The Best Hydration Packs in Australia for 2024

Trail runners, light and fast hikers, and mountain bikers know that hydration packs are invaluable pieces of gear.

They allow you to carry water, food, and other essentials without the weight, bulk, and discomfort of a traditional backpack, so they make an ideal trail companion.

That being said, modern running backpacks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to choose one out of the bunch.

To make things simpler, we’ve narrowed down the available options to our top five favourites and have reviewed them here in our hydration pack buyers guide.

Salomon Agile 6

Salomon hydration backpack

The Agile 6 is specifically designed for mid-range endurance activities in the hills. Whether you’re a hiker, biker, or runner, the Agile 6 is made to impress.

Outfitted with a carrying capacity of 6L, the Agile 6 has enough space for essentials like water, food, and a mid layer or rain jacket. Plus, with a 1.5L water reservoir carrying capacity and an additional 1L capacity found in two soft 500mL water bottles, you’ll have enough to keep you hydrated throughout your outing.

The Agile is light, convenient, and comfortable so it’s great for anyone who needs a do-all running backpack.

If you like the look of the Agile 6 but think you may need more carrying capacity, check out the Salomon Agile 12.

PROS
  • Highly water resistant 100D Ripstop nylon fabric
  • 1.5L water carry capacity
  • 2 soft 500mL water bottles included
  • Light (300g)
  • Trekking pole holder                              
CONS
  • Not as form-fitting as a vest

Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Running Vest Review

Salomon running vest review

The Advanced Skin 12 from Salomon is the ultimate running vest. The Advanced Skin wraps and stretches to your body so you keep everything where you need it without the discomfort of a bouncing pack.

This vest offers maximum comfort without sacrificing on useful storage space. It’s capable of holding a 1.5L reservoir, 2 soft 500mL water bottles, and snacks for a run. If that wasn’t good enough, it also comes pre-packed with a safety blanket and whistle, too!

PROS
  • Stretches and conforms to the body for maximum comfort
  • Trekking pole holder
  • 1.5L water capacity
  • 2 soft 500mL water bottles included
  • Safety blanket and whistle included
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Heavy for vest (514g)

Osprey Raptor 14 Review

Osprey hydration backpack

Cyclists can rejoice with the Osprey Raptor 14. Specifically designed for mountain bikers, the Raptor 14 is made to be comfortable and stable, even at high speeds.

With an abundance of storage space and an external helmet carry system, you can bring everything you need on your ride.

The Raptor 14 has 3L of water carrying capacity, so it’s great for rides of any length. Plus, it has plenty of mesh in the back panel and harness so you can comfortably wear the pack even in the heat of a hot summer’s day.

PROS
  • 3.0L water capacity
  • Helmet carry system
  • Mesh back panel for breathability
  • Abundance of pockets                           
CONS
  • Heavy (730g)
  • Too bulky for running, best for cycling

Osprey Duro Hydration Vest Review

Runners who want the comfort of a hydration vest with the storage capacity of a backpack might enjoy the Osprey Duro. Whether you’re out on a short run or an all-day adventure, the Duro has enough storage space to get you where you want to go.

With a 1.5L reservoir and soft water bottle capability as well as an abundance of pockets, you won’t have to leave anything behind with the Duro. Plus, the vest’s unique over-the-shoulder carry reduces bounce for a more comfortable run, making this a great vest for ultra runners and fast hikers, alike!

PROS
  • 1.5L water reservoir included
  • Bounce-free carry
  • Compatible with soft water bottles
CONS
  • Heavy for vest (540g)

Choosing a running backpack

Choosing a running backpack is no easy task. There are tons of different models and designs out on the market, so you might have trouble identifying the one for you. While shopping around, be sure to keep these characteristics in mind:

Type

Running or Hydration packs are categorised based on their design. The two main categories are backpack and vest. The backpack version is most similar to a daypack but is generally smaller, so they’re great for light and fast hikes.

Vests, on the other hand, fit and look like a vest and are designed to fit close to the body. They often have front pockets and overall less storage capacity for non-water items but are best for running.

Capacity

There are two things to talk about when it comes to hydration pack capacity: how much water the pack can hold and how much gear it can store.

When it comes to water capacity, one needs to make a personal judgment based on the amount of water they tend to drink and the lengths of trips they tend to go on.

If one needs a pack for an hour-long run, their needs will be much different than an ultrarunner on a 100km adventure. Most packs have a capacity somewhere between 0.5 and 3.0L.

For gear storage, one needs to consider how much gear they usually carry. We generally recommend 5L or less for running and biking, 6-10L for trail running and 11-20L for hiking and longer runs.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s turn to the reviews. Coming up: the best running and hydration packs on the market.

Photo of author

Gaby Pilson - Professional Mountain Guide

A professional mountain guide and experienced outdoor educator, Gaby enjoys travelling and exploring the world’s most remote locales. As a writer and editor, Gaby has written for a variety of climbing and travel blogs, news sites, and climbing magazines. She is currently finishing a master’s degree in outdoor education but in her free time, Gaby loves a strong cup of coffee and searching for the next great adventure. Learn more about what she does at www.gabypilson.com.