Choosing a Hydration Backpack: Seven Key Points to Consider

If you go jogging in the summer and you will know the importance of staying well hydrated before, after and especially during your training. If you also like to run on the mountain making long routes in which you do not have handy sources during the trip (as is usually the case in the city) you have probably already thought about getting a hydration pack.

Hydration packs are one of the star complements of the runners, so we tell you seven key points to keep in mind if you decide to get one of them.

Do you really need it? Why do you need it?

It is no more or better runner that runs with more gadgets or more expensive accessories. In fact, in this sense, less is better : the fewer things you carry with you when you go running (carrying only the essentials), the lighter you go and you will have less worries during training.

If you are going to run around the city, if your training exits are short (an hour or an hour and a half) or if you have hydration points during the journeys, it is very possible that a hydration backpack is not necessary for you.

If, on the other hand, you go out on the mountain, your outings are long or you do not find places to hydrate yourself, a backpack is a great accessory, often indispensable. First of all consider what you are going to use the backpack for : type of routes, how many kilometers you are going to carry out at each exit (to assess the need for water or replacement drinks), the type of terrain, the weather … A Every need corresponds to a different backpack.

Hydration Backpack
Image Source: Google Image

The size of the hydration pack

How much capacity do you need in your hydration pack? Again, it depends on the type of exits you are going to make with it. The capacity of hydration packs is measured in liters, but eye, because these do not match the amount of liters of liquid you can carry in them.

If you’re going to do half-distance races, opt for a backpack with a pair of drums to carry water and refreshments, a few pockets for energy gels or bars and a small compartment to carry a mini-medicine chest with you emergency.

If you are going to do long distance races, keep in mind that you may need a backpack with a greater capacity to carry other types of accessories such as a thermal blanket (mandatory in many mountain races), a raincoat, walking sticks should you need them, Footwear and spare clothing, etc.

How much water do I need for my training?

The capacity of the water reservoirs of the hydration pack is another key point to consider when buying our backpack. The size of the drums generally corresponds to that of the backpack : they are usually located on the front of the backpack handles and can have a capacity (between the two) of a liter or liter and a half of liquid approximately.

Another possibility is to make us with a backpack with a bag hydration system : the bag that we fill with water or refreshments is located in the back of the backpack and has a greater capacity (generally up to three liters). Depending on the length of our workouts and races, we can opt for the system that best suits us.

Hydration Backpack
Image Source: Google Image

Choose a hydration backpack with a good fit

One of the most important points to keep in mind when choosing a hydration backpack is the adjustment capacity that it has : at least the handles must be adjustable and also to prevent the backpack from moving or wobbling during the race (especially if we make hard descents in mountain) this must have extra adjustments in the area of the chest and abdomen, which are also adjustable.

Remember that in addition, most of the hydration packs have different sizes, so it is a good idea to try a few different brands and sizes before opting for a specific model.

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Beware of the weight of the backpack

Another thing to keep in mind is the weight of the backpack, both empty and when we carry it loaded with our drums, our medicine cabinet, etc. The hydration packs are usually very light: depending on the size of the bags usually around 800 grams in vacuum. To this we must add at least one kilo more for the liquids we carry with us and maybe another kilo and a half for the bars, gels, medicine chest, etc.

It is important that, in the event that we are going to use the hydration backpack in any race, we will first get used to running with it in training, as a test. Try to make at least one long roll with the same weight that you are going to take in the race to see how your body responds to the extra weight and to get right with the distribution of the same: do not leave anything at random on the “D” day.

Choose an ergonomic backpack

The comfort when carrying the backpack of hydration is also very important to run with it. If this is the first bag you are going to buy the best you can do is locate a specialized store where they can help you choose or at least go to a multi-brand store where you can try different models of different firms until you find the one that best goes with you.

The back of the backpack, which is in contact with our back, must be adequately padded to provide an ergonomic support and must also be made of a flexible material, which adapts to the movements of our spine but at the same time It remains firm without moving despite the movement of the race.

Hydration Backpack
Image Source: Google Image

A breathable and waterproof moisturizing backpack

The material in which the backpack is made is also important when choosing our own. On the one hand, and since we were talking before the back of it (which, as we said, should be ergonomic and flexible), this area must be made of breathable material that facilitates the evacuation of sweat. It is customary that a backpack that does not transpire properly in this area will leave our back soaked, with the consequent feeling of discomfort while we are running.

On the other hand, it is very interesting that the backpack is made of a waterproof material. Especially if we run in mountain, the weather can be unpredictable, and if we take with us other accessories like the mobile phone these can end up ruined after a good storm in case the backpack let the water pass.

Bonus track: pockets, pockets and more pockets

One more detail that surely will enchant to the fans of the organization (among which I include myself) is the inclusion in our backpack of hydration of a pile of pockets of different sizes and of different access in which we can store all our belongings and have them always accessible.

We can use the front pockets of easy access to carry the sticks or the energy gels that we are going to use during our training and that it is convenient to have at hand. Other interior pockets can be used to carry the medicine cabinet, the wallet (remember that identification is always necessary), a separate pocket for the mobile phone and perhaps an extra charger … The more pockets, the better the organization, and the less time we will use to access To everything we carry.

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Roger Walker

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