3 Best Running Backpacks

Hey there my fellow lovers of backpacks and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best running backpacks for some lightweight movement this year. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or simply enjoy hitting the trails on the weekends, one thing is certain – you need a reliable companion that can carry your essentials while keeping up with your pace.

That’s where running backpacks come into play. These versatile accessories are designed to provide comfort, convenience, and functionality, allowing you to focus on your stride without worrying about the weight on your shoulders. However as we well know there are quite a few options out there.

So for those of you on the hunt for a backpack to meet your running needs, I have had a good look around and come up with three decent options below. Let’s check them out…

My Three Recommended Running Backpacks

I will review these in more detail below however if you want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

04/04/2024 07:49 am GMT

What are Running Backpacks?

Running backpacks, also known as running hydration packs or trail running packs, are specialized backpacks designed to meet the unique needs of runners. These backpacks are crafted with a focus on providing comfort, functionality, and convenience while on the move. Unlike traditional backpacks, running backpacks are designed to minimize bounce and movement, allowing runners to maintain their natural stride without feeling weighed down or restricted.

Running backpacks typically feature a lightweight and streamlined construction, ensuring they do not hinder the runner’s movements or cause discomfort during extended periods of use. They often incorporate ergonomic designs with adjustable straps and harness systems, allowing for a customizable fit that distributes the weight evenly across the shoulders and back. This helps to minimize strain and prevent chafing, enabling runners to focus on their performance rather than the backpack itself.

Check out these: 3 Best Backpacks for the Gym

best running backpacks - runner wearing backpack

What Should You Be Looking For?

What Should You Be Looking For?

The following factors should be considered as you look around for a good backpack to suit your running needs.

  1. Size and Capacity
  2. Comfort and Fit
  3. Weight Distribution
  4. Hydration Compatibility
  5. Durability and Weather Resistance
  6. Reflectivity and Safety Features
  7. Ventilation and Breathability

Size and Capacity

Your backpack’s size refers to its physical dimensions, while the capacity indicates the amount of gear and supplies it can accommodate. It’s essential to find a running backpack that strikes a balance between being spacious enough to hold your essentials and compact enough to avoid hindering your movements.

When evaluating the size and capacity of a running backpack, consider the duration and intensity of your runs. For shorter runs or minimalist approaches, a smaller-sized backpack is suitable as it offers a streamlined design that reduces bulk and allows for unhindered motion. These compact backpacks are lightweight and have a sleek profile, making them ideal for fast-paced runs or races where minimizing drag is crucial.

On the other hand, longer-distance runs or trail running adventures call for a larger-sized backpack with a higher capacity. These backpacks provide ample space to accommodate extra clothing layers, hydration systems, nutrition and other necessary gear. Look for backpacks with multiple compartments and pockets to help you organize and access your items conveniently. By selecting a running backpack with the appropriate size and capacity for your needs, you can ensure that it accommodates all your essentials while providing a comfortable and unobtrusive fit, enabling you to focus on your run without distractions.

Comfort and Fit

When considering the comfort of a running backpack, look for features such as padded shoulder straps, a breathable back panel and a waist or chest strap. These elements contribute to a comfortable fit by distributing the weight evenly across your shoulders and back, minimizing strain and reducing the risk of discomfort or pain. A breathable back panel allows for proper ventilation, keeping you cool and preventing excessive sweating during intense workouts.

The fit of the running backpack is equally important so look for adjustable straps and harness systems that allow you to customize the fit according to your body shape and size. A secure and snug fit prevents excessive bouncing or shifting of the backpack while you run, allowing you to maintain your natural running form. Additionally, a well-fitted backpack ensures that the weight is evenly distributed, reducing strain on specific areas and promoting a balanced and comfortable experience throughout your run.

Weight Distribution

As we touched on above, proper weight distribution ensures that the load is evenly distributed across your shoulders and back, minimizing strain and discomfort during your runs. An intelligently designed backpack will prioritize weight distribution to prevent unnecessary bouncing, maintain balance, and allow you to maintain your natural running form.

When the weight is evenly distributed, it minimizes the disruptive bouncing motion that can throw off your balance and affect your stride. By maintaining a stable and balanced backpack, you can move with confidence, maintain a steady pace and tackle challenging terrains without compromising your form. Ultimately, a well-distributed weight in a running backpack enhances your overall running experience and allows you to perform at your best.

best running backpacks - trail runner wearing backpack

Hydration Compatibility

This factor requires you to check if the backpack includes a dedicated hydration reservoir or if it has compatible pockets or sleeves for hydration bladders. These items allow you to carry an adequate amount of water, ensuring you stay hydrated throughout your run. Look for backpacks with easy-to-access hydration compartments, allowing you to conveniently refill or replace the reservoir or bottles as needed. Some backpacks even feature hose or tube routing systems, enabling you to sip water without having to stop or slow down.

For longer runs or trail adventures, you may require a larger reservoir or multiple bottle pockets to carry sufficient water. Evaluate the accessibility of the hydration system as well, ensuring that it allows for quick and hassle-free access to your hydration source, so you can maintain your pace and hydration levels with ease. 

Durability and Weather Resistance

Durability and weather resistance are also vital factors to take notice when purchasing a running backpack, as they ensure the backpack can withstand the demands of outdoor activities and protect your gear from the elements. A running backpack that is crafted from high-quality and durable materials is always a good choice since it ensures long-lasting performance.

Weather resistance is another essential aspect to consider. Running backpacks that feature water-resistant or waterproof coatings protect your gear from rain, snow or moisture and help to keep your belongings dry and protected, even in challenging weather conditions. Additionally, assess the quality of zippers and closures to ensure they are sturdy and provide effective protection against water infiltration.

Ventilation and Breathability

Ventilation and breathability are crucial factors to evaluate when purchasing a running backpack, as they directly impact your comfort and help regulate your body temperature during intense physical activity. Look for a running backpack that incorporates effective ventilation and breathability features to ensure proper airflow and prevent excessive sweating.

Evaluate the backpack’s design for features such as a breathable back panel or mesh materials. These elements allow for improved air circulation between your back and the backpack, minimizing the buildup of heat and moisture. Proper ventilation helps to keep you cool and comfortable during your runs, reducing the risk of overheating and discomfort.


Other potential additions include:

  1. Phone holder: This add-on allows you to keep your phone easily accessible for navigation, tracking your run, or playing music while you’re on the go.
  2. Reflective strips: These strips enhance your visibility to drivers and pedestrians, reducing the risk of accidents.
  3. Available colors: While the color of a running backpack may seem like a minor consideration, it can still be an important one. Opting for a backpack that comes in bright or high-visibility colors can increase your visibility to others, especially in low-light conditions.


What are some key factors to consider when selecting a running backpack?

When choosing a running backpack, a variety of elements should be taken into account to ensure optimal comfort, durability, and convenience. Your backpack should rest snugly on your body to prevent it from bouncing as you run with adjustable straps and belts that allow for a more personalized fit. Your backpack should be made of lightweight, breathable and water-resistant materials for comfort and durability. Lastly, don’t forget features like hydration bladder compatibility, reflective elements for safety, and accessible pockets for easy reach of your items.

Can I use a running backpack for other sports activities or daily use?

Absolutely, running backpacks are designed for versatility and can serve many purposes beyond running. They are usually lightweight, compact and made with sturdy materials, making them perfect for a wide range of sports activities such as cycling, hiking or even gym workouts. Depending on their size and design, these backpacks can also be used for daily commuting, as they often have compartments designed to safely store laptops, books, and other essentials.

My Three Recommendations Broken Down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Gear Beast Running Backpack for Men and Women

My first recommended product is reliable and well-designed with quality materials, convenient storage options, lightweight build, comfortable fit, adjustability and compatibility with various smartphones making it an ideal choice for anyone in need of a running backpack. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Gear Beast
  • Material: Neoprene
  • Capacity: Not indicated but can carry smartphones, wallets and other lightweight items
  • Weight: 2.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 1.4 x 6.5 inches
  • Available color: Black

Other inclusions:

  • Phone holder
  • Water-resistant
  • Padded mesh wings
  • One-year warranty

Why have I chosen it?

This running backpack is an excellent choice for men and women runners as well as hikers who need a compact and versatile solution to carry their essentials during their activities. It provides ample storage space for your smartphone, credit cards, cash, keys, ID and earphones, all in one place eliminating the need for multiple pockets or accessories, ensuring that your essentials are easily accessible whenever you need them.

It’s composed of water-resistant neoprene and includes extra-padded mesh wings which ensures that your belongings remain secure and that the backpack itself won’t hinder your movements or weigh you down during your runs or other activities.

The design also allows it to rest comfortably over your shoulders without restricting your movement and the adjustable soft elastic straps further enhance the comfort level, allowing people of all shapes and sizes to find a secure and personalized fit.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

2. AONIJIE Running Hydration Vest Backpack for Women and Men

Next in line is a running backpack that offers exceptional quality and functionality with a lightweight design, hydration system compatibility, multiple storage compartments, comfortable fit and suitability for a range of outdoor activities. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: AONIJIE
  • Material: Not listed
  • Capacity: 5.5 L
  • Weight: 8.82 ounces
  • Dimensions: 11.85 x 6.38 x 2.05 inches
  • Available colors: Gray, Pink, Blue

Other inclusions:

  • Mesh backing
  • Unisex

Why have I chosen this?

The quality of this backpack is evident in its lightweight design. Weighing only 8.82 ounces (250g), it reduces much of the load typically associated with running backpacks making it beneficial for runners who prioritize speed and agility.

One of the standout features of this backpack is its hydration system compatibility. It includes a bladder compartment with a hanging system, making it compatible with a 2L bladder (not included). Additionally, it offers two front flask pockets with secure loops, allowing for easy access to hydration while maintaining balance during your run.

The backpack is designed with multiple storage compartments to accommodate all your essential items allowing you to keep essentials such as a vacuum cup, keys, wallet, phone and cash in the six external pockets. There is also plenty of room in the front for another bottle, wallet, keys, and other small stuff, while the rear storage compartment can hold a backup bottle, torch, buff and other items. The thoughtful organization ensures that you have easy access to your belongings without disrupting your run.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/04/2024 07:49 am GMT

3. Osprey Duro 15 Men’s Running Hydration Vest

This last option is a top-quality running vest that delivers on performance and functionality. With its durable construction, including a hydration reservoir, strategically placed pockets for storage and accessibility and thoughtful design elements for comfort and convenience, this is an excellent choice for runners who require a reliable and comfortable hydration solution during long-distance runs and endurance activities. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Material: Polyester
  • Capacity: 15 L
  • Weight: 1.17 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎20.2 x 10 x 1.5 inches
  • Available colors: Alpine black

Other inclusions:

  • Compression straps
  • Zippered pockets
  • Sternum strap magnet

Why have I chosen this?

When it comes to quality, Osprey is known for its attention to detail and durability, and this one is no exception. The included Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5 liter reservoir by Hydrapak ensures reliable hydration during your runs and the QuickConnect feature allows for easy filling and cleaning. The sternum strap magnet for the bite valve adds a convenient touch, ensuring that the valve is always within reach when you need it.

The vertical zippered harness slash pocket with a whistle zipper pull provides easy access to essential items and doubles as a safety feature. The dual lower stretch mesh food/supplement harness pockets allow for convenient storage and quick access to fuel or small items and the breathable mesh wrap with a soft-irritation contact surface ensures comfort and minimizes chafing, even during extended wear.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/04/2024 08:53 am GMT


There you have it, my three best running backpacks. As usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


Leave a Comment