We hope that you love our articles and find them useful and informative! In full transparency, we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post. These funds allow us to keep the site up and continue to write great articles. Click here to learn about our review process and affiliate structure.

The Best Hydration Packs for Women in 2022

 

When going for a long run or hike, it’s important to stay hydrated, even in cool weather. Unless you’re running in an area with places to stop for water, you’ll need to find a way to carry your hydration.

Enter hydration packs; they 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 capacities.

The best hydration packs for women are not the same as those for men. For women, there are many gender-specific options.

Packs specifically made for women have straps that fit differently with more adjustability to secure the vest together in the front. They are also made to fit a more narrow shoulder width.

Most women’s packs also have room to carry a reservoir, the preferred method to carry hydration in these packs.

This article will review all the best hydration packs made specifically for women. We recommend the Ultimate Direction Mountain Vesta 5.0 for our top pick. It has a female-specific fit, easy-access pockets, and doesn’t bounce.

Check out this article if you are interested in more general hydration packs. Other ways to carry water include waist packs and handheld bottles.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Ultimate Direction Mountain Vesta 5.0

 

  • Lots of pockets
  • Comfortable cinch points
  • Adjustable straps and zippers
Check Price

 

Nathan Trailmix 7 Liter Race Pack

 

  • Soft-touch anti-chafing straps
  • Comes with its own bladder
  • Fully adjustable side straps
Check Price

 

Nathan Pinnacle 12-Liter

 

  • Large storage capacity
  • Keeps fluid cool
  • Breathable, stretchy, lightweight material
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Ultimate Direction Mountain Vesta 5.0

This pack is fairly minimal, very lightweight, and comfortable, thanks to the women-specific design.

What We Like

The Ultimate Direction Mountain Vesta 5.0 is very adjustable. This is a big bonus, as you truly can get a comfortable and bounce-free fit.

Specifically designed to accommodate the female body, this hydration pack can be adjusted with a hook-and-loop strap and bungee cords to suit your body for a bounce-free fit.

It holds plenty of water, with space for a 0.6-gallon or 2-liter hydration bladder—not included—plus two 17 oz soft flasks in the front.

Stretchy pockets allow you to store a large variety of valuables, including nutrition items, house or car keys, and extras like first aid supplies. Large openings make them easy for you to access while on the move.

One of the best things about this pack is the bungee system in the back section. It acts as a compression system to hold everything in place easily and without any bulkiness. It makes a huge difference in limiting bounce while you run.

It’s pretty durable as well, made of lightweight ripstop nylon and breathable mesh. There’s also a low chance of chafing, thanks to soft, fleecy edging.

Why We Like It

Adjustable, spacious, and comfortable… What more do you need in a hydration pack? This one is easy to use and can carry a lot of both water and other valuables.

What’s New

The 5.0 is a bit larger than the 4.0, with a longer, wider back compartment and larger front panels. The new design provides more storage space while not being cumbersome.

The elasticated loops that were present on the 4.0 to hold the hydration hose have been removed.

PROS:

  • Female-specific fit that can accommodate large chests
  • Easy-to-access pockets while you’re on the go
  • Adjustable bungee cords keep the pack close to the body for a bounce-free ride
  • Front pockets for 17 oz bottles, the rear pocket can accommodate a 2-liter bladder

CONS:

  • You need to buy the hydration bladder separately
 

Top Value

2. Nathan Trailmix 7 Liter Race

This hydration pack may be a little less sleek than others, but it offers excellent value for its price. It’s robust like a small backpack but does its job well.

What We Like

With 2 liters of water storage in the form of a hydration bladder and space for bottles in the front pockets, this vest is great for almost any run length. You will need to buy your own soft flasks though!

The bite valve can be clipped to the front buckle to keep it out of your way. It’s fairly long, but if you clip it close to your chest, you should be able to use it without even using your hands.

This vest accommodates a woman’s figure very well, with two buckle clips in the front and two on either side, all able to be cinched down to your size. It’s ergonomically designed and features specifically-contoured shoulders for a woman.

It’s made of fairly thick, durable material. It does have breathable mesh throughout, which keeps you from overheating.

Multiple stretch pockets allow you to slip things in and out as you need without fiddling with zippers. There’s also a larger compartment on the back for an extra layer.

You’ll need to be careful what you store in the front pockets. They’re slightly large, which means if you store something with a bit of weight like a smartphone, it may bounce a little instead of being held snugly. You could alleviate this by packing the pocket more tightly.

Why We Like It

This mini-backpack of a vest is high-quality and very effective while remaining a nice price in comparison to others on the market. It does the job very well—what more could you need?

PROS:

  • Ergonomic design with contoured shoulders for a comfortable fit
  • 2-liter bladder with an easy-to-use bite valve keeps you running hands-free
  • Well-placed, easy-to-reach pockets for nutrition and the bare necessities
  • Breathable mesh provides excellent air circulation to keep you dry

CONS:

  • The front pockets are slightly large, which may lead to bounce depending on what you store in them
 

Best for Long Runs

3. Nathan Pinnacle 12-Liter

The storage size of this hydration pack makes it a good choice for longer runs, or those runs when you’ll be away from aid stations and need to carry more nutrition and water with you.

What We Like

With 12 liters of storage, this pack offers more than enough space for all your valuables, nutrition, and accessories as well as water. It has an insulated, slosh-free 1.6-liter bladder and space for two soft flasks, which you’ll have to buy separately.

Made of breathable and stretchy material, this female-specific hydration pack is cool and comfortable. It’s also highly adjustable, with two moveable sternum straps that cinch down for the ideal fit.

A magnet on the right-hand strap holds the bite-valve tube securely and within easy reach.

This vest contains 15 pockets in total, including the one for your bladder and the two for your water bottles. On top of each water bottle pocket is another one for gels or chews and zippered pockets behind the flask pockets.

There’s even a pocket inside the zippered pocket and another tiny pocket housing a safety whistle. Two kangaroo pouches and a large diagonal pocket for an extra layer round it off nicely.

You should note that despite its great capacity, this pack only has a 1.6-liter bladder, which is a little smaller than some of the smaller packs. It’s also expensive! But you’re paying for capacity.

Why We Like It

There’s plenty of space both for water and for… everything else in this 15-pocket hydration pack! It remains lightweight and comfortable, with a women-specific fit.

PROS:

  • Large storage capacity with additional pockets
  • The insulated bladder keeps fluid cool without sloshing around
  • Breathable, stretchy, lightweight material is incredibly comfortable
  • Great for long-distance runs and ultras

CONS:

  • Only has a 1.6-liter bladder, which is smaller than some of the smaller packs
  • It’s expensive compared to others
 

Top Minimal Pack

4. Osprey Dyna 1.5

This hydration pack is straightforward and minimalist, making it perfect for those who want a no-fuss option.

What We Like

The Osprey Dyna 1.5 is form-fitting enough to prevent bouncing but remains breathable enough to keep you cool while running. It fits easily on women of all sizes, as the two chest straps can be fully adjusted or even removed to accommodate larger chest sizes.

A handy QuickConnect sternum magnet keeps the drinking valve within easy reach. It’s connected to a 1.5-liter bladder in a zippered sleeve, safe and secure. If you need more water than 1.5 liters, you can carry a couple of bottles in the front pockets.

As for pockets, you’ll find plenty of storage space here even though this is a minimalist vest. On the front, you’ll find a vertical zippered pocket with a hidden safety whistle and two stretch mesh pockets for small items.

A zippered pocket and two lower mesh stretch pockets offer even more space at the back.

This hydration pack also comes with a lifetime warranty. But it does seem to run a little small, so consider ordering a size up, and you can adjust it down to fit you with the versatile straps.

Why We Like It

This hydration pack looks minimal in design, but it offers more than enough space and water capacity for a decent length run.

PROS:

  • Form-fitting, breathable design with bounce-free stability
  • Dual chest straps can be adjusted or removed to accommodate large chests
  • Sternum magnet keeps the magnetic bite within easy reach
  • Versatile enough to fit a 1.5L reservoir and have plenty of storage

CONS:

  • The vest runs a little small
 

Most Comfortable

5. Salomon Sense Pro 10

Salomon makes high-quality outdoor equipment, so you can expect this hydration pack to be a great investment.

What We Like

This hydration pack is the perfect mix between storage and hydration. You should note up front that it’s not designed to hold a hydration bladder but rather has two soft flasks on the front that come included.

The flasks have molded bottoms, making it easier to slide into the front pockets with a single hand while running.

The absence of the bladder in the back helps the vest comfortably hug your body. Stretch mesh conforms to every curve and allows for breathability at the same time. No bounce, no overheating.

The storage is impressive. You’ll find a back compartment that can fit a spare layer or trekking poles. In the front, there’s a large, expandable pocket with a surprising amount of space.

2 stretchy front pockets, a low back pocket, and 2 zippered pockets on the front add even more room for nutrition and valuables.

This hydration pack vest is known to run a little small. You should choose the larger one to avoid chafing if you’re between sizes.

Why We Like It

This bottle-based hydration pack is designed to hug your body comfortably, preventing bouncing and offering a high level of comfort. Its 10-liter capacity is more than enough for most runs.

PROS:

  • Stretchy, breathable softshell material that molds to the shape of your body
  • Expandable storage lets you pack a rain jacket, socks, and nutrition
  • Soft flasks have a molded top and bottom which slide easily in and out of the pocket
  • Won’t obstruct your run or create pressure points

CONS:

  • This vest runs slightly small, so you may need to size up if you’re between sizes
  • Not designed to be used with a hydration bladder
 

Least Restrictive Pack

6. Ultraspire Astral 3.0 Vest

Nobody wants to be restricted while they’re running. This pack gives you a full range of motion and won’t obstruct you as you’re on the trail or road.

What We Like

The Ultraspire Astral 3.0 Vest is designed for a woman’s shape, specifically made to allow for full, comfortable movement while running.

It has a unique design, with a low wraparound that’s created to form a tight fit around the upper abdomen without causing pain, restriction, or annoyance. It’s fully adjustable.

Two bottles fit into pockets on either side in the front. There’s also a 2-liter bladder that fits into the back. This is attached with a unique hanging system, making it easy to remove when you need to refill it.

Note that the hanging system can be difficult to get right at first! But once you understand it, it keeps the bladder upright, so it doesn’t slosh much.

A few front pockets offer easy access for you to grab nutrition on the go. The design is freeing and unique.

This pack is on the heavy side, at slightly over 13 ounces completely empty. This won’t be a problem for everyone, but it could be an issue for those who want a lightweight pack.

Why We Like It

This unique-looking vest is non-restrictive and freeing for women of all sizes. Its design makes it very comfortable to wear.

What’s New

The hanging harness bladder system has been introduced into the latest model of this vest for improved convenience.

PROS:

  • Designed specifically to fit the shape of a woman without restricting movement
  • Adjustable straps provide the perfect fit while accommodating a variety of sizes
  • The hanging bladder is easy to access and simple to remove
  • Well-placed pockets for when you need quick-draw items like gels, chews, or nutrition

CONS:

  • The pack is somewhat heavy before loading it up
 

Best for Trail Runs

7. Osprey Dyna 6

This is a stable and durable hydration pack, which makes it excellent for trail runs or hikes. This is the larger of the two storage capacities, at 6 liters in total.

What We Like

Made of ripstop nylon and stretch mesh, this vest is sturdy and can withstand bumps and scrapes on the trails. Despite its rough and tough exterior, the inner fabric is soft and chafe-free.

The design wraps around the abdomen, with multiple straps across the chest to allow you to get the perfect fit. They can also be removed to make more space if necessary.

There’s plenty of space for extra items that may come in handy on the trails, like an extra jacket, nutrition, and trekking poles. Compression straps on the back of the pack allow you to cinch down to prevent bouncing.

The 1.5-liter bladder is held in place by a clip-and-loop strap, which stops it from sliding around while you’re navigating rough ground.

It also comes in two sizes—extra small/small and small/medium. There’s no option for larger women.

Why We Like It

This hydration pack’s hardy construction and durability make it an excellent choice for taking off-road. The pack itself is somewhat heavy, at just over 13 ounces when it’s empty.

PROS:

  • Thoughtful design lets you carry extra items like a light rain jacket, poles, and snacks
  • Large front mesh pockets accommodate two soft flasks
  • Clip-and-loop prevents the bladder from sliding down as you drink from it
  • Adjustable and removable chest straps allow for a secure, personalized fit

CONS:

  • This pack is a little heavy when empty, at around 13 oz
  • Doesn’t come in a large size
 

Top Large Capacity Pack

8. Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta 5.0

With a 16.5 liter capacity, this is an excellent choice if you’re planning on doing a long-distance run, an ultra run, or camping. It even has an integrated rain fly for keeping your valuables safe if you get caught in the rain.

What We Like

Although it has a large capacity, this pack is still quite compact. The shoulder straps have been carefully shaped to provide comfort for a woman, and it comes in three different sizes.

It’s also been carefully designed to provide even weight distribution to reduce fatigue on your back and shoulders when wearing it. It’s also easily adjustable so you can get a comfortable fit.

You can store plenty of nutrition and your valuables in the front storage pocket. There’s also a stretch mesh pocket that can easily fit a phone. You get a Body Bottle 500 with the vest, which fits into the front pocket, but it doesn’t come with a hydration bladder.

You can fit a surprising amount of stuff into this pack, and it cinches down to make it smaller and more manageable.

Why We Like It

We love how much you can carry with you when using this pack. It looks and fits great.

What’s New

The shoulder straps have been redesigned to offer a women-specific fit. It’s also now offered in 3 sizes.

PROS:

  • 16.5 liters of space lets you carry everything you need on long-distance runs
  • Built-in rain fly keeps your pack dry when the weather changes
  • Even weight distribution provides a comfortable
    feel

CONS:

  • Only comes with one soft flask; you need to buy other containers separately
 

Best Race Vest

9. Nathan Vaporswiftra 4-Liter Race Vest

This hydration pack vest is lightweight and streamlined, perfect for race day. If you’re running a night race, it also has 360-degree reflectivity for your safety.

What We Like

This hydration vest can hold more than enough water for long or short races, with 4 liters of capacity. You can use just the 1.5-liter bladder for shorter races and add the 2 bottles for longer ones where you need more.

A fully adjustable sizing system allows you to get a comfortable and bounce-free fit. It’s also made of really lightweight material, which won’t weigh you down on race day.

A large kangaroo pocket at the back and two zippered shoulder pockets provide more than enough safe space for your fuel and belongings.

This vest is known to run small, and Nathan suggests going a size up from what you would normally wear.

Why We Like It

This hydration pack has a large capacity for water, plenty of space for storage, and is sleek and light enough to make a great race day vest.

PROS:

  • Fully adjustable sizing system for a personalized fit
  • It can hold up to 4 liters of fluid with a 1.5-liter bladder and two bottles
  • Made of lightweight and streamlined materials
  • Multiple pockets for storing valuables safely

CONS:

  • This vest runs small, so you should size up
 

Top Salomon Pack

10. Salomon Adv Skin 8 Set W

Salomon products are made for challenging the elements, and this one is robust and hardy enough to join you in any race.

What We Like

This vest is an excellent choice for shorter races. It carries 1 liter of water in two bottles, which feature long straws that are within easy reach while running. You can add a hydration pack if you wish to buy one separately.

The bottle sleeves are insulated to keep your water cool, which is a great feature for hot summer days. Another good feature is the lightweight mesh construction of the vest, which allows for good ventilation to keep you cool.

2 front pockets, 2 upper pockets, and the main stretch compartment provide plenty of space for storing valuables.

This pack only has a storage capacity of 1 liter, which is the smallest capacity on this list. You can add a hydration bladder, but you’ll need to buy it separately.

Why We Like It

Made by one of the biggest names in outdoor gear, this pack is surprisingly lightweight and comfortable to wear.

PROS:

  • The unique shape reduces pressure on the chest when cinched down
  • Lightweight, breathable shell allows for good ventilation
  • Long, easy-to-reach straws on dual bottles
  • Insulated flask sleeves keep your water cold

CONS:

  • Lower storage capacity than most and no bladder included
 

Buyer’s Guide – Hydration Packs for Women

Fit

If the hydration pack doesn’t fit you properly, it may bounce or chafe. A proper fit is essential. Some come in women-specific sizing and fit.

Other packs may be universal. If you can, choose a women-specific fit for the most comfortable and effective fit.

Comfort

Most hydration packs are used for longer runs, so choosing a comfortable one is essential. If you’re uncomfortable, you will not perform at your best.

Most hydration packs have adjustable straps that allow you to get a close and comfortable fit.

Storage Capacity

The length of your long runs may determine the ideal storage capacity you need.

This includes both the capacity for fluid and the storage space for other items like energy gels, chews, or electrolyte tablets, as well as space for your valuables.

Smaller packs work well for short races where you want hands-free drinking capabilities. Larger packs will be necessary for longer runs when you don’t want to run out of water, and you don’t have the capacity to carry bottles.

Weight

Most hydration packs are designed to be lightweight, so you don’t feel weighed down while you’re running. Most of them are around 7 to 10 ounces in weight.

Usually, the higher the storage capacity, the heavier the vest will be. Keep in mind that once it’s packed, it will also be much heavier, so the lighter the vest, the better.

Bladder or Bottles

Some hydration packs use bladders, while others use bottles. Some use both in order to allow for the maximum storage capacity.

Hydration bladders can usually carry a larger amount of water and are also more streamlined. Many hydration packs that do use bladders also have space to carry soft flasks.

Bottles can be quicker to fill up at an aid station than a bladder. But ultimately, the pack you choose will depend on your needs and preference.

Price

Smaller hydration packs are usually less expensive, but you won’t be able to carry as much water with you. While larger packs and hydration bladders allow you to carry more water, they tend to cost more.

Pockets

Most hydration pack vests also include a variety of pockets in which you can pack small items like energy gels, first aid supplies, your phone, or keys.

They are usually easy to reach while you’re running to allow you to grab nutrition or check your valuables without having to take the vest off.

Reflectivity

Your hydration vest is another opportunity to add to your safety on the road or trail, especially if you tend to run early in the morning or late at night.

Choose a vest with reflective elements if you want to be seen by other runners and approaching vehicles.

Breathability

A hydration pack is an extra layer, so you should choose one that’s breathable to avoid overheating. There should be sections of mesh that allow for good airflow, in order to get air to the skin beneath the vest.

Trekking Pole Holders

If you’re a trail runner, some vests also come with holders for your trekking poles. This could be very convenient if you like to use poles on the trails.

FAQs

What Are the Benefits of a Hydration Pack?

A hydration pack not only stores a much larger amount of water than you can carry in your hands but also allows you to drink hands-free.

This is convenient and much easier, and it will also help to improve your performance as you can focus on running and not on holding onto your bottle.

A hydration pack also conforms to your body, so you’ll hardly notice that it’s there once you’re used to it.

What Is the Difference Between Women’s and Men’s Packs?

Technically, women can wear men’s hydration packs, but the fit may not be optimized for a women’s body.

A women-specific hydration pack has more fabric underneath the arms, wrapping around the sides of the chest to the back while leaving the upper chest open. The pack will zip over the abdomen, leaving the chest unrestricted.

The shape of soft flasks included with hydration packs for women is also different. They’re designed to fit underneath the breast instead of on the chest as it is on men’s hydration packs.

This design not only makes the bottles easier to carry but also significantly improves female runners’ comfort.

How Much Gear Capacity Do I Need in a Running Hydration Vest?

This depends on you, how long your run is, and what kind of things you would like to carry with you in your vest.

You should have enough space to take an adequate amount of water, some nutrition, first aid supplies, and possibly a light extra layer. If you use trekking poles, you should choose a vest to accommodate them.

If you’re planning on running for one to two hours, 0.5 gallons—2 liters—should be more than enough. Anything upwards of that will require a pack of between 0.8 and 1.6 gallons—3 to 6 liters.

How Can You Tell if a Running Hydration Vest Fits Well?

Your vest should not bounce when you run. It should fit snugly without chafing anywhere. You should also be able to have a full range of motion while wearing it.

Make sure to test this when running and not just when standing.

Should I Use a Hydration Reservoir or Bottles With My Running Vest?

If your hydration vest comes with both a bladder and bottles, we recommend using both. A hydration bladder can carry more water. But bottles are easier to fill at aid stations, as you don’t have to remove the vest to do so.

It depends on how long your run is and whether or not there’s somewhere to refill along the way.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner
Logo