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How to Buy Running Hydration

Bottles, Vests and Packs, and Belts—It's All Here

Water is an essential ingredient to running inside or out. A variety of hydration options exist but three in particular stand out: water bottles, hydration belts, and hydration packs. Water bottles are the smallest and only hand-held option while packs allow you to go hands-free, carry the largest amount of water and food, and even allow you to carry clothing and spare layers when you run. Belts are a favored option among runners who prefer to go hands-free but running with weight on their back. Although hydration is often a matter of personal preference, it never fails that the further you run the more food and water you need.

Packs vs. Vests:

Running packs are lightweight, run-specific backpacks designed to carry water and food in a main compartment. Vests are designed to carry water, food, and gear on your back and on your chest. Aim for a vest if you prefer easy access to small essentials while running and a pack if you just need something to carry your gear and your hydration bladder.


Belts move the weight of your gear and water to your hips instead of your back. Usually a belt uses multiple, small bottles to store water or gel nutrition and allow fast, easy access to all of your gear.


Bottles are easy to refill, lightweight, and preferable for those who like to run with minimal gear but prefer not to go without water. Most run-specific bottles feature a built-in sleeve that slips around your hand to help reduce grip fatigue.