You’ll never go thirsty again on a long run if you take one of these great hydration packs with you. – BY SEAN FALCONER
In trail running and adventure racing, athletes often head into areas where there will be no water available – or no clean, safe water – and they often need to carry not only water, but also gear, food and emergency supplies. This is where hydration packs come into their own: worn on the back like a backpack, they contain a water bladder and a hose that allows you to drink hands-free from the bladder, and most offer additional storage space for those essential extras. Here is a selection of some of the best lightweight hydration packs in South African stores.
New Balance Hydration Pack
Holding a 1.5L bladder, this pack offers two extra zippered storage pockets, one of which is a prominent external music-friendly pocket with opening for the earphone cord. The NVent back panel configuration enhances airflow and ventilation, and reflective detailing on front and back promote visibility and safety.
R540 @ New Balance outlets
Ultimate Direction Wasp Hydration Pack
Carrying a 1.8L bladder, its SportVest shoulder straps promote comfort and 3D Airmesh back panel and straps promote ventilation. Two front mesh pockets on the lower straps offer quick access to stores, with two more zippered pockets on the sides of the pack and a stretch mesh pocket on the front, secured by bungee cord. Also has two tie-loops to hold trek poles, and both the bungee cord and logo are reflective (The Wink is the women-specific version).
R980 @ www.hammernutrition.co.za
Adidas Running Backpack Bladder
A small, compact pack with a 2L bladder that is easy to access for filling thanks to a Velcro fastener. It also has zippered storage pockets on the front and side, with the front pocket forming a flap over the top of the pack. The pack features ClimaCool technology in its straps and back padding to help you stay dry and comfortable. The adidas logo is reflective for better visibility in darker conditions.
R749 @ adidas Concept Stores
Salomon XT Wings S Lab Set
An ultra light pack that can be made even lighter by removing the waist belt and its removable pocket. Holds a 2L bladder and has a second zippered pocket, while the shoulder straps offer more storage for small items, and stretch loops on the belt, and quick release cords can accommodate further items. The shoulder straps have Airvent mesh for ventilation, and Airvent Agility back panel pads further promote comfort.
R1 199 @ Cape Storm
K-Way Hydro Velocity 6
This pack has two prominent zips on the front for access to the bladder and storage pockets, and mesh straps and back panelling to promote ventilation. There are openings on both sides, so you can feed the hose left or right, or change it during a run if you choose to. It also has reflective detailing for added visibility.
R250 @ Cape Union Mart
Deuter Hydro Lite 3.0
An ergonomically slim pack with a 2L bladder, zippered storage pocket, mesh straps for ventilation, hip strap for stability, and reflective detailing for improved visibility. The back padding includes Deuter’s Airstripes system: two contoured foam strips with air channels (grooves), covered with highly breathable mesh, and with a ‘chimney’ space between them to enhance air circulation.
R499 @ Cape Union Mart
Hi-Tec Satish 12L
Still relatively new on the market, this pack holds a 1.5L bladder and features a waist belt for added stability, cushioned back panel, a hidden mesh foldover that clips into the top of the pack for wet clothes, and a cellphone pouch pocket.
R279 @ Somerset Sport and other Hi-Tec stockists
Camelbak Classic II
A lightweight minimalist pack from Camelbak, holding a 2L bladder and extra storage thanks to a second zippered pocket and bungee securing on the back of the pack. Diamond mesh on the back panel and lightweight mesh straps promote ventilation, and reflective detailing on the front and back promotes visibility.
R599 @ Cape Storm, Due South & Sportsmans Warehouse
Camelbak Charm (1.5L, women-specific) – R549.00 @ Due South
Camelbak Hydrobak (1.5L) – R569 @ Sportsmans Warehouse
Camelbak Aurora (2.1L, women-specific) – R749 @ Due South
Camelbak Rogue (2L) – R799 @ Cape Storm & Due South
Due South Swordtail (1.5L) – R399 @ Due South
Maxed Hydration Bag (1L) – R139 @ Mr Price Sports Stores
Nathan HPL #020 (2L) – R1 100 @ The Tri Shop
Salomon XT Wings 5 (Add bladder) – R795 @ Cape Storm
Sportsmans Warehouse Hydration Pack (2L) – R349 @ Sportsmans Warehouse