The best running water bottles and hydration packs
Proper hydration is crucial when you’re out on a run of any length, particularly as the weather heats up. And, come race day, you’re going to want to ensure that you’ve got the proper running gear to ensure you stay hydrated and avoid hitting the wall.
Why is hydration so important?
Roughly 60% of the human body is made up of water. It’s vital in many ways, from regulating our body temperature and supporting digestion, to cushioning and lubricating our joints, and protecting them from injury and inflammation.
The recommendation is to aim to drink 2 litres a day. This works out as 8 x 8-ounce glasses (or half your body weight in ounces/day). However, if you’re doing exercise you’ll need to drink much more than the daily average to make up for all that’s lost as you sweat. If not, you could be at risk of dehydration, seen in the form of headaches, light-headedness, cramps or fatigue. So it’s important that we replenish our body with adequate water.
Tips for staying hydrated while running
- Try to drink lots prior and post run but only ‘drink to thirst’ on your run to avoid feeling bloated. If you feel you really need to drink on your run though, don’t worry, that age old story of you getting a stitch from drinking whilst running isn’t necessarily true, often this actually arises from breathing difficulties!
- If you’re running less than 30-60 minutes, drinking on the run isn’t normally necessary. But if longer, you should be taking sips every 20 minutes or so.
- Try to avoid alcohol or caffeine pre and post running – both dehydrate you.
- If your urine is pale it’s normally a sign you’re hydrated, if it’s dark, you need to drink up!
- Cravings are often a sign of thirst, not hunger. So take a moment to think before you reach for that snack.
- If you’re struggling to drink enough water, try adding a couple of slices of fresh lemon, cucumber, lime or mint to give it a bit more taste, it’s also super refreshing!
Best running hydration gear
With enough space for water, gels, food, and other essentials like your phone / keys, the Terrex vest is an ideal addition for runners looking to take on a big trail running challenge. It comes at a price though – at £130 this really is top of the range equipment.
When it comes to running hydration vests, this is the number one choice amongst the Let’s Do This team. Described as comfortable, surprisingly spacious, and exceptionally durable – this running hydration vest has enough space for plenty of water, running gels, and even a spare jacket if you’re out on a long run or even taking on a multi-day running adventure.
If you do decide that a hydration vest is right for you, then you’re going to want to invest in the right bottles. The HydraPak running bottles are highly recommended because of their wider tops – making them easier to fill up at aid stations during an event, and also to add energy tablets or powder to your water.
This nifty little design which will sit snugly inside any belt or pocket, allowing you to run hands free. Starting at £8.95, this is a great buy for speeding around the city on your favourite running routes. The bottle comes in different sizes, from 175ml to 320ml.
This product is awesome, seriously. If you’re a fan of handheld running water bottles then this is the one for you. Allowing for 250ml of water, this running water bottle also frees up your fingers so that you can easily check your phone if required. On top of that, it’s got a small pocket that you can stash your keys or other small items into. At £26, it’s not going to hurt your bank account too much either.
Camelback, the stalwart of endurance sports hydration. At 750ml, this isn’t one for a short, sharp 5k attempt. However, if you enjoy an adventure and live an outdoor lifestyle, then this is a great water bottle for you.
Salomon really know their stuff, and they also offer a great running hydration vest as shown above. This running water bottle belt, is really a great addition to your gear that will keep you hydrated, without jumping around while you’re out and about. For just £18, this belt comes with 600ml water lightweight water bottle and plenty of room for other sources of energy such as gels or snacks.
Hydration is just one crucial part of your running training. It’s also essential that you eat well – check out our article on what’s best to eat the night before a long run.
Editors Note: This article was first published on May 21 2019 and was updated on 14 April 2021 for comprehensiveness and accuracy.