Newsflash: It’s hot.
Summer’s scorching weather may have you longing for last winter’s polar vortex, but with the right gear you still can work up a sweat outside without being completely miserable.
These six hydration systems let you comfortably carry enough water and fuel to get through more miles.
Gear companies are getting away from unisex hydration packs and moving toward gender-specific versions that greatly improve the fit for everyone. These favorites come in men’s and women’s versions.
Nathan’s Vapor line boasts two features that have us pretty excited: a dual stabilization system to compress and stabilize the load and a center back pocket to hold ice to keep you cool. These packs also have an insulated bladder pocket to slow down body heat transfer and keep liquids cooler in the summer. A second chest strap improves the fit from older models. Combine all of that with the Wrap/Shape’s 400 cubic inches of storage (with the included 70-ounce bladder), and this pack is hard to beat.
Get it: www.nathansports.com/$175
Want even more storage? The VaporCloud and Shadow ($200) clock in at 561 cubic inches.
Ultimate Direction Wasp/Wink
The Wasp and the slightly smaller Wink boast loads of storage without the bulk and bounce of bigger packs. Each has four front pockets — two mesh, two zip — a rear mesh stash pocket and a separate top-load reservoir pocket. Both feature Ultimate Direction’s SportVest shoulder harness, which fits close like a shirt and helps the pack’s weight sit higher on your back for a more stable ride. With the Wink you’ll sacrifice 15 cubic inches of storage but get a shorter length and female-specific S-shaped shoulder straps for a more comfortable fit. Comes with a 70-ounce bladder.
Get it: www.ultimatedirection.com/$110
These belt/bottle/pack hybrids offer nontraditional fits and features.
Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel
If you despise wearing bottles on your waist, this harness is worth a look. The quiver system is designed to hold a large amount of stuff in a tiny pack. It comes with two 24-ounce bottles and gives you a shallow pocket that’s accessible while moving and a much larger inner pocket for bigger items. The lash system is great for stowing an extra layer. Channel your inner Katniss and get moving.
Get it: www.orangemud.com/$110
Military Perk: GovX members pay $80.
Fitletic Hydration belt
Fitletic belts are customizable, so you can get exactly what you want. Start with the Neoprene Double Pouch belt, which gets you two water-resistant pouches big enough to fit most cellphones. Want water bottles? Grab the 6-ounce hydration add-on for $12 or an 8-ounce for $13. Want to keep your phone in view? Get the window phone add-on for $19. Put the ad-ons just about anywhere on the belt for a custom kit. The belt’s dura-comfort technology and ergonomic design contours will hug your waist and help eliminate bounce.
Belt is adjustable from 24 to 55 inches.
Get it: www.fitletic.com/$27
Runners love their hand-held bottles, but here are two carrier-free versions.
Hydrapak 750ml soft flask
Hydrapak’s soft flasks come in three sizes: 350ml, 500ml and 750ml. Each thermoplastic polyurethane bottle crushes down to a fraction of its size, meaning you’re not stuck with a pack full of space-hogging empties all day. The wide-mouth opening makes this bottle easier to fill than its soft-sided counterparts, and the performance bite valve means you’re more likely to drink your water than wear it. Top-rack dishwasher safe; no-leak lifetime warranty.
Get it: www.hydrapak.com/$20-21
Simple hydration started as a Kickstarter project in 2011. Creator Brian Hock designed the 13-ounce, hook-shaped water bottle to slide easily into a pocket, waistband or race belt. This made-in-USA bottle is BPA-free and top-rack dishwasher safe.
Get it: www.simplehydration.com/$20