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How to choose a hydration pack

How to choose the best hydration pack

Looking for the best hydration backpack for your next outdoor adventure? In this guide we go through the different kinds to help you choose the best one.

Anyone who likes to exercise knows the importance of staying hydrated and sometimes a simple water bottle just doesn’t get the job done. That is where a hydration pack comes in. Hydration packs are designed specifically to allow you to comfortably carry different amounts of water while also giving you the utility of a backpack.

As with most gear today, there are a lot of options when it comes to hydration packs, so let’s look at how to pick the right one for you!
How to choose a hydration pack

Types of hydration packs

1. Hydration backpacks – These have a standard backpack design but come in a wide variety of sizes. They are popular for cycling, mountain biking, hiking, skiing and snowboarding. Backpacks are best for users who need to carry additional items such as extra layers, rain gear, nutrition or tools.

2. Hydration hip packs – This style of pack has become popular recently with mountain bikers, but it is a good option for hikers too. Hip packs keep the weight off your back which helps you stay cooler in the warm weather. Additionally, and for cyclists specifically, this style of pack distributes the weight to your lower body and around your hips, helping you maintain balance.

How to choose a hydration pack

Hydration pack size

It’s important to remember that carrying water on your back may feel a little heavy at first. 1 liter of water adds approximately 2 lbs to your pack, so carefully consider how much you need.

1. 0.5 liters (16 fluid ounces) is a good amount for lower intensity activities like walking or hiking.

2. 1 – 1.5 liters (32 – 50 fluid ounces) works well for riders, runners or hikers who want to keep overall weight down so they can still move quickly.

3. 2 – 2.5 liters (70 – 85 fluid ounces) is the obvious choice for those who are planning longer adventures and want a pack large enough to carry other types of gear.

Thule hydration pack collections

How to choose a hydration pack

Thule Rail hydration pack

Designed for serious mountain bikers, this series comes either in a backpack or a hip pack depending on the type of riding you prefer. The Thule Rail hip packs come with or without integrated hydration options depending on the size you choose. The backpacks in this collection are for enduro focused riders with lash points for quickly storing protective gear. The 12L Pro model even has an integrated back protector.

How to choose a hydration pack

Thule Vital hydration pack

Light and fast, this series of award winning hydration backpacks have been engineered to feel like an extension of your riding jersey. Quick access pockets wrap around your hips making it easy to grab something while you’re on the trail. This pack is ideal for XC mountain bikers who want to be as efficient on the ascents as they are on the descents or gravel cyclists who need to carry more water and gear than their bike can handle.

How to choose a hydration pack

Thule Uptake hydration pack

This series of packs has a versatile design that will work comfortably on a bike ride or a hike. Thule Uptake packs include a variety of different internal storage capacities: 12L, 8L or 4L and a smaller size for children. All these packs come with several zippered pockets to help keep essentials like tools, food or extra gear organized.

Key features of Thule hydration packs

All Thule hydration packs, along with the Thule Rail Hip Pack 4L, come with the ReTrakt magnetic hose return system. This innovation uses a slim magnetic system on the hose which means that when you’re done taking a drink, simply release the bite valve and the hose will be pulled back to the backpack or hip strap.

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