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Five Ways to Carry Water While Running

Most runners know the importance of staying hydrated during a run. This is true in all types of weather, but especially important when the temperatures rise.

If you are lucky enough to run past water fountains or other water sources, you can get away with running without water. But for everyone else, you should bring water or other types of hydration with you on your run. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to take water with you!

Handheld bottles, waist packs, along with vests and backpacks are the most popular ways to carry water. Each method has it’s pros and cons.

When we go for a run, we use a different type of water carrier depending on the distance and weather conditions.

There are also some personal preferences to consider. Some people don’t like holding anything in their hands. Others prefer to carry hydration in a bladder on their back. As long as you can bring enough hydration with you, there is no right or wrong solution.

In this article, we are going to talk about the different ways you can carry hydration with you on your run. Additionally, we are also going to discuss the different situations that you should be familiar with. Finally, we will give you some tips on how to make it easier for you to carry the extra load.

Considerations in Choosing How to Carry Hydration

There is no set technique on how you can carry water while running. In some cases, you can rely on water you get from water fountains. Or, if you have the forethought, you can drop water along your route or loop back to your car or house for water stops.

But if you are going to bring hydration with you, here are some factors to consider when choosing a water carrier:

  • The distance of your planned run. Of course, longer distances call for more water. Make sure you bring enough.
  • How much water to bring. Before you leave for a run, estimate how much water you need and be sure to bring enough. If you are new to running, this can be a matter of trial and error.
  • Comfort. Consider the level of comfort (or lack thereof) that a water carrier gives you. Can you run properly? Will it bother you?
  • Effect on running form. Similarly, will the water carrier impact your form? Cause you to change the way you run?

How to Carry Water While Running

We are going to talk about the five most popular ways to carry water during your run. At the same time, we are also going to provide you with a bit of pros and cons for each so you can better decide which one is best to go with.

Handheld Bottles

These water bottles look like typical running water bottles, but they have a holder that wraps around the bottle. At the same time, a strap is provided for your hand. You strap it on your hand, and it is as if you are carrying the bottle, but the reality is, it is just attached to your hand.

  • Pro: Perfect for short runs and can act as weights for arm exercise.
  • Con: Can be a distraction and can put a strain on your arms.

Waist Packs and Hydration Belts

There are two styles of this type of carrier. But most versions are either single-bottle and double-bottle. Think of these like a fanny pack, but with storage for one or two bottles.

Most often have storage for extras like money, keys, phones, or gels. Some hydration belts come with soft flask bottles – these are more comfortable but cost more.

  • Pro: You can get easy access to it, and it does not get in the way of your running
  • Con: There can be bottle bounce that bothers some runners

Vest Packs and Backpacks

Make sure to get the ones designed for running and not for hiking and cycling since the running kind is made of lighter material. These are water carriers that wrap around your chest and back.

Other than water bottles, you can also carry other running essentials. Most can fit a bladder in the back for tons of hydration storage. Fit on these can be tricky. So tricky that many packs are designed specifically for women.

  • Pro: Distributes weight evenly and allows the most hydration storage capacity
  • Con: A hassle to drink out of and can be bulky

Thigh Holsters

Most designs can only carry one water bottle for each thigh. A lot of people use this type for short runs. This is a fairly new concept. It’s not recommended to wear two thigh holsters at the same time.

  • Pro: Can act as leg weight to help tone your legs more and it is easy to access
  • Con: Can be quite uncomfortable and affect your running form

Tips For Carrying Water While Running

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the excitement of going for a run that we forget to practice proper form. This is especially true when we are also carrying water bottles while running. So, here are some tips you can do to achieve a more effective and successful run.

  • Tuck in any loose clothing that may affect your access to your water bottle.
  • If you are going to put anything around your waist, make sure that it is a perfect shape to avoid unnecessary friction.
  • Do not strap belts too tight since it might affect proper blood circulation.
  • Balance out the amount of water in each bottle and put them in strategic places that can help with your running form.


Carrying water while running as you might have learned is also a form of strategy that can help you achieve a successful run. Keep in mind that the different ways are geared towards your running purpose.

So, before you settle on one way, know what your most important running factor is. Just a piece of advice from us: go for something that is comfortable and can carry your needed amount of water.

Christine Adorno
The Wired Runner