Industry Leading Hydration Packs for Snow Sports

Published by Harry Sowers on

Whether you are on the slopes or hitting the rails, proper hydration is key for a long day out. A ski hydration pack allows convenient access to water on the go. Using a ski water backpack or a snowboarding water backpack is a great way to stay hydrated without having to slow down or even stop to take a drink of water. Simply grab the connected drink tube and sip away to your heart’s content. 

Best Hydration Packs for Skiing

When shopping for the best hydration pack for skiing or snowboarding, consider the capacity and extra features you are looking for like: 

  • Pack Type
  • Capacity
  • Fit
  • Features

Hydration Pack Types

The two types are hydration backpacks and waistpacks. The common feature among both is the liquid reservoir. For snowboarding and skiing, it is best to use a backpack specifically designed for snow sports that keep your supply from freezing and has insultation on BOTH reservoir and drink tube. 

Capacity for Winter Packs 

When choosing a ski or snowboarding pack, you must choose one that can carry enough water and gear for your needs. Water is not light weight, and you must consider how much water you need

You do not need to fill the reservoir to capacity for every outing. This will allow you to specifically choose a carry weight to water availability ratio. Packs are typically between 2 liters and 2.5 liters (70 or 85 fluid ounces) as it offers a balance between weight and quantity of water. 

Hydration Pack Fit

The fit of the pack must be the appropriate for both your torso length and hip height. It should sit comfortably on your hips and have a fit snugly. Some packs are available in multiple sizes that fit a range of torso lengths. Consult the “product specs” tab for full details. Other packs have adjustable suspension that can be changed to fit your torso. This is important for those in-between sizes. 

There are also packs marketed specifically towards the “female form”, such packs are typically shorter and narrower than men’s packs. Youth packs are also available and can accommodate to fit a child as they grow. 

Considerations and Features 

Weight

When skiing or snowboarding, a primary consideration is how heavy of a pack you are willing to carry. Water is especially heavy and wearing a hydration pack for several hours means that even a few extra ounces can cause considerable fatigue and even pain. Your ideal hydration pack for snowboarding and skiing is light enough to minimize the impact in your form and agility. Skiers and snowboarders alike will want to find a pack that can be worn all day with little compromise. 

Insulation

Pack insulation prevents the water in the pack from freezing. The hose and bladder are at risk of freezing when the temperature is low, so high quality insulation is a must. Depending on weather tolerances, insultation amongst packs can vary. Too much insulation yields unnecessary bulk that can slow down a skier or snowboarder. Therefore, the best pack is one that balances both insulation and size. 

Stability

Water will shift around in a hydration pack, which can be an issue as a skier moves. A snug fit is best as it offers the most stability and reduces the inertial difference between you and the pack. The best hydration pack for snowboarding is one that features straps for easy adjustment. The stability of the pack also depends on how well it is built. Lighter packs are less stable as they weigh less. 

Storage

Besides carrying water, you may also want your pack to carry other necessities. The storage space does not need to be exceptionally large as you do not want the pack to be unbalanced, but it must be large enough to fit what you need on your adventure. 

Most packs feature some storage near the water bladder, but storage in zippered or mesh pockets can also be helpful. Storage in these areas allow you to access your items without removing the pack. 

Strap Placement and Construction

Strap placement and construction is vital for the comfort and durability of the hydration pack. The shoulder straps will carry the weight of the pack, so they must be thick and well-padded. The best shoulder straps are those that are thick and adjustable with enough padding to reduce strain on your shoulders while promoting comfort. Buckles on the straps must also be able to resist lower temperatures and not break in freezing weather. 

Some packs also feature waist straps that help to distribute the weight of the pack and reduce shoulder strain. The waist strap will also keep the pack in place and stop if from shifting around when moving at high speeds. 

Compression straps are also found on some hydration packs. These straps are great for reducing problems with wind resistance as they cinch the pack down. With compression straps, skiers and snowboarders alike can adjust their pack and allow for increased speed and control. 

Cleaning your Hydration Pack

While most skiers and snowboarders are primarily concerned with how their hydration pack will perform on the slopes, you must also consider how to keep it sanitary at home. Taking care of your pack after a trip is extremely important for your safety and longevity of the unit.  

Some hydration packs are easier to clean than others, which will decrease your chance of mold or mildew growing in the pack. Zip-top bladders are the best for keeping a clean pack, so this is a regular skier’s choice for a hydration pack. 

Airflow

The airflow of a hydration pack is important to prevent overheating. Improved airflow will make sure the pack on your back does not cause you to overheat due to its size and warmth. Proper airflow is vital for a skier or snowboarder out on the slopes all day. 

The 5 Best Hydration Packs for Skiing and Snowboarding

Whether you are skiing or snowboarding, the ideal pack for you will depend on what features you prioritize. Here are our top picks for skiing and snowboarding hydration packs.

Powderhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack 100oz by CamelBak

The Powerhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack by CamelBak holds up to 100 fluid ounces of water. At only 2.2 pounds, this pack is light enough to carry filled all day. It features handy helmet carry attachment points for skiers or snowboarders on the go. 

The pack features four-point compression that allows for the pack to compress and sit tightly against your back. It also has an expansion pack to allow for six more liters of storage when needed. The pack is large enough to fit your gloves, phone, and keys. 

It is prone to ripping at the seams if overused and will not zip if overstuffed. This can be compensated though with a little care and carrying only what you need. 

CamelBak Bootlegger Ski Hydration Pack, 50oz

The CamelBak Bootlegger Ski Hydration Pack is also a great choice as it prevents water from freezing on the slopes. This pack does best when placed directly against your body to prevent water from freezing. The straps adjust easily for max comfort.

The pack is also insulated, so it does not have a lot of storage but fully protects your water against low temperatures. The pack also features a protected hose and durable zipper that will allow it to last for years to come. 

This hydration pack is one of the best options for extremely cold temperatures as it features an insulated bite valve cover and tube. It is slim enough to fit underneath a ski jacket. It however does not have storage for any other items other than the water bladder, so if you need storage space this pack is not recommended. 

CamelBak Mil-Tac HydroBak Hydration Pack, 1.5L / 50 oz

The CamelBak Mil-Tac HydroBak Hydration Pack is designed with great ventilation to help skiers and snowboarders stay hydrated while keeping a low weight. The mesh harness helps the pack from moving out of place while remaining strong and durable. 

This pack weighs only 5.5 ounces and is one of the lightest hydration packs on the market. This is a great option for skiers or snowboarders who are interested in speed and maneuverability on the slopes. 

The pack features an external zip pocket allowing for storage of additional items. The primary complaint about this pack are the straps are not very wide or padded, making the pack sometimes uncomfortable. 

TEC Insulated Hydration Backpack & 2L BPA Free Water Pack

The TEC Insulated Hydration Backpack offers several attractive features. The straps are wide to help prevent shoulder fatigue while promoting comfort. This pack is designed for short trips to the slopes. 

With large pockets for storing a phone or keys, this pack is great for toting along items from the lodge. This pack is desirable for a skier or snowboarder going in a group as it easy to use and has plenty of storage. 

The pack also features reflective straps and emergency whistle to promote a safe skiing or snowboarding adventure. This pack can have the straps wear out if extensively used, making them uncomfortable to wear. 

Hydration Backpack Pack with 2L BPA Free Bladder

The Hydration Backpack Pack is lightweight, making it great for shorter skiing or snowboarding trips. The pack features padded straps and breathable material for maximum comfort. The padding also protects the bladder, preventing damage. 

This pack has three large compartments and a mesh pocket that allows for packing everything you need on the slopes. The SBS zippers are also designed to function in extreme conditions, allowing for quick access to everything your pack holds. 

The pack holds 2 liters of water, which is the perfect amount for a day spent skiing or snowboarding. The breathable mesh is also great for use on warmer days. The primary complaint is the lack of a waist strap so the pack can slide around while you are in motion.

Categories: Gear Reviews

Harry Sowers

Harry has been skiing and snowboarding since he was a boy growing up outside of Denver Colorado. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college a UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.