running backpacks for runners

Tools For The Finish: How To Choose The Right Running Backpack

October 10th, 2023

As a runner, having the right gear is essential to ensure a successful and enjoyable run. One of the most critical pieces of equipment is a reliable running backpack that can carry everything you need for long runs, training runs, and race day. With so many options available, it can be challenging to figure out how to choose the right running backpack for your needs. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of running backpacks available and the factors to consider when selecting the best one for you.

Types of Running Backpacks

Hydration Packs and Vests

Hydration packs and vests are a great choice for trail runners who need to carry water and other essentials for long distances. Hydration vest packs come with a hydration bladder that sits inside the backpack, allowing you to drink water through a tube without stopping. Hydration vests, on the other hand, have soft flasks that sit in pockets on the front of the running vest, allowing for easy access to water while on the go.

Hydration backpacks come in different sizes and capacities, and it’s essential to choose one that suits your needs. For short runs, a hydration vest with a small liquid capacity and a few pockets may suffice. For longer runs, like a marathon, a hydration backpack with a larger liquid capacity, multiple pockets, and storage options for gear and food, like energy bars, is necessary.

Running Backpacks

Trail runners often find themselves in need of a reliable solution to carry essential gear and water during their runs, making running backpacks a popular choice. These backpacks come in a variety of sizes and capacities, ensuring that every runner can find one tailored to their specific needs.

For those embarking on short runs or training sessions, a compact running pack equipped with a hydration bladder and a few strategically placed pockets can suffice. These smaller packs provide enough space for essentials like water, energy gels, keys, and a phone, making them ideal for shorter distances where carrying a lot of gear isn’t necessary.

However, when it comes to long-distance runs or races, investing in a running backpack with a large capacity becomes crucial. These backpacks offer a more comprehensive approach to storage, featuring a hydration bladder for consistent water supply and multiple zippered pockets for organization. Runners can stow away energy gels, first aid supplies, spare clothing, and other necessary items securely. Moreover, these backpacks often come with additional storage options such as bungee cords and compression straps, allowing runners to attach lightweight jackets or trekking poles without any hassle.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Running Backpack

Liquid Capacity

The liquid capacity of a running backpack is an essential factor to consider when choosing one. For short runs or training runs, a small hydration bladder or soft flasks with a capacity of 1 hour or less may suffice. For long runs or races, a larger hydration bladder with a capacity of 2-3 hours or more is necessary. Brands like Orange Mud have running vests with a 1-litre bladder, whilst Ultimate Direction can hold up to 20 litres.

Storage Space

The storage space of a running backpack is another important factor to consider. For short runs or training runs, a small running pack with a few pockets may suffice. For long runs or races, a larger running backpack with multiple pockets and storage options for gear and food is necessary.


Comfort is crucial when choosing a running backpack. A backpack that is not comfortable can cause discomfort or injury during runs. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps, sternum straps, waist straps, and chest straps to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. Additionally, consider the weight of the backpack, as a heavy backpack can cause discomfort or fatigue during runs.


Durability is also an essential factor to consider when choosing a running backpack. Look for a backpack made of high-quality materials that can withstand the wear and tear of trail running. Additionally, consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer, as a good warranty can provide peace of mind and protection for your investment.

Brand and Price

Finally, consider the brand and price of the running backpack. Look for a reputable brand that specialises in running gear, like Naked, Ultimate Direction and Orange Mud, as they are more likely to offer high-quality products that meet the unique needs of runners. Additionally, consider the price of the backpack, as a high price does not always guarantee high quality. Look for a backpack that offers the features you need at a price that fits your budget.

Check Out Pure Runnings

Figuring out how to choose the right running backpack for trail, road or marathon running depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors like liquid capacity, storage space, comfort, durability, brand, and price when selecting a running backpack. Test the backpack with your gear before race day to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. With the right gear, you can enjoy long days on the go without worrying about running out of water or energy. At Pure Running, we’ve got running backpacks, chosen by runners for runners so check out our website and we’ll be sure to have you step out on the right foot with everything you need.