colors and fabric designs. You can choose one that suits your taste. It’s one thing that will make the hydration pack shopping experience more enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many liters of water should I drink a day hiking?

A: For very active hikes in hot weather, about one liter of water every two hours is the recommended amount. Still, this will vary based on your body size and the recommended water intake.

Q: What size hydration bladder should I get?

A: Hydration bladders are available in one-liter, two-liter, and three-liter sizes. It’s best to purchase the largest one so you won’t run out of water supply in the middle of your hike. It may cost more, but it keeps you hydrated all day long.

Q: How do I clean my bladder pack?

A: Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and hot water. Pour this into your bladder pack, shake it a little, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. After that, wash your bladder pack with soap and flowing water. After that, air dry the bladder pack to prevent the growth of mold.

Q: Can you put ice in a hydration pack?

A: You can add small ice cubes on your hydration pack if you want a cold drink during your hike. You can also freeze it overnight, so it’s cold and ready the next day.

Q: How do I keep my hydration pack from freezing?

A: If you’re hiking on a cold day, your biggest enemy is the freezing temperature. You can fill the bladder with warm water so it will take time to freeze. Also, take small sips from time to time to recirculate the water. Also, blow into the tube after each sip so the water will go back to the bladder.

Conclusion

The best hydration pack for day hiking is an excellent purchase for avid hikers. It allows you to bring enough water without holding large tumblers and jugs. Aside from that, it can also double as a hiking bag where you can keep a few things handy. It’s a gear that you can use for years and in a variety of outdoor activities.


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