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Four hydration packs perfect for backcountry hunting and fishing

Hydration packs for any outdoor trip.
Hydration packs for any outdoor trip. (Austin Ban via Unsplash/)

Water bottles are sort of the worst. They’re cumbersome, slosh around a ton on hikes, and seldom fit well into a bag’s built-in water pouches. Our modest proposal: Ditch them. Hydration packs are tons more convenient and, in most cases, include extra storage pockets for gear. Win-win. We’ve rounded up for four top-rated models, one of which is sure to suit your next off-the-grid excursion.

The Barbarians Tactical Hydration Pack is a lightweight, 3-liter bag with plenty of extra storage.
The Barbarians Tactical Hydration Pack is a lightweight, 3-liter bag with plenty of extra storage. (Amazon/)

The Barbarians Tactical Hydration Pack is like a lot of other hiking hydration packs—just better, in part because it’s affordable. Other reasons: The 3-liter water-hauler is made of tough 600D Polyester, meaning it won’t fall apart on you easily, and it weighs only 1.83 pounds sans water. It comes in four colors—tan, camo, black, and dark green—all of which are hunting-appropriate. And the two big outside pockets mean that, for short outings, you can stash your fly gear, cellphone, and wallet inside and leave your regular backcountry pack at home.

The Osprey Duro Vest, a snug-fitting, 1.5 liter vest.
The Osprey Duro Vest, a snug-fitting, 1.5 liter vest. (Amazon/)

The Osprey Duro 1.5 is a hydration vest designed for running and, as such, fits extra-snugly against the body, to maximize stability and minimize sloshing. For backcountry hunters getting in shape for elk season, the Duro would be a nice companion for uphill training jogs. Likewise, the pack will prevent anglers from having to lug cumbersome water bottles on long hikes to far-flung trout holes.

The Piscifun Fishing Vest, an affordable, 17-pocket pack.
The Piscifun Fishing Vest, an affordable, 17-pocket pack. (Amazon/)

Though many, if not most, fly vests and slings come with a water-bottle pouch of one sort or another, precious few include a water bladder and built-in hose holders for easy hydration while casting a line. The Piscifun Fishing Vest Backpack is one of the latter. The affordable, 17-pocket pack aims to be a complete fly setup, with a backpack in the rear (where the water bladder is stored) and a proper fishing vest in the front. Don’t be surprised if you spot more backcountry fly bums sporting this Piscifun on the river.

The Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest Combo, a durable, do-it-all angling setup.
The Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest Combo, a durable, do-it-all angling setup. (Amazon/)

The Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest Combo is a modest step up from the Piscifun Fishing Vest Backpack, in terms of cost and quality. It’s widely praised for its durability, and fishermen claim that it rivals any big-name fly vests they’ve used. It comes with a 1.5-liter water bladder that fits discreetly into the rear backpack.

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