When you’re headed out of the house to run just a few errands, it’s wise to take a small bottle of water with you to stay hydrated. If, however, you’re heading out to go for a run, cycle, or hike, then you’ll need to consider how you’re planning on carrying enough water with you to get you through the day.
Do you take a backpack and fill it with several bottles of water? Or should you invest in a hydration pack? In this article, we will look at the benefits of owning one in order to know whether or not are hydration packs worth it.
Hydration Pack vs. Backpack
If you’re considering buying a hydration pack, then it’s safe to assume that you have seen a need to transport water with you while you’re on the move, no matter what your current activity. Your two options are between a hydration pack with an internal water reservoir or bladder and a backpack filled with one or more bottles of water.
Here are some of the things that we think you should consider:
We already have so much discarded plastic in the world that our landfills and oceans are full of it. Plastic debris in the ocean, for example, floats about in miles-wide patches and is a very sorry sight to see. If you haven’t seen it, then we recommend Googling it. Although, be warned: it might break your heart.
If you do buy single-use plastic bottles, however, then remember that you can still reuse them. Rumors that chemicals leak out of them causing cancer are unfounded, but you should make sure that you wash them properly with hot, soapy water to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Water reservoirs, on the other hand, are designed for continuous use and can be refilled easily for many outings over many years.
Reusable water canteens and bottles aren’t really an option if you need to carry a lot of water due to the weight of each container. Water reservoirs, on the other hand, are super lightweight and can carry anywhere between one and three liters of water.
If you invest in a hydration pack, depending on the size of bag that you buy, it can often double as a backpack. Nowadays, pretty much all hydration packs come with a removable water reservoir so that it’s easier to fill it up and clean it. This means that if you don’t need it on any given day, you can just leave it at home and use the pack as you would any other backpack.
Another benefit to owning a hydration pack is that the water reservoir is space-saving as compared to having two large bottles of water in your backpack. The reservoir is more streamlined with no awkward shapes, allowing you to pack and access your other belongings more easily.
Ease of Access to Water
This is one of the major selling points of a hydration pack. Probably the main reason why people invest in them, in fact. If you have a couple of bottles of water in your bag, then every time you want a drink, you’re going to have to stop whatever you’re doing and remove your backpack to access your water.
A hydration pack, on the other hand, allows access to your water supply at all times. They have a hose attached to them,which feeds the water outside of the backpack and into your mouth. There will usually be some way to clip or fasten the mouthpiece to the shoulder or chest strap so you can hydrate yourself while on the move.
Bite valves and magnetic fastenings on chest straps have even made it so that you can access your water supply hands-free! This is great if you’re out cycling, hiking, or skiing, and have your hands full (whether it be with bicycle handles, map, and compass, or ski poles).
Hydration packs do cost slightly more than your average backpack. The cost is negligible though, especially when you put it into perspective with other alternatives such as buying water for each trip or buying other water storage.
Another thing to consider is that you will have to clean your water reservoir regularly, even if you only ever use it for water, so as to keep it free of bacteria. Cleaning the reservoir and hose doesn’t take long at all but it is something you should consider as it needs to be done, and at first glance can appear to be quite tricky.
You can, in fact, buy special cleaning tools that are relatively inexpensive, or you can improvise. The reservoir can be cleaned out the same way a canteen would be (hot, soapy water and a good shake), and the hose can be cleaned out using a length of cord pulled through.
Conclusion: To Buy or Not to Buy?
So, are hydration packs worth it? As you can probably tell from this article, there are many benefits of owning a hydration pack. Employing the use of a specially designed water reservoir is better for the environment, space-saving, and gives you unprecedented ease of access to your water.
If you exercise regularly, then what are you waiting for? In fact, even if you don’t, you may still find that you can use it more than you think. Since it can double up as a backpack, you have a hydration pack and a backpack all in one without paying twice over.