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No matter the type of running you do, whether it’s morning runs on pavement, weekend hikes on trails, or competitive racing in marathons, having an easy way to carry water can make the difference between a good run and a bad one. If you’re still carrying your water by hand, it’s time to upgrade to something more convenient. But deciding which water bottle carriers for running to choose can be difficult because there are lots of options.
To help you save time and find a product that will meet your needs, we reviewed dozens of the most popular handheld water bottles, vests, and belts. We found that some were more hype than function, while others were highly deserving of their good ratings.
Of all the running water bottles we tested, we found that the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask offers the best mix of capacity and convenience. Keep reading to learn more about it and other water holders for runners that we think you’ll love.
1. Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask – Best Water Bottle Carrier for Grab-and-Go Hydration on Hot Days
Runners water bottle that’s effortless to carry
When you’re hitting the pavement on hot days, it’s important that you bring cool water to keep you refreshed. The Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask is perfect for the job because it features double-wall insulation that will keep your water at the same temp for hours. That’s right: Your icy water will stay crisp and cool, even if you fill the bottle in the morning and head out in the afternoon.
This handheld water bottle carries 18 ounces of liquid, which is perfect for longer runs or outings in extreme heat. It also has a racer-style cap that lets you take quick sips, even when you’re at a full run.
If you’re like us, you find carrying a water bottle in your hand annoying. We want to focus on the trail, not the water. This flask comes with an adjustable strap to help tether the water bottle to your hand so you don’t have to keep too tight a grip. If you’d rather leave your hand relaxed, just use the integrated thumb hole to run without holding on.
Another thing that I love about this water bottle holder for running is that it offers a little bit of extra room to stow necessities you might need while you’re out. The zippered pocket is large enough to store a cell phone, or you can use it for your house keys, driver’s license, cash, or other things you’d like to have on hand.
If you often run before the sun comes out or after it’s gone down, you’ll appreciate that the material of the flask holder is reflective. Made of high-visibility fabric, it will ensure passing carsl notice you. I tested the material while running one evening, and most cars moved over to make room for me, so the fabric definitely works as intended.
One of the only things I didn’t like about this handheld water bottle is that the cap can be a bit difficult to screw on. And if you don’t get it on perfectly, you can expect leaks as you’re running — super annoying.
What I Liked
- Insulated flask keeps water and other liquids cold or hot for hours
- Adjustable strap with thumb hole allows for grip-free carrying
- Zippered pouch can store a phone or other essentials
What I Didn’t Like
- The cap must be twisted on perfectly; otherwise, the bottle leaks
- Feels a bit lopsided to run with water in one hand over longer distances
2. G-Run Hydration Running Belt – Best Water Bottle Carrier for Bringing Everything That You Need
Hands-free water holder with a large storage pocket
When you go on long runs, you typically need to bring a little more than just water. With the G-Run Hydration Running Belt, you can bring along two small bottles of H2O, as well as a phone, car keys, a snack, sunscreen, cash, and credit cards.
The hydration belt is one of the best runners water bottle holders because it has a roomy 4.5-inch by 8.5-inch zippered pocket for stowing your essentials. This makes the belt an ideal fit whether you’re going on an extra-long run, participating in a marathon, or just don’t want to be left without outdoor essentials.
(We’ll be honest: We took this belt with us to the dog park, and it offered plenty of room for water, a phone, poop bags, a small bag of dog treats, and car keys.)
When it comes to hydration, you’re covered thanks to two 10-ounce water bottles. The bottles are BPA-free for your safety, and they fit snugly within pockets on either side of the zippered pouch. My only issue with them is that the mouths aren’t very big. They’re fine for drinking, but there were a few hot days when I would have liked to add ice cubes and couldn’t.
As you can imagine, one of the greatest benefits of a hydration belt is the fact that you don’t have to hold your water bottles as you run. But a belt is only helpful if it stays in place and doesn’t slip as you run.
When we tested this one, we were pleasantly surprised to see that there was no annoying bouncing or sliding — the bottles stayed put within their pockets, and the anti-slip coating on the back of the belt kept the entire unit in place.
The belt is available in a few neutral color choices, so it’s appropriate for both men and women. Despite carrying the size of “medium”, this hydration belt is only available in one size. However, the strap does extend up to 60 inches, so it will fit a variety of body shapes.
What I Liked
- Roomy zippered pockets ensure you can carry everything you need
- Hands-free design lets you run or jog without having to hold water bottles
- Adjustable and elasticized belt can fit waists or hips up to 60 inches
What I Didn’t Like
- Water bottle mouths are not big enough to add ice cubes
- Items in the zippered pouch shift as you run when the pocket isn’t full
3. Hydrosleeve Armband Hydration Pack – Best Water Bottle Carrier for Lightweight Hydration on Short Runs
Unique carrier that eliminates the need for a handheld water bottle
Depending on the weather, you may prefer to take water with you even on short runs. Rather than carry a handheld water bottle, check out this Armband Hydration Pack from Hydrosleeve. It offers a unique design that wraps around your bicep so you always have a bit of water on hand.
We love the carrier’s compact form, and we found it was actually easy to forget it was there once we got moving.
Due to its small size, the flask only holds about 7 ounces of water. This is sufficient for most shorter outings, but we did wish it had a greater capacity.
The flask is made from BPA-free materials, and it’s insulated to keep your body temperature from warming your water.
The idea with this hydration pack is that you can lift your arm and drink from the bite valve while you’re moving. In theory, it sounds great. But in practice, we found it a bit cumbersome.
What we did instead was simply jog in place while taking a sip, and we found that to be a more natural and comfortable motion.
This water carrier is designed to be used on either side of the body, with an adjustable bite valve that’s easy to point in whichever direction you prefer.
And here’s one more great feature: The water pouch compresses as you drink from it. This means you won’t have a half-empty flask sloshing around on your arm when you’re on the go.
What I Liked
- Hands-free water carrier straps to your arm to stay out of the way
- An insulated layer keeps your water cool
- Wear it on either side of your body to fit your needs
What I Didn’t Like
- Drinking from a raised arm while running is a bit awkward
- Only holds 7.5 ounces of water, so it’s not great for long runs
4. Osprey Duro 1.5 Running Hydration Vest – Best Water Bottle Carrier for Keeping Hydrated on Even the Longest Runs
High-capacity vest for carrying the most water
Long-distance runners have to carry water; there’s just no way around it. But the Osprey Duo 1.5 Running Vest makes it easy and convenient by keeping your hands free and letting your torso bear the weight of water and belongings.
Made of heavy-duty fabrics and mesh for breathability, this vest is designed for long-term use during trail runs, marathons, and other extended outdoor activities.
When you wear it, you can bring up to 1.5 liters of water in the expanding reservoir. Thirsty? Just pull the valve to your mouth and rehydrate — there’s no need to stop or slow down.
Other wearables that offer the option to drink and go are sometimes a bit awkward, but that wasn’t the case here. Drinking out of the water valve was just like using a straw.
To keep other necessities, such as snacks, gels, and supplements, within easy reach, the vest has several zippered mesh pockets. You can also store a cell phone, car keys, and other small items in these pouches.
We were a bit concerned that a vest would be too heavy to wear during a challenging hike, but we found that this one did an excellent job of distributing weight. We didn’t feel as if we were wearing a bulky accessory, and while we didn’t forget that we were wearing it, it didn’t move, shift, or bounce enough to bother us. However, we were always aware of the sternum strap, which was a little annoying.
If you often go on hikes or traverse difficult terrain, you’ll find the integrated trekking pole attachment to be convenient. There’s also a whistle zipper pull that you can use in emergency situations to call for help.
Overall, we were very pleased with this vest, but we recognize that it’s not appropriate for all situations. For example, carrying 1.5 liters of water adds over 3 lbs of weight — you probably won’t want to carry that during a morning run. That means you may need a separate handheld water bottle for shorter excursions.
What I Liked
- Ability to carry lots of water for longer trips
- Distributes weight over your shoulders so you don’t get tired
- Lots of pockets for storing snacks and other running essentials
What I Didn’t Like
- Vest is specialized equipment that won’t be appropriate in every situation
- Sternum strap sometimes felt as if it wasn’t sitting right
5. Geila Handheld Water Bottle – Best Water Bottle Carrier for Budget-Conscious Runners
Economic solution for both shorter and longer runs
The Geila Handheld Water Bottle is one of the best running water bottles if you’re looking for an affordable solution that doesn’t cut down on convenience.
One of the things we liked most about this runners water bottle was how well it fit in the palm of our hand. The interior flask inflates when you fill it with water, and it achieves a size that’s neither too large or too small. While you do have to grip the bottle slightly while running, it’s a comfortable one.
The only problem we ran into in this respect was the fact that the flask deflated as you drink water. When it was empty, we lost that comfortable grip. Thankfully, the problem is easy to solve by just blowing up the empty flask and quickly resealing it.
Part of the reason this handheld water bottle is so easy to carry is because it has a lightweight neoprene cover for support. The cover is also reflective to help keep you safe when traveling in dark conditions.
The flask lets you carry about 17 ounces of water, so it’s a good choice for longer runs or hot days. Unlike some others of this style that we’ve tested, this one doesn’t offer any insulation, so you’ll want to be sure to fill it with super-cold water prior to your run.
The water bottle holder has a zippered pouch that’s large enough to store a cell phone or some other small belongings. Be sure not to overfill it; otherwise the carrier may become large enough that it’s no longer comfortable to hold.
One last thing to keep in mind about this handheld water bottle: The bladder arrived with a strange smell. It went away after we soaked it in soapy water for about 15 minutes, but we would have preferred that it arrived pre-cleaned.
What I Liked
- Affordable solution for bringing 17 ounces of water on long runs
- Comfortable to grip, especially thanks to the neoprene support with thumb hole
- Zippered pocket lets you bring cash, cards, and other small items
What I Didn’t Like
- Blowing up a deflated bladder to keep a comfortable grip was somewhat annoying
- Arrived with a strange smell
- Lacks insulation to keep your drink cold
What We Looked for in the Best Water Bottle Carriers for Running
When it comes to staying hydrated, runners have unique needs — and we know all about them, being runners ourselves who put in several miles on pavement and trails every week.
But having unique needs doesn’t mean that you need all of the latest features, especially those that are mostly buzz words.
To bust through the hype and bring you the best water carriers for running, we considered several criteria, the most important being:
- Function. There are lots of water bottles and carriers out there, but there are far fewer that are suitable for the high-impact activity of running.
- Usability. No one wants a water carrier that doesn’t function as intended.
- Quality. Quality goes a long way in this product category, as inferior products may leak, tear, or otherwise lose their convenience.
How to Choose the Right Water Bottle Carrier for Running
In our opinion, the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask is the best water carrier for running, but you may be in need of something different. To choose the best runners water bottle for your specific circumstances, consider the following.
Capacity refers to how much water you can carry. You might think that you want the water bottle carrier that holds the most, but remember that liquid is heavy, so the more you carry, the more it will weigh you down.
Rather than go for the largest capacity, think about when you’ll use your water carrier. If you take morning runs that last less than an hour, you don’t need to bring that much water with you. As such, a bottle that holds 10 ounces or less should be enough.
On the other hand, if you run for hours, such as in marathons, or spend your days on the trails, you definitely have use for a larger water carrier that holds up to a liter or more.
The days of hand carrying a water bottle are gone — so long as you want them to be. If you still want water as close as your hand, you can choose from a variety of bottle carriers that strap to your hand or wrist. Most offer support so you don’t have to grip the bottle as tightly or at all.
If you prefer to go hands-free, you’ve got your choice of several styles. The most common include belts and vests. When choosing these, you have to think about how they feel as you’re running, especially when they’re weighed down with water and other items.
A water bottle carrier’s weight, both full and empty, is an important thing to think about because it can have a huge effect on the quality of your run.
Protip: If you tend to carry more than you need for your runs, look for a simpler carrier style. The less room you have for chapstick, extra sunglasses, and snacks, the more likely you’ll forgo them.
While the primary purpose of a water bottle carrier is to hold water, many offer other convenience features that can improve the quality of your run.
Some offer pouches, pockets, and other spaces to stow additional things you need to bring with you, like house keys, performance gels, and a cell phone.
Others may offer such comforts as integrated earbud slots or marathon tag holders. Carefully review product features to determine which are nice but unnecessary and those that are must-haves.
To select the best water bottle carrier for running for your unique situation, you first have to define how you’ll use the product. From there, think about how much water you’ll need, how much weight you’re willing to carry, and what types of extra features you want.
Of all the water bottle holders for running that we reviewed and tested, we like the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask most. It offers the best mix of features, with the ability to hold 18 ounces of water, as well as a cell phone and other small necessities.
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