When training/racing longer than 90 minutes you're going to need to take in some fluids and electrolytes to perform at your best.
If it’s not possible to pick drinks up from aid stations you'll have to carry those drinks with you.
Here's the best kit we've found for doing that, with some tips earned through years of trial and error in endurance events...
1) In a backpack with a bladder
- You can carry large amounts (up to ~3L / 96oz),
- It can get pretty uncomfortable after a while, affecting your running posture.
- It's impossible to see how much you’ve drank without taking the pack off.
- Re-filling it is trickier, which can waste valuable time when racing.
An ok solution for carrying large volumes when there's no other choice.
UltrAspire Titan It has good carrying capacity for compulsory gear in longer races and accessible chest pockets for food too.
2) In a waist pack
- A waist mounted bottle holder has the advantage of being quite close to your centre of gravity so it doesn't swing about and is really easy to get at.
- You can see how much you’ve consumed easily and swap or refill the bottle quickly if you run low.
- It has to be done up tight if you’re running fast to stop it flapping around, and this can interfere with breathing.
- The straps can can also sometimes chafe
- The volume you can carry is typically only ~500ml (16oz) - 750ml (24oz), which is not all that much during a long/hot event
Better for shorter events, or those when you can top-up reasonably regularly.
Amphipod Velocity Plus It's really elasticated so doesn’t bounce around much and has a horizontal bottle that comes out easily when you want to grab it, but which is secure the rest of the time.
3) In front-mounted bottles
- Having bottles with straws on the chest straps of a rucksack is very convenient when doing events that require you to carry safety equipment and/or additional clothing.
- You can put the kit on your back and keep the fluids upfront. This balances the weight distribution across your upper body and you can tell how much you’ve consumed at a glance at any point.
- Re-filling or swapping bottles is simple and with 2 bottles you can carry a reasonable volume at a time (up to ~1.5 litres / 48 oz)
- Bottles on the front can swing about if you’re running hard and this can get really annoying.
Great if you also have to take other equipment and can do so on your back to balance the weight across your torso. Not so good when you’re trying to move really fast, so better suited to longer/slower paced events.
Raidlight Olmo 5 Very lightweight and it has capacity for 2 bottles on the front.
4) In handheld bottles
These typically come in 2 styles; ergonomically shaped bottles that you hold onto, or straps that fix a standard bottle to your hand.
- Simple way of carrying a small amount of fluid without the need for anything large strapped to your body.
- Having a reasonably heavy bottle swinging around in your hand as you run takes some time to get used to, so you'll want to test it in training!
Simple way of carrying 250-500ml (8oz to 16oz). Good for longish/hot training runs when you have little need to carry anything but a bit fluid to keep you hydrated.
Quickshot Plus It only holds 300ml so is light and ergonomically shape, plus has a pocket for a car key or gel as well
5) In under arm bottles
- Keeps the weight of the water very close to your centre of gravity, stopping it from wobbling about
- Easy to access and re-fill on the go.
Probably the best way we’ve found to carry a decent amount of fluids along with other kit whilst running.
Inov-8 Race Elite Vest. It has a rear section that can be used for a bladder if you need to carry loads of fluid and this can also be stuffed with spare clothing or safety kit in long races.
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