Runners often neglect hydration while running. It’s not because we don’t recognize its importance, rather, it’s often because the idea of lugging water around for an entire run feels too inconvenient.
Well, we have some good news for you: bringing water on a run doesn’t have to be a pain. There are plenty of water bottles – not to mention belts and vests as well – made specifically for running, so you can be sure to find a style and fit that’ll work for you.
Here are the best running water bottles and hydration options available in 2023.
Best overall running water bottle: Nathan QuickSqueeze 18 oz. Insulated Handheld
For a handheld running water bottle the Nathan QuickSqueeze has it all. It has an ergonomic design and an adjustable strap that makes it almost effortless to grip. Rubber backing ensures it won’t slip even when you get sweaty. It’s insulated so your water doesn’t freeze in the winter or turn into bath water in the summer. Even with all those features, it’s still squeezable and has a light feel . And the icing on the cake? The Nathan Quicksqueeze has a stash pocket that is perfect for gels, keys, or credit cards.
Alternative: Amphipod Hydraform Ergo Lite Ultra Handheld – 20 oz.
If you’re looking to carry a little more water, the Amphipod Hyrdaform Ergo Lite Ultra is a good and similar option to the Nathan QuickSqueeze. The hand strap has a few gel holders, but you don’t get the stash pocket the QuickSqueeze has.
Best budget running water bottle: Amphipod Hydraform Chiller Handheld
This water bottle will actually cool your water as you run. Just freeze the empty bottle the night before, and insulated Ice Wall technology will chill your water and keep it cool so you can stay refreshed deep into your long run.
The ergonomic shape fits very well, but you’re not getting any frills here with a basic hand strap and no additional storage.
Alternative: Camelbak Quick Grip Chill 21 oz. Handheld
One of the bigger handheld water bottles out there, the Camelbak Quick Grip Chill is insulated and also has a stash pack for gels or other small items.
The downside is that it’s just shaped like a regular, round water bottle with a hand strap on top of it, so it can be a little awkward to grip, especially for folks with smaller hands.
Best compact running water bottle: Nathan ExoShot 2.0 14 oz.
The soft flask of the Nathan ExoShot 2.0 makes this an exceptionally light and collapsible option. Since it can really conform to the shape of your hand, it’s actually possible to forget you’re carrying it at times.
An elastic pocket on the sleeve is perfect for carrying a few gels on longer days. It’s not insulated, but we don’t find that to be a huge problem for most runs.
Alternative: Amphipod Hydraform Ergo Lite Ultra Handheld – 12 oz.
The little brother of the 20 oz. bottle listed above, the 12 oz. Hydraform Ergo Lite Ultra has the same soft and secure hand strap and gel storage loops. It’s just a tad smaller and, therefore, lighter.
That’s great for many of us runners who – let’s just say – haven’t hit the weight room in a little while.
Best hydration vest: Nathan Quickstart 2.0 4L Hydration Pack
The Nathan Quickstart 2.0 is a great lightweight hydration pack that packs in plenty of features and storage capacity.
A front pocket perfectly fits a Nathan ExoShot, so you can bring a sports drink along in addition to the 1.5 L of water you can fit in the bladder. A zipper pocket on the other front strap can fit gels, keys, or credit cards, and an ample zippered back pocket can fit a light change of clothes or any other gear you might want during or after your run.
Alternative: Camelbak Circuit Vest
The Camelbak Circuit Vest isn’t as loaded with features as the Nathan Quickstart 2.0, but what you’ll get here is a simple, comfortable, and breathable vest that will keep you hydrated on the run.
It also comes in men’s and women’s fits, so you can get the perfect fit.
There’s not a ton of space for additional storage with just two front cinch pouches for gels and maybe a phone, a zippered pocket for keys, and a mesh pouch for more snacks. For most runners, that’s all you’ll need, but it does lack the versatility of some other packs to turn into day hike or run commute bags.
Best hydration belt: Nathan TrailMix Plus Insulated
The Nathan TrailMix Plus Insulated running belt comes with two insulated 10 oz. water bottles that sit on your hips.
We like having the two bottles because it allows you to mix and match hydration options, i.e. water in one and liquid nutrition in the other. The pouch is big enough for most phones and a separate mesh compartment is great for holding gels, keys, or other small items. The plastic buckle makes it easy to get on and off and it’s simple and intuitive to adjust the sizing.
Alternative: Nathan Pinnacle Belt
The Pinnacle Belt is a more minimal option than the TrailMix Plus and is perfect for a runner looking for a more lightweight feel. You just step into it to put it on, so there’s no need for a hard buckle, and grippy silicone around the waist prevents bouncing.
A single 20 oz. soft flask fits in a holster on the back so you’ll barely notice it’s there. An additional zip pocket in the front fits most phones, and dual side pockets are perfect for gels and snacks.