Updated: January 9, 2017
But what about runners that like to keep it under 5 miles? Those who just like to get out there everyday for a little bit? That’s where handheld running bottles come in play.
A handheld bottle carrier may be ideal for you if:
- You are going on shorter runs where 20 ounces of fluid will be plenty
- Carrying a lot of gear isn’t needed, but you still need your keys or other small objects
- You just don’t like the feel of a hydration pack around your shoulders or waist
Factors to Consider as a Runner
If you’re truly considering going with a handheld running bottle, then make sure you consider the following factors before buying.
Water Bottle Size/Type. Most (but not all) of the bottle carriers come with water bottles. Do you prefer something smaller like 8-12 oz? Or do you need a little more, maybe 20 oz or even 32 oz? Also, be sure to check out the nozzle.
Storage. What exactly will you be carrying on your run? Keys? Cash? IDs? Cell phone? Most of the packs below have enough storage for a few small items, but some have no storage or just a placeholder for your smartphone.
Sweat. We dissipate heat from 3 primary places: head, hands, armpits. A mesh grip may help keep your hands cool (if you sweat a lot from your hands), while some people are fine with any grip (especially if running in colder weather).
Top 10 Handheld Hydration Packs for Runners
(Note: not all of the following include water bottles)
Our Review of the Top 3
While Camelbak managed to grab the top spot this year, Nathan is top dog when it comes to handheld carriers for runners. Below you’ll find a more detailed review of the top 3 to help you make a decision.
It was a tight race (no pun intended) for the number 1 spot, but the Camelbak Quick Grip Chill takes the cake.
They did a good job not going overboard on unneeded features and just created a well-built water bottle holder. It uses a BPA free 21 oz water bottle combined with a minimal pack and key fob.
There’s also little strips of reflectivity on the pack for running at night.
Our favorite features is the Camel got your Bak lifetime warranty (which is on all Camelbak products).
The Quickdraw is actually the most popular bottle holder on the list.
It’s got a very lightweight material that surrounds a 22 oz bottle, and the bottle is a simple push-pull cap with what Nathan refers to as an Easy-squeeze Tru-flex bottle. That’s essentially fancy talk for squeeze the bottle to drink 🙂
The pocket is fully zippered and large enough to fit an iPhone sized cell phone, along with a few keys and maybe some gels. While the back side is full mesh where here’s a small adjustable strap to tighten or loosen the grip.
It comes in 8 colors, so take your pick!
The most expensive holder on this list is the Park Hydro by Salomon. It’s not without good reason though. Instead of featuring just a bit of mesh around the handhold, this entire pack is mesh.
It comes with a 17oz bottle (technically it’s a “soft” flask), which is perfect if you’re pouring a (typical) 16.7oz water bottle into it. As you drink the water, the bottle will actually shrink to prevent sloshing.
If you’re a serious runner, you have to give a good look at Salomon.
Yes, this happens to be number 10 on our list, but that’s mainly because it’s not as functional as some of the other packs. It’s really made for runners that absolutely have to have their smartphone with them.
For example, maybe you want to go for a run, but you don’t want to miss a phone call. The SpeedView may be perfect for you.
It’s one of our favorite packs for running with your iPhone or Android.
We’ve mentioned Nathan a lot throughout our top 10 list. They’re not always the absolute best, but if you’re not sure what to go with we’d recommend starting there.
Alright, no more reading reviews, grab your new bottle carrier and hit the road (or trail)!