DELIVERY TIME UP TO ONE WEEK | FREE SHIPPING FROM 50£ | TOP RATING ON TRUSTPILOT

×
Article

Guide: Running backpack, hydration vest, or running belt? – How to choose the best one

Guide: Running backpack, hydration vest, or running belt? – How to choose the best one

Photo credit: Nicolas Joly

Se Jesper Petersen's profil
 By Jesper Petersen

 

A running backpack or a hydration vest is an essential part of every trail runner or long-distance runner’s gear. In this guide, you will learn more about whether a running backpack, a running vest, or a smaller hydration belt can meet your needs.

   

Should I choose a hydration vest, running backpack, or a running belt?

Let us start by looking at the differences and pros of the three different types of running bags.

  

Pros of choosing a running belt

You should choose a hydration belt/running belt if your runs are predominantly shorter and you do not have a need to bring more than 250-500 ml of liquid. The hydration belt is the lightest and most compact solution. The belt is quick and easy to wear and will not be a nuisance to run with, as long as you do not bring more than 500 ml of liquid with you. If you are going for a long run and need more liquid or need to bring extra clothes or gear, then you should instead consider a hydration vest or a running backpack. Nevertheless, for the shorter runs, the belt is the most practical solution.

An example of the hydration belt:

væskebælte

  

Pros of choosing a hydration vest

The hydration vest is specifically designed for running and is the best pick if you want maximum running comfort. The vest sits higher up on the back and fits closely to the body. This ensures minimum movement on your run. The wide areas under the arms give the hydration vest a better fit than the backpack, which is normally equipped with thin straps. The great fit minimises the up-and-down movement of the hydration vest’s liquid and other general baggage. So, if you are planning on running long-distance, then I would recommend a hydration vest (or a backpack with wide straps). Another pro about the hydration vest is how much easier it often is to reach for your things WHILE you are running, compared to the backpack

An example of the hydration vest:

væskevest

 

  

Pros of choosing a running backpack

You should choose a running backpack if you want a versatile bag that can be used for other activities than just running. The backpack is often bigger, so it is suitable to wear for run-commuting to and from work, for longer hikes, or for the one who does not run the extremely long distances. 

An example of the running backpack:

løberygsæk

  

  

Running backpacks, hydration vests, and running belts for Trail runs and Road runs

When you are trail running you will find yourself far away from cities, roads, and other people. As a result, the nearest help can be far away, and for this reason, you must be self-sufficient for longer periods, compared to road running. Therefore, you can easily follow our recommendations on how to pick the right running backpack/running vest in the next section.

Some official trail runs even have obligatory safety requirements regarding running gear and supplies, which you HAVE to follow to compete.

If you are road running, the need to bring a backpack, vest, or belt is not as big, as compared to trail running. However, if the weather is hot or you are considering running for more than an hour, we would strongly recommend bringing liquid.

  

See all backpacks and vests here

  

   

How big should my running backpack or hydration vest be?

The capacity of your running belt, running backpack, or hydration vest depends on how far you are planning on running and for how long you wish to be on the run. The longer the distance, the more food (energy), liquid, and extra clothes you will need to bring

Below you will find our recommendations on the size of the bag based on how long you are planning on being active.

 

NB: The litre explanation describes the capacity of the backpack (how roomy it is) – NOT the liquid volume.

  

Runs under 1 hour = Hydration belts or 2-litres hydration vests/running backpacks

Runs for 1-2 hours = 2-6 litres hydration vests or running backpacks

Runs over 3 hours = 5-10 litres hydration vests or running backpacks

Ultra runs = 10-15 litres hydration vests or running backpacks

Running backpacks for runs to and from work = Running backpacks over 8 litres

 

   

Runs under 1 hour

Choose: Hydration belts or 2-litres running vests/running backpacks – Check out the selection here

On shorter runs under 1 hour, most people can do without bringing liquid. A hydration belt containing a single bottle of 250-500 ml or a smaller running vest/running backpack, however, can be a really good idea when it is hot outside.

I would recommend these:


salomon agile 250 belt væskebælte

Salomon Agile 250 Belt – Running belt including a 250 ml. soft bottle. Can also fit your phone and keys.


salomon agile 2 set

Salomon Agile 2 Set – Simple running backpack including 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, and e.g. an extra jacket.



salomon s/lab sense 2

Salomon S/LAB Sense 2 set - Lightweight hydration including 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, and e.g. an extra jacket.


 


 

Buy belts and 2-litres vests

  

    

Runs for 1-2 hours

Choose: 2-6 litres hydration vests or running backpacks – Check out the selection here

If you are going for a longer run, then it would be wise to bring liquid and perhaps some energy products or other food. For this purpose, one of the smaller running vests with a capacity ranging between 2 to 6 litres would be your best pick. This should allow you to bring enough liquid, energy supplies, and e.g. an extra jacket or other pieces of clothing.

I would recommend these:


salomon s/lab sense ultra 5 set

Salomon S/LAB Sense Ultra 5 Set – Lightweight hydration vest including 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, and some extra clothes.


salomon advanced skin 5 set

Salomon Advanced Skin 5 Set – Hydration vest including 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, water bladder (not included), trekking poles, and some extra clothes.



salomon agile 6 set

Salomon Agile 6 Set - Running backpack including 2 pcs. of 500 soft bottles. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, water bladder (not included), trekking poles, and some extra clothes.


 


 

Buy 2-6 litres backpacks/vests

  

  

Runs over 3 hours

Choose: 5-10 litres hydration vests or running backpacks – Check out the selection here

For activities over 3 hours, it is a MUST to bring liquid or energy supplies. You should also consider bringing extra clothes like a jacket, a beanie, or a snood, so you can easily adapt to changing weather on your run.

I would recommend these:


salomon advanced skin 8 set dame

Salomon Advanced Skin 8 Set Women - Women-designed hydration vest including 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles with straws. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, water bladder (not included), and some extra clothes. The fit is optimised for women.


salomon s/lab sense ultra 8 set

Salomon S/LAB Sense Ultra 8 Set – Lightweight hydration vest including 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, and some extra clothes.



salomon skin pro 10

Salomon Skin Pro 10 Set – Running backpack including a 1.5 L water bladder. Can also fit your energy supplies, phone, keys, water bladder, trekking poles, and some extra clothes.


 


    

Buy 5-10 litres backpacks/vests

  

 

Ultra running

Choose: 10-15 litres hydration vests or running backpacks – Check out the selection here

In relation to ultra runs, there is often some necessary items you need to bring. Therefore, you will need plenty of space to bring stuff like liquids, energy supplies, phone, clothes, survival blanket, first-aid kit, trekking poles etc.

I would recommend these:


salomon advanced skin 12 set

Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set - Hydration vest including 2 pcs. 500 ml. soft bottles. Plenty of space for your energy supplies, phone, keys, water bladder (not included), trekking poles, and extra clothes.


salomon skin pro 15 set

Salomon Skin Pro 15 Set - Running backpack including a 1,5 L water bladder. Plenty of space for your energy supplies, phone, keys, 2 pcs. of 500 ml. soft bottles (not included), trekking poles, and extra clothes.


  

Buy 10-15 litres backpacks/vests

   

  

Running backpack to and from work

Choose: Running backpack over 8 litres – Check out the selection here

If you are running to and from work, the most important thing is, of course, plenty of room for a change of clothes and whatever else you would need. We recommend a running backpack with a capacity of at least 8 litres to fulfil this purpose.

I would recommend these: 


salomon trailblazer 20

Salomon Trailblazer 20 – Affordable, versatile running backpack with a 20-litres capacity. Roomy enough to fit all the necessities.


salomon trail 10

Salomon Trail 10 – Affordable, versatile running backpack with a 10-litres capacity including a 2-litres water bladder.

 


  

Buy backpacks for run-commuting here

   

      

Water bottles and water bladders for running belts, hydration vests, and running backpacks

salomon soft bottles drikkeflasker

All running belts and running vests from Salomon include some sort of water bottle or water bladder. In relation to the backpacks, there might not be an extra drinking device included. However, it is indeed possible to buy compatible soft bottles or water bladders. See the particular product for more information. You can buy drinking accessories here:

   

Buy water bottles and water bladders

  

  

More inspiration?

You can find more articles in our inspirations universe here:

Inspiration and content

Products related to this post

  • How to stay in shape during the summer holiday

    Will you be running during the summer holiday? The former top runner Allan Zachariasen has provided his tips and advice on how you stay in shape during the summer holiday. Read more here!

  • Progression in running: This is how you constantly improve

    This is the ultimate guide to constantly challenge the status quo of your running workouts and become a better runner.

  • REVIEW: NIKE PEGASUS 37 – Improved, inspiring, and an incredible running shoe

    I have tested a new and improved Pegasus running shoe from Nike. Read here.

  • Garmin Fenix 6 Solar & Instinct Solar | Watches with Solar cells

    Extend the battery life with built-in solar cells. Read all about the new watches from the Garmin Solar series.