Wether you go for a backpack or a waist-pack depends on your needs and style – but also what you might be wearing along with it. We invited SUP paddler, avid outdoor-adventurer and sportsman Ian Berger to share his considerations with us.
Backpack-Waterpacks: You almost forget it’s there
“Backpack-style waterpacks have been around for a few decades. They look like a small daypack. You drink from a little tube that extends over your shoulder. Most of them have extra space inside for a lunch, gels, keys, or your phone. These have become very popular for light hiking, biking, rollerblading, and cross-country skiing. They allow you to carry a good amount of water — up to three liters or more — comfortably.
Unlike a day pack, back-style waterpacks like the super low-profile SOURCE Verve (designed for watersports) or SOURCE Dune (for running and biking) hug the contours of your body, making them great for strenuous exercise. You almost forget it’s there!
When do you definitely need a Hydration Belt..?
There are times though when carrying water on your back isn’t great. The pack does tend constrict your movement and redistribute your weight a little. This can be an issue in sports like climbing or running. They also get in the way of wearing anything else on your back – like a PFD.
If you’re a paddler and you are wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device or what most of us call life jackets), wearing water over that can be very clumsy. Waist packs like the SOURCE Hipster (for biking and running) or SOURCE Hipster Wave (for paddling) are what’s called for here.
Hydration Belts: great alternative to backpacks
Waist packs are very handy. Instead of strapping on a pack, you just clip it around your waist like a big pouch.
It easily fits under a PFD. The drinking tube usually clips somewhere on your belt or your person, whichever works for you. Clearly a waist pack is smaller than a backpack, so you’re not going to be able to carry as much water or other gear. However, most still have enough room for a snack and your phone while shlepping a liter or so of water.
Whatever you chose: don’t do it without hydration
Whichever style you choose, waist-pack or backpack, pack enough for your trip, and a little extra. Dehydration isn’t fun and can happen pretty quickly.
If you’re an adventurous person or weekend warrior, a back or waist style will work well; you just have to know what your needs are. If you need to carry the maximum amount of water and some extra stuff, get a backpack. If you need something small and out of the way, get one for your waist.
Then while you’re out there, drink!”