XC skiing can be a long and exhaustive sport. Your body burns around 500 calories per hour, so you need a good hydration backpack to make sure you do not sweat out and feel dehydrated. A good hydration backpack needs to be practical and sturdy. Every skier may have his/ her preferences, but your XC skiing hydration backpack should ideally have the following features.
5 Things to Consider
If you want to not worry about your hydration while enjoying skiing, consider the following factors before getting yourself a ski hydration backpack.
One of the most important factors while looking for a good hydration backpack for your skiing adventures is its insulation factor. You do not want the water inside the water bladder to freeze – what’s the point of bringing water to the freezing slopes if you are unable to drink it?
If your hydration backpack is not properly insulated, the water bladder or hose may end up freezing the water. This will not only prevent you from drinking it but may also result in damaging your hydration pack.
Some hydration packs have insulated shoulder straps with pockets where you can tuck in the tube and the bite valve. This does not only keep your water bladder insulated, but also the tube. In other hydration packs that have an insulated bladder but not the tube, the skier needs to manually blow the water down the bladder after each water-break to ensure the water does not freeze inside the tubes (otherwise you won’t be able to drink water as it will freeze inside the flow tube).
You can also wear your hydration backpack underneath your jacket to prevent the water (in the bladder, hose, and bite valve) from freezing.
If you think carrying a couple of liters of water is not a big deal, think about carrying it for a couple of hours while you ski. Not to mention, you often need to carry your keys, snacks, and cellphone in the pockets of your backpack, adding in more weight. While having more water on the slopes sounds like a great idea, carrying it for a long interval may tire you down preventing you to give a hundred percent to your XC skiing.
For this reason, it is a good idea to go for a lightweight hydration backpack that has a water bladder with enough water for a single adventure. Few ounces can make a big difference in causing strain to your back and waist.
A good hydration pack should ideally have some space for you to carry important items along. While enjoying your skiing, you may need some snacks or your cellphone in addition to water. While hydration packs come with their water bladder, it is important to have a couple of pockets, ideally zippered, so your items remain safe and easily accessible.
However, you may not want to have too much storage. The more the storage space is, the higher will be your temptation to overstuff it. After all, you will have to carry all the weight (plus water weight) for hours while you are out in the cold.
Your hydration backpack needs to be comfortable in terms of shoulder, waist, and compression straps. Most of the weight of your hydration pack will land on your shoulders, so you need a comfortable shoulder strap that could be adjusted.
If a strap is too thin, it will dig into your body making it hard for you to carry your backpack or enjoy your time on the slopes. Thicker straps with a good amount of padding can help you enjoy your crosscountry skiing without tiring you down.
In addition to this, waist straps let you manage the weight and evenly distribute it so your shoulders feel less strain and you feel more in control. Not all hydration packs have a waist strap, so if it does, that’s a big plus for you. Your waist strap will also prevent the backpack from shifting from one side to the other while you ski.
The buckles on your straps need to be durable and comfortable – no pointy edges!
Your hydration backpack needs to be stable. It should not bounce from one side to the other ski, as it is not only tiring and distracting but also dangerous for your back and balance.
When you ski, the water in the bladder of your hydration pack moves back and forth disrupting your equilibrium. For this reason, you need a backpack that provides you the stability that your body needs while on the slopes.
The stability of your backpack depends upon many factors including how well the straps are adjusted and how the backpack is built. If your backpack is too light, it will be less stable. Make sure your hydration pack has good construction and is not air-light.
The 5 Best Hydration Packs
If you are looking for the best hydration packs, here are our top five recommendations that will not disappoint you.
1. CamelBak Powderhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack, 100oz
The slim CamelBak Powderhound can be worn under your jacket when the temperature gets freezing so that your water stays nice and drinkable. It has huge storage which provides you with a good amount of water on your cross country adventures.
The best part about this hydration pack is that it is light in weight making your skiing super comfortable. Weighing only 2.2 pounds, you can carry your water with you and stay hydrated without feeling a burden to carry the water load.
The back panel of your CamelBak Powderhound is specially designed to repel snow and sticking it on your hydration pack. It boasts crux reservoir that delivers you around 20% more water per each sip, so that you put in less effort in drinking, and more on enjoying skiing. Cleaning this backpack and the hydration bladder is also a breeze.
This ski hydration pack offers a good amount of storage. There are multiple pockets – one for your hydration pack, an inside zippered pocket, as well as a handy pocket that gives you quick access to the small stuff that you may need to take out.
The shoulder and back straps are quite comfortable. The backpack lets you zip your drinking tube into an insulated sleeve in one of your shoulder straps. This keeps your water safe from external elements like snow and dirt.
The CamelBak Powderhound Hydration pack has helmet carrying attachment points as well as sturdy ski carrying external attachment points that let you carry the skis diagonally. This makes you hands-free as your hydration backpack takes care of your skiing accessories.
The CamelBak Powderhound is available in two color options: black and graphite/ blue. If you are looking for a great hydration pack for your cross country adventures, the CamelBak Powderhound 12 could be the one you are looking for.
- It has a great insulation mechanism that keeps the water from freezing under an extremely chilly environment.
- The insulated harness keeps your tube zipped inside the shoulder strap for added insulation.
- The four-point compression allows you to compress your backpack while you easily carry the compact hydration pack during skiing.
- It has a good amount of storage where you can put in your gloves, keys, phone, and money, etc.
- The waist strap is comfortable and lets you carry all the water you need without tiring you down.
- The expansion panel of your CamelBak Hydration Pack lets you add 6 liters of water when required.
- The cap for the water seal is not leakproof and can sometimes result in leakage.
- The backpack will not be able to zip properly if you store a lot of stuff in it. The seams could have been sturdier.
2. Miracol Hydration Backpack with 2L Water Bladder
It is perfect for all kinds of body structures which gives it the flexibility to be used by different members of your family. If you have a lean structure, just tighten the chest straps and waist belt, and the backpack will fit you like a glove.
One of the greatest pluses is the lightweight of this hydration pack as it weighs only around 1 pound. It is made with great quality nylon that is water-resistant and long-lasting. The tube is FDA approved and BPA free. On the backside of your hydration backpack are the mesh pads that make your Miracol Hydration Backpack as breathable and comfortable as it a hydration pack can get.
Its thermal insulation keeps your water at a good temperature. You can store 2 liters (around 68 oz) of drink in the hydration bladder. Thanks to the wide mouth, refilling is quite easy. It is quite easy to sip water from the insulated flow tube.
Having storage is always a great idea in backpacks, and the Miracol Hydration Backpack offers you various pockets to keep your belongings safe. Do not overfill it and it will not bounce when you are skiing.
To make your XC skiing safe, this backpack comes with a whistle buckle and reflectors so you can be safe when skiing in the dark and cold terrain. It is available in bright blue which makes it easy to spot and chic to wear.
- It is light and comfortable to carry around for long durations.
- Multiple pockets allow a good storage system. This also includes waist pouches that are handy and hence can be quite useful during skiing.
- Good thermal insulation keeps your drink at a drinkable temperature.
- The tube can be a bit hard to clean, as compared to some other hydration packs.
3. Vibrelli Hydration Pack & 2L Hydration Water Bladder
It is light, sturdy, and provides you with good storage. All these features make Vibrelli Hydration Pack your perfect companion. It comes with a 2 liter (70 ounces) of hydration bladder that keeps you well hydrated while you enjoy crosscountry skiing.
All the straps are fully adjustable. The waist and chest straps are sturdy yet comfortable. The shoulder straps are breathable. To make your skiing safe, the Vibrelli Hydration Pack comes with a rear reflector to prevent accidents and easy spotting during dark winter nights. To make things even safer and better, the backpack has an emergency whistle that is attached to your chest strap.
Vibrelli Hydration Pack is constructed using good quality BPA-free and PVC-free material. The bladder is coated with a special film that ensures your water stays fresh and does not taste or smell like plastic – something that often happens in many hydration packs.
The bladder pocket is well insulated. You also get separate pockets for storing multiple items including a mesh pocket. And if the internal storage was not enough, the external bungee straps on your hydration backpack lets you hang your helmet.
The bite valve is leak-proof, and you can conveniently drink by twisting the valve to 90 degrees, providing you with the maximum flow of water. With innovative construction and sleek design, the Vibrelli Hydration Pack is a must-have if you plan to do XC skiing.
- The backpack is easy to carry, and the straps are comfortable and adjustable.
- It comes with good storage options so you can carry your important stuff with you.
- The hydration pack is specially created keeping your health in mind – no PVC or BPA materials are used in the manufacturing of this pack.
- Due to a special bladder film, the water does not smell or taste like plastic.
- The tube is not insulated so to ensure the water does not freeze in the tube while you ski in extremely cold conditions, you will have to blow the liquid back into the pack.
4. CamelBak Phantom LR 24 Ski Hydration Pack, 100oz
If you are looking for a stable and comfortable hydration pack for your XC skiing trip, look no further than the CamelBak Phantom LR 24 Ski Hydration Pak. With a total capacity of 24 liters, this hydration pack has tons of features to impress you.
The super-comfortable waist belt and shoulder straps are adjustable. The load of the backpack is stabilized and intelligently shared through the belts and straps. The hip belt keeps your backpack close to your body so that you don’t feel any extra baggage hanging behind your body while skiing.
If you are a fan of storage pockets, the CamelBak Phantom will delight you as it offers you multiple pockets with decent space. You can find storage pockets on the side, top, and front in addition to the central storage compartment. The side pocket may seem a bit small and made with a thin layer of fabric, but it is extremely durable. The great part is that all these pockets have zipper protection, so you don’t end up losing any item. If you have ever tried finding a lost item in powdered snow, you know exactly what blessing this is.
The back panel of the pack repels snow making it ideal for skiing adventures. The hydration pack also has helmet hooks that make it super convenient for you to carry your helmets.
- It has a storage of 3 liters (around 100 oz) and is easy to refill.
- The backpack is very spacious and practical and offers multiple zippered pockets.
- It offers a low weight position that enables the backpack to take the natural shape of your back. This distributes its weight nicely and is easy to carry.
- The backpack is weather resistant.
- The straps are comfortable and adjustable.
- With lots of pockets for storage, this hydration pack can sometimes feel too big for lean structured skiers.
5. CamelBak Bootlegger Ski Hydration Pack, 50oz
While skiing, you should ideally wear it under your warm clothes as putting it on over your clothes can result in freezing. This intelligent 50 oz pack uses your body’s heat along with its insulation mechanism to keep the liquid at a drinkable temperature. You can use this versatile bag in warmer conditions and sports while wearing it outside your clothes.
The CamelBak Bootlegger Ski Hydration Pack has comfortable straps that can be easily adjusted. The shoulder straps have a mesh design that keeps ventilation and comfort in check when the temperature gets warmer.
The bite valve cover is durable and provides a good covering to your water preventing it from getting too cold (or too hot if you plan to use this versatile bag in warmer conditions). The zipper is of long-lasting quality, so once you have your hydration pack, expect it to be with you for seasons to come.
It is available in black. The product has dimensions of 15.4″x 1.8″ x 9.6 inches and weighs around 8.5 ounces.
- It is easy to refill the bladder quickly.
- Nicely insulated so there is no freeze off in extreme cold skiing trips.
- It can be comfortably worn underneath your jacket, as well as over your clothes.
- The straps are adjustable and comfortable.
- The hydration pack does not have any additional storage, other than the bladder.
- Wearing it under your jacket could get a bit uncomfortable at times. You have to wear it under your jacket in extremely cold weather (especially when you are skiing down the slopes) to avoid freezing.
- The hose of the hydration pack can easily detach from the bladder.
XC skiing is fun as long as you are comfortable and have your water and important supplies with you. A good hydration backpack should be easy to carry for long intervals as well as convenient to clean. From our recommended list of hydration backpacks for XC skiing, which one are you going to get?