Gear Reviews

Gear I Use: Hydration On The Go

Hydration pack
Written by Charlie

I get a lot of questions and e-mails about what particular gear I use or can recommend. Let me tell you – when it comes to any kind of gear, I am always on the lookout for that piece that does the perfect job! While I have not found that perfect piece of gear for every use, there are some pieces of gear I use on a daily basis or regularly for travel that I feel confident enough in to recommend.

This post is about what I use to hydrate on the go.

Gear I Use: Hydration On The Go

If you have a local running store, I encourage you to check out these items there and give them some business. If you do not have one, or they do not carry these, you could order using the links below. They do pay me a small commission if you purchase – thank you for the support!

I know there are some great water bottles for travel that can do things like keep water cold for your entire trip (or something like that) or purify your water from the local tap (very cool) but I do try to streamline my gear so the water bottle I use for all of my travels is actually the same water bottle I use for any run under 20 miles.

Ultimate Direction 20oz Fast Draw


The Ultimate Direction Fast Draw

There are a number of water bottles for runners out there but I have been faithful to this particular model for many years now because it does everything I need:

  • Hold a decent amount of water
  • Have a drip-proof top
  • Have a carry system for money/cards/keys/coins
  • Be very easy to carry and hold
  • Fit in my travel backpack snugly without being too tall

– Amazon Link For Ultimate Direction Fast Draw 20oz – $21

Those are my personal needs for a running bottle with the last one being necessary if I were to take it when I travel (which I do). It goes on all of my trips and fits in my bag side pockets for easy access through airports and on the go. Perfect for travel, especially since it has a ring on the top that you can use to clip it on to something else.

Great Pouch

This bottle has a great carrying case that has carried a credit card, cash, coins, car keys, and a GU gel – all at once! My normal run kit is for some coins and a bill in case I need a cab or something. The pouch is perfect for whatever you need to carry.

Easy To Hold

There are finger grips on the bottle that make it easier carrying on the run. I have literally run thousands of miles with my bottles and they have never given me discomfort. There is the problem of your hand getting moist from sweat which can be difficult in humidity (just like leaving your hand in water for a while) but that is not specific to this bottle

The water bottle is very easy to carry and has a snug fit for the nozzle. I need to pull it just a bit to get it to pop out (when it is retracted, it does not let water out) but not so hard so as to pull my teeth out.

Check Out The New Model

My current bottle is the older model but I just might try the newer model at some point. The older bottle comes in various colors for the pouch and ranges in price at Amazon in the low $20s. The new model has a larger pocket that is meant to fit your smartphone – very nice! It is about the same price – $21 – and also has various color pouches. However, take note that some users say the strap becomes loosened unlike my model and that they have had some problems with the grip. Either way, I know I can recommend the one I have now (which is the older model above).

CamelBak Marathoner Hydration Vest

For longer runs or ultramarathons, I do use a hydration pack. It has been years since I last used one but with all of the solo training runs of 25 miles or longer this summer, I knew I needed to go back to a pack. This is the piece of gear I will be using in my upcoming 6 marathons / 6 continents / 5 day adventure – a very necessary piece of gear!

Hydration pack

A great hydration pack for long runs!

Amazon Link For CamelBak Marathoner Hydration Vest – $75

For me, there are certain things a hydration vest need to do for me to use it for running:

  • Not bounce when running
  • Hold enough water to make it worthwhile over a bottle
  • Have pockets for extra gear
  • Easy valve system
  • Enough ventilation in the back for hot weather running

This pack fits all of the above. I have used this CamelBak dozens of times this summer (this very hot summer – most of my runs were in temps of 93 or higher) and it was absolutely perfect. I was able to get along just great with this pack and it never bounced like some other packs I have tried – not when it was full or empty.

Pockets and more Pockets!

There are two front pockets that look like they could carry small bottles, but it is awkward doing that so I don’t recommend it. They are perfect for carrying gels, even a small camera. There is also a zipper pocket on the left panel near the shoulder. I use that for my cash, coins, gels, keys, credit card, license – no problem!

In the back, there is a bigger pocket at the base of the pack that I do not use for anything but which would be perfect for some piece of clothing (like maybe a jacket). Inside the access panel where you reach the mouth of the bladder is another pocket. This is also a zipper pocket that is perfect for keeping things you do not want to be touched by water or sweat. I use it for my passport and it works great.

Great Bladder

The bladder is a 70oz one that works quite nicely for me. On a typical 26 mile training run, I need to fill it 4 times (again, very hot weather) but it is easy to fill on the go and the mouth of the bladder locks down very well. The suction system works great. It comes down the right side of the pack and has clips that keep it close to your body when you are not using it.

Great Comfort

As for comfort, it is easy to forget it is even there. I run with it all the time and it is easily the best hydration pack I have ever used. It is not a bad price either for a hydration pack. Amazon sells it for $75 and it comes in two colors – blue (which I have) and purple.


Having the right gear can make all the difference for both a trip and a run. These two hydration products work perfectly for me. I can easily recommend them as I have put a lot of miles and hours on both.

Do you have a favorite piece of hydration gear? Share it as I am always looking for more great gear!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.