When is it time for a runner to invest in a hydration pack?
What is a hydration pack or vest, and what’s the difference?
A hydration pack is a backpack-style bag with a built-in hydration system, typically in the form of a water bladder or reservoir. The pack is worn on the back and typically has straps to secure it to the body. Hydration packs are designed to carry water and other gear, such as snacks, clothing, and first aid supplies.
A hydration vest is a vest-style bag with a built-in hydration system. The vest is worn over the upper body and typically has a series of pockets and compartments for carrying water, snacks, and other gear. Hydration vests are designed to be lightweight and comfortable to wear, with minimal bouncing or chafing while running or hiking.
Both hydration packs and vests are designed to allow users to carry water and other essentials while on the go, but they differ in terms of their design and the way they are worn. Some people may prefer the convenience and stability of a pack, while others may prefer the lightweight and minimal design of a vest. Ultimately, the choice between a hydration pack and a hydration vest will depend on your personal preferences and needs.
But when is a good time to spend money on a hydration vest or pack?
Hydration packs or vests are not cheap and can run you anywhere from $50 to over $200 bucks depending on the brand and the type of product you purchase.
If you’re considering a hydration pack, then you’ve probably already invested in a good pair of running shoes that has a comparable cost. So between your sneaks and the pack, it’s easy to offload several hundred dollars on only two items. But before you spend your money, consider the following situations which will help you determine if it’s a good time to invest in a hydration vest:
- If you are a runner or hiker who frequently covers long distances, anywhere from 6 miles or more, then a hydration vest can be a convenient and comfortable way to carry water and other essentials while on the go. The benefit f the vest is that you don’t have to carry your hydration and you don’t have to worry about it running out while on your longer runs.
- If you are training for a race or event that requires you to carry water and other gear: A hydration vest can help you practice carrying everything you will need on race day and wearing the pack during your training runs will help you understand what you will experience on race day and will help you determine how much hydration you will need over the long haul. You don’t want to wear a brand new vest or pack on race day because it might cause you issues that you could have avoided by wearing it on a few runs before your race.
- If you are an outdoor enthusiast who frequently participates in activities that require you to carry water and other gear: A hydration vest can be a useful and practical tool for these activities. There is so much convenience in being able to carry everything you need all at once.
- If you are looking for a lightweight and minimal alternative to a traditional hydration pack: A hydration vest can be a good option if you prefer a more streamlined design. For some folks, the backpack style can be cumbersome or shift around or just not remain snugly fit over a long period of time, so shifting to a vest could result in a better experience.
- If you are planning a long-distance backpacking trip: A hydration vest can be a good way to carry water and other essentials while still keeping your hands free. However, nowadays, you can purchase a backpack that has a water reservoir but depending on your needs and how much stuff you want to carry, a vest might be a better option if you’re into ultralight gear.
Ultimately, the decision to invest in a hydration vest will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you think a hydration vest could be a useful tool for your outdoor activities, it might be a good time to invest in one especially if you think you’ll use it more than once or more than once a year. Comfortable gear is super important and will increase your confidence. When gear fits right, consumers have reported that this enhanced their overall outdoor adventure and for endurance athletes, function and fit were integral to optimizing their athletic performance.
Finally, be responsible and spend what you can base on your current budget. There are so many options from generic brands to major hydration brands but don’t go broke purchasing a hydration vest. There’s no perfect formula for the right hydration vest or pack, so you may have to experiment to find the right one. Happy running and stay hydrated!