If you’re exploring the outdoors with your child, it’s important to ensure that they are properly hydrated.
Generally, kids don’t drink enough water, and you certainly want to prevent dehydration when you’re in the outdoors or taking part in activities.
What are the symptoms of dehydration? Dehydration can present with mild symptoms, such as irritation, dizziness, and a dry or sticky mouth, which makes it tougher to spot.
You can prevent dehydration by bringing the right amount of water when you’re in the outdoors or by purchasing a hydration pack, and the one that makes the top of our list is the CamelBack 2018 Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack because it’s got excellent water capacity and extra storage, so it doubles up as a regular backpack.
Let’s check it out, along with four alternatives in our guide to the best youth hydration packs: stay cool with these budget buys.
- CamelBak 2018 Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack: Best Youth Hydration Packs Winner
- Vibrelli Hydration Pack & 2L Hydration Water Bladder: Runner Up
- Osprey HydraJet 12 Kid’s Hydration Backpack: Alternative 1
- CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack: Alternative 2
- Sojourner Hydration Pack Backpack: Alternative 3
Best Youth Hydration Packs Winner: CamelBak 2018 Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack
- Color: Blue, red, or purple
- Volume: 1.5 liters (52 oz)
- Weight: 1.151 pounds (522 g)
- One of the things you might be worried about when buying a hydration pack for your kids is that they just won’t want to carry it around with them, or that you’ll end up having to carry yours as well as theirs when you’re on a hike. But that’s why this hydration pack by CamelBak is so child-friendly– it has lots of features that will intrigue your kids, such as a bright and colorful pattern that your kids will love.
- It’s got lots of storage pockets, so your kids can pack valuables such as their cell phones and headphones before you start your morning hike together. Kids are also more likely to use hydration backpacks if they’re versatile.
- The backpack’s hydration pack offers 20 percent more water for every sip, which means that even if your kids don’t want to drink a lot of water they’ll still keep hydration at bay.
- This backpack comes with an ergonomic handle that makes refilling it easy, plus it has an on/off lever which prevents leaks. Not only does this make it much easier for your kids to use, even if they’re really young, but it means that you won’t have the stress of water leaks ruining valuables or your mood during your holiday.
- The bag doesn’t have any instructions pertaining to using the water reservoir, which can be tricky if you’ve never used a hydration pack. You’ll have to conduct a bit of research, such as by checking out videos online, when setting up this hydration pack.
- As a parent, you’ll love that this youth hydration pack also has safety features. These include a safety whistle (that’s located on the sternum strap) and reflective accents. So if you’re hiking with your kids or camping with them, there’s poor visibility or they go off on their own, you’ll still be able to see them.
Children love having their own things, so this kid-friendly and fun backpack is sure to appeal to them. Not only will this backpack keep your child safe as well as hydrated, but he or she will love storing their items in this bold and colorful bag.
- Color: Orange or green
- Volume: 2 liters (70 oz)
- Weight: 0.875 pounds (396 g)
- At first glance this backpack looks like a hydration pack for adults because it’s so stylish, but it’s appropriate for kids too. It’s a versatile backpack that anyone can use, thanks to it being really light so it’s the easiest to carry. It only weighs 14 ounces and is designed to be streamlined for the most comfortable fit. It’s also fitted with adjustable straps.
- It comes with an Easy-Twist mouthpiece that makes it easy to sip water. It doesn’t leak and doesn’t drip on your body when it’s locked. This makes it perfect for active kids.
- It offers a taste-free hydration reservoir. Since it’s made out of medical grade materials, this hydration pack is completely free of harmful chemicals such as BPA. This also means your child won’t have that horrible plastic taste in their mouth after using it, which also makes them more likely to want to use it. No one wants to drink yucky water.
- This backpack does have exposed seams on its straps, which some people who’ve purchased it have reported felt uncomfortable unless they were wearing layers of clothing to produce a buffer to the chafing.
- The hydration pack’s shut-off valve is difficult to open at times, which can be finicky for kids to use.
- Another reason why this hydration backpack is perfect for all members of the family is because of how it’s got excellent storage. It comes with a main storage compartment as well as extra mesh pockets where kids can carry their wallet, phone, jacket, snacks, and other items.
We can’t guarantee that you won’t want to purchase this hydration pack for yourself! It’s sure to keep your kids hydrated in the outdoors because it has a 70-ounce capacity, which is even more than the previous hydration backpack we featured in this guide. It’s also filled with lots of other features that make it the most versatile backpack.
Alternative 1: Osprey HydraJet 12 Kid’s Hydration Backpack
- Color: Red or blue
- Volume: 1.5 liters (52 oz)
- Weight: 1.199 pounds (543 g)
- Your kids will love that they can use it for storing their possessions. It’s got stretchy mesh side pockets, a large pocket on the front of the backpack, a small zippered pocket on the exterior, and daisy chain attachments so they can carry even more items.
- The water reservoir is watertight and easy for kids to drink from, thanks to how it has a magnet on the backpack’s chest strap to ensure the mouthpiece is within easy reach and stays in place.
- The backpack has a ventilated back panel to keep your kiddo cool during hot days. On the topic of comfort, the straps of this backpack are lined with fleece to prevent them from digging or chafing. That’s a really nice touch which makes this the most comfortable hydration pack.
- This youth hydration pack contains a Hydraulics LT 1.5-liter (52 oz) reservoir that’s sufficient for a variety of activities.
- The hydration hose clicks into place with the use of a magnet, but it doesn’t always stay put. You have to ensure you loop it through the strap’s elastic to keep it secure, and you might always have to check this before your kid wears it to ensure it’s secure.
- The main compartment of this hydration backpack has a wide-mouth bucket design that makes it easy to fill and remove items with ease. That also makes it easy to clean and keep decluttered.
This hydration backpack is currently unavailable for purchase from Amazon but you can get it from the Backcountry website. When purchasing a hydration pack for your kids, comfort should be one of your priorities and this pack definitely achieves that.
Alternative 2: CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
- Color: Black, camo, blue, atomic blue, or red
- Volume: 1.5 liters (52 oz)
- Weight: 0.794 pounds (360 g)
- This is another quality hydration backpack for kids by CamelBak. It’s specially designed for use during cycling because of its tapered shape that fits snugly against your body and how it offers enough water in the reservoir for a two-hour ride.
- Your kids will love it because it’s compact and built to be comfortable, which makes it the best hydration pack for running, cycling, and a variety of other outdoor activities. It’s designed with features such as a ventilated mesh harness as well as a breathable air mesh back panel. Perfect for those long hikes during the summer!
- Just like with the other CamelBak backpack we reviewed in this guide, this one enables you to get 20 percent more water with every sip, thanks to its ergonomic handle that makes it easier to drink from – and refill – the water reservoir. This means kids of any ages will be able to use this hydration pack easily.
- It comes with a zippered pocket in which your kids will be able to store small, valuable items they don’t want to leave behind at camp, such as their cell phone or earphones.
- This youth hydration backpack’s water bladder is a bit tough to fill up at first and you always have to double-check the lid is on correctly otherwise it will leak.
- This is quite a small backpack – you’re looking at specs of 12.6 x 0.33 x 3.94 inches (32 x .83 x 10 cm) in size, which is a few inches smaller than what some other bags offer. That’s something to bear in mind if your child needs a larger backpack which can hold more of their items, such as if you’re going on an overnight hiking trip.
- You’ll love that the hydration pack bladder’s opening is large enough to enable you to clean it properly, especially if you know that you’ll be the one who has to clean it when you get back home.
This youth hydration pack got all the features your kids need to stay hydrated and cool on hikes. If you’re looking for a compact backpack for your kids, especially if your kids are really young and won’t have to carry many items in their bag, this small hydration pack is worth it and has some of the best extra features, such as an ergonomic handle.
Alternative 3: Sojourner Hydration Pack Backpack
- Color: flamingo pattern, rainbow pattern, green, floral, galaxy pattern, black, copper, light blue, blue, pale pink, silver, pineapple pattern, USA flag pattern
- Volume: 2 liters (70 oz)
- Weight: 13 Ounces (368 g)
- One of the main reasons why this is the best hydration pack for kids is that it is really light. It’s streamlined and easy to adjust, thanks to its shoulder and chest straps that prevent it from moving around when your kid takes part in outdoor activities.
- Your kids will love how the two-inch sized screw cap gives them the chance to put ice into the water bladder so that they can enjoy cool drinks on the go.
- It’s built to be easy to use, which is another reason why it’s so kid-friendly. It’s got a kink-free tube and a high-flow bite-valve that can be shut off with the use of one hand.
- Worrying about leaks in a hydration pack is no longer going to fill your mind because this hydration pack has been upgraded to prevent spills, thanks to its custom mouth piece and connecting valves. This means your kids will be able to store their valuables in this backpack without worrying about them getting wet and ruined, which is sure to prevent holiday disasters from striking.
- Some people who have purchased this backpack have reported that it has some quality issues, such as when it comes to its stitching being of a low quality.
- The chest strap on this hydration backpack rides a little high, which can be a bit uncomfortable.
- The water bladder is made out of food-grade approved materials, and it’s also free of BPA and PVC so you don’t have to worry about your kids consuming harmful toxins. This makes it the safest youth hydration pack on the market.
There’s no doubt about how this hydration pack for kids looks really cool and will interest your kids from the second when they see it. It’s also packed with features they’ll love while ensuring they enjoy cool and delicious water when spending time outdoors. This backpack is the most budget-friendly pack on our list.
Youth Hydration Packs FAQ
How big of a hydration pack do I need?
You’ll find that most hydration pack bladders will have a capacity of between one to three liters. Smaller packs will hover around the two-liter (approximately 67-oz) capacity mark, and these are great if you’re looking for a daypack that will give you enough water for a variety of activities.
Much smaller packs that offer half a liter (16 oz) to a liter (33 oz) capacity are suitable for short sessions of outdoor activities, such as light running. Three liters (100 oz) will be sufficient for people who are taking part in more strenuous activity or if you’re entering remote terrain where water isn’t easily found.
Remember that, water hydration packs aside, you should also look at how much space the rest of the backpack contains. Are there pockets for valuables? How many? Are they small or decently-sized? These are all important to look for when choosing a hydration pack because it increases the backpack’s versatility.
How long can you keep water in a hydration pack?
If you’ve reached the end of your hike and your child still has some water in their hydration pack, you don’t have to wash it out right away. You can keep water in a hydration pack for between two to three weeks.
In fact, some people even say that the water can be safe to drink after about six months. That said, you have to ensure the inside of the hydration bladder is clean and hygienic, which we’ll get to in greater detail a bit later.
Can I put ice in my hydration pack?
Your hydration pack won’t keep your water chilled, even though these products are usually designed to be insulated, and there’s nothing worse than reaching for a sip of water that’s lukewarm or hot.
The good news is that you can add ice to your hydration pack to keep your water nice and cool. In fact, as we’ve seen in this buying guide of the best kids hydration packs, some backpacks come with extra-wide mouthpieces so that you can fit ice blocks in them. An example is the Soujourner hydration backpack.
When adding ice to your hydration pack, make sure you fill the bladder about halfway with ice. Don’t add more than that as it can cause the entire bladder to freeze.
If you don’t have ice blocks handy, you can keep your hydration bladder nice and chilled by putting it into the freezer for a few hours. Remember to remove it before it completely freezes!
Can you put a hydration pack in a regular backpack?
Generally, you can put a hydration pack into a regular backpack, however it’s important to know how to do this properly.
For starters, you need to put it in the right place. This could be in a side-pocket, for instance, but make sure that it’s both large enough and snug enough to keep the bladder firmly in place.
You also need to check that the hose exit of the water bladder is at the bottom. You want to ensure the bladder runs along the chest harness and then clips into place. Make sure there are no knots or kinks in the tube that will prevent water from reaching your mouth.
How often should I clean my hydration pack?
You should aim to clean your hydration pack bladders every few weeks. This will ensure that they remain hygienic.
If you use your pack very often, then you should do it more regularly. Now, you might be wondering how you should clean it. Here’s a quick and easy way.
Take hot water and two tablespoons of bleach. Mix them well inside the water bladder.
Hold the water bladder high in the air as you pinch the bite valve. This allows the solution to move through the tube of the hydration pack.
Leave the cleaning solution to sit in the water pack for about half an hour.
Once that time is up, you want to wash it well with some hot water and gentle soap. You’ll want to rinse it out very well to remove any bleach or soap residue before you fill it with water.
When it’s been cleaned to your satisfaction, leave the water bladder where it can air dry. Ensure it is properly dry before using it as water that accumulates inside the water reservoir can cause mold to grow.
After reading our buying guide of kids hydration packs, it’s clear that the CamelBak 2018 pack is worth purchasing because it’s ergonomic and has more storage space than other types of packs, such as the CamelBak HydroBak that’s a little on the small side.
It’s also a bit more user-friendly than the runner-up backpack, the Vibrelli hydration pack, which has an easy-to-use mouthpiece but a tricky shut-off valve.
When choosing a hydration pack, you’ll want to get the right capacity, and the CamelBack 2018 offers 50 ounces, which is 1.5 liters, and this is perfect for a variety of situations and activities. Now that you know the best hydration packs to purchase for your kids, you’ll ensure they have a more comfortable and fun experience of the great outdoors.