Best Hydration Water Pack For A Half Marathon or Marathon Race

Running a marathon isn’t easy no matter how fit you are. It’s a feat of great endurance. That said, it’s made much easier if you have portable water available to you while you run. Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of completing a marathon safely.

Of course, there’s a lot of different water packs out there. Which one is right for you? It all depends on what you’re looking for. Don’t worry: we’ll cover some of the best hydration water packs to use during a half marathon or marathon race.

Another common question often asked by new half marathoners and marathons alike – Should I Carry My Water For A Long Distance Race?

Aspects of Each Pack That Will Be Covered

  • Water capacity
  • How much the pack weighs
  • Durability/construction
  • Extra storage for phones, hats, glasses, etc.
  • Pros and Cons

The Best Budget Water Pack

Water Buffalo Hydration Pack

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Of all the packs mentioned on this list, the Water Buffalo Hydration Pack (Amazon Link) is probably the best in terms of budget. The CamelBak has a low price and offers durable construction. Its two-liter water bladder and extra space for storage are a bonus. For safety, you can’t deny the reflective trim designed intentionally for safety during your excursions.

It’s worth noting that it isn’t a dedicated running pack. Its performance could suffer a slight bit compared to the more expensive packs designed specifically for running. But of course, it’s a fraction of the price and still does a good job.

The Best Overall Water Pack

Salomon Active Skin 8

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On this list, the Salomon Active Skin 8 (Amazon Link) is probably the best overall, in terms of features for the price. Unlike the cheaper options, it is designed specifically for running and thus has significantly reduced bounce and sloshing.

Even though it doesn’t come with a water bladder upon purchase, it does come with two soft flasks and can support up to eight liters of water if you need it. Elastic and moisture-wicking material means it fits snugly and reduces sweat and odor buildup. It’s also unisex, which is a noteworthy factor to consider.

Ultimate Direction Marathon Hydration Vest

Ultimate Direction Marathon Vest

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The Ultimate Direction Marathon Hydration Vest (Amazon Link) has a water capacity of two liters for its water bladder (sold separately), which is about average for most packs However, it also has extra room for holding water bottles, so the overall carrying capacity is somewhat higher.

The construction is a combination of PowerNet Mesh and Cool Wick Air Mesh. Combined, the vest can carry its full water capacity without unnecessary sloshing from the water reservoir, and while reducing sweat buildup near the shoulder straps. Adjustable straps around the sternum prevent undue jostling.

As for extra storage space, the vest has a zippered pocket that can hold one’s phone. According to the manufacturers, it’s “large enough to hold an iPhone 7.” Aside from that, there are two stretch pockets designed for your keys and wallet. Without water, it weighs 2.88 ounces.

Ultimately, this is a great lightweight vest at a decently low price of roughly $56. If you don’t need a larger water capacity and just want low weight and comfort with some storage and water, this vest will do very well.

HydraPak Velocity Light-Weight Water Bladder/Reservoir

We like this pack because it’s pretty affordable for a dedicated running pack, most of which are closer to $100. On the downside, while the straps securing it to your body aren’t bad, they could be better. Also, it does not come with a water bladder which must be purchased separately. Even though there is no water bladder if you purchase them separately, it still brings the total to under $100 for the vest – practically a steal.

HydraPak Velocity Light-Weight Water Bladder/Reservoir for Running Hydration Vests, 1.5-Liter (50 oz.) (Amazon Link)

Nathon Vaporhowe Women’s Hydration Pack

Nathan Vaporhowe Hydration Pack

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 The Nation Vaporhowe Women’s Hydration Pack (Amazon Link) is designed specifically to fit the female body, but rest assured that there are male variants as well. Much pricier than the previous entry at a cost of $127, we wouldn’t blame you for wondering what features make it worth that much.

First of all, it’s body-mapped, meaning it is designed to be as comfortable of a fit as possible. The Nathon Vaporhowe comes with a 1.8-liter water bladder but can fit higher-capacity bladders if you have them. It also has front pockets that can hold 22oz water bottles.

It has multiple storage pockets on both the rear and the front in order to store phones, personal items, and the like, with most of them having velcro for security. Adjustable straps allow for a more comfortable fit for your personal needs.

It’s relatively heavy at one pound without water, but many individuals have praised the tight and comfortable fit of the pack, which doesn’t bounce or slosh much even when packed full of things. Naturally, it comes with a bladder hose for you to drink out of while running.

It’s available in a huge range of sizes, but only one color, that being a light blue of sorts. As for whether or not the increased price is worth it, most reviews claim that the snug fit and great amount of storage space is well worth it.

Being designed specifically for women obviously excludes this product from most males, which, as far as general assessment is concerned, is something we can consider a con.

Osprey Dyna 1.5 Women’s Running Hydration Vest

Osprey Dyna 1.5 Women’s Running Hydration Vest

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The Osprey Dyna 1.5 Women’s Running Hydration Vest (Amazon Link) is another women’s specific variety, with a zippered reservoir sleeve and a 1.5-liter reservoir. A sternum magnet to help keep the tube near your face while running is also included in the purchase.

It has a number of pockets, with most of them being zippered and on the front, providing plenty of storage for your phone and other valuable items. Snap-in, removable dual chest straps also give you great stability that can be modified to your needs.

It comes with a few other odd attachments, including a safety whistle and a trekking pole, not that the latter would be used too often while running. The water capacity can be improved by carrying soft flasks, and it is designed to reduce bounce as much as possible.

It’s mostly made of stretch mesh, meaning it will hold up as long as you don’t put it through too much abuse. For roughly $90, it’s not a bad deal at all: however, it does have a relatively low water capacity. It makes up for this with a large number of pockets on all surfaces of the pack.

Salomon Active Skin 8

Salomon Active Skin 8

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HydraPak Velocity Light-Weight Water Bladder/Reservoir

HydraPak Velocity Light-Weight Water Bladder/Reservoir for Running Hydration Vests, 1.5-Liter (50 oz.) (Amazon Link)

The Salomon Active Skin 8 (Amazon Link) has plenty of great features: 3D Airmesh straps and fabric ensures that the pack has great breathability, and the elastic sternum strap is quick and easy to connect or disconnect even while running. There’s a sewn-in bladder tube exit as well.

One Size doesn’t fit all when it comes to this pack which creates a snug unique fit – Here is the Sizing (Chest): XS: 32-35”, S: 34.5-38”, M: 37.5-40″, L: 39.5-42.5″, XL: 42-45″. Make sure you’re ordering the correct size upon checkout.

The bad news – this vest is doesn’t come with a water bladder: instead, it comes with two 500ml soft flasks. Unfortunately, pretty much all of Salomon’s water packs come built and packaged this way. It can support a water bladder, it just doesn’t come with one. That said, it can support up to 8 liters.

It has two front pockets that can stretch to hold your personal belongings and an elastic key chain holder that makes it easy to grab them while keeping them secure. Large openings in the bag make it easy to store and retrieve your gear.

Finally, the fabric is elastic and moisture-wicking, so not only does it adhere to your body quite well, it improves drying and reduces odor, which is a nice touch. It would be nice if it came with a bladder at $100, but you can’t have everything.

CamelBak Water Buffalo Hydration Pack

Water Buffalo Hydration Pack

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The Water Buffalo Hydration Pack (Amazon Link) comes with a two-liter water bladder and, most notably, is a very affordable $25. It’s made of very sturdy materials, with ripstop nylon and durable metal zippers. It’s fully insulated, keeping your water cool for a long time.

On top of that, it’s BPA-free, so you don’t have to worry about any sort of leeching in your water. The straps and back are padded, as well as ventilated. Reflective safety trim makes it easier for cars to see. It can also clip a water bottle to it but doesn’t have a dedicated pocket for them.

As far as extra storage is concerned, it has a spacious main compartment, a bungee, exterior pockets, and an inner sleeve. With the material being somewhat waterproof, it can keep all of your gear dry if it rains.

The water tube is kept in place by straps and clips and has an on/off valve so there’s no leaking. It’s compact, has great water capacity, is survivable and, above all, very affordable compared to all the other packs.

The price is one of its strongest selling points, but it’s not a dedicated running pack, which is definitely a con.

Zavothy Hydration Backpack

Zavothy Hydration Pack

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Another affordable water pack is the Zavothy Hydration Backpack (Amazon Link). This one is roughly $21 and comes with a two-liter water bladder, weighing less than a pound in total. It’s made of anti-scratch fabric, which is tough and survivable.

It’s shaped a lot like a traditional CamelBak, with storage space in a large main compartment. It has additional storage spots such as an outer pocket, an inner sleeve, and a bungee. Soft air-mesh ensures you have maximum breathability on all contact surfaces.

The water bladder is BPA-free, and with the combination of PVC, polyester, and the aforementioned fabrics, it’s extremely durable and resistant to damage. One downside of the Zavothy pack is its straps don’t secure it tightly as some of the other options on the list.

If you’re planning on running a marathon don’t show up empty-handed – discover 18 things you should always bring to a marathon race.

Are there other ways to carry your phone while running other than a hydration or water pack?

Well of course there is! If you can’t stand the thought of strapping on a backpack and running 26.2 miles – I understand. Thankfully there are many different ways that you can carry your phone while you run. Check out 7 ways to carry your smartphone while you run.

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Coach Scott's Credentials:
  • Published Author
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach (Level 2)
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He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 22nd half marathon race. 

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Best Hydration Water Pack For A Half Marathon or Marathon Race