13 Best Running Backpacks (Review) in 2021

Brad Robinson
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When you need a backpack for running, it should be well-made, easy to carry, comfortable, and suitable for a lot of different events/workouts — from long trail runs to short, light runs and everything in between.

The good news is that there are hundreds of running backpacks to choose from because people are so specific about their running needs. Some runners need waterproof bags to carry in their phone, wallet, and keys, while others are looking for lightweight carriers that can go on short training runs.

Likewise, some runners just want to carry a simple water bottle in a pocket, while others need a roomy pack that can carry sports drinks or even another pair of shoes.

Whatever your needs, you’re sure to find a few excellent options on our list of our best running backpacks in 2019.

NameCategoryProduct
Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack PackBest OverallMubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack
CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 ozBudget PickCamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 oz
Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running VestUpgrade PickNathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running Vest

1. Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack

Our rating: 9 / 10

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack

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Pros:

  • Has a rain cover
  • 3 compartments

This lightweight backpack is the perfect companion for any runner. It’s made of a lightweight polyester material, and has many pockets to keep you organized while on the go. It’s ideal for shorter runs or hikes.

The large main compartment, which is sealed by a zippered flap, has a built-in key clip to help you keep valuable items secure during your run. There’s a smaller compartment, complete with a mesh organizer, which is the perfect location for smaller objects, such as tissues, gels, and keys.

An elastic mesh pocket is located at the top of the main compartment, which could be used for water bottles, another phone, or a smaller light. The front pocket has a mesh organizer to help you to keep small items organized.

2. Osprey Daylite Daypack

Our rating: 9 / 10

Osprey Daylite Daypack

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Slim

If you’re a runner on a budget, then the Osprey Daylite could be a great choice. This is a slim, lightweight daypack that’s great for carrying a few things you need in the city.

The Daylite is made from a durable ripstop nylon that is water-resistant. However, it’s not waterproof as some basic weather protection is the best to expect.

There’s a laptop sleeve, which is protected by a rain cover. There’s also a soft, breathable back panel that’s ventilation slots ensure that you won’t feel too hot while you’re running.

3. TRIWONDER Hydration Pack Backpack 5.5L Outdoors Mochilas Trail Marathoner Running Race Hydration Vest

Our rating: 9 / 10

TRIWONDER Hydration Pack Backpack 5.5L Outdoors Mochilas Trail Marathoner Running Race Hydration Vest

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Pros:

  • Very elegant pack, made of good materials, very comfortable.
  • The straps are perfect, they are wide, and adjustable, they really do their job.
  • The pack is waterproof, and it has a little foam inside that helps to protect from shock.
  • The vest is equipped with a light and a reflective strip so no problem to stay visible.
  • Easy to carry, lightweight and comfortable.

Cons:

  • If it is completely full, and if we walk the strap makes a bit of noise, probably because of all the plastic touching. But it is very minimal and barely noticeable, the noise is reduced if we slightly twist or fix the pack itself.
  • The plastic sponge that covers the bottom of the pack is a bit loose.

(Multicolor, One Size)

Over all, it is an excellent product to that is very viable offer and that can be used safely for its intended purpose.

4. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Hydration Bladder;

Our rating: 9 / 10

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack; Free 2-Liter Hydration Bladder;

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Pros:

  • Easily portable (less than 3 pounds)
  • Comfortably fits 34 oz. water
  • Has a built-in rain fly
  • Comfortable waist belt
  • Lots of storage pockets
  • It’s strong and durable

Cons:

  • Backpack is quite thin as a whole
  • Can’t accommodate a sleeping bag

5. Salomon Adv Skin 12 Set Black

Our rating: 8 / 10

Salomon Adv Skin 12 Set Black

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Pros:

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Has a lot of pockets

Cons:

  • Poor water resistance
  • Doesn’t provide much support

Designed with a 2-layer protection, the Salomon Adv Skin 12 Set is a versatile backpack that can keep up with your active lifestyle. It has a designated hydration compartment that opens at the top for quick and easy filling. The pocket also has a drink tube exit point.

The idea of a running backpack is to provide you with everything you need while you run, from a phone pocket to water holders, while maintaining a lightweight and supportive design. The Salomon Adv Skin 12 Set runs on those lines and succeeds while delivering a decent amount of storage and nice padding.

The main compartment includes a bunch of front pockets and a u-shaped zippered compartment. The zippered compartment might work for a jacket, but it’s too small for a full-sized water bottle.

6. Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack

Our rating: 8 / 10

Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack

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Pros:

  • The back is comfortable
  • It has sturdy construction
  • Compact
  • Water-resistant upper compartment

Are you looking for a low-cost nice backpack that’s perfect for day hiking or to use while at the gym or as a sports bag? You should take a look at the Deuter Speed Lite 20.

This one is a backpack that’s made with the daily commute in mind, so it is small enough to carry around all of your belongings without looking like you’re carrying around a suitcase or a pack that belongs in the army. It’s fairly lightweight and sports a small water-resistant roll top with a weatherproof zipper.

This means that your stuff stays protected from the elements, whether it is rain or just being tossed around in the back of the car. The small size of the backpack can sometimes be limiting. If you’re planning on staying out for the night, you may want to consider another option.

7. Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running Vest

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running Vest

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Pros:

  • Perfect for athletic activities
  • Can be used for many purposes
  • Large storage capacity

Blue/Black, Small/Medium.

Are you a bulky guy? Then you would probably need a jogging backpack that can accommodate your size. The Vapor Air Hydration Pack Running Vest from Nathan is a big backpack, but more importantly, it can hold 2L of water. It has bladder on the left side and has an expandable hydration pocket on the right. You can also store small items in the front pocket and behind the lid.

This Vapor Air Hydration Pack is a great backpack for a run. The 2L bladder is able to keep you hydrated for hours. Also, it has 4 large lights that could really come in handy during nighttime. If you are sweating like a pig, the back of the pouch will wick it away for you.

8. CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 oz

Our rating: 8 / 10

CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 oz

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Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Durable
  • Room for ideal essentials.
  • Replaceable parts.
  • Use for everyday commuter or for most outside activities, even long runs and high intensities.
  • Offers 3.0 Liter Hydration Reservoir filled with water or other liquids

Cons:

  • Reviewers say the back-supporting system may not be comfortable enough for long distance runs.

If you are a runner, you will need the CamelBak HydroBak. A cushioned back panel and padded waist belt make it comfortable to run with, yet it is more lightweight than other 50-ounce packs on the market.

This version has an insulated tube to keep your beverage cooler, while an external sleeve holds a phone or other small electronics. A mesh shoulder strap securely holds your CamelBak in place and is easy to adjust for the perfect fit. It also features a removable waist belt and magnetic tube catch to secure the tube inside the pack during the run.

CamelBak backs all of this up by offering a lifetime guarantee because they’re serious about their commitment to quality. In addition to the insulated tube, this model’s replaceable parts allow you to use it for a while and then easily replace parts instead of having to buy an entirely new pack.

9. CamelBak Circuit Hydration Vest

Our rating: 6 / 10

CamelBak Circuit Hydration Vest

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Pros:

  • Plenty of storage room to carry your necessities
  • It has two big vests that can hold two 1-liter water bottles
  • Comes with a pocket that you can use to hold your cellphone
  • Quick-access pockets

/1.5L

Whether you’re training for a marathon or you just like to be out on the road with your dog, the CamelBak Circuit hydration backpack is for you. Basically, you put two 1.5L CamelBak drinking bladders in it, one on each vest.

The vest is separated into two compartments. They have a mix of both mesh and padding. The larger compartment has a mesh pocket for snacks, and a padded cell phone pocket. It also has two access ports, and it’s lined with a waterproof barrier. It’s also lined inside to help ensure that your phone and other items don’t get contaminated from the water bottles.

10. Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration

Our rating: 6 / 10

Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration

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Pros:

  • Comfortable; it has a removable Airscape back panel
  • Very easy to adjust while on the move
  • Suspension system helps to prevent shoulder fatigue
  • No bounce; hip belt and sternum strap help you move smoothly
  • Configurations make storage easy
  • Lightweight

The Raptor 14 Hydration Pack by Osprey is an ideal hiking frame pack for almost anyone. It provides a great balance of carrying capacity, comfort, and adjustability.

This pack has one of the most versatile carry systems available. It also has dual-density waist belt, which helps to distribute weight better.

The Raptor has a built-in rain cover for those nasty spring storms. It also includes multiple waist belt pockets, top lid and zipper pockets for all your smaller items.

11. Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 4.0

Our rating: 6 / 10

Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 4.0

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The top-rated running backpack on the market today is the Ultra Vest 4.0. What are its main perks?

12. Gregory Mountain Products Miwok 18 Liter Men's Day Hiking Backpack

Our rating: 6 / 10

Gregory Mountain Products Miwok 18 Liter Men's Day Hiking Backpack

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Pros:

  • It comes with a unique suspension system that offers great back support
  • The 55L capacity offers a lot of space for the items you may want to take along with you
  • It has an attractive design that will make you look good while carrying it
  • It has an integrated safety whistle
  • The built-in rain cover and the water bottle are great additions to this product

Cons:

  • The material of this backpack is not as strong as some other backpacks out there
  • The hip belt is a little narrow for some users
  • It does not have a lot of pockets where you can store different items

13. Osprey Packs Dyna 15 Women's Trail Running Hydration Pack

Our rating: 5 / 10

Osprey Packs Dyna 15 Women's Trail Running Hydration Pack

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This Osprey running backpack is a great choice for hiking and running when you want to be well hydrated. It comes with a 2-liter water reservoir and a magnetic tube trap which allows for quicker fill and filter changes.

The profile is slim, which is important for trail running and climbing, and the advanced fit system evenly distributes weight across the upper back and shoulders.

The soft foam back panel was designed for comfort, even in warm weather. The padding is 'chafe reducing', which means that you get less rubbing and less chafing than with packs that have little to no padding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best running backpack?

We found three main things to consider when weighing your options in a running backpack. First is capacity. We want a bag that has enough room to carry all our essentials when we’re on the go, but not too much that we feel like we’re overpacking.

Next is weight. We want a backpack that has the optimal amount of weight for both durability and comfort.

Lastly, we want a backpack that is easy to use on the go and while running.

Once you consider both weight and capacity mix the two together and a DuoFold Pouch makes the best choice for most runners. It’s a lightweight, small backpack that is ultra-comfortable to wear while running and durable enough to last for several marathons.

Is running with a weighted backpack good?

According to a study on the effects of exercise on cognition, subjects that ran for 2-4 hours per week have better working memory than when they are not running at all. It is noted that running is good for the heart, but this study shows that running improves fluidity of thought. Additionally, out of the weight carrying options, the benefits of running with a weighted rucksack are the most significant. Running with a weighted backpack will give you the biggest brain boost. Running will also activate more areas of your brain and will have a positive impact on your mood.

Depending on the weight of your running backpack, the calories burned per mile traveled will vary. One scientific study shows that the recommended 100 lb load for running burns about 1,645 calories in a mile. Use your own backpack, start small, and progressively add weight as you get used to the activity to see results.

Is running with a backpack bad for you?

It is not bad necessarily. Running with a backpack is a little different from running with just your arms. The added weight of the back pack can cause some potential injuries especially with the smaller, inexperienced runners. It can cause extra strain on your shoulders and back, especially when you are less conditioned.

However, if you have been running with your backpack regularly, then there is no need to worry. In fact, running with a backpack is beneficial in proper and efficient in developing your legs and butt and lower abdomen while you are running.

Is Gregory a good backpack brand?

Yes. I think it’s a well known brand. Can’t say I’ve heard of a bad Gregory backpack review.

What backpack size should I get?

The backpack size you choose depends on how many items you plan to carry. If you are going on a trip out of the city, a large backpack can accommodate you. If you are going to travel within the city, a small backpack is ideal.

Conclusion

The SOURCE Sport Adventure Lightweight Running BackPack is our top pick for the best running backpack for men. It has a lot of the features that we're looking for in a running backpack, and the price point is definitely attractive. We like that the backpack is fairly streamlined because when we're jogging, we prefer a backpack that keeps our weight to a minimum. That also calls into question the pricing, as some of the other options are quite a bit more expensive.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack PackBest OverallMubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack
CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 ozBudget PickCamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack 50 oz
Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running VestUpgrade PickNathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running Vest