March 22, 2023
Many people assume that hydration packs are made exclusively for serious runners and athletes looking to compete in strenuous outdoor activities, but this is far from the case. Hydration packs were designed to benefit anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors to serve as a reliable and essential addition to all kinds of adventures, from small trail walks, to mountain expeditions, to gruelling triathlons.
Here, at Ultimate Direction, we do our best to provide high-quality, reliable running vests, fastpacks, water bottles and more. Our outdoor gear is some of the best on the market – made to last and affordable too.
When it comes to hydration pack running, users experience benefits that people without hydration packs lack, and this will be explored in a little bit as we highlight the many important benefits of hydration pack running and how this gear can improve your outdoor adventures.
A hydration pack is a hydration system incorporated into a lightweight backpack that is designed to make water accessible and easy to drink whilst on the go whilst other packs are designed to hold water bottles and other essential items to make for a seamless, hands-free experience on any adventure.
Hydration packs are most commonly used for activities such as running, hiking, and cycling as they provide a solution for continuous hydration without the inconvenience of a large jostling backpack. Hydration packs also work to reduce wastage when people fill and use their hydration packs instead of buying and drinking single-use plastic water bottles.
Many people opt to use a backpack when embarking on a trail run because it is something they likely have lying around at home and believe it will do the same job in storing the necessities, however, backpacks are designed to be more general purpose and are not suited for many of the same activities that hydration packs are. Here are some reasons why hydration packs are more suitable for trail running compared to the everyday backpack:
Hydration pack running guarantees more convenience, with hydration packs either having a built-in water bladder and tube system to make it easy to drink water on the go or an easily accessible compartment to store a water bottle. With a backpack, the user would have to stop, remove the backpack and find their bottle of water inside every time they want to have a drink, this would slow down their pace and they would have to make sure to pack a water bottle that seals properly to avoid it leaking on other items in their bags.
Some may choose to carry nothing but a water bottle on their activity, which is not recommended for long runs. Firstly this would restrict them as they have to use one hand to carry the water bottle, which means that they have less mobility with the use of only one hand. If they are hiking and trip and fall or need to hold on to elements around them for balance they are more likely to get injured due to having to hold their water bottle.
Carrying a full water bottle also results in discomfort, with the weight causing muscle pain and ache after carrying it for an extended time, not to mention when the water bottle is empty they will still have to carry it.
The weight of a full water bottle lost in the bag would also result in an uneven distribution of weight which would negatively affect one’s balance and make the journey uncomfortable. Hydration pack running is made easier with the hydration pack designed to sit snugly on the user’s back, with the weight of the water evenly distributed, making hydration pack running much more comfortable than running with a backpack, especially for extended periods.
This could be considered especially important for runners who need to stay hydrated during their runs but require a solution that is hands-free – that they can carry with them that does not cause discomfort by sitting incorrectly or bouncing around on their backs with each pace.
Many people choose backpacks rather than hydration pack running because they believe they can fit more in a backpack but fail to realise that hydration packs have plenty of space to store items for the journey including nutritious snacks, keys, phones, sun protection, a change of clothes, etc.
Overall, regular backpacks can be used occasionally for short journeys that require large amounts of equipment to be carried, but even in those cases the user’s back will suffer due to the lack of design around weight distribution and overall fit, leaving the bag free to bounce around on the user’s back, especially with activities that involve running.
Ultimate Direction hydration packs are designed to hold either hydration bladders or water bottles. Our hydration packs have a dedicated section built into the bag to ensure water bottles are stored safely and comfortably in a way that does not negatively affect the user’s back.
The benefits of carrying a hydration pack include the already mentioned uninterrupted supply of water on the go and comfort no matter the distance or activity – thanks to the design and the way it sits snugly on the user's back. Hydration packs also allow the user to keep their energy levels up by allowing space to store energy bars and high-energy snacks for the user to have to refuel and give them a boost.
Without a hydration pack’s storage space, runners would have to go without these snacks or carry them in their hands or pockets which is uncomfortable and inconvenient, and they would also have to carry the wrappers and empty packets afterwards to prevent littering.
Ultimate Direction hydration running packs are made to move. The designs focus on comfort and practicality to ensure that the user can perform to their full potential no matter the terrain. Running is an extremely physically demanding activity and runners need to maintain adequate hydration levels to prevent dehydration and ensure optimal athletic performance no matter what distance they are tackling.
Runners need to stay hydrated, and they need to be able to access water without having to stop. Stopping on a run or changing their speed disrupts the rhythm they worked to maintain and the sudden change can cause the runner to get cramps. Even more importantly, if the runner is competing in a race, then time is extremely valuable and they cannot afford to stop.
The same applies to cyclists, except in their case stopping for water would be an even bigger inconvenience as they would have to get off their bikes. Whilst some cyclists may keep a water bottle on the front of their bike this is not optimal as it can affect the weight distribution of the bike and the cyclist could fall whilst trying to get it off the front of their bike to drink from, and afterwards, they have to securely put it back.
There are many essential items trail runners might pack for race day, and the items vary depending on the length of and type of race they are participating in. Everyone has their preferences, but here are some items common amongst the majority of trail runners:
Hydration: Ultimate Direction hydration packs are designed to carry water bladders or water bottles. Most runners carry water or a sports drink on their race, as hydration is essential. Having liquids regulates their body temperature and prevents overheating, and some runners prefer sports drinks for the added energy and replenishment of electrolytes.
Energy bars and snacks: Sustenance may not be essential to runners completing a short distance, but for long-distance runners, trail runners, and hikers, having an energy gel, bar, or high protein snack can be the difference between finishing and not finishing the distance.
First aid kit: A first aid kit is always a good idea to have around, as accidents happen, as well as muscle pains. Having antiseptic wipes and bandages in case of a fall and painkillers for any muscular discomfort is recommended. On longer trail runs it is important to remember that often the checkpoints are far apart, so runners need to be equipped to take care of themselves if anything were to happen.
Protection from the elements: come rain or shine, runners need to be prepared for a variety of conditions, which is why many carry a cap and sunscreen to protect themselves from the harmful sun’s rays, or a raincoat and possibly an extra layer to put on if conditions are wet and rainy.
Technology: Runners often carry their cell phones with them on the trail in case of an emergency and also just so they can contact and be contacted if needed. If they choose not to wear their GPS watch, they can carry it in their hydration pack to track their route and time to complete it.
Hydration packs have space for the essentials, but it is important not to overload them as too much weight will cause discomfort and slow the runner down. Plan and pack only what you need to keep you going on your run.
It’s important to choose a hydration pack that is specifically suited to your needs. When choosing a hydration pack you need to make decisions on options like having a pack with a water bladder or having a pack with a space to carry a water bottle or two. Different packs have differently-sized water reservoirs as well as compartments to hold water bottles and other items.
You need to choose a pack that is big enough or small enough to hold your items and determine how much water you want to carry with you during your activities. The fit of the pack is of utmost importance for your comfort. Men's and women’s packs are designed differently to fit the correct body types.
Ultimate Direction has a wide range of high-quality hydration packs on offer. When you browse our catalogue, you’re sure to find the hydration pack perfectly suited to your needs. We cater to hikers and trail runners of all skill levels and offer a wide selection of running vests, outdoor gear, and other sporting goods. No matter how big or small your next adventure, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just getting started, Ultimate Direction is ready to set you up with everything you need to unlock your full potential.