Top 7 Best hydration packs Reviewed ׀ Ultimate Buying Guide

By Kevin Arnold | Hiking

Jan 08
Best hydration packs

Introduction

Gearing up for an all-day long adventure with a water bottle sounds irrelevant, isn’t it? Last thing you want for yourself during adventure sport is dehydration. Instead of carrying bulky water bottles, why not choose the best hydration packs that are offered in various sizes, innovative designs, and features to suit your excursions?

Hydration packs undergo quite a lot of abuse. You need to look for the one that can endure few years of use. With myriads of products flooding the market, all featuring different capacities, styles, and designs, how to know which the best is?

Our experts have put together a list of Top 7 hydration packs, with every feature explained thoroughly. Without further ado, let’s begin:

Types of Hydration Packs

Hydration Backpacks 

Hydration Backpack

Most of the hydration packs in this review fall under the category of backpack-style. These packs are small in size and are integrated with a water bladder attached to a tube and a valve. Hydration backpacks come in a variety of sizes, bladder capacities, brands, and features to suit requirements of different users and different outdoor sport.

This type of hydration packs come with shoulder straps, and sometimes even chest and waist straps.

Hydration Waist Packs

Hydration Waist Packs

Lumbar-style hydration packs or “Fanny” packs have no shoulder straps at all. Rather, they can be attached to your body only around the waist. Much smaller in size, these are mostly used by mountain bike riders due to its innovative design and compact size. Bladder capacity is very limited in this pack style.

Name of the product

Size of the Bladder

Rating

​Pric​​​​​e

​2 liters

​2 liters

Miracol Hydration Backpack - Best hydration packs for hiking

​2 liters

CamelBak Arete 18 Hydration Pack - Best hydration packs for Bikes

​1.5 liters

​2.5 liters

CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack - Best Hydration Packs for Running

​3  liters

​3  liters

Reviews of the Best Hydration Packs for 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Hydration-Backpack-BPA-FREE-Bladder/dp/B072BTGSY3
Hydration Backpack

In all honesty, Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack is just another budget-friendly product with so-so features. With less than $30 of price, there is nothing really fancy or extraordinary here, but it does what it says. Food-grade hydration bladder has 2L of capacity and the backpack itself is made from waterproof nylon. Thus, carrying this backpack is a breeze when sporting.

Apart from bladder compartment, there are 2 more compartments to fit your cell phone, keys, clothes, etc. As an additional bonus, you also get stretch mesh pockets on the front for extra packing.

Multipurpose Bladder

The unique feature about mubasel gear hydration backpack is that it is multipurpose. Bladder included can be used as a pillow for resting, as it can bear about 132 pounds of weight.

Updated design of bladder features big mouth opening, so you can easily add cubes for chilled water. Another advantage of large opening is that you can clean it swiftly. Due to loads of complaints of bladder leakage, the updated design now bears no leakage at all.

Ultimate lightweight design

Full pack along with the bladder weighs just up to 0.7 pounds. Astonishing, isn’t it? It is hard to even notice or feel the weight on your back.

Padded shoulder straps offer comfort, whereas padded back system has mesh design for extreme ventilation. To prevent unnecessary bouncing, the chest straps can be tightened around your body, as per your liking.

In addition to this, high-quality SBS zippers, reflective straps, and reflective pipe add value to the whole backpack.

Customer Reviews

Customers seem to love the compact and lightweight nature of this backpack. For the price point, Mubasel Gear Hydration backpack is a very pocket-friendly and stylish gear for hiking or cycling. Detailing given to this pack looks very cool. Only concern stated by customers is the tight fit of waist/chest straps.

Product Reviews 

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    Nice and helpful if your outdoors
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    Compact, light weight water backpack.
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    ​Amazing little pack.
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    ​Love this H2O backpack!

Things We Liked

  • ​Compact design
  • Affordable price
  • Additional storage compartments
  • Breathable back panel and shoulder straps
  • Ideal to use as a day hiking backpack

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Chest/waist strap might be too tight for people with huge frame
  • Slightly difficult to suck water through tube

Final verdict

If you don't want anything too bulky or large in size, the Mubasel Gear water pack has to be your top choice. Cool aesthetics, functional storage compartments, padded and breathable straps, petite design and waterproof material are all worth investing in!

TETON Sports Oasis

Oasis 1100 is advertised by TETON Sports as the “Day Hiker’s Choice”. That is simply because it is very comfortable, affordable and lightweight to carry.

With 18L of Cargo capacity, Oasis backpack comes included with a 2L hydration reservoir on the inside- perfect for hunting, hiking, skiing, cycling and so on.

Fully adjustable design

The best thing about TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is that it features “athletic fitment”. Meaning, this hydration vest can be fully adjusted to suit the requirements of children, men as well as women.

Boasting several other amazing aspects like free rain cover, a large-sized compartment with concealed teeth-zipper and a wide mouth opening (2”), Oasis 1100 is just optimal for a full day’s adventure.

There is an additional bungee cord setup provided so that you can secure your riding gear (for example, a helmet) to this backpack.

Low-profile Athletic Cut

What makes this hiking vest Oasis 1100 stand out from all the other backpacks is its “low-profile athletic cut” with a fully-adjustable design. It can fit all body frames, be it men, women or young kids.

Comfortable straps are reinforced with high-density foam and further covered with mesh fabric, so you can wear this water pack for long hours.

Customer reviews

For such a low price, this hydration vest is just cream of the crop. Customers have found it to be very comfortable and feature-packed. 2L of water reservoir and multiple small pockets are very user-friendly. What's the best part? It just weighs up to 2 pounds when unfilled! The only complaint of most of the users is the poor construction of bladder.

Product Reviews 

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    ​Great pack at an outstanding price!
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    ​This has been a great hydration pack
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    ​Great bag for a day hike!
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    ​Best purchase I've made from Amazon

Things We Liked

  • ​Backed with lifetime limited warranty
  • Free rain cover included
  • There is a butterfly opening for jackets
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Multiple adjustable points (waist, shoulders, chest)
  • Easily adapts to body frames of men, women, and kids
  • Mesh back panel, Chest shock absorber, and foam-padded straps

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Reservoir might give out “plastic” taste
  • Needs efforts to draw water from the straw

Final verdict

There are several positive features included in Oasis 1100, but the construction of the bladder seems to be very poor and fails to work after few days. If you have constrained budget and need a pack just for a day’s long adventure, go for the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 hydration backpack.

​3. Miracol Hydration Backpack - Best Hydration Pack for Hiking

Miracol Hydration Backpack

Miracol Hydration Backpack has to be the most cost-effective product on this list of best hydration packs. Priced at just under $30, Miracol hydration system is a perfect outdoor gear for hiking, cycling, skiing and running. With its exceptional military-grade durability, this hydration pack keeps all of your valuables safe during adventures. Weighing just about 1 pound, it won't be a burden to carry at all. This jam-packed backpack boasts a very stylish and sporty look, but is equally functional as well!

Unique thermal insulation

Miracol Hydration Backpack is capable of keeping the fluids cool for about 4 hours, thanks to the unique thermal insulation layer on the inside. And that's why, this particular hydration pack is just perfect to carry for outdoor sports, especially hiking.

Multiple storage compartments

Miracol Tactical Hydration Backpack comes with several pockets to organize your necessary stuff neatly. Be it your keys, cell phone or a spare sweater, anything can be stored perfectly in these differently-sized compartments.

Comfortable and Lightweight

The adjustable chest and shoulder straps provide good ventilation and comfort to the wearer. The replaceable bladder has the capacity of 2 liters and is made from EVA material (BPA-free and FDA-approved). This high-quality bladder has an ultra-wide diameter with 3.1 inches of screw cap. Hence, pouring water or adding ice cubes becomes effortless!

Mesh pad on the back offers ultimate breathability and comfort, whereas the perfect fit inhibits unnecessary shifting of backpack as you move.

Customer reviews

Users found Miracol Hydration Backpack to be very light in weight and easy to run with. Two clips on the belt secure the backpack to your back snugly and several compartments are very convenient to use. The only problem with this hydration pack is that pockets on the front are very small and the bladder system has a very complicated assembly, so it’s hard to clean.

Product reviews 

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    ​Great Cheaper Alternative to a CamelBak
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    ​Great size and holds a lot of water!
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    ​Great for more than hiking

Things We Liked

  • ​Affordable price; Great value for money
  • Multiple storage pockets are very handy
  • Can be adjusted for perfect fit
  • Water stays cool for few hours
  • Lightweight design

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​The mouthpiece does not come off from the tube, so it's difficult to clean
  • Pockets on the front are too small

Final Verdict

If you are one of those people who run short distances and just seek a small hydrating system to carry limited gear with you, then this backpack is your final abode! But for longer distances, you might want to look for another backpack that has more storage space. Overall, it’s really comfortable, fits snugly and is lightweight, just what you need for hiking.

4. CamelBak Arete 18 Hydration Pack - Best Hydration Packs for Bikes

CamelBak Arete 18 Hydration Pack

For those of you who are looking for a lightweight and very basic hydration pack for traveling- go for this CamelBak Arete 18. It is a perfect balance of quality and price. CamelBak Arete 18 is made from thin nylon and is incorporated with minimal padding. And so, you can even fold this backpack into your luggage.

Functionality

Most of the foldable backpacks are poor in quality and are unable to carry much weight. But that's not the case with CamelBak Arete 18. Use it as a hydration daypack or tuck it in your luggage for later use, it is highly functional both ways.

Support

Padded shoulder straps can be loaded with about 15 pounds of weight. Wing-shaped compression straps fit firmly onto the bladder. Even though it has less weight, the 70D ripstop nylon is quite durable and comfortable.

CamelBak Arete 18 can swiftly carry modest loads and comes included with a 1.5-liter water reservoir.

Customer reviews

Users found Arete 18 to be roomy, lightweight and versatile to use. The bladder is very easy to fill up and the straps feel super comfortable. The only con is that the back panel does not have mesh design.

Product reviews 

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    ​Amazing backpack
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    The perfect day pack for hiking!
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    Good but Should Have Bought Meshed-back

Things We Liked

  • ​Reversible design can be flipped to convert into insulated reservoir sleeve
  • Extremely light and compressible materials used
  • Sternum strap can be removed for customized fit
  • Easy to fill up
  • Reasonably priced

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Back panel has no mesh

Final verdict

With its double-duty design, lightweight materials and reasonable price, CamelBak Arete 18 is hands-down one of the most versatile water packs out there. If you are not using it as a backpack, just convert it into an insulated reservoir sleeve to hold your hydration system firmly and store it into a larger bag. All set to go for a quick hike? You just need to flip the side out and you’ll find enough space to store all of your essentials along with the 1.5L of bladder.

Osprey Packs Skarab 18 Hydration Pack

For moderate hikes, we absolutely love this Osprey Skarab 18, as they provide adequate comfort even when loaded with moderate loads. You will find no complicated suspension system or heaps of pockets, but it’s certainly a no-fuss backpack with impressive hydration reservoir.

Ergonomic Design

Bite Valve magnet in Skarab never comes off loose and allows easy access to the hydration. Compression straps on the top are designed to stabilize and balance the overall load. It carries 25 pounds of weight comfortably. Moreover, the frame sheet suspension equally divides the load across the complete mesh back panel, providing comfort to the user. A webbing hip belt is deliberately designed to relieve extra weight off your spine for comfortable adventures.

Customer reviews

Everything about Osprey Skarab 18 screams high-quality of construction and materials used, say customers. There are absolutely no negative remarks about this particular backpack by Osprey, which is a huge win-win aspect. Super-comfortable design and minimalistic yet excellent features are all worth investing in!

Product reviews 

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    ​Perfect size bag
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    ​Great for hiking
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    ​Great little daypack with hydration pack included.

Things We Liked

  • ​Perfect for minimalistic one-day hikes
  • Sufficient number of storage options
  • Hydrogen system is of high-quality; nothing cheap here
  • Premium quality of zippers
  • Large capacity

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​No pockets on the hip belt
  • No point to attach helmet

Final verdict

Osprey Skarab 18 backpack is affordable and comfortable with solid construction. No fancy suspension systems or complex designs, it is simple yet functional in all its glory. The 2.5L hydration bladder is effortless to use and clean.

6. CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack - Best Hydration Packs for Running

CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack

When it is about CamelBak, you have got to expect a robust and high-grade quality of product. Fourteener 24 flaunts a powerful suspension system, a soft waist pad, robust plastic frame sheet and a light-padded hip belt. All of these aspects are ideal for carrying heavy or dense loads.

Foam-padded Pods

CamelBak Fourteener 24 works effectively in distributing the load. On the upper and mid-back raise, there are two foam-padded pods integrated to create a gap between the suspension system and your body. This is for the sole reason of cool airflow, enhanced ventilation, and precise load distribution.

Large Compartments

The single main compartment is optimal for storing all of your bulky stuff. Zippered hydration sleeve is multipurpose in design and can be used as a padded compartment for the laptop as well. Front pouch can accommodate your small essentials like keys, headlamp, whistle, etc.

Extraordinary reservoir

Seeing its price, it is quite obvious that Fourteener 24 comes with a huge 3L reservoir. Crux reservoir has the ability to deliver 20% more water per sip, as compared to other bladders. An ergonomically designed handle makes refilling much easier and there is an on/off lever provided to prevent undesirable leaks.

Customer reviews

The best feature that customers truly loved about CamelBak Fourteener 24 is its ability to transfer load and ventilate your back. Nothing can beat the comfortable design and ease-of-use offered by this backpack. It carries bulky and heavy gear with ease and the big 3L reservoir with on/off valve is the best and brightest!

Product reviews 

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    This is an excellent hiking backpack
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    ​Premium Camelbak that works almost as well as its price.
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    ​Awesome backpack and hydration bag!

Things We Liked

  • ​Keeps perfect balance of comfort, weight, and ventilation
  • 3L Crux Reservoir is robust and of high-quality
  • Multidirectional ventilation design
  • Structured lumbar belt and precisely engineered pods
  • Four point compression to store gear

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Water tends to become hot due to heat absorption

Final verdict

When it comes to capacity, comfort, and fully-functional features, CamelBak Fourteener 24 just strikes the sweet spot! Solid suspension system integrated with the back panel can effortlessly handle heavy loads. We love how there is a separate compartment for reservoir, so your other gear is safe from water.

7. Platypus Duthie A.M. 10.0 Hydration Pack - Best Hydration Packs

Platypus Duthie A.M. 10.0 Hydration Pack

Coming from a legendary brand “Platypus”, Duthie A.M 10.0 is one of the most popular and premium-quality of hydration packs on the market today. Large-sized 3L of the bladder is all set for long hauls and can be locked into place with the help of 2 hooks. This whole system is much easier to use as compared to common buckling system.

High-quality design

HyperFlow Bite valve used here is known to have smooth water flow, while the magnetic hose retention works like a magic! Foam-padded shoulder straps and lightly-padded hip belt can be loaded with 15 pounds of weight.

The backpack in itself has 6 segment sleeves for carrying your important accessories and gear.

Breathability

Duthie’s back panel features a mesh trampoline-style design which is best in its category. It separates your back from the backpack with a distance of about 2 inches. So, there is always proper airflow to your back, yet extreme stability as well.

The platypus has advertised Duthie A.M 10.0 to be “a quintessential all-mountain pack” and that’s why it is Our No. 1 choice. All of these power-packed features are very favorable to trail runners, hikers, mountain bike riders, skiers and so on.

Base of Duthie A.M 10.0 features suspension wire frame that has been incorporated with extremely breathable and tensioned mesh back panel. This back panel is further attached to breathable and highly supportive shoulder straps. Not to forget, it is the best hydration pack for running as well!

Customer Reviews

Exceptional feature about this huge 3L Big Zip reservoir is that it opens completely from the top end. And so, users love the easy-filling process of the bladder. There’s absolutely no need to disassemble the whole pack just for fill-ups. Just open the U-shaped zipper, unhook the reservoir and quickly disconnect the tube! It’s that easy! Not to mention, all of the amazing functional pockets provided are noteworthy!

Product reviews 

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    ​Perfect day pack keep you hydrated.
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    ​Winner winner chicken dinner - nice pack, nifty little touches
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    ​This bag is on another level compared to all the others

Things We Liked

  • ​FloatAir back panel and shoulder straps allow cool airflow
  • Waist belt is very wide and highly supportive
  • Best hydration pack for biking
  • Plenty storage pockets
  • Fits wide range of torso lengths and body frames
  • Includes a protective rainfly
  • Reflective details on the backpack for easy recognition

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​High price
  • While drinking, the volume delivered is low

Final verdict

With 7L of pack capacity, Duthie A.M 10.0 is quite large and spacious with myriads of handy pockets incorporated. This is why it is our Editor’s choice in this comprehensive list of best hydration packs. There are even stretch pockets provided to store your gloves, pads or helmets. Duthie is a must-have for long-day travels, thanks to various storage options for your gear. Its high price is the proof of its powerful design and amazing features!

Buying guide for Hydration Packs

Things to consider before buying a hydration pack

  • Reservoir capacity

As a matter of fact, it is really important to determine how large the water reservoir is going to be in a pack. The reservoir is the section of the pack that is used to store water. The capacity of water reservoir can range from 0.5L and can go as high as 3L.

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    The size of the reservoir you choose depends on the time of your journey and the weather conditions.
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    On hot summer days or during long journeys you will require a water bladder with large capacity.
  • Storage capacity

Cargo capacity is the overall capacity of the backpack to carry gear. It can range anywhere from 5L up to 50 liters. If your outdoor sport is going to last for less than 4 hours, you can easily opt for a pack with 5L of capacity.

For all-day or long hours of adventures, you might need packs that range from 6L to 20L.

Large-sized backpacks are ideal for carrying heavy gear used in climbing or cycling. But, if you are planning to stay overnight, look for packs that can carry up to 30 liters of heavy load.

  • Types of valves in hydration packs

The most important part of the hydration pack is the part that delivers water to you- Valve. The rate of flow of water is also a significant factor to consider. Higher the rate of water flow, better will be the convenience to drink.

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    Bite Valve: It is the most widely-used type of valve in the packs today. All you need to do is bite down on the part and the water will just flow into your mouth. When you stop biting, the water flow will be sealed again. The biggest advantage of this type of valve is that drinking can be done hands-freely. Just perfect to be used as a cycling vest. Some bite valves need to be twisted for opening, whereas some others have on/off lever to prevent leakage.
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    Push/Pull Valves: These types of valves require you to pull out the part so the water starts to flow. And again, it needs to be pushed back in to seal the water flow. It is not really a hands-free approach to stay hydrated, but the advantage here is that the possibility of leakage is very minimum. These types are best hydration packs for running.

Size of the Opening of the bladder

Size of the opening needs to be large enough for water to be filled up easily. It really depends on your personal choice, but wider mouth is considered to be much better. With wider mouth, you can effortlessly clean the inside of the reservoir and even put ice cubes whenever needed.

As a matter of fact, small openings make it very hard to clean the bladder.

The position of the Reservoir on the hydration pack

Bladder is supposed to be placed within easy reach for the user. This way the bladder can be easily cleaned and you don't need to remove the entire pack. For this reason, some bladders are nowadays placed on the front.

 Fit

Would you like it if you purchased a hydration pack that does not fit? This is a common problem with small hydration packs. The overall design of the backpack and the waist/chest straps might not fit large body frames.

A backpack is said to be comfortable when it's right in between the topmost part of your hips and the base of your neck. In this exact position, the hydration pack will not hinder with your movements or restrict you at all.

The bladder that pierces into your skin is too tight or unsupportive is going to be annoying to use.

Suspension system

Suspension system is another most important factor to consider, especially for larger packs. When you carry a heavy load, it needs to be distributed accurately around your hips. And that is why you need to look for backpacks that come with a thick padded hip belt. This will relieve pressure off your shoulders and spine.

The load must be evenly distributed all across your back and shoulders. Webbed and padded shoulder straps will highly increase your comfort level as well.

Best hydration packs use suspended trampoline-style mesh back panel that enhances cool airflow, whereas some others will feature large padded blocks spaced at a definite distance to channel airflow across your back.

Construction of the bladder

Water is in direct contact with the bladder and so the construction quality of the bladder matters considerably.

Cheaper bladders are prone to get punctured very easily. Some reservoirs are constructed with hard plastics that do not break or tear too easily.

If you are looking for lightweight yet durable bladder, look for the one that’s puncture-proof.

Built-in protection

Deliberately designed for all mountain adventures, there are several hydration packs available in the market today with body armor protection. These specially designed back panel conforms to the shape of your spine and absorbs shock effectively during accidents.

Type of bladder opening

The opening of the bladder is used to fill it with water or clean it thoroughly. There are 3 types of opening found in hydration bladder:

  • Fold Top: This type of opening needs to be closed by snapping the top portion of the bladder and then securing it. This type of bladder style can be widely found in the packs today.
  • Zip top: Zip-top rare to find, but have a large opening and allow very easy filling. You cannot really flip such bladder inside out, so they are hard to clean. Such type of bladder styles is prone to leakage and spills.
  • Screw tops: These are very common form of bladder style, especially seen when a company provides them already with the product. These are quite difficult to clean as you cannot really flip them inside out. The width of the mouth opening is also not wide, so fill-ups processes are slightly difficult. Some openings are larger than the other, but still, fold top bladders are much more convenient.

Robust Design

Look for backpacks that are crafted from Ripstop or Cordura materials. These materials can withstand abuses of the trail and offer remarkable longevity. Reinforced double stitching, helmet holder, and waterproof zips are also desirable features to look for.

Compression straps can be generally seen in bigger packs. These are provided to control the movement of the heavy load and bulky stuff. When you tension these straps, the load will hug your back snugly and the volume of the pack is also fairly decreased to prevent the smaller accessories from rattling around.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean the hydration pack?

If the pack gets dusty, just soak it in lukewarm or cold water mixed with a mild soap. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse it thoroughly. Hang it somewhere for natural air drying, or else molds will be formed.

DO NOT wash it in the machine!

The hydration bladder tastes like plastic. What to do?

Look for hydration packs made from BPA-free and BPS-free food-grade materials. Apart from this, to get rid of the annoying chemical taste, fill up half of your bottle with warm water and half of it with baking soda. Let it sit for about 40 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly.

How to avoid mold from getting into the bladder?

After every backpacking trip, you need to wash the bladder with warm water and let it air dry naturally.

Conclusion

We have narrowed down our choice to the best option that excels in innovation and has a hint of stylish aesthetics. Platypus Duthie A.M 10.0 has to be one of the best hydration packs that allows easy fill-up, has a well-engineered design, robust magnetic hose attachment and plenty of storage space. These features are just to name a few. Duthie 10.0 is a remarkable product power-packed with vibrant features and high-quality craftsmanship.

Apart from that, another robust hydration backpack deliberately made to carry heavy loads is CamelBak Fourteener 24. Crafted with premium quality of materials, Fourteener 24 flaunts a strong suspension system with soft waist pads and lightly padded hip belt. The distinctive feature in Fourteener 24 is the foam-padded pods that create a gap between your back and suspension system. And that is why Fourteener 24 just beats them all when it comes to ventilation and proper load distribution. Besides, who does not love the ergonomically designed 3L Crux reservoir?

If you are looking for a budget-friendly hydration pack priced below $30, you might like the Miracol Hydration pack. It is lightweight, spacious and keeps the fluid fairly cool.

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CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack

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