Best CamelBak Backpacks

The name CamelBak is synonymous with hydration backpacks. Some of you reading this might be wondering what a hydration backpack is; are not all backpacks mostly the same? The short answer is no, they are not all the same. A hydration backpack essentially has an in-built pouch called a bladder. This is a storage or reservoir of water and in a nutshell, it enables easy and simple access to drinking water when you are on the move. With modern backpacks such as CamelBaks you do not necessarily have to stop to drink water; you can just do it on the move. While this may not seem like a big deal to the layman, the more experienced runners, hikers, and cyclists will tell you that this is a massive advantage and a must have. Therefore, if you think this is just a gimmick which replaces a standard plastic water bottle in a standard backpack, you are considerably off the mark.

It was necessary to get this brief introduction out of the way for those of you without any prior knowledge of hydration packs – and, from experience, a surprisingly large number of people fall into this category; this serves as something of a building block with regards to information about hydration packs. While we will get back to this again in our criteria and FAQ sections, it is time to move on to the crux of this article which is about the 10 best CamelBak backpacks that you will find anywhere. As you may know and as mentioned briefly earlier, CamelBak is a company that deals with outdoor equipment and hydration packs are its specialties. This article will not only guide you through the 10 best CamelBak backpacks, but it will also acquaint you with the standard criteria that you would do well to use whenever you considering buying a hydration pack. At the very end of the article, there will be a section on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) where common questions relevant to CamelBak backpacks and/or hydration packs, in general, will be answered.

CamelBak M.U.L.E
  • CamelBak M.U.L.E
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Highly breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here
CamelBak Rogue
  • CamelBak Rogue
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Affordable price
  • Spacious
  • Price: See Here
CamelBak Classic
  • CamelBak Classic
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Unisex
  • Quick-release flap
  • Price: See Here

10 Best CamelBak Backpacks

 

CamelBak M.U.L.E.

CamelBak M.U.L.E.
This has been one of CamelBak’s best selling hydration backpacks with good reason. It is an ideal mix of quality, aesthetic appeal and class. The best part is that it will not burn a hole in your pocket. While its primary use is intended for mountain biking, you could just as well use it for virtually any other outdoor activity including hiking, jogging etc.
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Price:

It is a decent price to way for a backpack as good as this with a CamelBak tag. Moreover, there are cheaper ones that are available in other colors. The price mentioned is for theimpressiveCharcoal/Atomic/Barbados color.

Wide range of colors:

The 2016 M.U.L.E is available in myriad colors namely, Barbados Cherry, Charcoal, Charcoal/Andean Toucan, Charcoal/Atomic/Barbados, Charcoal White, Electric Blue, Imperial Blue/Charcoal and Parisian Night/exuberance. Each color is impressive in its own way and you will have a pleasant headache trying to choose between them!

Storage capacity:
At 11 liters, the storage capacity is excellent.

Weight:
It weighs only 1.1 pounds; this is one of its best features.

Unisex product:
This hydration pack is for all sexes.

Reservoir capacity:
101.4 fluid ounces

Excellent breathability:

The various air channels in the back panel offer tremendous breathability. This ensures that your back is kept well ventilated and cool at all times.

Good Visibility:

Likewise, every path you take will not have great lighting. It is imperative that visibility is ensured in bad light. Reflective accents do just that and ensure that you never have issues with visibility.

Exterior pockets:
There are as many as 5 exterior pockets.

Lifetime guarantee:
This comes with a typical Camelbak lifetime guarantee. You can rest easy knowing that any manufacturing or functional defects will be looked at.
Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Variety of colors
  • Excellent breathability
  • Great storage capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Lifetime guarantee
Cons
  • Not the easiest to wash and clean
  • Not very water resistant

CamelBak Rogue

CamelBak Rogue
This impressive cycling hydration backpack is aimed parimarily at those who are looking for slightly cheaper options. The CamelBak quality is ever present so you need not worry about there being a compromise between quality and price. There is a 2017 version of this, but this one is considerably better. Remember to double check when you buy; the model that comes later is not always an upgrade or better.
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Price:

It is very affordable and for its quality, it is great value for money.

Colors:

It is available in 4 colors namely, black, lemon green, pure blue and racing red. You’ll never be short of options to choose from.

Storage:

3.3 liters. Not the highest storage capacity you will find, but given the price range it is quite decent.

Material:
It is completely made of nylon.

Weight:
At 0.9 pounds this is extremely convenient to carry around.

Reservoir capacity:
70 fluid ounces

Unisex backpack:
This backpack is for all sexes.

Pockets:
There are three pockets in all including two exterior pockets and one internal pocket.
Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Variety of colors
  • Good visibility
  • Lightweight
  • Spacious
Cons
  • Tube is not CamelBak’s best in terms of quick release

CamelBak Classic

CamelBak Classic
This is a CamelBak classic in more ways than just the name. It has been designed for both men and women and is primarily aimed at cyclists. Its compactness makes it an ideal companion for short distance rides.
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Price:

It is as good as it gets for a CamelBak classic. Admittedly it is not the biggest hydration pack in terms of capacity, but it is still worth the money. As with the earlier models discussed, the price varies slightly depending on the color chosen. This price is for the racing red color.

Colors:

It is available in four colours namely, black, lemon green, pure blue and racing red. Choose the one which most catches your fancy. Aesthetically speaking, the lemon green one looks the best (and it also happens to be the most expensive of the bunch).

Storage capacity:

At 2 liters it is slightly on the lower side, but given the price and given the fact that its compactness is one of its plus points, it is ideal for people intending to use it for short distances.

Reservoir capacity:
70 fluid ounces

Weight:
It is lightweight, it weighs only 0.8 pounds.

Unisex:
The Classic is suitable for both men and women.

Efficient:

It comes equipped with a quick release flap for optimal efficiency.

Front pocket:

There is a small pocket at the front in order for you to keep all your essentials safe.

Well ventilated:

The air mesh is extremely well ventilated. This gives the hydration pack great breathability which is so essential for backpacks.
Pros
  • Low price
  • Unisex
  • Variety of colors
  • Quick release flap
  • Good breathability
Cons
  • The tube is slightly small

CamelBak Lobo

CamelBak Lobo
If you seek a top notch CamelBak hydration backpack for mountain biking and external filling is one of your top priorities then the 2016 Lobo should be among your top choices. This is also a good option if you are not looking to carry around a lot of gear.
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Price:

The 2016 Lobo will set you back by a very affordable price. All things considered, that is a decent deal.

Colors:

The 2016 Lobo is available in 6 different colors. They are black, charcoal/white, charcoal/atomic blue, exuberance/charcoal, charcoal/ember and imperial blue/charcoal.

Storage capacity:

At 3 liters the capacity is alright. You could argue that the capacity could be slightly better given the price, but overall it is still quite reasonable.

Unisex:
This has been designed for both men and women.

Breathability:

The back panel has incredible ventilation which allows for a high level of breathability.

Weight:
It is lightweight and easy to carry at 1.1 pounds

External hooks:

The 2016 Lobo has been equipped with external hooks to enable you to carry your helmet whilst you access the hydration backpack.

Secure tube:

The trademark Magnetic Tube Trap ensures that the tube is secure and easily accessible at all times.

Overflow storage compartment:

There is an additional storage compartment for anything you may want to dump.

Good visibility:

The reflective accents account for good visibility and ensure your safety even in bad light.
Pros
  • 6 colors
  • Unisex
  • Good breathability
  • External hooks
  • Compact
  • Overflow storage compartment
  • Good visibility
  • Lightweight
  • Lifetime guarantee
Cons
  • One of the pockets is placed in a manner that may obstruct the tube when the capacity is not full.
  • Storage could be slightly higher for the price

CamelBak Cloud Walker 18

CamelBak Cloud Walker 18
The Cloud Walker 18 always tends to make the favorite hydration backpack lists of hikers. It has a main pocket and other several ancillary ones to enable to organize your hikes in the most optimal and efficient manner possible. There is a removable reservoir for additional storage capacity which you may use as you see fit, keeping in mind your needs.
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Price:

This is a backpack that is slightly on the higher side considering its capacity. It does have in its favor its magnificent quality, aesthetic appeal, compactness, and ease of use.

Colors:

The Cloud Walker 18 is available in 3 colors namely, charcoal/grecian blue, grecian blue/pumpkin and lichen green/dark citron.

Weight:

It is quite light at 1.3 pounds. This makes it easy and convenient to carry.

Ventilation:

The air mesh is extremely breathable which allows for great ventilation.

External attachment points:

If you wish to attach poles or other equipment to the outside of your backpack, then these external attachment points will come in handy.

For men only:
This Cloud Walker 18 is for men.

Lifetime guarantee:

This comes with a lifetime guarantee which means you need not worry about your money being wasted on a faulty product.
Pros
  • Variety of colors
  • Good ventilation
  • External attachment points for other equipment
  • Lifetime guarantee
Cons
  • Price slightly on the higher side

CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids

CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids
If you are looking for a CamelBak hydration backpack for the young ones, you need to look no further. The Mini M.U.L.E has many of the qualities of its version for the adults whilst ensuring that the backpack is catered to the needs of the children.
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Price:

It is more or less what you would expect to pay for a backpack such as this of this quality. It is good value for money.

Colors:

Its availability in 4 different colors is certain to get the youngsters excited. They can choose between atomic blue/navy blazer, azalea/aruba blue, baton rouge/flames and black/flames.

Storage capacity:

1.5 liters is close to the ideal storage capacity considering the target consumers.

Weight:

It weighs less than 0.5 pounds. This has clearly been done to ensure that the younger ones are not inconvenienced by an overly heavy hydration pack.

Reservoir capacity:
50 fluid ounces

20% more water per sip:
The all new Crux ensures an additional 20% of water per sip.

Leak prevention:

The on/off lever helps in preventing leaks. Moreover, the nature of the handle makes refilling quick and efficient.

Ventilation:

The air mesh is extremely breathable and ensures a high level of ventilation at all times.

Overflow storage compartment:

This helps in ensuring that you have the option to dump what you will not need.

Safety whistle:

This is the most important feature of the Mini M.U.L.E considering that it is for kids. The whistle is built into the sternum strap and ensures that the child can use it in case of emergencies.
Pros
  • Good value for money
  • 4 colors
  • Lightweight
  • Fair storage capacity
  • 20% more water per sip
  • Leak prevention and efficient refilling
  • Good ventilation
  • Overflow storage compartment
  • Safety whistle
Cons
  • It may not be suitable for adolescents

CamelBak Women's Day Star 18

CamelBak Women's Day Star 18
This is a woman’s best friend after diamonds! It is designed primarily for a short outdoor activity. The reservoir can be removed or left it in depending on whether you need the space for other items or for water on a hike.
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Price:

Considering its storage capacity and reservoir capacity, the price is definitely worth it.

Colors:

It comes in 3 colors namely, beet red/winetasting, graphite/bright fuchsia and reflecting pond/Andean toucan.

Storage capacity:
Its storage capacity is an impressive 18 liters.

Weight:
It is relatively light at 1.5 pounds. Fairly easy to carry.

Reservoir capacity:

This stands at 70 fluid ounces which is more than adequate for many outdoor activities.

Women specific features:

The backpack has been designed exclusively for women. Apart from chest straps which are adjustable, the backpack comes with a harness which is S curved.

Organizer:

It accompanies a pocket which facilitates easy and simple organization of a hike’s essentials.

Additional layers:

The bag has been designed to carry additional layers for your convenience.

Lifetime guarantee:

This also comes with the CamelBak lifetime guarantee.
Pros
  • Good value for money
  • Variety in colors
  • Very impressive storage capacity
  • Very good reservoir capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Women specific
  • Hike organizer
  • Additional layers
  • Lifetime guarantee
Cons
  • The straps may come into awkward contact with your neck

CamelBak Fourteener 24

CamelBak Fourteener 24
The CamelBak 2016 Fourteener 24 hydration pack is one of the best combinations of comfort, quality and price that you will see. The best way to describe this wonderful backpack is that you will not regret buying it.
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Price:

It is par for the course for a CamelBak backpack of this quality. It is certainly good value for money.

Colors:

It is available in 2 colors namely, charcoal/graphite and tahoe blue/lime punch.

Storage capacity:

At 22 liters the storage capacity is very good. You will be able to fit in all you need and more.

Reservoir capacity:

The reservoir capacity stands at an impressive 100 fluid ounces.

Weight:
At 2.36 pounds it is slightly high.

Unisex:
This product has been designed for both men and women.

NV back panel:

This enables incredible breathability by managing the load on your back.

Overflow compartment:

This is to ensure that you have space to dump any items that you may not need.

Attach points for other equipment:

The Fourteener 24 comes equipped with multiple attach points for miscellaneous equipment.

Separate reservoir component:

There is a separate reservoir component which ensures that you can manage the rest of the backpack without continuously having to unpack and remove everything else.

Easy to clean:

The valve is easy to turn on and off and this also facilitates efficient and quick cleaning.

Durable design:
The design is long lasting and durable.
Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Multiple colors
  • Unisex
  • Comfortable
  • Very impressive storage capacity
  • Great reservoir capacity
  • NV back panel
  • Overflow compartment
  • Attach points for additional equipment
  • Separate reservoir compartment
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
Cons
  • Slightly heavier than other models

CamelBak Aurora

CamelBak Aurora
This is a pocket dynamite in that it is not huge but extremely useful. Its price combined with the amazing quality make it seriously worthy of consideration.
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Price:

The price offered is not a bad price for a CamelBak backpack to say the least.

Colors:

It is available in 2 colors namely, cherry tomato/pitch blue and deep purple/graphite.

Weight:

0.44 pounds makes it extremely light, compact and convenient to carry around.

Storage capacity:

2.5 liters, it is adequate for your basic needs.

20 % more water per sip:

The all new Crux enables you to take in 20 percent more water per sip as compared to its previous version.

Easy refilling:

The nature of the handle makes refilling simple and efficient.

Leak prevention:

The on/off lever ensures that there is protection against leak prevention.

Good breathability:

The air mesh ensures that ventilation is always there which makes it very breathable.

External hooks:

The 2017 Aurora comes equipped with external hooks which enable to access your backpack whilst carrying your helmet.

Secure tube:

The trademark magnetic tube trap ensures that the tube is secure and easily accessible at all times.

Stretch overflow compartment:

There is an overflow compartment which you could use to fit in what you do not require.
Pros
  • Multiple colors
  • Lightweight and compact
  • 20 percent more water per sip
  • Easy refilling
  • Leak prevention
  • Good breathability
  • External hooks for additional equipment
  • The trademark Magnetic Tube Trap
  • Overflow compartment
Cons
  • The extension of the clip is slightly short

Camelbak BFM Desert Camo

Camelbak BFM Desert Camo
This masterpiece is one of CamelBak’s finest. It is made for the long haul. You can every possible thing that you can think of in this and still be left with plenty of space to spare. It is extremely durable as well.
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Price:

It is naturally priced on the higher side given its capacity.

Weight:

5.85 pounds is slightly heavy, but it is understandable given its incredible storage capacity.

Storage capacity:

48 liters, you can virtually pack anything and everything you want!

Reservoir capacity:

The reservoir capacity is 3 liters or about 101 fluid ounces. In addition to this, the BFM has been designed in a way which enables you to pack 6 liters more if necessary (that is a total of 9 liters or about 304 liquid ounces). That is very impressive indeed.

Organizer and radio attachment:

The BFM comes with an organizer and radio attachment to make your life more convenient.

Good breathability:

The back is nicely cushioned which allows for very good ventilation thereby making the BFM breathable at all times.

Multiple storage places:

There are multiple places where you can store things. The main compartment is separate.

Stable load:

There is dual compression which ensures that the load is stable.

OMEG reservoir:
This facilitates easy refilling and cleaning.

Lifetime warranty:

It comes with a lifetime warranty to protect you from manufacturing defects.
Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Incredible storage capacity
  • Good reservoir capacity
  • Scope for an additional 6 liters of reservoir capacity
  • Organizer and radio attachment
  • Good ventilation
  • Multiple storage places
  • Dual compression allowing stable load
  • Easy cleaning and refilling
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Might be too expensive for some

Criteria for Evaluation

There are certain criteria that will put you in good stead with regards to getting the best possible hydration pack from CamelBak. Of course, CamelBak is known for its hydration packs, therefore you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad quality product from them. However, it is important to remember that everyone has unique needs and the various hydration packs are catered to suit these unique needs albeit while retaining some basic common features. You will find that the criteria about to be listed apply to not just CamelBak backpacks but to other backpacks as well. In fact, some of the more general criteria could even used for non-hydrating/general backpacks.

The criteria to keep in mind while buying a CamelBak backpack are listed as follows:

Reservoir capacity

The crux of a hydration backpack is its reservoir capacity. The amount of fluid/water that your hydration pack is capable of storing should be among the top 2 or 3 criteria at the very least. It is important to remember that a higher reservoir capacity is not always desirable. This is because this generally adds to the weight of the backpack and the heavier the backpack the more inconvenient it becomes to carry. As a rule of the thumb, 50 to 100 fluid ounces is adequate if you do intend to use it for very long distances. Most hikers, short distance runners, and cyclists will find this adequate. Sizes between 50 to 100 fluid ounces tend to be the most sought after and generally sell better than the other sizes. If you need your hydration pack for extremely long distances, or if you absolutely do not want to stop for a refill too often, then you should opt for a hydration pack with a reservoir capacity in excess of 100 fluid ounces.

Storage capacity

Your hydration backpack will not contain just fluids and water; it will also serve as a regular backpack wherein you have your keys, wallet, charger, phone, clothes, and other essentials. Keeping this in mind, it is important to have adequate storage capacity. However, as in the above case you will have to find your ideal balance between storage capacity and bulkiness. If you opt for the lightest possible hydration pack then you may not be able to fit all your essentials in; conversely, if you opt for the heaviest possible one hydration pack then you may find it extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient to carry it around. Moreover, you might not even need all that space. 5 liters of storage capacity should suffice if your needs are limited to short distance running or cycling. However, you will need at 6-8 liters and ideally about 10-12 liters if you intend to use your hydration pack for mountain biking or low-intensity hikes.

Gender

A surprisingly large number of people struggle with this concept and to be fair it could be rather confusing at first glance. You could be forgiven for thinking why your gender should matter, it is only a hydration backpack after all, right? Well, not quite. It so happens that your gender does matter in the case of hydration packs made for one specific sex. If the product is designed for use by men and women as a number ofCamelBak backpacks are then it is not an issue. However, backpacks that are made specifically for men should be used by men and likewise backpacks that are made specifically for women should be used by women.  The reason for this is that the straps and belts that accompany a CamelBak hydration pack are designed keeping the anatomy in mind. Therefore, the ones intended for women will suit the female anatomy and the ones intended for use by men will suit the male anatomy. Of course, in exceptional cases, you will find that a men’s backpack fits a woman well or vice-versa but these are just that – exceptions. You cannot make a purchase based on exceptions. Kids backpacks have their own unique set of features and obviously, they cannot be used by an adult. However, the kids may use some of the women-specific backpacks as they may be fit properly in some cases. To sum up, stick to what the label says and do not assume that one size fits all.

Purpose

This is not as important as the criteria mentioned before this, but it is still worth mentioning. Every CamelBak backpack is designed keeping a specific activity in mind. It could be running, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, etc. While the crux of the hydration pack is by and large the same, there are subtle changes in design and features depending on the type of activity that it is produced for. Therefore, make sure to check what the CamelBak that you intend to buy has primarily been designed for and make sure that you are buying it for the same purpose.

Breathability/Ventilation

It is imperative that your backpack is well ventilated. Inadequate air circulation during your activities is not desirable and could have serious consequences in a few cases. Therefore, it is always best to go for a backpack which has great breathability. Virtually all CamelBak backpacks are more than adequate when it comes to breathability and ventilation, therefore you are unlikely to have any issues. It would still be in your best interests to actually check before purchasing. The climate in which you intend to use your backpack could also be an important factor. If it is cold all the time then you may be better off staying away from a backpack which has a lot of mesh.

BPA-free/BPS-free

Without getting into technical details that would go well beyond the scope of this article, BPA is short for bisphenol A. In a nutshell, this was identified as a dangerous chemical in products capable of causing grave diseases and banned in several countries. To counter this, producers started using bisphenol S which was made from other plastics. This was found to be detrimental to human health as well.

Ensure that the hydration packs are both BPA and BPS free when you purchase them. Again, CamelBak products usually tend to be BPA and BPS free, but it is still prudent to check and make sure.

Fit and comfort

Given that you will likely be carrying the CamelBak backpack for long periods, it is imperative that they fit you well and are comfortable. Make sure that you check the sizes in detail – the waist size range, the torso size range, etc. You will need to be as comfortable as possible, otherwise, the backpack will only bog you down and do more harm than good in terms of enjoyment you derive from your activity. Whenever possible, it is always a great idea to actually try the backpack on and see how comfortable it is.

Price

A number ofCamelBak backpacks will set you back by at least $80 or more. Choose wisely and remember that the most expensive backpack does not necessarily have to be the best one. Even if it has more features it will be of no use to you if you do not actually need those features. As with most purchases, price is an important criterion when it comes to hydration packs especially considering that they are not exactly cheap.

FAQs

Q: Do I really need a hydration pack? What benefits does it offer me?

A:Believe it or not, this question comes up all the time. Some people just do not see why we need to buy a hydration pack specifically. They wonder if the $100 or so that they would have to shell out for a hydration pack is really worth it. The short answer is, yes. You will have easy access to quality water in addition to all your essentials. It helps keep your belongings safe and secure when you are riding. If you are looking for options for very short walks or something of that kind, then sure you may be able to do without a hydration pack. However, in most cases you are far better off with one than without. Moreover, CamelBaks are good quality backpacks and tend to be durable. Given their lifetime guarantee, your investment is likely to be a one-time only.

Q: What does the lifetime guarantee cover?

A: It covers any manufacturing/production defects that the backpack may have. It will not cover damage as a result of usage and normal wear and tear, or damage as a result of bad handling and lack of care/prudence.

Q: Can the water bottle withstand hot water?

A: As a rule of the thumb, warm water is fine. However, hot water is not a very good idea because hot water and plastic do not go well.

Q: How do I clean my CamelBak backpack? Can I put it in the washing machine?

A: In most cases gently cleaning it with a moist cloth would do the trick. You do not need anything fancy or extravagant for cleaning – in fact, it is advisable to not use anything too fancy for you may damage the backpack. You could use mild detergent or soap if you there are some stubborn stains but that is about it. As for whether you can wash it in the machine, the answer is you cannot. The risk of damage far outweighs any potential benefits.

Q: Are the CamelBak backpacks waterproof? Will a little bit of rain damage the backpacks?

A: The CamelBak backpacks are not waterproof per se, but given their high standards and quality, the backpacks are not vulnerable to a little bit of rain. However, in case of heavy rain, there is every chance that the water will seep in and cause damage. Luckily there is an easy solution for this. You can buy the CamelBak rain cover which will insulate your backpack and the items inside it from the rain.

The product is available at https://www.amazon.com/Camelbak-Rain-Cover-Small-Medium/dp/B0019DCH9O/ it will only cost you a few bucks depending on the type of size that you want. It is only 0.11 pounds and will not add much weight to your overall backpack.It is compatible with a number ofCamelBak hydration packs.

Q: Why is hydration important? How much water is required for a well-functioning system?

A: The human body is made up of roughly as much as 60 percent of water, therefore it is imperative that we keep replenishing it. This gains even greater importance in cases where there is a lot of fluid loss due to sweating. You will typically stress a lot when you take up outdoor activities such as cycling, running, mountain biking, etc. This is where hydration packs come in really handy.

Mayo Clinic pings the daily requirements at around 3 liters of water for men and just over 2 liters for women. Of course, that is only a rough estimate and it could vary from person to person depending on a whole host of factors. The pertinent takeaway is that hydration is absolutely essential.