The abundant and gritty mountains of Vermont have given birth to one of the most back-breaking obstacle race ever, the Spartan race. The challenges encircling a Spartan race require a certain league of contestants to accomplish in terms of physique, agility, and endurance. But not just that, it only makes sense for such a series of obstacles that could span marathon distances to require proper hydration. For that reason, we’ll be revealing some of the best hydration packs for Spartan races on the market today.
Combining an ideal balance of weight, durability, and storage capacity, the award-winning Vapor Series has become a benchmark of how light and functional a hydration pack can. The Nathan VaporAir weighs at only 14 ounces, allowing you to run freely while carrying a 2-liter bladder equipped with a quick-release valve ready to quench your thirst. The vest comes with two front mesh pockets that have a “wipe clean” surface for gels, a side mesh zip pocket, and a water-resistant pill pocket.
Over the shoulder, you’ll find load lifters that help keep your gear and water close to avoid extensive reaching and bouncing. Also, the external shock cord in the back helps increase the capacity of the vest. The surface of the pack is reflective for added safety while night running. Please note that the product is meant to be close-fitting and might feel a little tight. For more comfort, the manufacturer recommends sizing up if your measurements happen to be close to the maximum size range.
- Extremely lightweight at just 14 ounces
- Very stable with little to no bouncing at all
- Has a good number of storage pockets
- Features load lifters for water and gear
- Comes at a very steep price tag
- Sizing can be quite cumbersome
The Lobo pack is capable of carrying a substantial amount of up to 3 liters. Not only that, but the external fill allows you to top off the reservoir capacity without the need to unpack any of your gear. The Crux reservoir is equipped with an ergonomic handle for a much easier refilling process and an on/off lever that helps prevent the liquid from leaking out. The Crux will also deliver 20% more water per every sip you take. There’s a quick-release button that allows you to refill the Crux without removing the tube from the pack.
This hydration pack features an antimicrobial HydroGuard coating that protects the tube from any bacterial growth, which is something a lot of packs seem to lack. HydroGuard Technology also helps you get more water with every sip you take. Moreover, the Lobo pack features a magnetic tube trap, allowing you to stow the tube in place with a single click so you can take a sip while keeping your eyes focused on the upcoming obstacle. Further, you don’t have to worry about your back getting overheated, thanks to the air director back panel.
- Extremely lightweight and comfortable
- Snug fit with two adjustable straps
- Has a 3-liter water reservoir capacity
- The fabric is completely Nylon
- Hydroguard coating prevents bacteria
- The drinking tube is a little too short
- Can be hard to fit the bladder into the pack
The Unigear Tactical Hydration Pack is a very popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts and is an ideal choice for intense obstacle course races such as the Spartan race because of its 2.5-liter, BPA-free, wide-mouth bladder and its minimal weight of just 1.3 pounds. The pack is made of 600-denier, ripstop polyester which has proved to provide great performance and durability.
The back and shoulder are padded with air mesh, allowing for good airflow and increased comfort. The adjustable waist and chest straps, along with the tail holder, makes this pack a convenient choice when it comes to longer races. The water bladder has a wide screw cap that allows you to add ice cubes in case the refilled water isn’t cool enough. The only setback when it comes to this pack is that it’s pretty long for shorter torso lengths.
- Provides a great balance of value and cost
- Lightweight and very durable design
- Comfortable chest and shoulder straps
- Sits firmly on your back without bouncing
- The pack is too long for short torsos
- Occasional leaks at the bladder connection
- Unstable cover and mouthpiece
With a 3-liter TPU water bladder, this is a go-to pack for tackling extremely long obstacles course races. The water reservoir is kept within one main pocket and is compatible with both wide and small openings. Storage wise, there are two front pockets that allow you to store anything from personal belongings to small snacks and energy bars. Additionally, you can carry more items if you want to, thanks to the MOLLE system
The pack ergonomically provides a perfect fit for your chest, waist, and shoulders with all straps being adjustable, which also eliminates the chances of the pack bouncing while running. The air mesh back allows for proper ventilation, keeping your back cool. Further, the shoulder straps are also well-padded for more comfort. The pack is made of 1000-denier, water-resistant nylon that’s extremely durable and offers great resistance against wear and tear.
- Very durable 1000-denier nylon build
- Features a sizable 3-liter water bladder
- Great ergonomic fit and adjustable straps
- The MOLLE system provides versatility
- Occasional leaks at the quick-release button
- Hard to suck water out of the bite valve
- The pack is too small to carry extra items
DolfinPack is a reputable leader when it comes to the hydration market. Their lightweight and waterproof products have been favored by a lot of outdoor enthusiasts and high endurance athletes, making them a reliable asset to have on a Spartan race. This pack is made of lightweight neoprene which allows it to be fully submerged in water. It also has drainage holes for the water to escape out of so that it doesn’t weigh you down. You’ll find that these features come in handy when you’re tackling water terrain obstacles
The DolfinPack comes with a 1.5-liter water reservoir, high flow bite valve, and a neoprene hose cover. You won’t have to worry about chafing since the pack comes with elastic straps that are wrapped in neoprene, providing great comfort and a snugly fit. The neoprene utilized in this DolfinPack products serves as an insulator that prevents the liquid from freezing in colder weather conditions. It also makes these packs very slim that it can fit underneath your jacket.
- Very comfortable and super lightweight
- Weatherproof and has drainage holes
- Neoprene elastic straps eliminate chafing
- Provides great temperature insulation
- The pack is extremely prone to bouncing
- Not the best choice for shorter people
If you’re looking for a pack that will make you stand out from the crowd, the REINOS Light Hydration Pack is going to provide a very fashionable look with plenty of storage room at a weight of 13 ounces, making it a great choice for any sport or outdoor activity. The pack has two separate compartments for gear, snacks, or clothes and an insulated compartment to keep the included FDA-approved, BPA-free, antimicrobial, 2-liter bladder cool. The bladder is also equipped with a dust cover, silicone bite valve, and a quick-release, leak-proof connector.
The fully adjustable chest and shoulder straps will eliminate the burden of a bouncy backpack. The chest straps should fit all chest sizes between 26 to 52 inches. The back portion is properly padded to maintain a good airflow between the pack and your back. The pack is constructed from a soft, waterproof, durable material that can handle wet challenges. The good thing is that the pack is backed by a 90-day trial period, meaning that if you’re not satisfied by the performance of the pack you can easily get a full refund with no questions asked.
- Very fashionable and unique design
- Made of a soft and waterproof material
- Fully adjustable straps to avoid bouncing
- Features large storage compartments
- The bladder isn’t very sturdy
- The pack experiences occasional leaks
Things to Consider Before Buying a Hydration Pack for Spartan Race
Time is extremely valuable in a race such as the Spartan race and there are a lot of factors that can really hinder your progress on the course. Make sure that you go over the following factors before buying your new hydration pack.
Spartan races can be very long and carrying a small water bottle isn’t going to suffice in keeping your entire body hydrated throughout the whole race. On the other hand, a single liter of water is equivalent to approximately 2 pounds of weight. So it’s important to carry just the right amount of water on you and to avoid excessive weight that might hinder your progress. A hydration pack with a water reservoir of around 2 to 3 liters is ideal to get you hydrated throughout a spartan race.
Aside from the weight added by the water, the hydration pack itself can’t be too big. Otherwise, it will definitely weigh you down in a race in which agility and speed are needed. Luckily, there are a lot of hydration packs on the market that provide the right balance of weight, bulk, and water capacity that you need to stay light on your feet in an obstacle course race.
You don’t want to run the risk of buying a pack that’s either too big or too small for you and so you need to make sure that you check the product specs tab as the sizing charts tend to vary depending on the manufacturer and the gender. Also, it’s important to go for a pack that offers adjustable chest, waist, and shoulder straps for more stability and comfort.
Running while having a backpack that isn’t properly ventilated can result in a lot of sweat building up in the back which is extremely irritating. Make sure that your backpack is well-padded and properly ventilated to ensure that you run comfortably without your back getting overheated and sweaty.
Ease of Use
In a tight competition such as the Spartan race, having a pack that takes hours to refill is a guaranteed loss. You need to carefully choose a hydration pack that’s easily refilled, cleaned, or dried so that you can save some valuable time. Also, you might want to consider a pack that has some sort of storage space for you to keep a snack or some energy bars to restore your glycogen levels and keep you going.
Buying a hydration pack just for a Spartan race shouldn’t be your main goal here. You should be aiming to buy a pack that offers some great value for your money and that can serve you in a lot of other sports like backpacking. This also means that you’re looking for a durable design that can resist wear and tear.
There are a lot of options that you can go with for a Spartan race. The distance that you intend to cover and the level of difficulty of the race itself should be a deciding factor that you need to consider before choosing a new hydration pack. A well-rounded pack that seems to outshine its competitors is the CamelBak Lobo Hydration Pack for its sizable 3-liter bladder that can keep you hydrated even throughout most extreme distances, along with its HydroGuard Technology that prevents bacterial growth. Which product do you think suits you best?