When it comes to your outdoor activities, hydration packs for hiking are essential. An ill-fitting pack lets you down on the trail and leaves you tired and uncomfortable. A properly fitted hydration pack holds all of your hiking necessities, provides ample lumbar support, and maintains you cool all day long so that you can literally go the entire distance. But how can you choose the right hydration packs for hiking among the many options available? How do you make sure you're choosing the best one for your needs? Here's a look at how hydration packs for hiking vary, and which may be best for your trip.
Most hydration packs for hiking come in one of two forms. You can get one with an external bladder or an internal bladder. The internal type is typically used for moderate to long-distance hikes, especially when you're going to be carrying more than one tube. Internal hydration packs are lightweight and pack well under heavier loads.
External hydration packs, however, are great for short hikes, such as those found on shorter trips like a day hike. For these types of outings, it's important that the outside compartment is compact and sturdy since the weight will be an issue. The exterior shell of external hydration packs for hiking can vary greatly, too. Some models are constructed entirely of breathable material, while others are made of molded mesh. The exterior shell is usually made of nylon for comfort, though you'll find some models made of soft, cushioned material as well.
Longer hikes require different hydration pack designs. For these longer outings, you'll want to choose a pack that has a comfortable backpack strap, so that you don't have to put your weight and backpack into the tube. A shoulder strap is also important for long-distance hikers. You may not want to carry your hydration pack on your back; in which case, finding a pack with a built-in shoulder strap is your best choice.
In general, there are two types of hydration packs for hiking. One is a tube system, and the other is a backpack with a large tube with a built-in bottle holder. You don't want to carry a huge tube on your back; you don't need the extra weight. In some situations, both tube and backpack hydration packs are equally effective, so you just need to decide what is best for your particular trip and expected temperatures.
The most comfortable hydration pack is made up of a pair of belts and a comfortable material. The hipbelt helps distribute your weight evenly. A hydration pack with a hip belt and comfortable material is the most comfortable when you walk long distances. However, if you are going to be doing short hikes that don't take very long, you probably don't need the additional comfort of a hipbelt.
When you compare different types of hydration packs for hiking, it's easy to see that they all have their good points. No matter what your comfort level, you should be able to find the pack that is most comfortable to wear. However, the best overall pack is the one that has the best features, the most comfortable material, and a bounce-free harness.
Your hydration packs for hiking will ultimately come down to personal preference. What type of clothing and gear you use will have a lot to do with your decision. For example, if you are an advanced hike and trekker, you probably already have the proper clothing for your activity. On the other hand, someone who is just starting out may want to buy a light daypack. All in all, if you plan to do a lot of hiking, you may want to spend the extra money upfront for the best overall pack.