Sport-specific hiking hydration systems are easy to transport, lightweight, and compact to make a perfect piece of kit for hikers, runners, or cyclists.

>>Check out our Best Hydration Packs<<

Once a hydration pack has been used, it has many benefits (efficiency, performance, convenience, and cool factor) to appreciate and simplify the process of staying well-hydrated on the trails.

Hydration packs are the most convenient option to stay hydrated on the trails. There is no need to stop to reach for a bottle or even slow down.

If you have a pack that keeps the drinking tube in the right place (not always achievable on certain models) it is possible to get the liquid refreshment almost effortlessly.

Plus, because the water intake on the hydration systems is much simpler; there is a greater chance that you will sip more often which should result in better performance and efficiency on the trails.

Hiking hydration systems

Hydration systems are perfect for virtually any on-the-go activity and the perfect no-fuss solution to stay well-hydrated on the trails.


Hiking hydration systems are split into different categories to match the specific type of activity, and include:

  • 1-2 liter hydration packs: Great for fitness walkers, cyclists (recreational), and trail-runners
  • 2-3 liter hydration packs: Use the large packs for day-hikers, mountain bikers, climbers, cyclists (touring), skiers, snowboarders, and backpackers
  • 4+ liter hydration packs: Perfect for the long-distance hiker that is well-away from clean, natural water sources

A preferred hiking reservoir or pack should have the ability to accept enough water to stay well-hydrated for the duration of the activity, while also proving space to pack the must-have pieces of trail supplies.


A hydration pack must be manufactured in a durable material to ensure it is able to handle the difficult terrain and debris in the backcountry.  In other words, your hydration pack need to be able to take a beating AND also protect the bladder within.

A preferred hydration pack should have reinforced features or rip stop sections to give protection where needed.

Hiking packs are constantly snagged on bushes and trees, so make sure the chosen bag has the ability to last the test of time.  We find it very useful to have a hydration pack with one or more sternum straps to keep more secure to your back.  This also helps prevent from swaying which leads to fatigue and more chance to get snagged.


Hiking hydration systems should be easy-to-clean and maintain. Most of the modern packs come with purpose-made cleaning instruments which are effective at cleaning the drink tube and making sure the actual bladder is free of bacteria build-up.

Cleaning tools can also be purchased separately if not included.  Keep in mind that the quality of the water you’re drinking is very important so a clean bladder is paramount.

Plus, the material of certain backpacks can include antimicrobial properties whicht the is useful for preventing or slowing the growth of mold or germs.


Other features to expect from the hydration systems are add-on extras, such as helmet guards, reflective or high-visibility tabs, and MP3 compatible areas.

Plus, extra storage with outside pockets is certain to help keep organized on the trails.


Most of the latest backpacks intended for hiking or similar outdoor activities come with a pocket or pouch to accept a detachable hydration system.

This makes it possible to lift out the water bladder and use for several different activities and provides quick water access via the drinking tube and bite value.

Why use the waist packs

An alternative to the complete hiking hydration systems is the waist packs with an adjustable strap to fit around the waist and pocket or straps to accept a water bottle.

Waist packs are designed to be comfortable, practical, and lightweight and a perfect choice for the short hikes or cycle rides.

A preferred hiking fanny pack should include zip pockets (great for small essentials) and high visibility features.