Best Running Backpacks
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Capacity. It really is the most important aspect of a backpack. Knowing what and how much you will be able to carry is vital. For some runners, you may just be looking for a small bag that can fit water and an energy bar. Or perhaps, you will be running the trails and want to bring a towel or tapestry to sit on once you get to that great lookout point.
Backpacks are available in all different sizes. Anything from four liters to more than eighty liters. For an incredibly light packer or just water, a four-liter backpack would be great for a six-mile run. However, if that six-mile run is to the office, you'll need extra space in your pack for a change of clothes and work supplies. For running, we don't recommend anything over thirty-liters. A thirty-liter backpack can weigh you down and also tends to move while you are running. It would be a great size for a day-hike, but less ideal for running.
The primary reason people use a backpack while running to remain hydrated on the go. Even if this is not the main reason you are purchasing a bag, knowing how much water you will need can help you pick the right one. Also, it is important to consider the systems that each bag utilizes to carry and dispense water. Any good running pack will be compatible with a hydration bladder, which is the ideal way to drink as you run since you don’t have to stop moving to drink. However, most running backpacks do not include a hydration bladder with a purchase.
Other features that we looked into include the compartments and zippers. If you plan to invest in a medium or large running backpack, you may be interested in the overall organization of the backpack. Also, having strong zippers always makes a backpack better. Additionally, a backpack that features reflective details is a great choice as well. Reflective details will keep you more visible to cars and people when running in the early morning or at dusk.
The value of an item is something that always crosses our minds. In fact, most of the time, we make our first judgments by strictly looking at the price tag. But the value of an item is so much more than that. To determine the value of an item, you need to take a look at the backpack, its capacity, features, comfort, style, durability, and lastly the price.
Once we have all of the information, we can decide if it is worth it or not. If you are only planning to use the backpack once, a cheaply made and cheaply priced backpack will be fine- although the backpack may leak water the entire trip. However, chances are that you are looking for a long-term investment. For this reason, we need to study all of the features of a backpack and then compare them to the price to decide if it is a good investment.
Top 10 Picks
1. Gregory Miwok 18
A bit on the larger side for a running backpack, the Gregory Miwok 18 is well suited to the runner who wants to bring multiple large items with them on the go. Furthermore, it will remain comfortable no matter how full it is, due to its lightweight and multiple straps that can synch and expand the bag to fit the size of its contents.Read more
Most of the space found within this backpack is in the large main compartment. There are also three smaller pockets, one directly above the main compartment, and two located on the shoulder straps. Even more storage space can be found by using the expandable stretch pocket located on the outside of the bag.
This bag has a separate compartment within the large area that is made to fit a hydration bladder. This area can be closed off to the rest of the backpack using a zipper. A hydration bladder is not included with the purchase of this bag.
Thick shoulder straps make the bag more comfortable and reduce chafing during runs, while a chest strap and waist belt keep it in place. Padding on the waist belt adds even more comfort and help to keep the weight of the bag off your back.
A comfortable, high quality, and attractive backpack choice for the runner who wants a versatile bag, the Gregory Miwok 18 can accommodate your needs whether you are running to school or going for a couple of mile trail run. Its quality designed compartments mean you will never lose track of your things, while its handy straps will keep you comfortable. However, this backpack is more expensive than most other similar packs.
2. Ultimate Direction Jurek FKT
The Ultimate Direction Jurek comes with everything needed for the long-distance runner to finish their race with strength and style. It is a small backpack, which is ideal for this type of running, as any extra weight only slows the one down. The fact that it comes in three different sizes also makes it easy to ensure this bag will fit perfectly.Read more
This bag has four compartments where items may be stored. The largest area, located in the back, can accommodate a hydration bladder. A smaller compartment in front of this one has space for food items and a light layer. There are also two small zippered pockets on the waist belt.
Two water bottles come with this backpack. Together these bottles can fit 1.2 liters of water. Although some find them handy, many customers think they get in the way and recommend using the backpack with a hydration bladder instead. A hydration bladder is not included, but the bag is designed to fit one.
Customers who use this running vest love it. With its well-designed pockets, it can fit more with greater ease than most other versions of this bag. It does have a tendency to run large, but this is an easy problem to solve by simply buying a size smaller than you usually do. Thick shoulder straps make this bag very comfortable, even after miles of running, while thin chest and waist straps keep the bag in place. Like most running vests, this backpack sits high on your back.
This is a specialized, and therefore expensive backpack. Although the price may be much higher than most other running backpacks, it is consistent with what you should expect to pay for a distance running vest.
3. Omm Last Drop
The Omm Last Drop is a great pack for run commuting and 15 mile runs alike. Removable back pads allow you to make this already lightweight backpack even easier to carry. This bag is also highly waterproof, meaning you don’t have to worry if you get caught in a sudden storm on your way to work.Read more
This backpack is perfect for carrying clothes or other similar lightweight, midsized items. The main compartment can be used to either accommodate a hydration bladder or a change of clothes for work or school. There is also a zipped pocket in the top flap of the bag which can fit small items such as your phone, keys, or wallet.
There are mesh pouches on each side of this backpack that can fit a small water bottle. The Omm Last Drop is also compatible with a hydration bladder, however, this item must be purchased separately.
Thick shoulder straps help make this backpack sit more comfortably on your back as you run. There are a chest strap and a waist belt as well. These can all be adjusted to ensure that the backpack firmly stays in place.
This high-quality backpack comes at a great price for what it is. Similarly designed backpacks of equivalent quality tend to cost more. Across the board, runners who use this backpack love it. It works well for types of running ranging from commuting to trail running due to the fact that parts can be removed and the weight significantly reduced. This is truly an excellent running backpack.
It's no wonder that the name of this bag sounds like the word miracle. This is a great running backpack that offers comfort, organization, and also includes a two-liter insulated hydration bladder. With an overall capacity of 15-liters, you'll be able to bring everything you need with you.Read more
Overall, this backpack has a capacity of 15-liters. It really is a great sized backpack for a runner who wants to carry the basics and a little more. The largest compartment is mostly filled by the included two-liter hydration bladder. Overall, the bag weighs only one pound.
As mentioned, there is an included insulated two-liter hydration bladder. The insulation can keep your liquids cold for up to four hours. The bladder has a 3.1-inch cap, allowing you to easily fill it, even with ice. The hose can be placed on the right or left shoulder features a fast-flow valve. As far as storage and organization, there are multiple pockets and compartments. You can easily organize your items in this bag. There are also zippered waist pockets for quick-access items, such as cards or cash.
This is an inexpensive bag that fits small and large frames well. It is available in five different color choices that are all made from military-grade materials. There have been almost no durability concerns amongst reviewers. With its impressive capacity, organization, and insulating capabilities, we think that is backpack is a great (and small) investment.
5. High Sierra Propel 70 Hydration Pack
The High Sierra Propel 70 Hydration Pack is for those kinds of runners who prefer to keep it simple and to the point. It's a versatile pack that is sleek, has a water bladder, and offers decent pocket space.Read more
Weighing in at 1.3 pounds, this backpack is lightweight, but still offers you a decent amount of storage with 6L capacity. The main storage area is large enough to fit a sweater or anything a bit extra you may need while you are out on that pavement clocking speed. And there is easy access to external storage pockets.
The shining point with this pack is that you will stay hydrated on your runs with the 2L water reservoir. This is quite a good amount to have on hand, and it means it can be used for longer runs or a day trip of hiking.
If you are looking for a pack that comes in various colors, has an ample water reservoir, looks sleek, and offers decent storage, this is a safe bet. Pricewise, it is about average. Overall, we would say it's a great investment.
6. Camelbak Octane Dart
The Octane Dart offers us a unisex and minimalist design that is good looking and comfortable. Although it is small, the bag is designed to carry everything a distance runner may need. It is also streamlined to ensure that you do not wind up bringing more weight with you than is absolutely necessary.Read more
The overall capacity of this backpack is 4.5-liters. For a marathon runner or biker, this is a great size. It includes a 1.5-liter hydration bladder and also has room for a few small items, such as your phone, keys, and an energy bar. Most reviewers who enjoy this pack use it for training runs and are very pleased with its capacity. The bag weighs only 7-ounces.
The Camelbak Crux reservoir is designed to give you 20% more water per sip, keeping you hydrated throughout your run. To prevent the mouthpiece from bouncing around, there is a clip-on strap that holds it in place. The bag is reflective, making it a great early morning or night time accessory. While there have not been many complaints about the bladder, a few customers have mentioned that it takes a few tries to understand how to put it together without leaking.
For a Camelbak with such a high rating, this backpack comes at a great price. It is available in six different colors, fits many different body types, and is lightweight. Best of all, it comes with Camelbak’s warranty and great customer service.
7. Deuter Speed Lite 16
This is a beautifully made backpack that is perfect for someone who runs in marathons or commutes by running. Made of lightweight material and built with an internal frame, the only weight you’ll feel while running with the Deuter Speed Lite is from what you put inside.Read more
This is a small bag, but it can fit the basics whether that includes snacks and your raincoat or a full change of clothes. The backpack has one large compartment as well as a smaller storage area at the very top. Overall, the backpack itself weighs only 13-ounces.
The Deuter Speed Lite is an attractive and highly functional backpack. It comes in a variety of eye-catching colors that are sure to turn heads whether you use it on city blocks or deep in the woods. This bag comes highly recommended for an assortment of running styles, although it is most useful for runners who need to carry some equipment or extra belongings with them. The two mesh pockets on either side of the bag can each fit a 1-liter water bottle or smaller. There is a compartment inside the back that can carry up to a 2-liter hydration bladder. A hydration bladder is not included with the purchase of this bag.
The wide shoulder straps on the Deuter Speed Lite are made with breathable mesh material that is extremely comfortable. The bag also features a chest strap and removable waist belt.
The price for this backpack is average for what one should expect to spend on a quality running backpack.
8. Black Diamond Nitro Pack
The Black Diamond Nitro Pack is large compared to most running backpacks. This makes it a great choice for anyone who wants to be able to bring a full hydration bladder along with extra clothes or lunch. Lightweight and compact, it can also be synched down to become small and almost unnoticeable while you run.Read more
This bag comes in an S/M and L size. The S/M can accommodate 20 liters, while the L can carry up to 22. Both bags are designed in exactly the same way, with a large main compartment and two smaller compartments, one above the large one and the other on the waist belt.
On each side of this bag is a pouch that can fit a 1-liter water bottle or smaller. There is also a zippered area inside that main compartment of the backpack that is compatible with a hydration bladder. Unfortunately, a hydration bladder is not included in the purchase of this bag.
The shoulder straps on the Black Diamond Nitro are thick, comfortable, and breathable. A padded waist belt further relieves the tension in your shoulders by placing more of the weight on your glutes. There is also a chest strap, which makes sure that the pack stays in place as your run.
This is a great backpack, however, it is much more expensive than other similar packs. If the Black Diamond Nitro is in your price range though, it is a great choice for run commuting, trail running, and distance runs alike. As high quality of a backpack at it is, it is very easy to find one of similar quality and design at a significantly lower price.
9. Draussen Advent
The Draussen Internal Frame Hiking Backpack has been flying off the shelves and for good reason. With its 100% satisfaction guarantee, excellent durability, and 35 liters of storage space, you will be rocking any run with this pack on.Read more
While this bag maybe 35 liters, it is still highly lightweight for usability. At 2.6 lbs. you'll stay light on your feet and can take this on a day or multiple days hiking trips.
This bag has been well-designed with a highly ventilated back panel to ensure you stay cool. Along with this, the weight distribution is a huge pro to investing in this backpack. From the internal frame design and the weight-bearing hip belt, you are looking at most of the pack's weight is transferred to the hips, rather than the back directly.
This bag is priced slightly higher than some of our additions. However, considering its comfort and versatility, it's a great purchase.
10. Salomon Agile 12 Set Backpack
At 12 Liters the Salomon Agile gets right to the point: to assist you in a run with a lightweight backpack that delivers basic carrying needs. While it's a simpler, smaller backpack thank others on our list, it does its job and has delivered runners with consistently rated reviews.Read more
The Salomon Agile holds 12 liters worth of your goods, and there are various compartments in this bag that keep your things, such as keys, wallets, and cellphones, organized and easy-to-find.
The backside features a mesh lining to ensure proper ventilation, and for ultimate comfort, you are provided with motion fit technology. This bag also features a 4D pole holder, a whistle, and it is reflective to keep you seen on darker trails or with oncoming traffic. For optimal hydration, this backpack provides you with easy access to water bottle storage and a water reservoir compartment.
This bag gets the trick done, and it's lightweight and packs a mean punch for any runner who looks to hit the trails with a smaller bag size. However, we should warn you that this is one of the most expensive bags on our list.
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