Best Hydration Packs for Runners
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Hydration packets do more than just offer a hands-free alternative to traditional water bottles. They serve a multitude of different purposes all geared towards making your running experience more enjoyable.
So whether you’re looking for a lightweight belt to stash a few more snacks in, or a heavy-duty pack to keep up with your version of extreme sports, there is a hydration pack ready to serve your every purpose.
Hydration can be done through more than just periodic sips of water. Sometimes having a juicy fruit with you on one of those long runs is just what your body needs to replenish its fluids (as well as its sugars and minerals).
Quick Look at Our Top Picks for Best Hydration Packs for Runners
- Best Overall: Salomon Advanced Skin Backpack
- Best Affordable: MIRACOL Hydration Backpack
- Best Hydration Pack For Marathon Running: Nathan SpeedDraw Insulated Flask
- Best Hydration Pack For Running Half Marathon: BRINGIT Running Belt
- Best Hydration Pack For Trail Running: Hydrosleeve
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Best Rated Hydration Packets for Runners Reviewed
Why Not a Water Bottle?
When it comes to hydration – especially during physical activity – a water bottle seems like the obvious answer. However, hydrations systems (like hydration packets) tend to come out on top when it comes to the hydration game.
- A water bottle is generally smaller than the typical hydration packet. Even those that are larger, tend to be heavy and bulky – putting a damper on your speed and fluidity while running. Whereas a hydration packet is worn and out of the way.
- It is easier to store one hydration packet, as opposed to a large number of heavy and space consuming water bottles.
- Water bottles tend to be made from flimsy plastic, and wouldn’t be able to sustain multiple different temperatures. A hydration packet, on the other hand, can withstand and retain different temperatures of water.
- Studies have proven that runners are less likely to drink from water when it’s hard to access, a hydration packet allows instant access to water without any hassle. (Which also means that you’re more likely to drink and stay hydrated during a workout.)
- A hydration packet (especially those with cooling installations) can keep more water cooler for longer. Especially when compared to the water bottle which is generally made from clear plastic – and attracting sun and heat.
- A hydration packet may be an initial expense, but overall you will save lots of money by stopping those pesky water bottle expenses every couple of weeks.
- A hydration packet can be used multiple times over; making it not only cheaper but also more eco-friendly.
How to Choose a Hydration Pack
There are typically two types of hydration packets; lightweight and heavy duty.
- Lightweight – Lightweight packs are made to serve as a place for short distance runners to store their bottles and other key items. (e.g. Keys, Phone, Snacks.) And are generally worn on the waist or arms for easy drinking access.
- Heavy Duty – Heavy duty packs are generally worn on the back and meant for more experienced runners who would be running distances that require 2 – 3 liters of drinking water. These packs also generally have more storage space and connect to the reservoir by a drinking hose which allows the runner to keep a steady pace while also staying hydrated.
The Dangers of Dehydration
Being that water plays a major role in a whole slew of our bodily functions, being dehydrated can present many dangers to your health.
- Rising Body Temperature – When your body lacks water it becomes unable to regulate its own temperature. Without the right temperature, your organs can’t function properly and will eventually begin to overheat and slowly shut down
- Heart Disease – One of the first bodily systems to suffer from fluid loss is the cardiovascular system. When there’s a lack of water in your body, your blood grows thicker and the heart is forced to work harder in order to spread your blood around your body. This causes subjects your arterial wall to added pressure and causes your blood pressure to rise – which in turn can cause heart disease.
- Kidney Failure – One of the main causes of kidney related issues is dehydration. The kidney’s job is to filter out waste from the blood, and in order to do this job effectively, the kidneys require oxygenated blood. Without water to oxygenate the blood, the kidneys can’t function properly and waste begins to build up inside the kidneys.
- Hypovolemic Shock – This comes as a cause of exaggerated water deficiency. When your blood volume drops, your blood pressure drops with it and results in a lack of blood to all vital organs. The problem with this is, if your organs aren’t receiving enough blood and oxygen then they can no longer function and your entire bodily system will begin to slowly shut down.
How to Avoid Dehydration While Running
Avoiding dehydration can be a pretty simple process:
Staying hydrated can be as easy as keeping water with you throughout the day and drinking when you get hungry or thirsty. (Thirst oftentimes manifests itself as hunger in the body.)
Fruit and fruit juice is another great way to keep yourself hydrated as long as it’s in addition to water and not instead
- Drinking Before a Run – Drinking before a run ensures that you are hydrated to begin with. This helps to avoid dehydration once the physical activity begins.
- Sipping Water During a Run – Because drinking a lot while running can cause sloshing and nausea, it’s best to just take small periodical sips when your mouth begins to feel dry. When it comes to when to drink, trust your gut.
- Drinking After a Run – It is equally important to drink after a run in order to ensure that you remain hydrated.
Pro Tip – Drinking energy drinks and other similar fluids while running, helps replace the salts and minerals that are lost through sweat.
The Benefits of Staying Hydrated
Hydration comes with many benefits, not only can it keep you from getting sick, but it can even ensure that you are always on the top of your game.
- Boosts Confidence and Energy – The lack of even just a little bit of fluid (as little as 1%) can affect your mood and cognitive function. Because the human brain is sensitive to even the slightest bit of dehydration, the lack of water can immediately affect its functioning ability. So to stay happy, stay hydrated.
- Relieves Headaches – Studies have proven that fluid loss can be directly connected to headaches and migraines. So, perhaps if you have a recurring headache or a pounding migraine, that is your brains way of telling you to take a sip.
- Eases Constipation – Drinking water can ensure that you don’t end up along with the 4.5 million Americans that are chronically constipated. Studies have proven that fluid intake has a direct correlation to constipation and the lack of fluid is a major risk factor within constipation as well.
- Weight Loss – Studies have found that drinking water can quicken your metabolic rate up to 30%. Hydration supports thermogenesis, so by drinking at least 2 liters every day, you’ll begin to lose more calories. Moreover, drinking before meals will result in you eating less at meal time, and consuming less calories.
- Physical Performance – Feeling tired all day can be a direct result form not drinking enough, we lose fluids while literally doing nothing and therefor need to be consistently replenishing. And since 75% of muscle tissue is made up of water, your physical performance is also affected when you don’t get enough water.
Hydration packets are the hands-free solution to the water bottle. They are generally waist packs or backpacks filled with accessible bottles or packets of water made from rubber or plastic. This hands-free solution makes hydration easy during even the most intense of workouts.
Hydration packets are a great way to keep every runner hydrated and happy, and with the wide range of different styles and functions, it should be no problem finding one that works perfectly for you. Hydration packets can serve as more than just a place to store water, it’s a great place to keep snacks, fruits and any other writing necessities. So, don’t put yourself at risk, when a hydration packet can make being prepared easy. After all, your run, doesn’t have to be your race against time.