Choose a hydration pack: Seven key points to consider
If you go running in summer you will know the importance of staying well hydrated before, after and, above all, during your training. If you also like to run around the mountain making long routes in which you do not have any sources on hand during the journey (as it usually happens in the city) you have probably already thought about getting yourself a hydration pack.
Do you really need it? Why do you need it?
It is not more or better runner that runs with more gadgets or with the most expensive accessories. In fact, in this sense, less is better : the fewer things you take with you when you go out running (carrying only the essentials), the lighter you will go and the less worries you will have during training.
If you’re just going to run around the city, you probably do not need a hydration pack. Better invest in other accessories
If you are going to run around the city, if your training outings are short (one hour or an hour and a half) or if during the trips you have localized the hydration points, it is very possible that a hydration backpack is not necessary for you.
If, on the other hand, you go out on the mountain, your outings are long or you do not find places to hydrate, a backpack is a great accessory, often essential. First of all, consider what you are going to use your backpack for : type of routes, how many kilometers you will take at each exit (to evaluate the need for water or replacement drinks), the type of terrain, the climate … every need corresponds a different backpack.
The size of the hydration pack
How much capacity do you need in your hydration pack? Once again, it depends on the type of outputs you are going to make with it. The capacity of the hydration backpacks is measured in liters, but beware, because these do not match the amount of liters of liquid you can carry in them.
If you are going to do middle distance races, choose a backpack with a couple of drums to carry water and replacement drinks, a few pockets for energy gels or bars and a small compartment to take with you a mini-medicine kit. emergency.
If you are going to do long distance races , keep in mind that you may need a backpack with a greater capacity to carry other types of accessories such as a thermal blanket (mandatory in many mountain races), a raincoat, the poles if needed, footwear and spare clothing, etc.
How much water do I need for my training?
Choose soft drums to carry water and refill beverages: they are more comfortable to carry
The capacity of the water tanks of the hydration pack is another key point to consider when we buy our backpack. The size of the drums is generally in line with that of the backpack : they are usually located on the front of the handles of the backpack and can have a capacity (between the two) of a liter or liter and a half of liquid approximately.
Another possibility is to get a backpack with a bag hydration system : the bag that we fill with water or replacement drinks is in the back of the backpack and has a greater capacity(usually up to three liters). Depending on the length of our workouts and races, we can choose the system that best suits us.
Choose a hydration pack with a good fit
One of the most important points to consider when choosing a hydration pack is the adjustment capacity that it has : at least the handles have to be adjustableand also, to prevent the backpack from moving or wobbling during the race ( especially if we make hard descents in mountain) this must have extra adjustments in the area of the chest and abdomen, which are also adjustable.
Remember that, in addition, most hydration packs have different sizes, so it is a good idea to try a few in different brands and sizes before opting for a specific model.
Beware of the weight of the backpack
Rehearse once in your workouts by carrying the hydration pack well loaded to avoid surprises on race day
Another thing that must be taken into account is the weight of the backpack, both empty and when we carry it loaded with our drums, our first aid kit, etc. Hydration backpacks are usually very light: depending on the size of the backpacks they usually reach around 800 grams in vacuum . To this we must add at least one kilo more for the liquids that we carry with us and perhaps another kilo and a half for the bars, gels, first aid kit, etc.
It is important that, in the event that we are going to use the hydration pack in a race, we first get used to running with it in training , as a rehearsal. Try to make at least one long roll with the same weight that you will carry in the race to see how your body responds to the extra weight and to get the distribution right: do not leave anything to chance “D-day”.
Choose an ergonomic backpack
The comfort when it comes to wearing the hydration pack is also very important to run with it. If this is the first backpack you are going to buy, the best thing you can do is locate a specialized store where they can help you choose or, at least, go to a multi-brand store where you can try different models of different brands until you find the one that best suits you.
The back of the backpack, which is in contact with our back, must be properly padded to facilitate an ergonomic support and must also be made of a flexible material that adapts to the movements of our spine but at the same time Stay firm without moving despite the movement of the race.
A breathable and waterproof hydration backpack
If you do not want your mobile or your wallet to be soaked after a storm in the mountains, choose a waterproof hydration backpack
The material in which the backpack is manufactured is also important when choosing ours. On the one hand, and since we spoke before the back of it (which, as we said, must be ergonomic and flexible), this area must be made of breathable material that facilitates the evacuation of sweat. It is usual that a backpack that does not transpire properly in this area leaves our backs soaked, with the consequent sensation of discomfort while we are running.
On the other hand, it is very interesting that the backpack is made of a waterproof material . Especially if we run in the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable, and if we carry with us other accessories such as the mobile phone these may end up ruined after a good storm in case the backpack let the water pass.
Bonus track: pockets, pockets and more pockets
One detail that will surely delight the fans of the organization (among which I include myself) is the inclusion in our backpack of hydration of a lot of pockets of different sizes and different access in which we can store all our belongings and have them always accessible.
We can use the front pockets of easy access to carry the energy bars or gels that we will use during our training and that it is convenient to have at hand. Other interior pockets can be used to carry the kit, the wallet (remember that identification is always necessary), a separate pocket for the mobile phone and perhaps an extra charger … The more pockets, better organization, and less time we will use to access to everything we carry.