When it comes to hydration backpacks, there are a lot of options available. My initial thought was to go with a CamelBak since they are so well know for making quality gear – especially hydration related gear. However, I wasn’t too sure how much I was going to love wearing a backpack during a long run/race (especially with obstacles). So I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a CamelBak till I knew I wanted to wear one. Not to mention, I had a feeling this backpack may need to be replaced every once in a while due to the wear and tear put on it. So I went with a less expensive backpack to test it out.
After wearing the hydration backpack during the Spartan Super, I don’t think I can go without one now (for OCRs of that distance or longer). It was so convenient to have the option to sip on water whenever I wanted and not have to wait for a hydration station. Plus, for me personally, my stomach gets sensitive to too much fluid in it while I run, so it’s better for me to sip than to drink a lot at each hydration station.
This hydration backpack is super nice – especially for the price. There are two small downsides which I’ll get to at the end – first I want to talk about the good.
LIGHTWEIGHT: A great backpack for men, women and youth to stay hydrated; Size 16x10x3 inches (41x25x8 cm); Pack weight .9 pounds (.4 kg); 2 liter hydration capacity
HYDRATION BLADDER INCLUDED: BPA free 2-liter hydration bladder included; Complete with lightweight, durable, kink-free sip tube and push-lock cushioned bite valve; Large 2-inch (5 cm) opening for ice that also makes cleaning easy
HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN: Athletic cut; Cushioned, breathable mesh back panel with quick drain drip hole; Stay-put thumb adjustment loops for shoulder straps maintain your settings
LOADED WITH SAFETY FEATURES: Built-in orange whistle, reflective trim, and strap clips to keep extra webbing from snagging
LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY: TETON Sports’ AMAZING customer service team is one YOU CAN COUNT ON to get your products taken care of and get you back OUTDOORS; #getoutdoors with TETON Sports
Of course, with most of my posts, I have to list out my downsides in case this is super important to you.
First thing I didn’t love about this hydration backpack was that it was a bit cumbersome to fill up mid-race. Since you don’t want to take out the whole bladder to refill it during the race (and since the bladder is strapped in to the top of the backpack, you have to peal back the top of the pack and hold it a slightly weird way to open up the lid to refill it.Not impossible by any means – just a bit cumbersome. I’ve seen easier. Honestly I think if I extended the velcro strap that attaches the top of the hydration port to the inside of the backpack, it would probably give me a bit more room to hold the bladder in way for easier refilling.
The second thing I slightly disliked is the hydration mouthpiece does not deliver water very quickly. You have to bite down fairly hard on the very tip to get the best stream of water but even when you do, it doesn’t come out super fast. I must say this may have been a benefit though since as I stated above, my stomach is sensitive to a lot of fluid during races (and anything where I’m jumping/moving around a lot) so it could have helped by ensuring I drink slowly. If you think this is going to be a problem for you, you could easily switch out the mouthpiece for one with a higher flow.
Overall, I would still buy this hydration backpack again. Especially with that price tag. The downsides don’t outweigh the benefits by any means and as I touched on briefly, I think there are ways to work around these downsides.