When you are going for a long run or hike, it’s important to stay hydrated, even in cool weather. But unless you are running in an area with places to stop for water, you’ll need to find a way to carry that water on your own.
Enter hydration packs. These are by far the most efficient way to carry plenty of water with easy access to drinking it. And packs nowadays come in a variety of sizes and carrying capacity.
For women, there are many gender-specific options of hydration packs. These packs have straps that fit differently than their male counterparts.
Women’s packs are made to fit a narrower shoulder width. They also have more adjustablility in the straps that secure the vest together in the front. Most women’s packs also have room to carry a reservoir, the preferred method to carry hydration in these packs.
In this article, we’ll review the best hydration packs made specifically for women. And check out this article if you are interested in more general hydration packs. There are also other ways to carry water including waist packs and handheld bottles.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 5.0
Nathan Trailmix 7 Liter Race Pack
Nathan VaporHowe 2.0 12 Liter Race Vest
1. Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 5.0
One of the more important features in a women’s hydration pack is customization. Since all women are different, no one fit is going to be comfortable on everyone.
This Ultimate Direction Race Vesta 5.0 pack really excels in adjustability.
It has several fasteners, including a sternum and waist strap. Both help to eliminate bounce, making the vest comfortable on long runs.
The vest is also equipped with several cinch points. Each cinch point helps accommodate differences in body shape. This means you can get a snug and comfortable fit.
There are also several mesh pockets, perfect for carrying your phone, gels, and other items. The vest holds two 17 oz water bottles in the front (included with the pack). It has room in the back for up to a 2 liter bladder (not included).
Most important, this vest is incredibly lightweight but still has plenty of storage. It’s ideal for races or training runs.
One downside is that this vest doesn’t come with the hydration bladders. You have to buy it separately. Luckily, it’s compatible with most hydration bladders up to 2 liters in size.
- Lots of pockets
- Comfortable cinch points
- Adjustable straps and zippers
- Lightweight breathable mesh construction
- Doesn’t come with the hydration bladder
Classic Bestselling Women’s Hydration Vest
2. Nathan Intensity Women’s 6L Hydration Backpack
The 6L Hydration backpack from Nathan Sports is one of the lightest options available that is designed specifically for women runners. The back panel is perforated which allows for a cool comfortable running experience.
The shoulder straps are constructed of a durable yet highly breathable mesh. They can be easily adjusted for a snug fit that eliminates bounce and unwanted chafing. With its side adjustability, it is also easy to put on and take off.
The backpack comes with a 2-liter bladder which will give you plenty of liquids for longer runs without burdening you under too much weight.
This bladder is held firmly in place with the patented 3-way Propulsion harness. This system stabilizes side to side and up and down movement of the bladder and any other contents you choose to store in the stash pockets.
- Patented 3-way Propulsion Harness adds stability and eliminates bounce
- Breathable mesh material construction for additional comfort
- Not a lot of extra storage when the bladder is full
Best Racing Vest
3. Nathan VaporHowe 2.0 12L Women’s Race Vest
The VaporHowe 2.0 racing vest combines durability with a sleek, lightweight design.
The included insulated hydration bladder comes in a unique hourglass shape. It reduces sloshing while keeping your hydration cool in hot weather.
While it’s designed for races, it also works well for long runs and as a hiking vest. There are several pockets designed to hold nutrition and everything else you need for a long run. There is a zippered breast pocket designed to keep your smartphone secure.
Besides holding the bladder on your back, the large storage in the back has a kangaroo pocket. This keeps other items separate from the bladder.
The VaporHowe also comes with a small holder on the shoulder, as well as a built-in emergency whistle. All you have to do is turn your head and blow, and you’ll alert anyone in the area that you need help.
The last important safety feature this vest adds is reflective detailing. You’ll be more visible, even in bad weather or twilight.
- Ergonomic weight design
- Includes insulated hydration bladder
- Lots of additional pockets
- Included safety whistle
- Water-resistant pockets may leak in poor weather
- Bladder has a noticeable flavor until it’s been washed a couple of times
Best Minimal Pack for Women
4. Nathan VaporMag 2.5L Women’s Race Vest
The VaporMag is another vest that is designed specifically for women runners. This model was designed in conjunction with another world-class endurance runner by the name of Maggie Guterl.
Rather than using a bladder system, the VaporMag is equipped with two ExoShot soft flasks with extended strap tubes for easy sipping. This allows you to get a quick drink without having to remove the water flasks from the vest.
There are additional front storage pockets that can hold additional flasks as well as other nutritional items. The lower back of the vest has zippered pockets for storage of your personal belongings. The upper back pocket has additional storage without a zipper.
This vest is ultra-lightweight without the flasks, weighing in at only 4 ounces. Even with the flasks, the VaporMag only weighs a total of 7.2 ounces. This gives you 2.5 liters worth of total storage with no wasted space.
- Uses two ExoShot soft flasks with extended strap tubes for easy sipping
- Front adjustable sternum straps for comfort and precise fit
- Extremely lightweight
- Only available in one color
- May not be enough storage for some runners
Least Restrictive Women’s Hydration Pack
5. UltrAspire Astral 3.0 Vest
With a harness design that’s unique to a woman’s build, UltrAspire’s Women’s Astral 3.0 Vest fills a specific need in the trail running world. Although the fit is specific for women, this pack also works to keep any runner’s chest, heart, and lungs free for restriction-free breathing.
The front pocket holds a water bottle, but the pack also comes with a 2L hydration bladder on the back. Zippered pockets hold everything you need on the trail, but the zipper pulls are bounce-free and easy to manage.
It’s easy to add or remove the bladder in just seconds, and plenty of elastic keeps things flexible. The nylon fabric also has silicone and PU coating, making it water-, abrasion-, and tear-resistant. Micro-fiber polyester edges along the mesh body keep wearers comfortable even in extreme conditions.
As far as the construction, every stress point is reinforced with extra stitching to keep everything secure. Each elastic section also has zig-zag stitching for increased durability. Plus, a magnon pocket keeps pills sweat-free no matter how strenuous the run.
And while many women may prefer a more feminine color scheme, the Astral 3.0 Vest comes in black in addition to the eye-catching pink style.
- Lightweight mesh
- Reinforced stress-point stitching
- Bounce-free zipper pulls
- Includes 2L hydration bladder
- Weighs a relatively heavy 13.6 ounces
- Sizing is adjustable one-size-fits-all
Best Budget Pack
6. Osprey Dyna 6
Carry everything from water to trekking poles with the Osprey Dyna 6 and find your groove no matter how long your run. The front pocket offers bottle storage, but the pack also holds a 1.5L water bladder for longer or more demanding trips.
Front pockets can also hold fuel, plus there’s space for rain gear, extra layers, and more. The Dyna 6 comes with a Hydraulics LT Reservoir, which sits in a zippered reservoir sleeve to reduce movement. A sternum magnet helps with hydration access while you’re on the go.
Another convenient feature is the vertically zippered harness, with a whistle zipper pull. Dual lower side panel stretch pockets and harness pockets keep the essentials accessible. And despite the excess of pockets, the foam harness stays comfortable with slotted foam that has a mesh covering.
Removable dual chest straps help increase stability, and all surfaces are breathable mesh that’s irritation-free. Volume capacity ranges between 305 and 366 cubic inches depending on the size (XS/S to S/M).
- Multiple sizing options for custom fit
- Comes with a 1.5L water reservoir
- Removable stability straps
- Relatively heavy at just under 13 ounces
Top Large Capacity Pack
7. Ultimate Direction Vesta 5.0
The big sister to the Race Vesta, UD’s Vesta 5.0 is a compact and breathable vest with dual hydration bottles on the front. The colors aren’t as loud as many women’s packs on the market, but that doesn’t mean the Vesta 5.0 lacks features.
Two water bottles (included) fit in the front elastic pockets, while two lower zipper pockets hold trail essentials. The zipper backpack and pockets have a staggering 616 cubic inch capacity, meaning you can take nearly anything along for your run.
Chafe-free mesh material stretches four ways, plus the Comfort Cinch adjustment lets you accommodate for lateral sizing and increase stability. Sliding rail sternum snaps up front let you adjust on-the-go, too.
Overall, sizing ranges from ribcages between 26 and 41 inches in two separate sizing options- XS/SM and MD/LG. However, the adjustability of the straps and the stretchy mesh material means most sizes can find the right fit with the Vesta 5.0.
- Comfort Cinch technology for sizing adjustments on the trail
- 30D coated nylon ripstop for strength
- Without bottles, weighs under eight ounces
- Over 616 cubic inch capacity
- Includes two Body Bottle 500s
- Weighs just over 11 ounces with bottles, relatively heavy
Best Lightweight Race Pack
8. Nathan Vaporswiftra 4 Liter Race vest
Nathan’s VaporSwifta 4 liter vest is breathable and lightweight, like a running vest should be.
The weight of the hydration bladder sits nicely on your back. It works to spread the load more evenly. It helps you avoid some of the posture issues that can come with a heavy pack.
Like the other hydration vests on this list, this one is designed specifically for women. That means that it works to minimize bounce, while staying tight in a way that is comfortable without being restrictive.
It also has 360 degrees of reflective fabric. It’s more than enough to make twilight and night runs much safer.
It doesn’t have quite as many pockets as some other hydration vests. There are shoulder zippered pockets on the vest, but it doesn’t have the larger pockets you find on others. That’s fine though, as the pack focuses on a fast, lightweight design.
- Streamlined design
- Easy to fit
- Distributes weight well
- Reflective fabric for safer night running
- Doesn’t have many pockets
- Tube clamp can be hard to access (but can be moved)
Best Value Pack for Women
9. Nathan Trailmix 7 Liter Race Pack
This more affordable hydration pack at first looks more like a backpack for hiking than running.
But thanks to a secure fit designed to minimize friction and bounce, Nathan’s Trailmix pack works just as well for races as it does hiking.
The soft-touch straps are a great option if you’re running in a tank top or other more minimal gear. It reduces chafing and makes running more comfortable. It also has a front pocket that can hold your smartphone, nutrition, or other accessories you need.
This backpackhas a compression system to keep the pack tight against your back. It minimizes jostling, so that the hydration pack is less likely to bump hard on your back.
The front straps connect to the back with a series of side straps. The side straps are adjustable, giving you the option for a snug fit.
The 7-liter vest comes with a 2-liter bladder. The bladder is designed for easy cleaning, with a sternum tube that makes drinking simple.
This vest is also incredibly lightweight. Empty, the vest itself only weighs 7oz in total.
- Soft-touch anti-chafing straps
- Comes with its own bladder
- Fully adjustable side straps
- Front straps move around a little
- None of the front pockets are zippered
Best Salomon Hydration Vest For Women
10. Salomon Adv Skin 8 Set W
This hydration pack is the first Salomon vest designed specifically for women. Like many of Salomon’s products, it has unique, well-thought out features.
It builds off of Salomon’s bestselling ADV Skin hydration packs.
It offers adjustable straps designed to help you fit the vest to a women’s specific build.
It has two 17 oz soft flasks. This makes the vest well-balanced. Both flasks comes with two customizable straws, making it easy to adjust them to the right length.
This vest has plenty of storage but is noticeably less bulky than other models. An insulated bladder sleeve (bladder not included) keeps your fluids cold in warmer temps.
This design is more solid than some of the other vests, but still nice and breathable.
- Distributes weight well
- Easy to fit and adjust
- Breathable and lightweight design
- Comes with two soft flasks with adjustable straws
- Can pinch around the armpits, depending on the fit