Best Water Bottles and Hydration Packs for Runners
Running in HOT Weather is Hard! And right now a lot parks and water fountains are closed. So I’m breaking down the top 3 most popular ways to carry water while you run. This can help you run strong in the heat!
There are a lot of running gear hydration options and most fall into one of 3 categories:
Handheld Water Bottles
Waist Pack or Hydration Belts
Hydration Packs or Hydration Vests
I’m sharing the pros and cons of each so you can decide the best type of running gear for you.
Runner Water Bottles, Belts and Packs
Handheld Water Bottles for Running
Handheld Water Bottles: This is a small water bottle made to be carried in your hand with a strap or place for your hand to fit through.
Handheld Water Bottles Pros:
Easy to drink from. Some have a bite and sip style so it’s completely 1 handed.
Easy to refill.
Compact & light-weight. Especially the soft flask style.
You don’t have to wear a belt or vest.
Lowest cost option.
Handheld Water Bottles Cons:
Can impact your running gait and arm swing since one side of your body is holding something.
May feel tedious to carry – especially if you’re not used to it.
Small bottles don’t carry much.
You may be tempted to ditch it by the side of the road at mile 18 of a marathon because you’re having a hard race and it suddenly feels like it weighs 86 pounds… or maybe that’s just me.
Overall: Best for someone who doesn’t want to wear a fuel belt or hydration vest. And/or someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on running gear right now.
Running Belt Hydration
Running Belt Hydration: this is like a running belt made to also hold a water bottle or small bottles around your waist.
Hydration Belt Pros:
If you already wear a running belt you’re already comfortable wearing something like this.
Keeps your hands and arms free.
Some styles are made for multiple small bottles so you could carry water and electrolytes. (All the other styles just have 1 option.)
Most hydration belts have extra room to carry keys, phone, fuel, etc.
Hydration Belt Cons:
Some bottles or belts bounce a lot – especially when full.
The bottles can ‘swish’ around a lot – which can be hard to get used to and sometimes annoying.
It can feel heavy.
Some styles are hard to grab, sip and keep running. So you can’t run and drink at the same time.
Best for runners who already wear a running belt, want to keep their hands free, want to carry hydration and fuel/phone/keys/etc.
Hydration Vest / Hydration Pack
Hydration Vest / Hydration Pack: this is a small backpack with a bladder inside for liquid. It has a long straw that comes over your shoulder so you can grab and sip as you run.
Hydration Vest Pros:
Can hold a lot of water or electrolytes – so you may not have to worry about refills.
Different sizes and styles so you can find a design that fits your body.
Easy to grab & sip from a straw while running.
Keeps your hands and arms free.
Often has small to carry fuel, keys, bandaids, face masks, sunblock, mascara, your teddy bear, PB&J, passport, socks, all your hopes and dreams etc.
Hydration Vest Cons:
Most expensive option.
Holds a lot of water so doesn’t seem ideal for shorter runs.
May bounce a lot and can be hard to get used to wearing.
Hard to clean if you use anything besides water.
Hard to refill.
Best for runners who need a lot of water, can’t refill, are going to be out for a long time, also want to use it for other activities like hiking, skiing, theme parks on a hot day, etc.
So – which one’s the best for YOU? First – Decide what category you want – handheld / belt or pack… Then, within that group – narrow down the list based on your budget, how many ounces you want to hold and style and fit you need.