Hydration Packs

The Top 2022 Hydration Packs | Reviews + Buyer’s Guide (2022)

Hydration is one of the keys to being alive and comfortable on the trail, regardless of the duration or location of your trek. There are several ways to make sure you drink a lot of water during the day, but a hydration packs is the most convenient.

A hydration pack is an all-in-one system that includes a stylish daypack and hydration reservoir. It helps make loading, carrying, and accessing water a breeze. We’ve compiled a list of our top hiking hydration packs, ranging from simple jacket types to functionality designs capable of carrying an overnight load.

So, what exactly is a Hydration Pack?

Drinking enough water on the trail is critical for carrying out at a constant and limber, and nothing helps then a hydration pack. All you have to do is add water to these very cheap pieces of kit, which include a daypack and an integrated hydration tank.

There are numerous hydration packs available for several activities, including bicycling, jogging, winter sports, and more, but we’ll focus on hiking-specific styles. We break out the category below, covering backpack features, hydration reservoirs, and compatibility, among other things.

A water source addition to functional (occasionally in its own solely devoted pocket), the pipe routes tidily, and many use permanent magnet connections to keep the bite nozzle in place on the sternum strap—these are by far the most functional configurations for on-trail hydration and the most comfortable for those just getting started. There is no better option if you don’t already own a daypack or tank and require a full-featured solution.

These were, however, different options for achieving the very same final result. Many daypacks in 2022 (including the popular Osprey Talon 22) will be hydration-compatible, with specialized tank sleeves, ports, and routing clips. Some water reservoirs, such as HydraPak’s Ultimate Hiking Bundle, even come with tube magnets to connect to your pack.

We break down the most favorite hiking hydration packs, from simple vest-inspired versions to feature-rich designs.

Overall, the best hiking hydration pack

Osprey Skarab 30 ($140)

1 pound 8.6 ounces

  • 18, 22, and 30-liter capacities
  • 2.5L tank included within the hydration
  • It’s the perfect balance of storage, convenience, and comfort.
  • The hipbelt pockets are too small, and there is only a single size available.

Although there are many hydration packs to select from, many hikers will gain from a simple yet useful design that provides adequate gear and water storage, a well-cushioned yet reduced undercarriage, and easy organization.

The Osprey Skarab 30 (and women’s Skimmer 28) is our favorite optimum model: A premium 2.5-liter reservoir, zippered pockets on either side, a spacious living accessories pockets, hipbelt pockets, and a front dump pocket for stashing additional properties are included in addition to the huge storage compartment with the big bucket-style opening.

The 30-liter version has plenty of room for a down jacket and shell, as well as snacks for the day and other items, and the organization and on-the-go access are well-thought-out and practical. We’ve tested several hydration packs, and the Skarab is most well designed for a day of a hiker in our perspective.

A hydration pack can be used in a variety of ways: Our options range from full-featured and comfortable rigs to lightweight vests for fast and light activities. Many of these packs are too big or too small, too overbuilt or too sleek for a typical day trek; on the other hand, the Skarab fits well.

We have several minor complaints: The Skarab and Skimmer only come in one torso size, and the hipbelt compartments don’t fit our standard-sized smartphone.

However this is a pack that makes hydration simple—just fill the quality HydraPak reservoir, drop it into its pocket behind the back panel, and connect the rapid hose, which runs cleanly through a port and is secured to the sternum strap by a magnet. It doesn’t get much better than this for an all-in-one solution that costs only $140—and Osprey provides it in three sizes to meet your trail demands.

Gregory Nano 18 H2O ($80)

  • 1 pound 7 ounces
  • 18 and 22-liter capacities with a 3-liter reservoir for hydration
  • A versatile and cheap pack that holds 3 liters of water.
  • We don’t have much in the way of support, capacity, or organization.

The Gregory Nano 18 H2O is a high-quality yet economical product from a firm that knows how to create a strong pack for short day treks, non-linear and non rock climbing, or ordinary travel. The value is outstanding. For $80, you receive a lightweight 18-liter pack with a variety of storage and functions, as well as a 3-liter fast 3D Hydro reservoir.

An ultralight 18-liter pack with a variety of storage and amenities is also included. The Nano is simplified enough just to fit within a larger pack and grab out for rapid mountain missions, with exception of designs with noticeably thicker suspension systems. It’s also versatile. The hydration reservoir can be removed.

Instead, place a 13-inch laptop in the back storage. Overall, the Nano 18 H2O is our favorite budget choice for 2022 for a simple hydration pack that can serve dual duty for daily use.

We prefer a bit more space, greater support, and organizational features for most day walks, but the Nano can suffice for short treks or activities that don’t demand a lot of kits. However, if you’re heading out for the entire day or prefer a smooth user experience above cost and weight savings, we’d choose a backpack like the Skarab. Penny-pinchers, on the other hand, might be tempted to put together their own Frankenstein kit.

However, the Nano H2O’s pricing is difficult to beat, and the easy design surely contributes to the simplicity. CamelBak’s Arete 14 is also worth mentioning, as it has an even more stripped-down design, but will cater to the specified loss and valuation population.

Osprey Manta 34 ($200)

  • 3 pounds, 1.4 ounces
  • 24 and 34L capacity
  • 2.5L tank included in hydration
  • The hanging mesh back panel and steel frame provide excellent support and breathability.
  • It’s overbuilt in terms of support and features.

The suspension mechanisms on the majority of the hydration packs offered are more akin to naked daypacks than camping packs. However, Osprey’s Manta 34 is an excellent option for individuals who require additional support. Airspeed back panel with aluminum frame and hanging mesh.

The Osprey doesn’t skimp on convenience or weight distribution, with a thickly cushioned mesh hipbelt and straps. Furthermore, unlike most designs, the Manta’s harness can be modified by 4 inches to match a variety of torso lengths. Add a comprehensive collection of features.

In most aspects, it’s overbuilt. The design is chaotic and complicated, with nearly too many pockets to lose your stuff, and the 22-liter version felt bulkier than the Osprey Skarab 30 above.

As a consequence, more so than the Skarab or Nano above, the massive Manta is difficult to carry inside the other backpack or luggage while traveling, and most hikers don’t want this much structure for a 34-liter capacity. You won’t find a more comfy, supporting, or ventilated hydration pack, and Osprey’s reservoirs are well-built and especially easy to dry and clean.

REI Co-op Flash 15 Hydration Vest ($120)

  • 14 oz. weight
  • 15-liter capacity
  • 1.75L tank included in hydration
  • A running-vest-inspired design with hiking-capacity features.
  • Limited storage space and discomfort when overloaded.

Having the ability to hydrate constantly stopping is beneficial to trail efficiency, but having snacks and other needs on hand can boost your speed. The REI Co-op Flash 15 is a wonderful tool for the job, mixing the capacity of a racing jacket with a hiking-inspired style. A compact main container is located in the back.

The jacket front has two spill pockets, as well as multiple stretch pockets on either side and one huge zippered pocket for necessities. The Flash, like other vests, sits high on the torso and lacks a hipbelt, but armpit modifications and two chest straps keep the burden close to your body.

Overall, the Flash 15 is a good choice if you like the look of a running hydration vest but want a little more functionality and durability for hiking. Although its minimalist form, the Flash 15 is nevertheless somewhat configurable, with an ice ax strap and four bungees that can be linked in a wide range of formats for decompression, hiking pole carry, and other uses.

Please remember that the 15-liter volume is limited for short day treks, and you’ll want to maintain your load modestly because there’s no hipbelt. Furthermore, the front pockets of the Flash can hold two 500-milliliter (or smaller) bottles, but you’ll have to buy them individually.

The Osprey Duro 15 ($140) and NathanTrail Mix 12L ($150) are also good options in this category, but experts believe the Flash 15 is the best option for hikers, and its $120 price tag is hard to beat. Moreover, unlike many other packs on our list, the REI comes in two sizes to fit a variety of body types, while the Swiftland is available in three.

Gregory Inertia 24 H2O ($120)

  • 1 pound 11.7 ounces
  • 18 and 24L capacity
  • 2L refill included in hydration
  • Great space and a hydration pocket that also serves as a laptop sleeve.
  • We like the Skarab’s 30-liter capacity.

The favorite all-around hydration pack for day hikers is the Osprey Skarab 30, but Gregory’s new Inertia 24 H2O is not far off. With simplified dampers and a feature package, the Inertia strikes a similar combination of comfort and organization. A separate tank pocket makes it simple to fill with water.

With a simplified steering system and feature package, the Impulse strikes a similar combination of comfort and organization. A separate storage pocket, handy hanging clip, and easy-to-access rapid make loading water a breeze. The Gregory Inertia, like the Osprey, has a quilted mesh back panel, shoulder straps, and hip belt.

A zipped utility pocket, side pockets we like that Gregory includes one dump pocket—the Osprey’s side pockets are both zippered, hip belt pockets, with a front elastic, are all standard features. Overall, the Equilibrium is a user-friendly hydration pack that will satisfy most casual day hikers’ needs.

The Inertia is a strong contender for our favorite hydration pack of the year, but it falls short for a few reasons. For starters, while the 24-liter design is adequate for mild-weather trekking with minimum gear, we favor the Skarab’s 30-liter capacity and reduced weight for year-round use or if we need to transport a full-frame camera or a sleeping cover.

Indicated minor predilection for the Osprey’s hydration storage tank, which can be flipped inside out for ease of cleaning and drying the small aperture in Gregory’s 3D Hydro makes cleaning more challenging, however, the incorporated hanger and shape-holding design aid drying. Moreover, although the Skarab’s bucket-style opening provides easy access to the original compartment, the Interia’s classic U-shaped zipper allows for a little more restriction.

The capacity of Hydration Packs

The volume of the hydration packs listed above ranges from 12-liter Nathan Trail Mix to 34-liter Osprey Manta. Furthermore, many designs are available in a variety of sizes. For example, the Osprey Skarab is available in 18, 22, and 30-liter sizes.

Anywhere between 20 and 30 liters is a good spot for the all daypack that can handle everything from local climbs to full-day hikes. These bags have well-rounded organizing systems (along with a range of zippered compartments) and adequate suspension systems, yet they’re not overbuilt or cumbersome.


Trail bike hydration packs, on the other hand, are similar to hiking packs but are shorter in length and have a variety of bike-specific amenities such as helmet and bike light connections and flashing patches. Furthermore, heated reservoir sleeves and tubes, as well as bite valve covers, are used in snow-specific hydration packs to keep your water from freezing.

If you compete in many sports, you probably have multiple hydration packs. The changes may appear minor—after all, they’re all designed to carry gear and provide easy hydration—but we’ve discovered that the function models provide a lot more ease and satisfaction.

Must Read: The Best Trail Running Shoes of 2022

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