6 Best Hydration Packs for Kayaking of 2022 (Ultimate Guide)

This best hydration pack for kayaking guide will provide you with information on what to look for in the best hydration pack.

I will review six of the most viable options currently available and provide a thorough analysis.

It is an informative article that provides helpful advice, so be sure to read it thoroughly before purchasing.

A man wearing the best kayak hydration pack

Using a hydration pack while kayaking

It is a great way to stay hydrated while on the water without having to take breaks every few minutes.

The best hydration packs for kayaking will be lightweight and comfortable so that you can wear them for as long as possible.

If your pack is heavy or uncomfortable, chances are you won’t use it, which means no more staying hydrated!

Is the hydration pack worth it?

Hydration packs offer more storage than kayak vests, making them perfect for long runs that might require a lot of extra food and clothing.

Every hydration backpack includes an easy-to-sip reservoir (reservoirs may be sold separately).

When worn while paddling or running, the packs usually have adjustable straps to ensure stability.

Definitely worth the investment.

Which hydration pack is the best?

CamelBak K.U.D.U. Protector 20

We have a doozy here. For those who want a bit of extra protection when going on large adventures, the CamelBak KUDU Protector 20 provides it.

It has a C.E. Level II protector panel that can help absorb impact in a crash. In addition, it has 17L of storage, so you can bring everything you need, even full armor sets.

CamelBak K.U.D.U. Protector 20
Source: REI

To keep everything at your fingertips, the pack comes with a removable bike tool organizer.

Even when not in use, the organizer can be rolled up and tucked away, making it perfect for those who just want hydration and protection while riding.

Additionally, the pack has a high-visibility rain cover shield in case of adverse weather and a helmet and armor carrier so that you can stow your gear.


  • I really enjoy the quality of the construction of this pack.
  • A well-designed product with a good concept.
  • The integrated storage and back protection as a standalone system.


  • Make sure it does not come in contact with the mud.
  • Designed to suit the interests of larger paddlers.
  • It is a bit high considering there is no bladder included in the price.

Osprey Raptor 14

Next, we have an Osprey Raptor 14. Casual kayakers will find this an excellent and affordable choice.

It is a more affordable option, but still has some really good features worth considering if your needs aren’t too heavy.

Osprey Raptor 14
Source: REI

You can carry it around all day without any problems, and it is also tough enough to cope with rougher water.

The Raptor 14 offers a large volume to fit enough gear for an overnight trip and pockets to store anything extra, so you can easily find things when you need them.

In addition to being waterproof, the outer face fabric makes this one more versatile than most others.


  • Construction of a high standard of durability.
  • Ample storage space is available.
  • Designed in a way that is both breathable and durable.
  • Useful for a variety of purposes.
  • Filling it in is very simple.
  • Integrated tool storage compartment.


  • When first used, some customers reported a plastic smell and taste.
  • It tends to be a bit expensive.

Osprey Salida 12

It’s no surprise that lady paddlers gravitate to the Salida 12.

Osprey’s women-specific fit system ensures a secure fit. At the same time, the hydration capacity helps you stay well-hydrated on the water, so you can paddle longer before returning to the dock.

RELATED:  Do You Need Lights on a Kayak at Night? [Complete Guide]

The sternum strap also has a magnet designed to hold the mouthpiece of the water reservoir.

Osprey Salida 12
Source: REI

Designed for lightweight backpacking, the Salida 12 has a main compartment with a U-zip that can be opened from the outside, allowing easy access to your gear no matter where it is located.

The hip belt also includes additional pockets, such as a fabric shove-it pocket on the front and a zippered pocket on the back.

You can also stow your helmet using the LidLock attachment feature, which prevents your gear from getting wet or dirty while you’re not out on the water.


  • A great product at an incredible price.
  • There is ample storage space, and the size of the unit is perfect.
  • It fills and cleans up in a jiffy.
  • This material is durable and of high quality.


  • Some customers have reported that it is not easy to access their phone with it on.

Osprey Syncro 12

The Osprey Syncro 12 is one of the best hydration packs you can get when kayaking or hiking.

A water-resistant bag with a water capacity of up to twelve liters of water and an additional three-liter reservoir will hold everything you need for a day on the river.

You can cool off in the water thanks to channels that let air flow into the back panel.

Osprey Syncro 12
Source: REI

Most kayaking and hiking trips last at least four hours, so this feature prevents sweat from building up or uncomfortable chafing.

Osprey’s Syncro 12 also features a utility pocket where you can keep your cellphone, keys, wallet, and snacks out of the rain.

The hydration pack market offers various options that offer a similar set of features, so consider your needs before purchasing.

With the Osprey Syncro 12, you’ll find ample pocket space to carry gear and extra protection for electronics against water damage. However, you won’t find a watertight pocket for your phone or a rain cover.

If you use your smartphone as a map or track the group’s location, these features might be important to you and should be considered when you select a hydration pack.


  • An incredible amount of comfort.
  • It is convenient to use and easy to load.
  • A wide range of adjustments are possible with this product.
  • It weighs very little and is very portable.
  • The back has breathable air mesh, and there is adequate airflow.


  • Unfortunately, rain covers do not live up to expectations as they should.
  • Both the side pockets and the stash pocket are not very stretchy.

Osprey Katari 3

The Osprey Katari 3 is a kayaking-specific hydration pack.

A reservoir sleeve is built into the front of the sternum strap, and both blinker light attachments and a magnetic bite valve cap are located beneath the sternum strap (light sold separately).

Osprey Katari 3
Source: REI

With this backpack, you can store up to three liters of paddling essentials. You can also organize your outdoor gear, items, and snacks in the stretch-mesh side pockets of the pack.

In addition to its excellent ventilation, quick access to the reservoir sleeve, bite valve attachment on the sternum strap, and enough storage capacity, the Katari 3 is an excellent hydration backpack for kayaking and hiking.


  • It is easy to carry and light in weight.
  • There is something cool about this design.
  • Pockets on the sides are flexible and stretchy.
  • A water bladder with a capacity of 2.5 liters of water (85 ounces).


  • The chest strap only stays on the left side of the chest.

Osprey Siskin 8

Last but not least, I would like to highlight the Osprey Siskin 8. Siskin provides the perfect balance of durability, weight, and size, so it’s my favorite.

This kayaking hydration bladder is one of the most reliable because it was designed without a reservoir or hose system.

Osprey Siskin 8

Are there any downsides? You must carry water separately in bottles, but Siskin’s organizational system makes this much easier. Featuring an easy-access U-zip opening, the main compartment makes it easy to pack or unpack gear without having to dig around in the pack.

On both sides of the Osprey Siskin 8, pockets are perfect for storing water bottles or a rain jacket.

There is a dedicated helmet pocket on the front, which is great if you carry your bike gear around with you in the kayak, as I do.


  • I find it quite comfortable.
  • It is easy to load and fast to use.
  • It is both portable and lightweight.
  • The fact is that it is exceptionally durable.
RELATED:  What Muscles Does Kayaking Work? [The Ultimate Guide]


  • It is necessary to carry water separately.
  • The suction tube has a very weak magnet attached to it.

Why use a hydration backpack?

It is important to drink plenty of water when you’re on the river, and using a hydration backpack is one way to make it easy.

The reservoir keeps your hands free so that you can carry a paddle, steer or do other things necessary for paddling safely downriver.

You don’t have to stop what you’re doing while drinking: simply grab the drink tube that’s attached to the reservoir and start drinking.

Most hydration packs have an elastic band that secures them in place, preventing any slippage or movement while you’re paddling downriver.

The most important consideration when purchasing a hydration backpack is the size of your pack: some are designed for day trips, while others are designed for multi-day trips.

The hydration backpacks listed above are the best of the bunch and have been reviewed by experts using rigorous criteria such as design, durability, water capacity, and price.

What to look for in a hydration pack for kayaking?

There are a few things you should consider when looking for the best kayaking hydration pack.

How to choose the best hydration pack?

The fit

Size and fit are two important factors to consider when selecting the right pack. As a result of excessive rubbing or chafing on an individual’s body, poorly fitted packs can irritate.

Compared to a backpack that comes in different sizes intended to fit only a certain size, you can adjust a universal backpack manually for a better fit.

You may need to compare several options before finding the right fit for you, so keep this in mind.

You can adjust the sizing of the pack based on the size of your body, or you can choose from different sizes that provide a more specific custom fit like clothes.

If you’re unsure what kind of hydration vest works best for you, you may consider comparing a few options.

Choosing a hydration pack that fits properly will allow you to move freely and breathe easily.

If your pack doesn’t fit well, you might have to adjust how you paddle or rest, and it may even make you uncomfortable.

A young girl in a yellow kayak enjoying a perfect day on a perfectly clear lake

Placement of pockets

Depending on the pack’s purpose, it should have pockets that are easy to access and comfortable for you to use.

A hip-mounted pack may be best for summer rides with lighter loads and less gear because it provides a greater range of motion for your arms.

An insulated backcountry pack may be better for carrying heavier items (e.g., winter kayaking) or in colder weather.

You should place your pockets and pouches in a comfortable place for you if you want to rock a pack with pockets and pouches. There is no particular pack that we do not carry because they are all designed for running, so it is all determined by what you find most convenient.

As you kayak, consider the range of motion of your arms and choose a pack that has easy-access pockets without getting in the way.

Kayak hydration packs are designed to be comfortable and functional. Regardless of your plans, every feature on this boat was designed to ensure an enjoyable day on the water.

It includes several special features, such as ventilation channels on the back panel, a padded waist belt for increased comfort and stability, and a gear pocket on the front panel.

The capacity of the water supply

Various hydration packs have different capacities, which describe the amount of water they can hold (or other fluids).

Specifically, hydration capacity refers to how much liquid a vest can carry in its included carrying containers.

There are sometimes separate packs of flasks, bottles, and reservoirs available for purchase.

A higher level of water or other fluid means a larger hydration pack with more space. However, it also means that you are carrying around an extra pound of weight when hiking and kayaking while wearing the pack.

Options for carrying water

Hydration packs come in three types:

Bladders: You carry them between your shoulder blades. They provide easy access to fluids on the go through a drink tube that extends from the bladder at any angle you choose (you don’t need to take your pack off). It can be a little hard to carry bladders inside rather than out by some runners, as they do not have any hard exterior sides.

RELATED:  The Science of Kayak Paddles: Why Are Some Paddles Offset?

Bottles: You carry these on your back or front. Fluids are easily accessible, and pack removal is not required if mounted nearby (although it might complicate running).

Both: The backpacks come with pockets for bottles and bladders built-in. With this option, you can fill up both bladders and have extra fluids accessible at all times, making it the most convenient option.

The carrying capacity

It is critical to consider the capacity of a pack when shopping for one. You can carry a certain amount of cargo in your pack according to its capacity.

Additionally, depending on the distance and location of your kayaking, you might need additional layers of clothing, nutrition, a headlamp, gloves, headwear, etc. Your pack will need more space as you carry more gear.

Standard sizes for hydration packs are 12 to 26 liters (330 to 700 cubic inches), and the carrying capacity is usually measured in ounces or liters.

Those listed in the smaller numbers refer to what can fit inside the pack’s main compartment. In contrast, those listed in the larger number include items stored in the pocket or on the outside.

How to stay hydrated while paddling?

To stay hydrated, bring with you at least 1 liter of water to sip every 20 minutes.

It is also important to remember that your body temperature will rise when you kayak.

Cool air circulates inside a kayak, causing sweat to evaporate. On a hot day, this makes it very easy to overheat, as well as feel thirsty.

Wear sunscreen such as SPF30 and bring water with you.

Keep hydrated and enjoy kayaking!

On a rough lake, a kayaker in a PFD is paddling

Can you put ice in a hydration pack?

Your hydration pack can contain ice without any problem. You can even freeze it and fill it up with water the next day. The ice chunks will melt more slowly if the bladder is frozen when half full.

A food-grade bladder will nicely insulate the contents.

A hydration pack is a great way to maintain fresh tasting and clean water no matter where you get it from.

Which is better, CamelBak or Osprey?

It is up to you to decide whether you want to go with a trusted brand or try the latest innovation. Either way, there is no better time now than now that all of these companies are coming up with water packs for kayaking that offer something new in terms of functionality and comfort.

Can you put a hydration pack in a regular backpack?

You can do that, but it takes up a lot of space in your backpack, thus preventing you from using all the storage space.

However, backpack-specific hydration packs are also available.

How can I stop leaking bite valves?

CamelBak bite valves and Osprey bite valves are both available from Amazon. Please find the links below so that you can purchase them and replace your broken ones.

For CamelBak packs: CamelBak Big Bite Replacement Hydration Pack Valve.

For Osprey packs: Osprey Hydraulics Bite Valve.

For other brands: Hydrapak Blaster BITE Valve.

My hydration pack feels slimy inside – is this normal?

The inside of a pack should not feel slimy. It indicates that it is dirty and you should clean it. You can do this by rinsing with hot water several times.

Fill the pack with cold water and add one tsp of hydrogen peroxide or ΒΌ teaspoon of bleach, then shake it up.

Wash out some of the tubing and let it sit for at least four hours before rinsing it again.

Using a rinse will get rid of any lingering bleach or peroxide odor.


That’s all there is to it. This is my complete guide to the best hydration packs for kayaking.

I hope this post has helped you narrow down your search and find what is right for you.

Don’t forget that your hydration pack is an absolute necessity when out on the water with friends or family.

The CamelBak K.U.D.U. Protector 20 Hydration Pack is my top recommendation.

Last updated on June 19, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

Leave a Comment