We asked the women on the team to pick their favorite hydration pack – the result? There are lots of great options out there! Find out below which are our runners’ and coaches’ favorites, along with why, sizing tips, and the most important test of a good pack: if they’d recommend them to a friend! Most of these packs range in price from ~$100-150 and you can find them in lots of places, including local running shops and online. Have one we missed? Let us know! *Note: None of the links below are affiliate links – these are just straight-up products that we like and recommend!
Jillian loves both of these Nathan vests:
- VaporHowe 12L – Why? So much storage space, insulated reservoir, super comfy fabric, awesome purple color
- VaporAiress 2.0 7L – Why? Slightly larger reservoir, deeper front pockets, really good fit/adjustment system, and most importantly, loops for collapsible trekking poles
Best Use: Long runs (any terrain) and long trail days (esp. the VaporAiress w/pole loops – see photo!)
Sizing pro-tips: The VaporHowe has fairly particular sizing (XS, S, M, etc) whereas the VaporAiress has two size ranges (XXS-M and L-XXL) and more adjustment points.
Durability: So far both of these vests are going strong, I’ve had the VaporHowe for about a year and other than one snag I put in it ducking under a fallen tree it’s held up in near perfect condition over hundreds of miles! The VaporAiress I’ve only had a couple months but it’s going well so far.
Changes for the next model: The VaporAiress has bungee cinches on the frontmost pockets that stick out and brush your arms – it’s kind of annoying, but other than that small change I’m really happy with it!
The Friend Test: These are both super solid recommendations that I would definitely be comfortable making to a friend.
Other runners that recommend them: Margaret’s go-to running pack is a Nathan VaporShadow in order to carry a lot of “stuff” (sunscreen, chapstick, phone, s-caps, food…), for the accessible pockets, the 2L bladder for water, and for adjustable straps so there’s no bounce or chafing. CJ also love the Nathan Vaporhowe because it’s held up well and is super-comfy.
Why? I like that it fits snugly without being too tight, which means minimal bouncing without feeling so tight! It has plenty of space for a long trail adventure or race. It also comes in different sizes rather than being 1 size fits all, which is great for finding a good fit. I haven’t had any real issues with chafing or rubbing with it on longer runs either.
Capacity: 12L gear, 2L reservoir
Best Use: Trails and Long runs
Other runners that recommend them: Amy likes her osprey pack but loves her ultimate direction because it’s lighter and more breathable. Caroline has an older men’s pack – the AK Adventure hydration pack, and still loves it: “The bottles sit high enough on my chest for easy accessibility without feeling like I have water cleavage, the straps are adjustable and I love the pockets (including the ability to carry some backup gear like gloves or a hat if the weather changes on the trail.”
Two favorite Osprey options out there, the Duro and the Dyna:
Why? I bought this at a pinch from a local store and have been delighted with it. The reservoir works so well and the vest fits very snugly. I can fit other extras in it, and don’t feel I am carrying a heavy pack on my back. I have worn it all summer for runs and bike rides and will continue to do so into the winter
Best Use: Running – long runs on roads and trails
Comparison to Other Brands: I was using Ultimate Direction before – and this vest beats UD hands down!
Durability: So well made. I wash it after especially sweaty runs, and it still looks like new after a hard summer’s use.
The Friend Test: Yes! Would definitely recco to a friend!
Why? It’s small & perfect for my small upper body. Also very lightweight.
Best Use: Tested in distances up to the marathon so far
Compared to other brands: I used to run with a Nathan pack but this one is lighter and fits my frame better.
Durability: It’s held up very well. I bought mine used from eBay and it’s still going strong.
The Friend Test: Yes I would recommend this pack to any women!
Other runners that recommend them: Jami also loves the Osprey Dyna 1.5: “Good fit, doesn’t move around and feels like it’s part of me.”
Why? For the reasons listed here: https://www.outsideonline.com/2412272/best-hydration-vests-packs-review >> I helped test these women’s packs and it was the best!
Best Use: Trail, long, and ultra distances.
Why? I have an older model of the camelbak marathoner vest. It’s about 6yrs old and I still use it! The vest has held up really well and the plastic doesn’t give a funny taste to the water
Best Use: Long runs, trail, hiking
Durability: Very durable; super impressed with how it’s held up over the miles
Changes for the next model: More pockets
The Friend Test: Yes! Best running gear next to my shoes
There you have it – a guide to our favorite women’s hydration packs, brought to you by the awesome runners and coaches that make up this team. A special thanks to all the runners and coaches on the team who helped contribute to this article. Onward!
Team RunRun is all about connecting runners with coaches. We’re a growing team of over 600 runners and over 90 coaches, all supporting the goal of being better runners and therefore better people, and a better world. We embrace that journey with passion, grit, focus, and care.