While most races on the course provide water or Gatorade to auxiliary stations, it is not always easy to quench your thirst when you run alone. Fortunately, there are many ways to take water with you – hand bottles, of course, but also more technical hip bags and even vests. Andy Waterman, marathon runner and head of content at Tracksmith, a running clothing brand, explains one reason why you might consider wearing a so-called hydration pack: “You can explore new routes where water may not be available while you are still running on fuel workout you will use on race day. "
The choice of what to use to stay hydrated during a run largely depends on your personal preference. Some may prefer the minimalist comfort of a hand bottle, while others may want to have their hands free with a backpack-style vest or belt with room for your phone, keys, and energy gels. Whatever you choose, it's important to consider capacity as you'll need more water if you run longer or if it's very hot. “Determine your fluid needs, choose the right size, and then focus on comfort,” advises running coach Jason Fitzgerald. To find the best of each type, we asked Waterman, Fitzgerald, and six other runners how to stay hydrated during training.
Best hydration pack
CamelBak Delaney Hydration Waistpack
According to Waterman, waist packs are "the combination of goldilocks where you have your hands free without having to put extra layers on your body like a vest." They can generally take in more water than a hand bottle but less than a vest therefore a good choice for marathon training. Bette Clark, co-team captain and former president of the Van Cortlandt Track Club, says one advantage of a waist pack is that you can take gels, cell phone (and) money along with a liquid, but it warns against waist packs " can loosen and jump if they are not positioned correctly. ”Waterman recommends this camelbak style, which has a large zip pocket for other important things and is easily adjustable so that it adapts perfectly to every body. It also comes with the brand's popular Podium Chill water bottle that I and other runners I know have used and praised for being insulated to keep the water cold longer and has a twist-off valve that spilling during operation prevents moving. (Waterman says the 21-ounce bottle stores enough water to take him through a 20-mile marathon training run).
Best moisture waist pack with a collapsible bottle
Nathan VaporKrar moisture pack
This belt was developed in collaboration with the Ultrarunner Rob Krar and comes with a soft bottle that collapses flat when empty. Clark loves how the wide belt sits securely on the back and has a pocket for keys and a phone on the opposite side. Energy gels can be stowed in the smaller Velcro bags, and thanks to the loop straps, you can even hang a hat or a light jacket on your backpack, according to Clark.
Best drinking vest
Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta 4.0 Drinking Vest (women)
Ultimate Direction Ultra Hydration Vest 4.0 (men)
If you're training longer distances than a marathon, it's probably time to invest in a hydration vest that holds more water and can hold additional equipment. When running ruminations blogger Erin Mink Garvey was looking for a drinking vest while training for her first 50 km ultramarathon in 2014, she was fascinated by the woman-specific fit of this style. "One of the reasons I chose it was because everything was designed for female ergonomics," she says. Compared to unisex vests, the Ultra Vesta allows a greater adjustment to the breast size and upper body composition of women. Garvey wore hers during the Ultra and had no chafing, rubbing or bouncing problems. Five years later, she still uses it and says it can take a lot of wear and washing. David Roche, coach and founder of the SWAP running team and co-author of The Happy Runner, agrees and explains that Ultimate Direction also offers “cool, lightweight options that work well for men”. Both the men's and women's vests are supplied with two drinking bottles (they are in the pockets on both breasts). However, they are also compatible with a reservoir (sold separately). If you prefer a vest with an integrated reservoir, read some options.
Best women's drinking vest with reservoir
Nathan VaporHowe 12L 2.0 hydration vest
Like Garvey, Elinor Fish, founder and CEO of Run Wild Retreats + Wellness, believes that comfort is key and says, “It's worth looking for a gender fit to get the size that best fits It suits you. ”She uses this vest, which is also suitable for women, because“ the soft fabric feels like part of my body so I don’t even notice it. ”The ability to adjust the straps to the chest and waist separately a more individual fit is possible for different breast sizes. She has never experienced jumping or scouring with him, even after walking for hours in the mountains with full luggage. Clark also recommends Nathan's women's vests. She calls them "very comfortable" and says the front pockets provide easy access to their gear.
Best unisex drinking vest with reservoir
Salomon Skin Pro 10L backpack
According to Tom Daly, co-founder of the running and yoga lifestyle brand District Vision, "Salomon unwinds the best light and medium weight vest pockets." For very long runs – especially on routes where you are unlikely to be a water fountain – he recommends choosing a pack with a water reservoir and a drinking straw. "No hands needed and no need to stop. Forrest Gump will be proud, ”he says. The reservoir of this vest holds 1.5 liters of water, so you can spend hours on the road or path without having to worry about leaking. Daly adds that the outside pockets for storing your racing food are "an unmissable bonus".
Best overall hand bottle
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Water Bottle – 18 oz
Roche says, "For a typical run where you're not isolated for too long, a hand bottle is great for carrying everything you need without getting bogged down." However, Sean Fortune, the owner and founder of Central Park Coaching, tells us this. Most of his training is done in the park, where fountains operate from spring to autumn. He actually prefers to carry his own bottle so that he doesn't have to stop at one of the public fountains, which are often crowded. Fortune likes this Nathan bottle mainly because it is insulated and its water keeps it cold. "When my water is warm, I don't want to drink it," he says. "It also fits comfortably in my hand and has space for my large iPhone and one or two gels." Roche, who appreciates the simplicity of the bottle, is also a fan. "The 18-ounce handheld is curved to fit in your hand, and I usually forget it after ten minutes," he says of the bottle, too has an adjustable strap that keeps them in place and prevents them from jumping around. "I want an option that simplifies the process of getting out, and with a bottle you can easily access and get started." Fitzgerald also likes handhelds and says he even uses a run longer than two hours.
Best hand bottle with size options
Amphipod Hydraform Jett-Lite thermally insulated water bottle
If she's on the go for a short time and has no gels or extra gear with her, Clark also likes a minimalist hand water bottle. She recommends looking for a bottle that is “comfortable to hold and has an adjustable strap”. While some handheld bottles, like the Nathan style above, have larger pockets for phones, she finds them too bulky and prefers to run with such a bottle that has only a small key pocket. Depending on how far you want to run, there is a 12-ounce and a 20-ounce option.
Best foldable hand bottle
Salomon Soft Flask 250ml – 8 oz
If he doesn't need a full pack, Daly opts for this small, collapsible bottle. With a drinking beak it is guaranteed that it will not leak. There's no strap to attach it to your hand, but when it's empty, you can just put it in your pocket.
Vox Media maintains affiliate partnerships. These have no impact on the editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find more information in our Ethics Policy.