4 Backpacks That Are Actually Comfortable To Wear When You Run

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Whether you're heading out on a long-distance run, hitting the trails, or jogging to work, the best running backpacks are a handy way to tote water, gear, or other daily necessities.

Not every backpack is ideal to wear while running, however. Running backpacks should fit comfortably without bouncing around, which makes it important to look for packs with adjustable straps so you can achieve the perfect fit. If you care a lot about comfort (especially if you might be carrying heavier items), look for straps with padding. And if you tend to get really sweaty, look for straps made from breathable materials, such as mesh, for better airflow. A backpack that has shoulder, chest, and waist straps allows for even weight distribution, which is important because it spreads out the weight of the bag instead of dumping it all on your shoulders.

Size is another main factor to consider. It’s important to pick a backpack that is big enough to carry your essentials, but not so large that you’re stuck lugging around extra bulk or weight. A backpack’s capacity is usually measured in liters. If you only need to carry water, your phone and keys, and a few other small items, it may be worthwhile to opt for a hydration vest instead of a full-on backpack. These vests are much smaller in size and less bulky, and they allow you to stay hydrated thanks to built-in hydration packs (more on that in a second).

Be on the lookout for other convenient features, too. Backpacks with a hydration pack make getting your water intake a breeze; a hydration pack can usually hold a couple of liters of water (depending on the size), and the straw-like attachment makes for easy access so you can drink water while you run. Conveniently placed pockets are another perk to look for; after all, the last thing you want to do is interrupt your run just to find your gels. If you're going to be commuting with your pack, you might want to keep an eye out for a model with a laptop sleeve to protect your electronics.

Sifting through the best running backpacks on Amazon can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. To help out, I identified four backpacks reviewers say are the perfect combination of comfort and functionality.


A 12-Liter Backpack With Convenient Front Storage

According to Amazon reviewers, this Salomon backpack can hold a surprisingly large amount of stuff while still remaining comfortable during a long run. The wide opening on the bag makes for super quick packing, and the easy-to-access front storage means you won’t need to interrupt your stride in order to grab your water bottle, gels, or other essentials.

This Salomon backpack is very lightweight overall (330 grams, aka a little under a pound), and features a mesh panel that keeps you nice and cool. The harness-style straps allow for even weight distribution, which is extra-important if you plan on packing the bag to the brim. In addition to shoulder straps, there are dual sternum straps that buckle across the chest and closer to the waist.

The pack doesn't have an opening for a straw, but you could easily tuck a bladder in one of the front pockets. That said, the backpack comes with two half-liter water flasks stowed in the front pockets, which you could swap out (or not) depending on personal preference.

Salomon is a reputable brand known for its high-quality gear, so you can rest assured that you are getting a quality pack that will last you a long time.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: "This is a great running bag: I really love it. It just the right size to keep a change of clothes. It has two water packs, which can be used while you run. It fits very well and it has nice strap that help it "sit" tight on your back. When I run I mostly don't even notice that I have a bag with me."


A 13-Liter Pack That's Great For Commuters

With more than 900 reviews on Amazon and a 4.6-star rating overall, it’s pretty clear that this Osprey backpack is a favorite from this beloved backpack brand. And it's easy to see why: Reviewers report that this pick can be used for both running to work and running purely for pleasure. The 1-pound backpack features a built-in sleeve that secures your laptop or tablet during your morning commute. Out of the office, though, this pick is equally as great. The backpack is roomy enough to carry all of your essentials, and the mesh-covered foam back panel and shoulder straps provide ventilation, so you’ll be able to rock this pick on any long-distance run. In addition to the shoulder straps, there's also a sternum strap with a built-in whistle and a removable hip belt to help comfortably distribute the load.

This backpack features mesh side pockets that are great for holding a water bottle, and the main compartment is easily accessible through the large zippered panel. The pack even attaches to a variety of other Osprey packs, which is convenient during longer trips or treks. A hydration pocket makes it easy to use with a hydration pack or bladder.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I bought this because I was looking for a bag that I could bring with to work but also take with when I go for runs directly afterwards. This bag is quite spacious and I can honestly say I'm surprised each and every time I try and jam it full of last minute purchases or a change of clothes because it always feels like I can cram just one more thing in there. [...] This works for everything I need it for. It holds my change of clothes, water bladder, wallet, keys, etc. And the chest and waist straps make it a great running bag because if the straps are adequately tightened, that thing isn't moving or jostling around as you run or bike."


A 5.5-Liter Hydration Vest To Carry Just The Basics

Just need water and a few small necessities on your run? This TRIWONDER hydration vest will be your go-to as it can hold up to 1.5-liters of water, while also being super comfortable, according to Amazon reviewers. With an impressive 4.5-star rating on the site, reviewers love that this vest is low profile, which makes it great for lengthy runs. The slide-adjustable straps and two adjustable sternum straps ensure a perfect fit. And the vest's breathability is next to none; the mesh fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly, both of which help to improve comfort and reduce chafing.

The vest itself is super lightweight (250 grams, or a little over half a pound) and is made of a waterproof nylon in case you get stuck out in the rain. Reflectivity on the front and back enhance your visibility, which is a good safety feature for any runner.

The vest comes with a 2-liter water bladder, but if you'd prefer a water bottle you can opt for the version that comes with a pair of small water bottles. You can also order the vest without any water vessels if that suits you better.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: "This is such a great hydration vest for running. It is very light and made of great materials that dry quickly. There is enough space for a phone and gels in the pockets. It is easily adjustable and does not chafe during a long run. What more could you ask for? I took it on a 9 mile test run on a local trail and it was perfect. There is enough room in the back for a large water bottle or a small hydration reservoir (1 liter). I brought a 750 ml water bottle in the back and it didn't move around and felt comfortable during the run. Highly recommended product!"


An 18-Liter Backpack With An Included Hydration Bladder

This TETON backpack is the perfect travel companion for an all-day or overnight running adventure. The 18-liter size can hold everything you need, while the built-in hydration bladder means you’ll always have easy access to water.

Amazon reviewers give this pick an impressive 4.4-star rating, after more than 3,000 reviews. Reviewers specifically love the fact that, despite being very roomy, this pick is actually very comfortable to run in. The shoulder, chest, and waist straps are all adjustable, allowing you to achieve the perfect fit. Compression straps help to tighten your pack down in order to reduce bounce. The straps are contoured and padded so they're super comfortable to wear, and they're covered in mesh for breathability. The integrated rain cover keeps your pack (and the gear inside) dry when it rains, so you’ll never have to worry about your belongings if you get caught in a storm.

As the roomiest pack on this list, the TETON is also the heaviest, weighing 2 pounds when it's empty. 2 pounds isn't a lot, but if you don't need 18 liters of storage space, you might want to opt for one of the lighter packs above.

Choose from a couple of different backpack colors.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I am obsessed with my Oasis 1100 hydration backpack!! I took this to Hawaii and am in love. There are two straps for you to use so the backpack is secure to your body. I am obsessed with the different amount of compartments you have. 4 zippers & two mesh pouches on each side. As an avid hiker, this backpack is my go to! I love the 2 litter bladder. Plus, IT'S BPA FREE. You really can do no wrong with this back pack. Very light weight & super comfortable. I recommend this to anyone that loves the outdoors and lives an active life style."

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