12 Best Running Backpacks: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Best For Running To Work

The Rupumpack is larger and allows for clothes, food and comes with a 2.5 L hydration bladder.

Top Of The Range

The Gregory is mid size and suitable for hikers/backcountry runners who carry more than water.

Running backpacks are just what it says on the tin – backpacks that you can wear during runs. Be it a long trail run, a long road run, an ultra marathon or just your commute, you’ll need to carry various things with you.

If you’re doing a long race, this might include a spare top, fluids, some plasters, gels, your phone, your wallet, some emergency equipment and perhaps some other essential gear to help make your run as comfortable as it can get. On the other hand, if you’re run-commuting to work, then the contents of your backpack will look very different.

Running Backpacks Compared




Hydration System

Check Price

U`Be Hydration Backpack Pack with 2l Water...

U`Be Hydration Camelback Backpack

12 Ounces

Yes - 2L

RUPUMPACK Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack...

RUPUMPACK Insulated Hydration Backpack

1.4 Pounds

Yes - 2.5L

Unigear Hydration Pack Backpack with 70 oz 2L...

Unigear Hydration Pack Backpack

1.1 Pounds

Yes - 2L

Gregory Mountain Products Miwok 18 Liter...

Gregory Mountain Products Miwok 18

1.4 Pounds


No products found.

Gryps Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover

9.6 Ounces


Nike Running Lightweight Backpack, 10L

Nike Course Running Backpack

12.7 Ounces


Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack with 2L BPA...

Mubasel Gear

1.6 Pounds

Yes - 2L

TETON Sports Oasis 18L Hydration Pack with...

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 2 Liter Hydration Backpack

2.6 Pounds

Yes - 2L

TETON Sports TrailRunner 2 Hydration Pack;...

TETON SPORTS Trailrunner Hydration Backpack

0.9 Pounds

Yes - 2L

LANZON 2L Hydration Pack (NO Bladder),...

LANZON Hydration Pack

12 - 13.8 Ounces

Yes - 2/3L

TRIWONDER Hydration Pack Backpack 5.5L...

TRI WONDER Hydration Pack Backpack

8.8 Ounces

Yes - 1.5/2L

Running Bag Max Hydration Backpack With 2L...

Running Bag Max Hydration Backpack

1.15 Pounds

Yes - 2L

Why do you need a running backpack?

You might wonder why you would need to carry a backpack during your runs. You might even wonder if it’s safe and comfortable to strap backpacks on during your runs. Well, the good news is that it is safe and it can even make long runs easier.

There are two main reasons you might need a backpack for running.


If you’re the kind of person that likes to take advantage of the journey to work by running it, then you’ll need a backpack that can carry the essentials like your phone, spare clean clothes, your laptop and so on.

You can’t run with just any backpack. An average backpack will bounce around and won’t give you the balance you need to run well. You need a backpack that’s got special padding to keep your back cool and comfortable, and that has a large enough capacity to transport all of your essentials for a day at the office.

The brilliant news is, there’s no need to only use your run commute backpack for your journey to work.

Trail Running/Long Distance Running

There is certainly some overlap between commuter backpacks and the ones meant for the long distance runners, however, there are some differences still. Commuters needs a backpack that will carry all the things he or she needs to help them get through the run, which is why they require a backpack that's lightweight and space for water, food, clothes and work materials

The long distance runner has no need for their work computer, extra clothing and heavy items. They need a slim bag that can carry essentials like keys, wallets, phones and water.

Picking the Best Running Backpack for You

There are loads of running backpacks available out there and they all have features that might make them desirable to different users. However, you need the best backpack for your specific needs, which aren’t going to be the same as those of the person next to you.

Someone that’s running ultramarathons, for example, won’t select the same backpack as someone who’s running half an hour to work every morning. That means you need to have a clear idea of what you’re going to be using it for and, therefore, the features that are most important to you.

The storage capacity of the running backpack is one thing you need to note when you’re considering selecting a backpack. A commuting backpack will generally be larger than a trail running backpack.

That’s because commuters carry their work clothes and gadgets and aren’t normally too concerned with speed, whereas for trail running you need to be able to carry certain essentials without weighing yourself down.

A lightweight running backpack of about 10L or less is suitable if you want to run light and fast on the trails, whereas a commuting backpack will normally be around the 20L mark.

What To Look For In a Good Run Commute Backpack

If you’re searching for the best running backpacks for commuting, there are certain things that you need to take into account, including the following.


To run commute, you definitely need to pack some essentials, such as your laptop, phone, wallet, a change of clothes and so on. For this reason, you ought to have a running backpack with a capacity of no less than 12L.

Some people might be able to make do with 10L, especially if they’re not taking their laptop with them, but some people may find that they need more like 20L to comfortably fit everything in.

Harness system

If you’re looking to get a running backpack for commuting, then you need to be sure of the kind of harness system you require.

One with straps at the shoulder, chest and waist regions will be preferable, as that tends to fit you snugly and give you the balance you seek. The harness system should be well designed and allow the backpack to grip tightly to your body.

Laptop sleeve

A laptop sleeve is basically a pouch within the backpack. It’s usually the section of the backpack that’s closest to your back. The laptop sleeve could be padded or unpadded, but for a commuting backpack I would generally recommend padded, for your comfort and the laptop’s safety.

The pouch might have a fastening mechanism that could be Velcro or a buckle that can be tightened to prevent the laptop from sliding out when the bag is overturned.


When choosing your running backpack for commuting, you should check out its ability to withstand water. You might live in an extremely dry region, but it’s still worth having some water protection in case of spills.

There’s generally no need for a fully waterproof backpack in these cases, but your backpack should definitely be water-resistant.

Reflective strips for visibility

This feature is essential for runners who like running in the evenings or who leave work after the sun has already set. This feature makes you more visible to vehicles when it’s dark.

If you’re going to be running after dark, however, consider wearing clothing that also has reflective strips and perhaps even a head lamp to make sure that you can both see and be seen.


Of course, you don’t want to go around buying a new running backpack every few months. That means you should consider spending a little more on a brand with a good reputation or one that backs up its products with a warranty.

Strap comfort

The comfort of your straps be they at the chest, waist or shoulder will determine your own comfort during the run, so make sure to choose backpacks that have comfortable straps. They should always be padded and broad to distribute the weight evenly.


What To Look For In a Good Trail Running Backpack

To get the best trail running backpack for you, make sure to look out for the following features.

Packs vs. Vests

Running vests are basically running packs that are designed so that they can be worn like a vest with your belongings distributed around your body, while running packs are a take on classic packs that have to be slung over your back.

Vests tend to fit snugly to the body and hold firm leaving no room for movement while running packs tend to swing a bit as they don't fit as snugly as a vest, hence, affecting stability. However, vests tend to offer less space than packs, so they might not be suitable for everyone.

Hydration sleeves

In order to manage dehydration and forge ahead in your runs, it is essential that you get yourself hydration sleeve, or a pack that includes one. A hydration sleeve is a small reservoir of water which has a tube attached to it through which you can drink, meaning you don’t have to break your rhythm to drink.


Since trail running requires you run long distances in open country, your trail running backpack should be at least water-resistant as you’re likely to encounter bad weather.

If you’re doing trail runs that involve crossing waterways, however, or are likely to be out in heavy storms, then you should go for a fully waterproof pack that will protect your belongings even when submerged.


Of course, one of the best features a running backpack should have is that it should fit snugly and comfortably. Always choose a backpack that has ventilated mesh on its back so that you will be comfortable and your back will be able to breathe.


As you will covering a lot of miles, your backpack should be able to cope with everything you throw at it in terms of weather conditions and usage. Make sure you choose a running backpack that can keep up with you.


The average capacity of a trail running backpack should be between 11L and 20L, depending on your needs. For longer runs or overnight runs, you’ll need to consider taking food, spare clothes, extra gear, emergency equipment, water, and other things you might need.

Easy Access Pockets

In order to avoid breaking your stride and keeping up with your rhythm, you need to choose a backpack that has pockets you can reach into easily. This will prevent the unnecessary breaks such as stopping to reach into your backpack to bring out water or food. If the backpack has easily accessible pockets, then there will be no need to stop.

12 Best Running Backpacks Reviewed

1. U`Be Hydration Camelback Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 12 Ounces
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 18 X 10 Inches
  • Great for = All Outdoor Activities
  • Waterproof? = Yes
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2 Liters

This backpack is one of the best slim hydration running backpacks on the market. It's suitable for a variety of purposes including running, hiking, biking, and jogging. The small nature of the bag allows you to move freely while the 2L hydration bladder also keeps you cool and refreshed in the heat.

This backpack is ultralight which means that it's super comfortable to use, and the straps are easy to adjust. It can also be used by everybody regardless of sex, age, and gender. It comes with a reflective caution light stripe for safety.

Amazon sells this bag in two varieties – one for runners and one for biking. The running backpacks main compartment is approx. 18 inches tall by 10 inches wide with the hose for the hydration closer to 40 inches in length. This helps when running because you can easily store your valuables and access your water supply without difficulty.

The water pack is BPA-free and comes with a secure and twistable cover for re-filling fluids. The hose requires squeezing when in use and also has a cap for storing when finished. Overall this is a great value for money running backpack. It's best for people who only need to carry fluids, keys, and small items like wallets or phones.


  • 100% refundable warranty
  • Lightweight, hence making movement smooth and flexible
  • 2L water bladder included


  • It cannot hold big loads conveniently

2. RUPUMPACK Insulated Hydration Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 1.4 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 18L
  • Great for = Carrying Laptop, Trail Running
  • Waterproof? = No - Water Resistant
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2.5L

The RUPUMPACK is a bigger bag than our number #1 choice and is the best running backpack for daytrips. This is because it has the ability to carry numerous larger items along with essentials such as a hydration bladder.

This bag has a capacity of 18L, with a 2.5 liter hydration bladder that's EVA, BPA-free. Just like the U’Be model above, this hose legth is close to 40 “. It comes with an insulation layer made from top quality aluminum that ensures the pack can keep water or liquid cool for about 4 hours.

The backpack also has a clip that allows you to fix the hose of the bladder on your shoulder strap so it will be much easier for you to hydrate yourself during running. The straps of this bag use a padded, ventilated mesh which greatly enhances their comfort. The RUPUMPACK brand also offers a warranty policy which gives a full refund in case of complaints by the customer.

I love this bag because it has 11 storage compartments which provides ample space for all essentials. This suits long day hikes, skiing or other activities where you want to carry a camera, food or extra clothing. It even has an I-pad sleeve so you can take your device with you!


  • Keeps liquid cool for about 4 hours
  • Ventilated mesh padding to ensure comfort
  • Super durable


  • Cannot hold a big laptop
  • Only for small loads.

3. Unigear Hydration Pack Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 1.1 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 10.7 X 8.9 X 3.8 Inches
  • Great for = Long Distance Hiking
  • Waterproof? = No - Splash Resistant
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2 L

The Unigear Hydration pack is another high-quality option for those searching for a running backpack. The straps (chest, waist, and shoulder) are adjustable and stop the bag bouncing when moving. We found this Unigear model is best for men as it's more bulky and ‘rougher’ than our #1 choice. The style is plain & simple but it will certainly do the job.

It's super light (1.1 lbs without water) and comes with double waist straps that enhance the comfortability. These also make it more resistant to wear and tear thereby prolonging the life of the backpack and ensuring durability. A 2L BPA-free hydration bladder is suitable for medium distance running such as 5 – 15 miles or long distance hiking.

This backpack can be used by both male and female (we think its better for males) and it's also covered by a 60-day guarantee within which a dissatisfied customer can ask for a refund of their money.


  • Water and Tear resistant
  • The bladder is replaceable
  • Ultralight and super comfortable


  • Not water resistant
  • Straps are not that big which might result in discomfort when the bag is full

4. Gregory Mountain Products Miwok 18

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 1.4 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 19.5 X 10.25 X 6.5 Inches
  • Great for = Carrying Laptops, Trail Running, Hiking
  • Waterproof? = No
  • Hydration System = No

Gregory is a leader in the outdoor activities space and the BioSync Active Trail Suspension backpack balances design and functionality perfectly. It gives flexibility and also absorbs shock, which is liable to occur during an active and fast-paced trail run.

The backpack has a number of features which includes the shoulder strap and a clip to hold your hydration tube with on the shoulder strap. It also has compression straps on the sides with compartments and pockets to help hold your loads. Other quality features include an expanding pocket for goggles, trekking pole attachments and a safety flashing light.

This backpack is able to hold all your lightweight materials while it gives you space for stability and comfort. We love this bag but it should be noted that these advanced features do hike up the price tag.

We recommend it for serious hikers on trails, cycling and also for commuting to work. It's a great choice for anyone who runs at sunrise or sunset. Overall, it's a top-quality bag and great for anyone who wants the best of the best.


  • Lightweight
  • Safety light attached to bag
  • Expanding helmet pocket
  • Durable


  • It is not water resistant

5. Gryps Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover

No products found.

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 9.6 Ounces
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 15L - 80L
  • Great for = Commuting To Work, Hiking
  • Waterproof? = Yes
  • Hydration System = No

This backpack is a large running backpack with a big capacity. Gryps has produced a backpack that is resistant to environmental conditions such as water, scratches, dirt, snow, wind, even fog, and sand.

The inner layer of this backpack is covered with a silver coating that's heavy-duty and waterproof while the exterior is made of 190T polyester fabric, again, waterproof and abrasion resistant. It's available in several sizes ranging from 15L – 80L.

The other formidable feature of this bag is the anti-slip design. Triple buckles plus contoured shoulder straps mean this bag will stay secure in windy, rainy conditions.  

We recommend using this backpack for variety of purposes including camping, traveling, hiking, commuting to work. It's best suited to runners in severe weather conditions who commonly encounter rain or wind during runs.


  • Water, snow, dirt, sand-resistant
  • Very large capacity
  • It's easy to pack


  • Not suited to basic runners needs

6. Nike Course Running Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 12.7 Ounces
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 10L
  • Great for = Commuting To Work
  • Waterproof? = No
  • Hydration System = No

Nike are among the most popular companies in the world. They're iconic, recognizable, relatable and trustworthy enough that all their products are not held to the same scrutiny as others. This is their attempt at a running backpack and largely hits the mark for everyday commuting to or from work.

This backpack possesses stabilized construction that helps to reduce bounce during runs. It enables it stays snug on your back. The back panel is ventilated and allows for breathable comfort while running. This is nice although we usually sweat anyway, and it will not stop that from happening.

The ‘Course’ running backpack has several pockets that allow you to store your essentials in an organized fashion. A sternum strap makes it possible for you to wrap the backpack around yourself thereby giving you a tightened fit.

We really like the reflective stripes because they greatly enhances nighttime visibility. This is useful for commuters who may be coming home from work when the sun is setting.

Overall this is a solid choice but at the higher end of the market. If you want a brand name backpack then 'just do it!', but we think other options will better suit your needs.


  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Several pockets for organization
  • Breathable material


  • Not waterproof
  • No hydration system

7. Mubasel Gear

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 1.6 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 16.1 X 10.1 X 2.8 Inches
  • Great for = All Outdoor Activities
  • Waterproof? = No - Water Resistant
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2L

Mubasel Gear is a hydration backpack that can be used for a diverse range of outdoor activities such as running, hiking, camping, and cycling. It comes with advanced features such as thermal insulation which means that it liquids can retain their temperature for quite some time without outside influence of heat.

Another positive of this backpack is its durability and water-resistance as it has been manufactured for people in all conditions.

Adjustable shoulder straps which means that people of different ages and sizes can make use of the bag easily. It's 100% leak proof and comes with a 60 days guarantee within which the customer is entitled to a replacement if dissatisfied.

The 2-Liter hydration bladder is included and sufficient for most runners. We like this bag and believe it's suited to anyone who runs on trails and needs to carry more than just a set of car keys.


  • Easy and convenient to clean
  • Has elastic straps which mean more materials can be put inside
  • It is water resistant


  • Cannot hold very big things like laptops

8. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 2.6 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 18 L
  • Great for = Hiking
  • Waterproof? = Yes
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2L

The Oasis 1100 running backpack was specially designed bearing the comfort of the end users in mind. It can be worn for hours without discomfort or pain on the shoulders as it is one of the most comfortable running backpacks on the market.

It's super light, quite easily adjusted and made to last a long time. It also has a sewn in rain cover which protects the bag and its contents from the rain. This backpack is multipurpose as it can be used for a myriad number of purposes at different times such as hiking activities during the day and even camping activities overnight.

This backpack is super comfortable as a result of the athletic cut (which ensures that it rides low and quite close to the user's body), a back panel with mesh and foam pads (which ensure little to no bounce) among other things. It also features a reflective trim for increased visibility at night, an orange safety whistle, strap clips and more.

On top of all these features is the 2-Liter hydration bladder and like most on our list, it is BPA-free. This Teton model is our favorite choice for long day hiking and can be easily used for running as it's a multipurpose bag.


  • Limited lifestyle warranty
  • Large and comfortable
  • It has a large opening for a bladder which is useful for adding ice and cooling the water


  • Might be too big for fast runners

9. TETON SPORTS Trailrunner Hydration Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 0.9 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 16 X 10 X 3 Inches
  • Great for = Long Marathons And Hiking
  • Waterproof? = No
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2L

This other Teton option is the Trailrunner and it is a great option of if you need a slim, sleek and aerodynamic running backpack. For people who love to run, they should definitely check this out. It has a 2L hydration bladder which has an opening for ice for keeping the water cool.

The double line ripstop shell is super durable and overall it's very light, weighing just under 1 pound. It's suitable for use for marathon running, medium distances and commuting to work.

This backpack is adjustable and can be used by any and everybody regardless of sex, size, and age. The comfort is ensured (and enhanced) by strap mesh. The inbuilt whistle, strips for nighttime visibility and strap clips all provide security and safety in different ways.

This is our lightest backpack on our list!


  • Cheaper than other bags that have the same features
  • It has waterproof features
  • Comes with a built-in whistle, reflective trims


  • Quite small and might not accommodate more than the absolute essentials
  • It lacks an adequate harness system

10. LANZON Hydration Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 12 - 13.8 Ounces
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 17.1 X 10.1 X 1.8
  • Great for = Running And Climbing
  • Waterproof? = No
  • Hydration System = Yes - 2/3L

This backpack has a whopping 7 compartments which means that a runner can easily fit in a lot of small things he/she needs. The straps on the front and waist allow you to determine how the backpack will look and fit the user. It also comes in a number of colors for you to choose from with unisex styles available.

This vest is made in such a way that it can stay odorless while at the same time being reliable and durable. We didn’t like that a hydration bladder isn't included in the purchase and that this is one of the more expensive models on the market.


  • 7 + compartments
  • Has night visibility
  • Lightweight


  • The 3L bladder doesn't come with the backpack
  • Too small for some runners

11. TRI WONDER Hydration Pack Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 8.8 Ounces
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 17.3 X 7.9 X 2 Inches
  • Great for = All Outdoor Activities, Men
  • Waterproof? = Yes
  • Hydration System = Yes - 1.5/2L

We love the TRI Wonder because of the various options available at purchase. It can be bought as a vest only, with two water bottles, or with a 2 Liter hydration bladder. The straps drape over each shoulder and down the chest, securing it to your body nicely.

The backpack itself is lightweight, with breathable shoulder straps that allow you to distribute the little weight evenly. It's made with waterproof nylon for protection against water as well as a polyester mesh which endows it with strength and durability.

Dual chest straps with clips add extra tightness and fit, allowing runners to speed along their path. We believe this is a great choice for serious runners who train at intensity.


  • Lightweight
  • Very secure to body
  • Breathable material


  • May not suit all body types

12. Running Bag Max Hydration Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Weight = 1.15 Pounds
  • Size/Capacity (dimensions or liters) = 18.4 X 11 X 2.3 Inches
  • Great for = Marathon Running And Hiking
  • Waterproof? = No - Water Resistant
  • Hydration System = Yes 2L

The Running Bag is another value for money bag and one of the cheapest options on the market. It's light, easily adjusted and very durable, especially for a budget backpack.

This backpack comes with a pocket that's thermally insulated and allows liquids to retain their temperature for about four hours. It has an earphone hole which allows the user to use their smartphone from inside the bag thereby safeguarding it.

We recommend this running backpack for those who are price concise and want a simple solution when running.


  • Insulated pocket which can keep fluids cool for hours
  • Variety of storage options
  • Breathable mesh


  • Not good for a long journey

Other Uses of Jogging Backpacks

Virtually all jogging backpacks (and not vests) can be used for other purposes and not necessarily and exclusively for holding loads during running. These backpacks have features that make them useful for other functions such as:

  • Carrying your laptop with you, everywhere you go

Especially, when they have the laptop sleeve, it just makes it so much easier to carry your laptop around. For example, Thule Pack n Pedal Commuter Backpack.

  • For traveling

You don't always need to take a big backpack or suitcase on your travels. Sometimes, all you need is just a small bag for your loads. At such times, you can make use of the running backpacks as they will be efficient in parking traveling loads. E.g. TRI WONDER 15L Ultra Running Vest Marathon Backpack Hydration Pack with Water Bottles.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can a commuting backpack be used for trail running, and vice versa?

Yes. A running backpack for commuting can be used for trail running, and a trail running backpack can be used for running commute if you’re not running with a lot of things.

Are any run commuting backpacks big enough to carry winter clothes?

Generally, run commuting backpacks are designed with just a light change of clothes in mind, not heavy winter clothing like thick jeans, sweaters and boots.

There are larger backpacks out there, but you need to bear in mind that you don’t want to carry too much weight on your runs. I find a good solution in the winter is to just keep a pair of shoes, a sweater and a coat at work.

Do I need a totally waterproof running backpack?

This is entirely down to your judgement. Entirely waterproof backpacks mean they can be submerged without any water entering them. If you’re a trail runner that’s going to be crossing waterways or soaked by storms, therefore, you will probably want a totally waterproof pack to protect your phone.

Commuters that often run through heavy rain might want to consider a fully waterproof pack too to keep their laptops protected. However, the majority of trail runners and commuters will be absolutely fine with just a water-resistant pack.

Is it worth spending more money on a top quality running backpack?

It is totally worth it. If you get yourself a top quality running backpack now at a high price, it’s guaranteed to last a longer time than a less-than-top-quality running backpack would last.

You just might end up spending more money than you would have if you’d only bought the top quality running backpack in the first place.

Where’s the best place to buy a running backpack?

I always find that Amazon is the best place to buy running backpacks as it offers great prices and the chance to check out the reviews of previous customers before you buy.


Be it for commuting or long distance trail runs, running backpacks are essential to make your run easier and less strenuous. Purpose-designed backpacks mean you can transport all the belongings you need in comfort, without your running being affected.

The size, shape, comfort and features of running backpacks mean they fit comfortably and make you less aware of the load you’re carrying.

In other words, running backpacks will help you have a more enjoyable run on the trails or mean you fly to work in the mornings, skipping out the traffic jams!

  • Updated July 29, 2021