6 Best Hydration Packs for Skiing and Snowboarding
Drinking water can seem a bit unnecessary to novice skiers. It’s cold out and you are surrounded by water anyway, right? Well, since you are usually at high elevations and working your body hard, it is extremely important to stay hydrated throughout the day when you’re hitting the snow.
The best hydration packs for skiing and snowboarding should be comfortable to wear all day, easy to navigate the lift with, and hopefully keep your water from freezing. Below we discuss some of our favorite hydration packs for winter activity in the mountains, along with some key features to consider when picking a pack out. Check it out!
|Pack||Water Capacity||Insulation||Weight||Extra Storage||Price Range|
|CamelBak Zoid Ski Pack||2L||Internal||10 oz||Essentials||$$|
|CamelBak HydroBak||1.5L||None||5 oz||Essentials||$$|
|InnerFit Hydration Pack||1.5L||External||21 oz.||Essentials + 1 Small Item||$|
|CamelBak Powderhound||3L||Internal||24 oz||Essentials + Several Small Items||$$$|
|SKL Hydration Pack||2L||None||5 oz||Essentials||$|
|Osprey Kamber 16||3L||Internal||31 oz||Essentials + Several Small Itmes||$$$|
Best Hydration Packs for Skiing and Snowboarding
Best Overall Hydration Pack for Skiing
CamelBak has long been the go-to for hydration packs in the outdoor space, and for good reason. In this case, the Zoid pack is specifically designed for skiing. The water tube sits within the pack’s shoulder strap to keep it protected from the elements. There’s an additional insulated sleeve that covers the tubing itself for additional protection.
The Zoid strikes a healthy balance of having enough room for water and your essential small items, without becoming too bulky. The relatively low profile of this pack still makes it easy to use on a chairlift. Given the size, you have the option of wearing it underneath your jacket as well. However, the sleeve pocket and insulated drinking tube should be sufficient to keep water from freezing on most days.
While not the cheapest pack, it also isn’t the most expensive, which makes this an attractive overall hydration pack option. Remember, the insulating components work both ways to not only prevent your water from freezing, but also to keep it cold on hot days. So this pack, while designed for winter use, can still be used as an excellent option in other seasons or for other activities.
This CamelBak HydroBak features a short design that fits all types of bodies. It’s designed to keep you comfortable while skiing and is lightweight for easier portability. In addition, its fabric is breathable to keep your body from excessive sweating.
There’s a mesh harness on the back that’s sturdy and durable. It’ll keep the hydration pack from shifting out of place, which can be uncomfortable and distract you while you’re skiing. As for the shoulder strap, it’s wide enough to keep you comfortable, but it’s not padded. Although it’s a nice feature to have for extra comfort, it’s not as noticeable for skiing since you typically have multiple layers on which inherently adds some cushion.
The hydration bladder and its tube are resistant to bacterial growth, thereby giving you peace of mind that you won’t find mold growing inside over time. Ew, right? Additionally, this means the bladder will be easy to clean. This CamelBak is also lightweight, weighing in at just about 5 ounces, making it one of the lightest hydration packs available.
However, this pack is not specifically designed for skiing and doesn’t provide any immediate insulation to keep your water from freezing. We would suggest wearing the pack underneath your ski jacket for additional insulation, and potentially swapping out the water bladder with one that has insulated tubing.
Best Cheap Hydration Pack for Skiing
Wow, what a great value! This hydration pack is designed for running, but the best features make it equally suitable for skiing or snowboarding. The InnerFit pack comes with a 1.5L water bladder with an insulated drinking tube. In addition, it comes with a specific “thermal pouch” that the bladder goes into for additional insulation.
The pack itself is ergonomically designed, meaning it fits the the shape and curve of your body extremely well. This form fit provides an ultra low profile that works seamlessly with the chairlift and can easily fit underneath your jacket. The hip belt is also slightly padded and hugs your sides, which we find more comfortably than the typical basic webbing waist strap.
Overall this is one of the best affordable, but effective, hydration bladders for skiing. It offers you a solid pack to stay hydrated with on the slopes without breaking the bank.
With 12 liters of storage space and a 3-liter bladder, the CamelBak Powderhound 12 is great for resort and backcountry skiers alike. The insulated sleeve built into the shoulder strap is perfect for protecting your water supply from the elements. No more disappointment with a frozen bite valve!
Backcountry skiers will love the internal storage organization. The compartments are designed specifically for avalanche gear, so you don’t have to worry about fitting all your safety essentials. The large zipper tabs also make it easy to open the backpack, even while wearing gloves.
Also, the adjustable chest strap can be moved up or down for a custom fit, and the waist strap is removable. Whether you have a long walk from the parking lot or plan to do a lot of hike-to terrain, this CamelBak has you covered with external straps that allow you to comfortably carry your skis. Although not the cheapest option, this pack is well worth the money given its versatility and comfort.
The SKL hydration pack has everything you may need on your ski trip. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and adjustable. It comes with a breathable mesh panel on the back for ventilation. In addition, the pack is made of a highly durable nylon material.
The hydration bladder has a capacity of two liters. It’s made of EVA, which is free of BPA and any harmful plastic material. Rest assured, you won’t be tasting plastic from this hydration bladder. The mouthpiece is also made of durable rubber, which is pretty easy to pull out while you’re skiing.
The SKL features adjustable shoulder straps that make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Although they’re not padded, the straps are wide to avoid digging into your shoulders. There are also two external pockets for storage that will easily fit your keys, mobile phone, and wallet.
While this pack does not provide any kind of insulation for the tubing, you can do two things to keep your water from freezing. First, you can try wearing the pack underneath your ski jacket to keep it warmer. Second, you can swap the included water bladder for one that has insulated tubing – like this one.
The Osprey Kamber is perfect for long days at the resort or light backcountry travel. The pack is designed to carry all of the essentials without compromising comfort. This way you can stay out longer without needing to take multiple trips to the lodge.
Stash your lunch and extra layers in the main compartment, which is separated from the hydration sleeve. With easy access to the large front panel pocket, as well as glove-friendly buckles and zipper tabs, this pack is convenient to use while on the mountain. Worry less about internal organization by using the special pocket for your goggles and the clip for your keys.
For backcountry adventures, the pack features GPS or radio attachment points, a safety whistle on the chest strap, and straps to carry your ski or snowboard. Note that these straps can easily be stowed away so that they’re not a safety hazard when on the chairlifts at the resort. With a snow repellent back panel and reinforced wear points, this pack is durable and will keep your back nice and dry on snowy days.
More Ski Hydration Packs
What to Look for in Hydration Packs for Skiing
If you want to get the best hydration pack for your upcoming skiing trip, it’s time to do some research. Luckily for you, we made your mission easier. Here are the essential features that you should look out for when buying.
Getting a perfect hydration pack won’t be of much use if it doesn’t carry enough water for your trip. At the same time, you want it to have some room for the rest of your belongings. That’s why you should give some thought to the matter before buying it.
It would help if you also considered the distance you’ll be covering. It’ll help you determine the amount of water you’ll need. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the available refill points along this distance. That way, you can get a pack with a smaller capacity.
A good hydration pack should fit your body well without causing you discomfort. You’ll want to check if its size matches your torso length. If it doesn’t, you’re in for some hard time trying to carry it during long trips.
If the pack comes with a hip belt, it’s a bonus because it’ll have a snug fit against your hips.
Some hydration packs are unisex, but some other options have different versions for men and women. That’s something you ought to check before buying to ensure you’ll receive a suitable pack.
If you don’t want to end up with a frozen hydration bladder, you’ll want to make sure your chosen pack offers good insulation. Skiing in the middle of snow makes your water pack prone to freezing; most skiers will have already encountered that at least once in their lifetimes.
To avoid this, choose a hydration pack with an insulated bladder sleeve. Foam insulation for the hose will also be a bonus in severe weather conditions. These will add to the pack’s cost, but it’ll save you the hassle of frozen water.
Smaller packs provide you the option of wearing them underneath your ski jacket, providing additional warmth to keep water from freezing. This also makes people feel more comfortable with their packs on the chair lift.
The shoulder strap is the most critical part of the hydration pack. All the weight will rest on your shoulders, so it’s essential to get a pack with a comfortable padded strap. In addition to that, you’ll want the strap to be wide enough so that it doesn’t dig in your shoulder.
Adjustable straps are even better. They allow more versatility, so you’ll be able to adjust them according to your skiing posture. If you’re getting one of those, you’ll want to look out for the buckles. If they’re not durable, they may break during a sharp fall.
When you get a hydration pack with a sturdy waist strap, you ensure that the weight will be evenly distributed between your waist and shoulders. Not all hydration packs have this strap, but it’s a huge bonus if you’re going on a long trip.
Carrying a pack without a waist strap will cause it to continually shift when you’re moving, which will be uncomfortable. If you tend to ski at high speeds, this issue will bother you even more.
Maintaining the hydration pack after you’re done using it is pretty challenging. Cleaning the insulated compartment and the tube isn’t exactly the easiest mission, but some packs are easier to clean than others. Some compartments are designed so that mold doesn’t grow inside. These are typically more manageable to clean.
Moreover, bladders with zip tops are relatively easy to clean because they have a large opening. Small openings will give you a hard time, and you’ll likely need to purchase a tube cleaning brush.
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Ski Hydration Tip & FAQs
Can you wear a hydration pack under your ski jacket?
Absolutely. Many hydration packs are small enough to fit under your ski jacket. Try it out and see if it is comfortable. If so, wearing hydration packs beneath your jacket is actually helpful in insulating the water and keeping it from freezing.
How do you keep your water bladder from freezing when skiing?
Look for hydration packs with insulated tubing and try wearing your pack underneath your jacket if you can. Most importantly, clear the water lines every time you are done drinking by blowing back into your water tube.
Do I need to drink water while skiing or snowboarding?
YES! You must stay hydrated during skiing or snowboarding. Being at higher elevations increases your body's necessity to be well hydrated. Additionally, you are working fairly hard when out on the slopes and your body needs water to maintain proper optimal muscle function.
How you plan to use your hydration pack and conditions your are in most often will drive what pack works best for you. If you don’t need much additional storage or are often in very frigid temperatures, consider a smaller pack that can go underneath your jacket for better insulation and comfort on the lift.
Whatever you hydration setup ends up being while skiing, it is important to remember to clear the water line every time you are done drinking so that the tube doesn’t freeze over. Carrying several pounds of water on your back all day to find out you can’t even drink it all kind of defeats the purpose!
Good luck and stay hydrated!