Determining exactly how much to drink on a run is a widely debated topic. From drinking a certain number of ounces per hour to weighing yourself before and after a run to determine sweat loss and exactly how much fluid to consume, it can get overwhelming. Now general guidelines suggest the intuitive practice of drinking according to thirst.
For runs less than an hour, you may not need to drink anything, but that depends on the temperature and relative humidity when you’re running. For runs longer than an hour, it becomes more important to sip fluids as you go to help offset moisture loss through sweat. Sure, you can structure your route so that you make loops that allow you to pass water fountains. Or, you can carry fluids with you.
Carrying any water bottle can work, but run-specific designs actually make it effortless. From handhelds to waist belts to gender-specific backpacks with bladders, soft flasks or bottles, there is an option for every run and every runner. Handhelds are useful for just about any scenario, unless you are running with trekking poles in an ultramarathon. Hydration belts are popular in half marathons and marathons for the hands-free convenience they afford and being able to carry a couple personal items (keys, gels, debit card, driver’s license, etc.), while over-the-back packs are useful for trail runs and ultra-distance events where you might need to bring along extra layers of clothing and food.
Much like shoes, this arena has an impressive array of players with solid product offerings. In addition to the brands listed below, Osprey, Hydrapak, Katadyn, Salomon, UltrAspire and more all have great hydration-carrying options, with consumers benefitting from the constant quest to find the most user friendly and comfortable designs. Scroll through to see some of the latest carrying options.
CamelBak Ultra Handheld Chill Flask Holder
Some handhelds are ergonomic bottles, others, like this one, are soft flasks. Both versions work well, but this one attaches to your hand with elastic bands making it effortless to carry. It’s also insulated to keep your 17-oz. beverage cool on hot days. Plus, a handy zip storage pocket means you can keep your snacks, keys or phone safe on your run. ($45)
Nathan Sports Switchblade 24-oz. Hydration Belt
This unisex belt comes with two 12-oz. bottles that are movable, meaning you can arrange them on the belt to best suit you. A large zip pocket holds car keys, your phone and, if you’re wearing this for a race, a post run beer ticket, with handy elastic loops to carry gels. It even has a stash pocket for trash. ($50)
Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta
This women’s hydration vest fits like a dream and carries everything you need, right were you need it. You can use it with soft flasks or a bladder (or both if you’re feeling particularly thirsty), and there are plenty of pockets to carry food, your phone, and extra layers. It’s made of breathable and wicking mesh that is soft against the skin and has movable sternum straps to comfortably accommodate “the girls.” ($135)
Orange Mud Gear Vest
If you are of the mindset that vests are restrictive or cumbersome, the streamlined efficiency of this one will convince you otherwise. The pack sits high and rests between your shoulders for maximum stability and minimum interference on your run. It can hold a phone, two soft flasks, a bladder and an extra layer, with a bungee in case you need to stash a coat or additional layer. ($110)
Cotopaxi Veloz Hydration Pack 6L
Cotopaxi is shaking up the strap system with their new Veloz pack by shifting it to an X design across the chest. The unisex design is surprisingly comfortable and the straps have handy, generously sized pockets to hold necessities or soft flasks. Due to the crossover design, the soft flasks fit against you snugly without bouncing. The rear pockets are able to hold a bladder, extra layers or whatever else you want to bring along. This pack comes in a 3L ($120) and 6L ($139), pictured.