How to Choose & Care for a Hydration Pack

Summer is here, and the last thing you want is for your adventures to be cut short by dehydration. Half a liter of water is recommended for every hour of activity in moderate temperatures. In hotter temperatures, higher elevations, or more strenuous conditions, you might find you need more. Even in colder temperatures, it’s equally as important to stay hydrated. If you’re sick of lugging around water bottles or worry about them running out, hydration packs are a great alternative. If you aren’t sure what to look for in terms of size or style, read on to find out which of our hydration packs will work best for the activities you love. We’ll also cover how to clean and care for your water reservoirs to maximize the lifespan of your gear. 

Hydration Hip Packs

Hip packs are growing in popularity–especially among climbers and mountain bikers–because of their lightweight convenience and back breathability that you don’t get with a backpack. Our Lagos 5L Hydration Hip Pack has a 2L (4.4lbs or 67 fluid ounces when filled) reservoir, which leaves 3L of storage space. This popular reservoir size (equivalent to about two Nalgene water bottles) carries plenty of H2O without the bulk. With the remaining 3L of storage space, you have enough room to pack things like your phone, keys, bike tools, a snack, and a windbreaker. 

Best for: 1-3 hour hikes or mountain bike rides.

Mid-Sized Hydration Backpacks

Hip packs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, though, and that’s where the hydration backpack comes in. Designed with a 2.5L (5.5lbs or 85 fluid ounces when filled) reservoir, our Lagos 15L pack has 12.5L of storage space. The extra .5L in this reservoir means you’re basically getting an additional built-in bottle of water compared to the hip pack, so this pack is great for longer adventures or terrain where water is scarce. Plus, with the exterior mesh water bottle pockets, you can bring an extra 40oz of water along (about 3.7L total). And with the 12.5L of storage, you have enough room to pack essentials, some snacks, and an extra layer or two. 

Best for: 3-5 hour mountain bike rides or hikes, and downhill skiing. 

Large Hydration Packs

When you need even more room for bigger adventures, the 25L will be your new go-to. While identical to the 15L version in hydration reservoir size and mesh water bottle pockets, the Lagos 25L pack provides 10L of additional storage space for essentials, snacks, and extra bulky layers. But the storage space doesn’t stop at the interior–this pack also features a large stretch-mesh exterior pocket and daisy chains for attaching hats, shoes, and more.

Best for: Full-day hikes, gear-heavy hikes, shoulder season hikes, and snowshoeing. 

How to Clean Your Hydration Reservoir

Now that you’ve picked out your hydration pack, it’s time to keep it clean:

  1. Create a cleaning solution of hot water and two tablespoons of baking soda. 
  2. Pour the solution into the reservoir and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. To empty the reservoir, hold the bite valve below the pack and pinch it open to empty the reservoir and let the cleaning solution run through the tube.
  4. When you’re finished cleaning, be sure to completely rinse away the cleaning solution before using again. 
  5. Prop open the reservoir and air dry to avoid mold. You can also use an absorbent insert or special drying rack if you want to expedite drying or if you’re using and cleaning your reservoir frequently. 
  6. Consider buying a HydraPak brush to scrub your reservoir and tube. Brushes are the best way to ensure you’re reaching all the tighter areas.