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8 Reasons Hydration Backpacks are better than Handheld Bottles (from an Obstacle Course racer view).

Brute Force​

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hydration backpacks vs handheld bottles

​Why I chose to write a post of the kind 8 Reasons Hydration Backpacks are better than Handheld Bottles?



Because I stumbled upon an article, dated 2012, that listed why handheld bottles are better than hydration backpacks. I absolutely disagree and I just thought to get my two cents in.

If you are interested in read that post, you'll find a link at the bottom. And if you are looking for info about hydration backpacks, take a look at this: Best hydration packs for spartan race 2017.

SO, WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CARRY WATER?

Here's my points.

1. More fluid choices

Since 2012, five years have passed. Nowadays, most of the hydration packs give you the possibility to choose between the bladder or the bottles. Yes, bottles!

An example? The NATHAN VAPORAIR RACE VEST

And if you don't like a rigid bottle on the chest, you could try the softflask!

All this means that you can take with you another fluid other than water.

Important, you must drink water and consume carbohydrates while running, especially over 6 miles.

2. I don't need a visual reminder to keep me drinking

​When I am running with my backpack, I sip water regularly with my hands free. While with a bottle, you have to stop or slow down and in a race and slow down when it's not needed is not a good choice.

Furthermore, when drinking from a water bottle, you also tend to drink more at a time.

Be careful, hydration when running is fundamental and taking small sips of water is recommended.

3. More minimal? Is this a point?

​Probably five years ago the backpacks were heavier.

Seriously, today that is not a problem. The lighter ones weigh about 9 ounces (without water). And the rest it depends on how much stuff you want to take with you.

Whether you are training or on race day, I think you are able to evaluate what you need during the race.

In addition, without a backpack, where do you put the food or the sports gel?

And if you have to blow your nose?!

4. Less injury from falls

Right, but not with a pair of bottles in each hand.

If you fall, the bottles can save you from some scratch, but they can also break your wrist or tear a finger ligament.

A fall is a fall. The only way to avoid them is trying to stay concentrated and watching where you put your feet.

5. Less overheating in summer and more protection in winter

These modern hydration backpacks come with some sort of cooling system.

While in winter you can carry an additional jacket to keepyou warm (something you can't do with only a pair of bottles).

6. Less sloshing

​Imagine you running with a pair of bulky, sloshing bottles.

There are studies that demonstrate that is not safe running with difference weights on each hand because the muscles don't work well, trying to continuosly adjust the balance.

7. I don't need bottles to keep me in form

If you are a runner, a trail runner or an obstacle runner, you don't need bottles to keep your form. You already train your upper body, especially if you are an obstacle racer.

8. I am still a runner

Carrying or not carrying a backpack it doesn't change the fact that I am a runner.

And the benefits of a backpack are so many, an example, running in winter holding bottles it draws away heat from your hands.

In the end, who will win the hydration backpacks vs handheld bottles battle?​

Use the comments section and let us know what you think about it!​


I didn't want to be polemic with Vanessa (the author of the 2012 post), actually I admire her and you should too.

I highly recommend you to take a look at her blog and/or follow her.

Before we get to a conclusion, I would like to give you some useful tip.

Serious stuff!​

​If you plan to run over 6 miles, you need water and carbohydrates. Your blood is about 82% water, A loss of water equal to 2% of your body weight could reduce your aerobic capacity by up to 20%.

Be aware! The opposite can be equally dangerous, drinking to much (hyponatremia) can bring to death too.

Drink water until two hours before you run and re-hydrate yourself after the race.

Piss (I could have use the word urinate but here we are formal) within 6 hours of completing a long run. If you can't, maybe you have developed a kidney failure!

If you not piss within 8 hours, call a doctor!!

Sure that there are a lots of other thing that I didn't think about. That's why I ask you to leave a comment or a critic if you disagree with me.

The aim of this site is to help and be useful, so don't hesitate to weigh in on this! I really wanna know how you carry water while running.

As promise, here the links to 12 reasons handheld bottles are better than hydration packs.

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