11 Best Running Backpacks and Hydration Backpacks – UK 2020 

 October 10, 2020

by Michal

Buying a good running backpack is a big investment. Your backpack will need to fit your water and your essentials, and it will also need to sit well, not move around, be comfortable, and flexible enough to let you move freely.

Taking the time to find the best running backpack is an investment that you definitely won’t regret.

There are lots of different styles of running backpacks out there. Whether you are looking for your first ever running backpack, or your trusty best running backpack has finally died, or you need the best backpack for running to work, hitting the trails, or your first ultramarathon, you will need to consider size, fit, water capacity, and more.

We’ve taken a look at the best running backpacks out there to help make your decision that little bit easier.

Reviews – Best running backpack for commuting

Item 1: OMM Ultra 8 running backpack

OMM Original Mountain Marathon Unisex's Ultra Running Backpack, Green, 8 Litre

This small but mighty running backpack is a crowd favourite for runners who don’t carry too much on their runs. The versatile lightweight, waterproof running backpack has a simple design and is great for running and racing.

Everything has been put into this running backpack to reduce its weight on your body. The combined chest strap and waist belt harness reduces the overall weight of the backpack. A yoke strap across the chest spreads the weight of the backpack evenly across both shoulders. Once you adjust the straps to your body, you won’t even know it’s there.

Slot your water bottle into one of the wrap around mesh side pockets on the outside of the bag, or connect your water bladder inside the bag. The secure zipped pocket will keep your valuables safe as you run.

This best running backpack is unisex, and the smaller capacity is great for women who are looking for a smaller fitting backpack that will fit them well. Runners who want to use this backpack for commuting may prefer the bigger 15 litre version. In addition, the yoke that sits on the chest may not sit comfortably on women with larger chests.

Pack light, and get on out there.

OMM Ultra 8 running backpack

  • Volume: 8 litres
  • Back length: 28cm
  • Weight: 220g
  • Unisex backpack
  • Water bladder compatible

Item 2: Karrimor X lite 15L running backpack

Karrimor Unisex X Lite 15L Running Backpack

This excellent value for money running backpack is perfect for long runs and commutes. 

The backpack has plenty of pockets and space for everything you could possibly need for a long run, whether on the trail, or in the urban jungle. The large main compartment can hold a change of clothes, while the small zipped pockets are secure for valuables. Two open mesh pockets on the outside of the bag are large enough for water bottles.

The backpack is built for comfort too. The ventilated shoulder straps keep them from chafing on your shoulders, and hold the backpack in place. The padded back prevents it from causing discomfort on your back, and the wind tunnel ventilation system keeps the backpack breathable and sweat free. The sternum clip, and hip belt clip both serve to keep the bag in place.

This commuting backpack is compatible with a bladder system.

Karrimor X lite 15L running backpack

  • Volume: 15 litres
  • Back length: 48.5cm
  • Super lightweight
  • Unisex backpack
  • Great value for money

Item 3: Salomon Trailblazer 20 backpack

Salomon Trailblazer 20 Unisex Backpack 20L Hiking Trail Running

Look no further for the best running backpack for your daily running commute. The Salomon trailblazer is specially designed for when you need to run with a lot of baggage on your back!

This running backpack is a large capacity backpack – 20 litres, but the adjustable elastic chest strap, lightweight 3D belt, and padded straps will hold it in place as you run.

This backpack has one main pocket with an interior sleeve to keep your water bladder separate from your clothes. An external pocket has space for your small in-run essentials.

Get your backpack on and head on out to work.

Salomon Trailblazer 20 backpack

  • Volume: 20 litres
  • Back length – 51cm
  • Weight – 410g
  • Water bladder compatible
  • Separate sleeve to keep water away from clothes

Item 4: No Label roll top waterproof backpack

NO LABEL Roll Top Backpack Waterproof - T2 Transition Bag - Sports Rucksack - Running - Cycling - Black/Orange

The No Label roll top backpack has been voted the best waterproof running backpack and it is easy to see why. The thick 500D material provides all weather protection, great for any sports or your running commute. The 20L capacity is big enough to fit your clothes and a towel, and all your other run essentials – do you don’t need to leave anything behind. It’s tough and robust – exactly like you. A reflective patch tops off this backpack’s commuter credentials.

The roll top keeps your backpack safe and secure – nothing can get in or out of it (unless you want it to). As well as the large pocket, this backpack has a small external pocket for essentials, and pouches on the sides for water bottles.

Quality design and comfort, with adjustable, soft padded shoulder straps, and chest and waist band buckles to keep your backpack in place where it should be as you run.

Word of warning though – this backpack is big, and it is not as light as many backpacks on the market, so it is less suitable for smaller men and women.

Updates to the bag have added a sleeve inside for a small laptop or tablet, and strengthened the straps. Overall this bag is great value and quality for commuters who live in wet places!

No Label roll top waterproof backpack

  • Volume: 20 litres
  • Back length: 40cm
  • Weight: 720g
  • Completely waterproof
  • Great backpack for running commutes

Item 5: Proviz Sports Reflect360 backpack

Proviz Reflect 360 Unisex Outdoor Cycling Backpack

Predominantly a cycling backpack, the Proviz Reflect 360 backpack is also great for commuters who run to work. The all around reflective material keeps you as visible as possible in the dark, and the water resistant material makes it the perfect backpack for a winter commute.

This backpack has a fitted design which will follow your back for full stability. The waist and chest straps also contribute to the backpack’s stability. The beetle ventilation system allows air to move freely, reducing that sweaty feeling.

The backpack has a big pocket in the back, complete with a laptop sleeve, and a small pocket in the front for running essentials. It is compatible with a 2L water bladder. The roomy compartment also gives you enough space for your dry clothes and towel.

Rain and darkness are no longer an excuse!

Proviz Sports Reflect360 backpack

  • Back length: 54cm
  • Volume: 30 litres
  • Weight: 650g
  • Water resistant
  • 100% reflective material

Item 6: Deuter Speed Lite 16 running backpack

Deuter Unisex Adults’ Speed Lite 16 backpack

The Lightweight, streamlined and strong Deuter Speed Lite allows you to carry all you need for a day out on the trails, or a running commute.

This super comfortable backpack with its athletic v-line ergonomically shaped padded back, and anatomically shaped shoulder straps, gives you the freedom to run. AirMesh shoulder pads and breathable foam in the straps keep you from overheating.

The elasticated inner compartment grows as you fill it, so you can fit in everything you need. Three exterior pockets to store your run time essentials. The backpack is compatible with a 2L water bladder.

The slightly smaller size makes it perfect for a smaller runner to wear on their commute, or a comfortable pack for a long trail run. Get your speed on and off you go!

Deuter Speed Lite 16 running backpack

  • Back length: 45cm
  • Weight: 370g
  • Volume: 16 litres
  • Unisex backpack
  • Ergonomic design

Reviews – Best hydration backpack

Item 7: CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack

CAMELBAK Unisex Rogue Hydration Pack

This running backpack comes from CamelBak, one of the world leaders in hydration backpacks. The small lightweight backpack comes with CamelBak’s Crux reservoir, 2.5 litre high flow reservoir that is integrated fully onto the backpack. The water bottle can be easily refilled via the quick release flap on the front on the backpack, making it super convenient when you are on a long run or trail.

The backpack itself features a breathable mesh back to allow air flow between your back and the backpack, and a stretch overflow storage compartment to store an extra later or waterproof jacket. A second small pocket can be used to store other valuables such as your keys, wallet or phone. Reflective accents around the bag offer you visibility when running in poorer light.

It’s time to hit those trails!

CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack

  • 2.5 litre Crux reservoir
  • Weight: 0.51 lb (230g)
  • Unisex backpack
  • Breathable mesh back

Item 8: Geila hydration backpack

Geila Hydration Backpack, Hydration Vest Outdoors Sport Trail Marathoner Running Race Lightweight Rucksack for Men & Women(Gray)

This light backpack is super comfortable to run with on both trails and the road. The soft, thin mesh on the vest straps provides optimal comfort and breathability, and evenly distributes the weight of your necessary items. The wide vest straps and chest strap keeps the backpack in place and reduces bounce as you run.

The mesh back cushion allows the backpack to breath and reduces sweat while also keeping it comfortable. The water resistant coating will keep the contents of your backpack dry if it rains.

This backpack has plenty of pockets with space for a 1L water bladder (not included with the backpack) and a thin additional layer, and mesh pockets in the straps which can fit small water bottles of up to 350ml. The backpack has a hole at the top of the main compartment for the water bladder system. Other small pockets in the straps and the back give you space to stash your phone, keys, and other run essentials such as gels.

And to top off the list of greatness, this backpack also provides excellent value for money!

Geila hydration backpack

  • Weight: 250g
  • Space for 1L bladder pack
  • Mesh pockets for small water bottles
  • Unisex backpack
  • Excellent value for money

Item 9: ASICS lightweight running backpack

Asics Unisex Adult 3013A149-014 Backpack, Black, One Size

The ASICS lightweight running backpack is a lightweight, durable, compact backpack perfect for running those trails or roads. Small and no-nonsense, it’s a great backpack for the essentials.

The backpack has padding on the back and shoulders for added comfort when running. Ventilation channels allow air to run through the back of the backpack, keeping you sweat free and cool as you run. Adjust the body harness and straps to keep the backpack in place on your back as you run.

Plenty of pockets mean that you can take everything you need for your run from water to gels or an extra layer. The zipped main compartment fits an extra layer and other essentials for your run, and there is a separate pocket for your water bladder. An external pocket makes it easy to quickly reach the essentials you need while actually on the move.

ASICS lightweight running backpack

  • Volume: 10 litres
  • Water bladder compatible
  • Lightweight
  • Unisex backback
  • Separate pockets for water and essentials

Item 10: HunterBee 2L running vest backpack

HunterBee 2L Running Vest Marathon hydration Backpack- Lightweight Trail Running Backpack for Marathon Race, Running, Hiking, Cycling, Climbing for Women and Men

The HunterBee marathon running vest is an exceptionally lightweight backpack with vest fitting, and designed for race days or shorter runs. The HunterBee is excellent value if you are looking for a minimalist running backpack.

The backpack and vest are made from breathable fabrics, and the vests are entirely made of stretchy, high density mesh for coolness and comfort. The open mesh wicks moisture from your back and front.

The vest has two chest straps, which can be moved up and down the full length of the straps so you can find the most comfortable place for them to sit and keep your backpack in place as you run. This is a definite advantage for women with big chests, or tall men!

The big pocket in the back can fit a 2L hydration bladder, and have space to spare for an extra layer. Stretchy pockets on the side have enough space for 500ml water bottles and other run essentials. Overall, there’s enough space in this running backpack for the food and gear you need on marathon day, but it is so light you will barely feel it.

Go get that PB – the HunterBee marathon running vest has your back!

HunterBee 2L running vest backpack

  • Weight: 190g
  • Volume: 2 litres
  • Unisex backback
  • Excellent value
  • Perfect for race day or short runs

Item 11: Osprey Duro running hydration pack

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The Osprey Duro is a vest style backpack, built for long runs. The slightly larger capacity (6L) allows you to take everything you need with you for a day on the trails, where you need to take everything you need with you.

The Osprey Duro is designed to let you go fast. Dual, adjustable sternum straps keep it secure and prevent the backpack from bouncing as you run. It is super lightweight and comfortable on your back, and the multiple PowerMesh pockets let it breath.

The backpack comes with two hydraulics 500ml soft flasks which fit in the pockets on the outside of the backpack, and also includes an internal sleeve for your water bladder. There’s plenty of space for water on long runs and trails, and you decide what water you need, and where to store it.

The backpack has three compartments – one for a water bladder, a small pocket for your valuables, and a main compartment that is large enough for an extra layer and your food and other run day essentials. The front zippered pocket makes it easy to pull the backpack around to access the pockets without taking it off your back.

It’s definitely time to hit those trails!

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Why do runners wear backpacks?

Runners take backpacks with them when they run to carry their essentials. Depending on the length of the run, essentials may vary from keys, wallet, and maybe some water, to hydration gels, lots of water, and a spare layer in case it rains or the temperature drops. 

Some people run their commute to work. These runners will need a running backpack that is big enough for their work clothes, and possibly a towel or laptop.

How to choose the best running backpack

The type of running backpack you will need depends on what you want it for.

Best backpack for commuting

If you like to run to and from work you will want a larger capacity backpack that can fit your work clothes and possibly your computer in it. But remember, the bigger the bag, the more likely you are to fill it, and the more you fill it, the more it will weigh. Consider the size of your backpack carefully. For some runners, a 10 to 15 litre bag will be enough, other runners will need a bit more space for their towel and larger shoes!

Space for water will be less important, but you may want space for a small bottle or water bladder, especially in the warmer months.

If you are a UK based runner, where there are long, wet winters, you will also want a backpack that is waterproof, or at the very least water resistant, and that has plenty of reflective patches on it.

And finally because running backpacks for commuters are relatively large, you will want your backpack to have comfy padded straps and good chest and waist straps to keep it from bouncing around as you run.

Best trail running backpack and best ultra running backpack

If you like running on trails or you are training for an ultra marathon, the best hydration backpack is one that is small, lightweight, and strong, while also being large enough for a spare layer and all the food and drink you need for your day. You don’t ask for much!

So saying, the best trail running backpack will have a capacity of maximum 10 litres, which will be plenty of space for your water and other trail running essentials.

The best hydration backpacks are built around space for water bladders.

Are the best running backpacks super expensive?

The short answer is – maybe. When you look for the best running backpack for your needs, you will need to balance features with cost. 

Some running backpacks can be very expensive, but others provide better value for money. But whatever your budget, a well-researched running backpack is an investment that you won’t regret.

There are plenty of great running backpacks in the £30 to £60 range, so if budget is an issue, target the price range first and then look at the reviews and features to find one that suits you.

In summary: The best running backpacks for every runner

Versatile Pick
Salomon Trailblazer 20
Best Budget Option
HunterBee 2L Running Vest
Salomon Trailblazer 20 Unisex Backpack 20L Hiking Trail Running
HunterBee 2L Running Vest Marathon hydration Backpack- Lightweight Trail Running Backpack for Marathon Race, Running, Hiking, Cycling, Climbing for Women and Men
Bladder compatible
Versatile Pick
Salomon Trailblazer 20
Salomon Trailblazer 20 Unisex Backpack 20L Hiking Trail Running
Bladder compatible
Best Budget Option
HunterBee 2L Running Vest
HunterBee 2L Running Vest Marathon hydration Backpack- Lightweight Trail Running Backpack for Marathon Race, Running, Hiking, Cycling, Climbing for Women and Men
Bladder compatible

The best running backpack for commuters

Salomon Trailerblazer 20 Backpack

What we love most about the Salomon Trailblazer is its versatility – you can use it for anything from a regular schoolbag to a hiking day pack to a full on trail running partner.

It’s water bladder compatible, has a chest strap, belt, and is water bladder compatible. It’s also made to Salomon’s usual high standards, which gives us confidence it’s not only a great looking pack but should last a long time too.

The best trail/ultra running backpack

Osprey Duro running hydration pack

This backpack is designed for the trails. The 6 litre capacity is a great size for a day out on the trials and it has space for a 2 litre water bladder, a light layer, and even any other running essentials you may need.

Because the Osprey Duro is designed for the trails, it also has hooks for a helmet, whistle, walking poles and other trail specific equipment that could very well be useful. 

The best budget running backpack

HunterBee 2L running vest backpack

The HunterBee 2L running vest gets our vote for best budget backpack because of the super lightweight, comfortable mesh vest design, the generous water capacity (space for a 2 litre water bladder, plus exterior pockets with space for two 500ml water bottles, and the fully adjustable chest and waist straps that can be moved the full length of the shoulder straps so you can find that sweet spot. It’s also very versatile, and would hold its own on anything from a regular day hike to a full on ultra race.

The great price makes the HunterBee 2L running vest the perfect pick for anyone after something high quality without shelling out for some of the fancier brands.

Check out our other great running guides.


Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author 


Michal is a running and fitness writer at The Fit Brit. With finishes at both the London and Paris marathons, she's our go-to source for distance running, and women's fitness in general.

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