best running backpack

5 Ways To Find The Best Running Backpack

If you are an avid runner who likes to carry items on you (e.g. keys, water bottles, protein bars, etc.) during your long runs, then you might want to consider investing in a running backpack to store all of your materials when you hit the trails.

Running backpacks are different from just your normal, typical school backpack; by choosing the right one for your needs, you will have a smooth transition from home to the road for your next run. Let’s get started!

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What To Look For In A Running Backpack

1. Check The Weight

Of course, it comes as a no-brainer that a lightweight running backpack is the best way to go for your workouts. Having a backpack that is too bulky and/or heavy not only makes it a pain to carry, but also slows you down when running. Even further, it might put stress on your joints, especially if you tend to carry a lot of items on you.

With that said, try to find a good running backpack that weighs less than 1 pound (or under 0.5 kilograms) as is, considering that it will accumulate weight once you store items inside.

For a video on how to get started choosing your running backpack, check it out here: 

2. Check for good straps

While you might think that straps are just ways to hold onto while you run, think again. Wearing good backpack straps while running not only keeps things securely fastened to yourself, but also can be effective in reducing bouncing and movement, which might otherwise slow you down on your runs. Hence, it is advised to find particular straps to aid you on your runs.

Consider propulsion harnesses that will move with you while running. You might also want to consider getting ones with waist straps, especially if you will be carrying more items with an accumulated weight of 5 pounds or more. Having waist straps will help you support your back by providing stability to your body.

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to adjust straps for the best fitting, check out this video here: 

3. See if there is a hydration bladder feature

Depending on just how often and how strenuous you run, look for a running backpack that has options for carrying water. Hydration bladders are good for those who regularly train or are outdoors for long periods of time, so you might want to consider that over just carrying a normal water bottle.

For short-distance runs, you might only need a water reservoir of 1 to 1.5 L while other longer, more strenuous runs can require up to 3 L. Be aware, though, that each liter of water adds up to 2 pounds in your running backpack, so it is good to calculate if it is necessary to carry the weight and whether you can handle it.

For more information on hydration bladders, take a look at this video here: 

4. Choose good storage options

From storing your keys to protein bars for long runs, having a good amount of storage in your running backpack is the way to go. You want to make sure, however, that there are not only enough pockets and compartments to put the items in, but also their accessibility when you are running; you would not want to have to reach too far from it when trying to take something out while hitting the trails.

Therefore, having a running backpack with easy-to-reach pockets makes for a more convenient accessory for your runs. For more information on running backpacks, check out this video here: 

5. Check The Material Quality

Do you often run in hot or cold weather? It really varies where you live and how the temperature is when you run, but having the appropriate material for your running backpack makes a difference as to how you feel and perform when running.

If you tend to live or run in hot weather, then purchasing a running backpack made from mesh material will keep you cool, as it is designed to be breathable and also to absorb sweat on your runs. On the other hand, if you are constantly situated in cold weather, then getting something a bit thicker for better insulation is a good option to consider.

To learn more about what material to find in a running backpack, check out this article here: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpack.html

*bonus!* Check For Safety

Especially if you tend to run at night or near busy streets during the day, then it is essential to protect yourself from possible harm. Most running backpacks have built-in reflective strips which light up in the dark, but double check to make sure that they are there. It also would not hurt to invest in a safety whistle, in case something was to happen to you while running.

Differences Between Running Backpacks And Hydration Backpacks

Before you go off and purchase your first running backpack, you will also need to know the difference between a running backpack and that of a hydration backpack. While you might think they are interchangeable, they actually aren’t.

  • The main difference between the two is the hydration feature: while running backpacks might be equipped with it, hydration backpacks have it as the primary feature. In addition, hydration backpacks tend to be slimmer and store fewer items than running backpacks.
  • Furthermore, running backpacks are not only reserved for workout runs, but also for other activities like hiking, vacations, and even commuting to work.

For more information on choosing your best backpack, check out this video here: 

5 Best Running Backpacks

Equipped with a 1.5-liter hydration bladder, this sports pack from Camden Gear offers enough hydration while also being versatile to wear for all sorts of runners: men, women, and children alike

Pros

  • It’s made from the company’s specially-made Rip Stop Nylon material, which is both water resistant and durable to last you a long time.
  • It offers plenty of storage space for just about anything you bring: clothes, phones, cameras, and even laptops.
  • There’s no chaffing on the chest against the straps, therefore no rubbing irritation to your body when running.

Cons

  • The hydration bladder and nozzle could use some upgrading, especially when some products have been known to be faulty in design.
  • It tends to ride up on your body as you running, making it irritating and uncomfortable to have to constantly adjust it.
  • The hydration bladder and tubes might be difficult to clean, compared with other similar products

Opinion

Camden Gear’s material provides nice, breathable straps that absorb sweat as you run; however, its hydration bladder could be a bit sturdier, as well as easier to clean every so often after workouts

Offering a foam back padding for extra cushion and comfort, as well as extra pockets inside for holding small, valuable items, Under Armour’s running backpack has the comfort and storage for just about any runner out there.

Pros

  • Made from 100% polyester, which is good for drying moisture quickly and does not tend to shrink when placed in the washing machine to clean.
  • There are easy-to-access pockets on the outside of the backpack, as well as interior pockets for other important accessories.
  • It is very roomy inside the backpack, thus making it possible carry not only sports equipment like soccer balls but also books for school.

Cons

  • Under Armour’s backpack tends to be quite pricey, and it is the priciest one on this list.
  • It is advised not to store more than 10 lbs. in this backpack, as it tends not to hold as well.
  • The straps might be difficult to manage, as some models’ are not well cut and aligned, thereby making it awkward to put on

Opinion

While comfortable with the back padding, Under Armour’s backpack does not absorb moisture as easily as other packs out there. What you can store inside is limited, since it tends to hold only up to 10 lbs of items.

Holding up to 2 liters of water, Mubasel Gear’s hydration pack is ideal for runners who often go longer, more strenuous distances, as well as tend to hydrate more frequently. It is also super light to carry, and won’t burden you on your runs

Pros

  • This product’s hydration bladder is versatile in that it can hold up to 132 lbs., as well as serve as a pillow and store ice cubes for cold water.
  • There’s plenty of pocket room and hidden compartments within the backpack to store more things than you might need.ư
  • The product has thin, but sturdy straps that will support your shoulders without irritating the skin, making it good for containing moisture as you run.

Cons

  • The hydration bladder might leak at times, depending on how it was made and how tightly you screw the lid on
  • It tends to bounce a bit too much since it does not have a waist strap for holding the support down.
  • The model design could be improved to allow easier water drainage from the hydration bladder.

Opinion

The main component of this backpack is its hydration bladder, which is good for many uses besides hydration (e.g. keeping the water cool), but also has the unfortunate tendency to leak at times.

With high abrasion resistance and tear resistance features, Quechua’s backpack is good to use for plenty of sports besides only running: hiking, camping, cycling, etc. It is also good for students and children to wear for their everyday activities.

Pros

  • This product is the least expensive one among the others listed, thereby making it very affordable for the individual.
  • Although the material looks thin, it’s sturdy and can last for many years.
  • It is easy to fold and carry around with you at all times, without taking up too much space.
  • Being lightweight and small, it also works well for children should they choose to go on runs and hikes with you.

Cons

  • The zipper design could be slightly altered to have two zippers instead of one for larger pocket compartments
  • It might be a bit too small to fit many things since it appears to be more of a child’s backpack than an adult’s
  • The material is not as breathable, compared with the other products listed.

Opinion

While it might be a bit too small for the adult to carry, Quechua’s backpack is nevertheless lightweight and sturdy that can be used for a longer period of time than other ones out there.

Priding itself in its “no-bounce guarantee” feature, Product Stop, Inc.’s backpack is specifically targeted for runners to have a smooth, non-irritable experience while running long distances in just about any weather (e.g. rain, wind, sunshine, etc.).

Pros

  • It comes in a multitude of different colors, so you have more choice in deciding your design and style with this backpack.
  • Although it says that it has a 1.5-liter hydration bladder storage, it can actually be filled up to 2 liters, hence more water reservoir for longer runs.
  • The hydration bladder fits nicely and snugly inside the backpack, so you won’t have to worry about it shifting around when on your run.

Cons

  • It might not be able to store as many items as other running backpacks out there.
  • The mesh straps might be a bit flimsy, which questions the durability of this particular product.
  • The bladder’s tube is not easy to dry out, which may otherwise trap moisture inside and be difficult to get out later.

Opinion

There are more options to choose the different colors and styles for Product Stop, Inc.’s hydration backpack, as well as have a good support system to minimize bouncing when running. However, it might be a bit too small for some people, who may want more storage area.

Winner of the Roundup

Although it was a close call, Product Stop, Inc. Hydration Pack (#5) is the winner of this roundup.

Via Amazon.com

While it was smaller and stored fewer items than the other running backpacks on this list, it was good enough for storing the most essential items, such as keys, cellphones, and even protein bars. The 1.5-liter hydration bladder was a plus, too, since it could in fact store up to 2-liters maximum. With a good water reservoir and security, Product Stop, Inc.’s hydration pack is ideal for your next run.

Take Away Message (Conclusion)

Overall, there is a considerable amount of effort needed when it comes to finding the best running backpack for your specific workout regime. Whether you tend to be a short-distance runner or a long marathoner, there are plenty of different options out there for you to choose from. From adjustable straps to hydration bladders, these backpacks got you covered for your next run.

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