PACK IT IN!
When heading off road, it pays to be prepared – here, tests the very best middleweight hydration packs available
8 middleweight packs put to the test
This lightweight pack weighs in at the bottom end of our review’s range, with just a four-litre capacity; it bumps up to five with the addition of two 500ml soft flasks, which can be carried by the pack. Even the fabric used is minimally constructed, with the result being a breathable and stretchy vest for runners who like to hit the
trails unburdened. With a ten-litre capacity, plus two-litre water reservoir, you’ll never be stuck for space on race day with the Race Ultra 10 Boa. The gargantuan volume doesn’t come at a price (well, ignoring the actual price); this pack remains securely fitted on the move. Also included are a survival blanket and 150ml soft cup – mandatory kit for races
like the UTMB. Named after living ultra-running legend Marco Olmo, the Olmo 5L is kitted out with pockets, netting and buckles. Saying that, it felt lightweight and close fitting even when careering over bumpy ground – there was no ‘bounce’, which gets a big thumbs up from us. Extra details like reflective material and a safety whistle are
nice touches, too. By far the heaviest on review, the Aquarius is designed for comfort on long-distances; its mesh back is effective at supporting its weight, even when full. Its six-litre capacity can be expanded by an additional three litres if needed, though it does come at the cost of an even heavier pack. Bluesign certified material earns this an eco-friendly
commendation. Our lightest pack on test, the Salomon S-Lab Sense Set is a lightweight, stretchy vest designed to carry a minimal amount of water and nutrition for shorter races. It still sports an impressive six-litre capacity, however, and the meshed fabric across the back of this vest is comfortable against the skin, which is ideal for hot
summer races. It might be the cheapest pack on review but that doesn’t translate to a lack of quality; as you’d expect coming from the team behind The Original Mountain Marathon, the Ultra 8 performs. Its utilitarian design – one main compartment with a single small pocket and side bottle holders – allows the pack to remain light and comfortable
on the move.
This is Batman’s hydration pack, both in colour and construction. The light pack sits comfortably in the upper middle back and boasts a large capacity – along with many, many pockets for storage. The Via Jaws 10 has a good selection of chest-strap height options, too, and its chunky Velcro waist belt moves with you
as you breathe. The Duro 6’s plain design belies its performance. It was among the most comfortable packs whilst on the move, largely due to the dual clasp at the chest, which works a bit like a zip but without the accompanying tightness. Add in the ability to drink on the go from a chest-mounted bottle and you’ve got yourself a pack that
ticks all the boxes.