Tough sports are attracting more women nowadays. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated through these activities though. That’s why getting a decent hydration pack is essential. You don’t have to stop for water on the road anymore. You will be having your own portable hands-free reservoir right in your backpack!
Most brands offer gender-specific options for adventurers out there. There is no drastic difference between men’s and women’s packs, except for their dimensions and capacity. Choosing the best hydration pack for women can be intimidating. We hope to ease the process for you through this guide.
When you’re looking for hydration packs, you’ll definitely stumble upon the Osprey packs! Especially when you’re looking for ones that are designed specifically for women.
The Osprey Skimmer 22 is made of polyester; this grants both durability and lightweight. A combo to kill for. The weight is well distributed and the padding makes the pack breathable. An easily accessible front mesh pocket makes life easier, where you can store your basic stuff in it and reach them without having to take off your pack.
Regarding the hydration reservoir, Skimmer 22 has an external hydration sleeve with a hanger. This allows for easy access to the reservoir. The water aftertaste due to the plastic bite valve is a common complaint. However, you can get rid of it through multiple washes. This is the case for most reservoirs, so it’s not really a disadvantage.
An attractive feature about the whole Osprey packs is there “All Mighty Guarantee”, where they literally provide clients with lifetime guarantees to repair any damage or defect free of charge, which is definitely a plus!
Reviewers reported that it worked well for hiking & skiing.
- Easy-to-reach front pocket
- A multitude of compression straps provide stability and secure attachment for tools
- Large storage capacity with lightweight
- No rain cover
- Outside mesh is thin
- No hip pockets
Running vests are a smart fix for the hydration pack dilemma. Combining a snug fitting, lightweight (13.6 ounces) and built-in hydration reservoir without the hassle of regular backpacks.
Beware that these vests tend to be smaller than usual to ensure tight fitting. When in doubt, opt for the larger size. If you got the right size, you will unlock new levels of comfort and enjoy water bounce-free movement.
It features a 2-Liters bladder with a hand-free bite valve and 2 front pockets for water bottles –not included with the vest-. There are small front pockets where you can put your ID, keys, cellphone or snacks. In addition to a big storage pocket at the back, that carries up to 5 Liters.
It comes with a bunch of sizes starting from xx-small up to x-large and 3 different colors too. For an activity like running, hiking or cycling in which you don’t need to pack heavy, this would be ideal.
- Side mesh pockets for stability
- Large storage capacity
- Proper weight distribution – No back pain
- Affordable compared to other options
- Some users reported that the pack rides up to their chests while moving
- Arm straps might be restricting to bigger sized people
Another nice vest option is this Ultimate Direction product. It is engineered to suit women’s frames, with adjustable sternum and waist straps for a customized fit.
There are 2 front pockets in which you can carry water bottles –included with the vest-, but there are no other water reservoirs. This might be disappointing to some people. That’s why we recommend this vest in the case of short trips or marathons. It won’t serve you while snowboarding for example.
In addition to the 2 front bottle holsters, there’s a back pocket and 2 other front zippered pockets for storage. All of these can be tightened using a back chord to keep things in place.
To ensure comfort, Vesta 4.0 features highly breathable MicroMono Mesh back panel that makes it comfortable, distributes weight well and absorbs water and sweat.
Unlike the Nathan vest, sizes of this one are pretty accurate. In fact, they might be larger than needed. No worries though, customizable straps and lower back cinch adjustment solve this problem. Just make sure not to size up. Your regular size will suffice.
- Has cinch adjustment for fitting
- Easy access to all pockets
- Doesn’t chafe
- Relatively expensive
- Bottles tend to fall down when they’re not full
The hydration packs’ giant presents this fancy pack for women. If you’re familiar with CamelBak’s MULE packs, this is almost exactly the same, only with some added functionality to suit women. You also might be glad to hear that it comes in 7 different colors!
This pack is narrower than usual. It looks elegant and you don’t feel like you’re carrying something while doing your favorite activity. Adjustable shoulder straps and shorter pack length aim at making it more convenient for women rather than regular ones. A stability waist belt helps keep things in place during bumpy rides or snow activities.
It includes a crux water reservoir with a bite valve, increasing water intake by 20% per sip. It comes with a magnetic tube trap as well that secures the hose in place, so you don’t have to take the pack off to drink. Thanks to the air director panel, it offers magnificent ventilation.
Bottom line is that if you want something that looks nice and you plan to pack light. This is a winner. Otherwise, we advise you to invest in other options with larger capacities.
- External hooks to attach your helmet
- Relatively big reservoir capacity (3 Liters)
- Magnetic tube traps to hold the hose
- Shoulder straps might cause chafing
- Low capacity
Platypus backpacks are low profile, yet they are real gems! The women’s version is capacious with a total of 10 liters; 2 for the water reservoir and the rest for storage. Making it a nice choice for long hikes or camping.
The Zip reservoir is durable. It has a detachable hose and a ziplock, which makes cleaning and refilling a breeze. Worthy to note that it’s taste and BPA free. It also comes with a detachable rainfly. An accessory usually overseen by other brands.
A roomy bag should be well organized; otherwise, it’d be disastrous to deal with. This is what Platypus Siouxon provides through internal tool organization, pump sleeves, a carry system for helmets and a soft padded pocket for electronics or glasses.
True to the claim, this pack provides optimum fitting for women through an anatomically shaped waist belt, shoulder straps and decent padding in body contact points. The only downside is the float air back panel. It doesn’t work as expected and doesn’t get rid of sweat.
- Voluminous storage
- Integrated rain cover
- Waist belt for quick access
- Straps can get sweaty
- Pack is comfortable but not snug
A budget-friendly product doesn’t have to be low quality. This is what Sierra Propel 70 proves; the versatile hydration pack has 2 versions one for men and the other for women. For our purpose, we will be focusing on the women’s version. They’re pretty much the same with minor size differences.
The hydration reservoir is a standard 2 Liters with a pressure valve. No need to worry about aftertaste, as the reservoir is BPA free and antimicrobial. The wide opening allows for easy filling and adding ice as well.
Good news for snowboarding & snowshoeing lovers out there, there’s an insulating tube cover to protect your water from freezing!
It features an extra front mesh flap that’s intended to hold helmets, but you can use it for extra storage. Keep in mind that it’s delicate, so don’t overload it.
- Insulated tube covers
- Cheap compared to the rest
- Made of durable Nylon
- Cleaning the valve is difficult
- Shoulder straps are too long
What to consider while looking for a hydration pack?
The choice process starts with determining your purpose. What kind of activity are you planning to do? Then choose the hydration pack accordingly. We will be briefly listing the main outdoor sports and their basic requirements here:
Lightweight is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about running. That’s why the common option is hydration vests. They’re ultra-light, sturdy and provide quick access to all elements. If you decide to go for a backpack, you should look for front pockets & waist belts.
The most flexible option. Nearly any kind of hydration pack will work with that. Just evaluate your personal needs and trip duration and you’ll never go wrong with whatever choice you make.
You should look for small hydration packs in order not to carry an unnecessary weight that might hinder the cycling process. A waist belt is a must here. Shoulder or chest straps are definitely a plus. For mountain biking, you might look for relatively larger storage.
It’s hard to escape the extra weight in this case. With activities like skiing or snowboarding you’ll probably need to pack well, so don’t go for a small pack. Look for insulated tubes to avoid freezing. It’s always better to get a pack with compression straps to hold your equipment.
Women’s shoulders are narrower than men, they have smaller torso’s and they’re relatively shorter. Companies mainly work on that, namely making the packs well fitted to women’s bodies.
Here comes the problem, most of these come in different sizes that are not quite accurate. We recommend you take your body measurements and compare them to the advertised ones. Usually, they tend to be smaller than usual.
Also, always favor a hydration pack with multiple straps or a waist belt. They help minimize bouncing and improve fitting.
Here are the key features of the water reservoir to look for:
Bite valve switch
To prevent leakage, some bite valves have an on/off twist, switch or clip to make sure it’s closed properly. Some modern designs feature a magnetic one for improved performance.
Whether they are regular plastic or magnetic ones, clips are essential to hold your hose in the right position. You adjust it once using these clips and you can sip water whenever you want. It’s always good to have this option, better than a floating hose.
An insulated tube/ reservoir will save you a lot of trouble, especially if you go for snow sports. On the contrary, if you’re going to use the pack in hot weather, look for a reservoir with a wide opening to add some ice.
No matter how the weather is. You’ll probably sweat during these activities. This is why we favor a hydration pack with breathable air mesh at the back and shoulders. To absorb sweet and ensure comfort.
There are some clever options that help make the pack more flexible and suitable for different needs.
Straps just make life easier! Shoulder & chest straps help make the pack snug. Waist or hip belts support the same purpose and might have pockets to store basic stuff like cell phones or keys. Compression straps help you hold your tools like snowshoes or helmet.
A well-organized space is more efficient than a single huge one. Look for compartmentalized packs, with multiple pockets, external mesh pouches, padded pockets, zipped ones, and sleeves. This helps extend the pack’s functionality, allows for easy access and protects your stuff.
The perfect women hydration pack is hard to find. There will always be a tradeoff, weight against fitting or maybe reservoir quality vs capacity. The bottom line is that your needs are the priority. When evaluated right, they will eliminate many options for you and ease the choosing process.
Personally, I’d get the Nathan’s VaporAiress vest for running or hiking due to the perfect lightweight-capacity balance it provides. In case I need a larger room, I’d go for the Osprey Skimmer for the attractive package of benefits it offers and of course, the lifetime warranty!