8 best running backpacks and hydration packs for 2023

8 best running backpacks and hydration packs for 2023

For run commutes, longer runs, and ultra races, running backpacks are essential. Keep reading to find your new running backpack

A running backpack can be your best friend during marathons, commutes, or even your evening runs. Whether it’s to hold your waterproofs, gel packs, or extra clothes, you want a bag that is going to safely hold your belongings without impacting your running form.

We know that running backpacks aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase, the type of running you’re doing can determine the style and weight of your bag.

To help you find the best bag for your needs, we asked a group of runners to test and review some of the best backpacks available from brands we love and trust.

Best running backpacks round up:

  • Salomon Adv Skin 8 Set – Buy now
  • Ultimate Performance Finn Race Vest 1.5L Hydration Pack – Buy now
  • Thule Vital Women’s Hydration Pack – Buy now
  • Proviz Reflect360 Running Backpack – Buy now
  • Gregory Maya 10 – Buy now
  • CamelBak Women’s Ultra Pro Vest – Buy now
  • OMM Ultra 15 – Buy now
  • ASICS Running Backpack – Buy now

Jump to best running backpacks:

Best hydration packs

1. Salomon Adv Skin 8 Sep
Buy today on Amazon

salomon running vest

Technical details:

  • Weight: 360g
  • Sizes: XS-L
  • Capacity: 8L
  • Includes 2 soft 500ml flasks
  • Compatible with Salomon 1.5L Bladder

Tester: Tina

“It’s hard to fault this female-designed vest for comfort and fit – it’s shaped to eliminate pressure on your boobs. Long nozzles on the two included soft flasks mean you can drink on the go without rummaging around for your bottles. Storage is bountiful and it’s incredibly lightweight.”

2. Ultimate Performance Finn Race Vest 1.5L Hydration Pack
Buy now on Amazon

ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE Finn Race Vest 1.5L Hydration Pack

Technical details:

  • Weight: 190g (without flasks)
  • One size: fits 30 ̋– 50 ̋ chest approx
  • 1.5 Liter hydration bladder
  • 3.5 storage capacity
  • Reflective detailing for added visibility
  • 5 front pockets and 1 larger prior pocket

tester: Laura F

“This vest has plenty of capacity. On the back, there’s a large pocket which stores the 1.5-liter hydration bladder. It has a large opening that’s quick to fill (essential if you’re topping it up mid-race) and a hose and bite valve for drinking on the go.

There are five front pockets, two of which are suited to 500ml bottles or soft flasks and one which has a zip for valuables. Two chest straps and two other straps mean you can easily adjust the pack to suit your size. I wear a size 10 and found I was able to get a good fit at the tighter settings, with minimal movement while running.”

3. Thule Vital Women’s Hydration Pack
Buy now on Amazon

Thule hydration pack

Technical details:

  • Weight: 499g
  • Dimensions: ‎21.08W x 7.87D x 37.08H cm
  • 1.75L Hydrapak reservoir
  • 3L storage capacity
  • Hands-free ReTrakt magnetic hose

tester: Sarah

“As a mid-size backpack, this will suit marathon and ultra-marathon runners. It comes with a 1.75L hydrapack, so larger than many packs offer. The hands-free magnetic hose return system is a great feature I’ve not encountered before, and it means the end of the hose instantly snaps onto your pack after you’ve had a sip – a great idea for later stages of races when you ‘ve run out of energy.

It’s a well-designed pack, with more storage than I need but very comfortable to run in with minimal bounce. The only slight negatives are the very long adjustable straps and the length of the pack, which sits on my hips, that may be slightly too long to suit a shorter runner.”

Best reflective backpacks

4. Proviz Reflect360 Running Backpack
Buy today on Amazon

Proviz reflect 360 backpack

Technical details:

  • Price: £49.99
  • Weight: 427g
  • Capacity: 10L
  • Dimensions: 39H X 22W CM
  • Highly water-resistant material

tester: beccy

Made with exceptionally reflective material, you won’t worry about being seen wearing this! Light yet spacious, it’s designed to keep weight off your back and it feels very supportive. Zip pockets on the waist strap allow easy and accessible storage.

Best lightweight backpacks

5. Gregory Maya 10
Buy today on Amazon

Gregory Women's Maya 10 Backpack

Technical details:

  • Price: £83.83
  • Weight: 703.07g
  • Capacity: 10L
  • Dimensions: 48.26H x 30.48W x 10.16D cm
  • 3D hydro reservoir

Tester: Susan

“Lightweight and functional, this pack has a multitude of storage options plus room for a hydration bladder. It has a front zippered pocket, stretch-mesh side pockets and a zipped interior pocket. The fit is snug, with no moving parts and a good suspension system for rough terrain.”

How we test running backpacks

All our kit is tested by real runners. Our reviews team is a group of passionate women with diverse running experiences, from dedicated marathon runners to happy plodders.

We wear the clothes, run in the shoes and use the tech on our usual runs to see if they go the distance. We then give each piece of kit our star rating.

Need something to track your run? Check out these GPS watches.

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