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Buying a Hydration Pack: 5 Things You Need to Know

May 8th, 2013

Shopping for a hydration pack for your run training this spring and summer? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Fit

Fit is the most important thing to think about when choosing a hydration pack. No matter how awesome a pack is, you’ll never wear it if it doesn’t fit properly. Some packs, like the Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 5 Set Pack, are available in sizes. Even if the pack you like best is not available in sizes, many offer adjustable shoulder and sternum straps with side compression cinch straps so you can create a nearly custom fit. Women might find an even better fit in a women’s specific pack, like the Nathan VaporShape or Nathan Intensity 2L Race Vests.

For guidance on finding the right fit, watch Ultimate Direction’s Video on Vest Measurements.

2. Pocket Placement

If you want to rock a pack with pockets and pouches, make sure they are located in a place that will be comfortable for you. All the packs we carry are designed for running, so it really comes down to what you think will be most convenient. Think about your range of motion when running, and choose a pack with pockets that will be easily accessible, but won’t get in the way. Ask yourself… “Do I need several front access pockets like featured on the UltrAspire Revolution? Or do I need a pack with rear pockets to access things when resting or re-filling my hydration reservoir, like the CamelBak XCT?”

3. Hydration Capacity

Your hydration needs will vary depending on the intensity and duration of your workout, how much you sweat, and your personal preference. Think about how much fluid you’ll want to carry with you, and select a pack that can accommodate your needs.

If you want to keep the weight down and just carry less hydration, try a more streamlined 2-liter vest like the Nathan HPL #028 Race Vest. If your hydration needs vary from one run to the next, try a pack with a bladder and additional pockets for bottles or flasks. When fully loaded, the Ultimate Direction Highline Pack can provide well over 3 liters of hydration. Read more…

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