Three runners who workout most days confirm: these are the best hydration vests to suit all fitness levels

Tried and tested by our expert team.

hydration vest
(Image credit: Future)

Hydration vests have become something of a cult product in the fitness world in recent months - so much so, my entire TikTok page seems to be flooded with people training for 10km's or half marathons wearing the vests crammed full of gels, electrolyte bottles and SFP.

While you don't need to be a runner to enjoy the many benefits a hydration vest has to offer - far from it - there's a reason they've soared in popularity so much in recent months. A handy, simple and easy-to-wear way of storing your phone, wallet and other essentials while moving, they promise to make any walk, hike or run a smoother experience.

Never ones to recommend products that we haven't personally tried and rated, team Marie Claire UK have been putting a whole heap of different hydration vests to the test for you. Why invest in a hydration vest from this round-up that we've personally tested? Well, similar to the best running trainers or even running shorts, all hydration vests are different and it is important to filter out what your specific activity requires from you to make the most of your equipment. From size, to shape, to compartments, to zippers, there are quite a few elements worth considering before investing. 

Need more convincing? Well, let us lay it out for you - if you're someone who simply runs with your phone in your hand, you might actually be doing yourself more harm than good. Though more research is needed, preliminary studies have shown that carrying your phone while running can actually lead to muscle imbalance and cause shoulder problems further down the line (if you think about it, it makes sense, as your body is then imbalanced for the entirety of your run).

Below, Senior Health Editor Ally Head, athlete and founder of PASSA Lillie Bleasdale, and myself, MC UK Producer Sofia Piza, share our top picks. (Side note: I'm currently training for my second half marathon and have found the hydration vests pretty game-changing for my training). In search of an extra hydration boost? We've got you covered.

Testing process for the best hydration vests

In other words, what makes for a great hydration vest and what - well, doesn't? We looked for the following qualities before including in this edit.

  • How comfortable is this hydration vest? When performing both high or low intensity exercise - think running or hiking - was the vest both comfortable and functional? Did it rub, chafe, or cause any friction against the skin? Did it stay in place while we moved? 
  • Does this hydration vest have enough pockets? The main reason most opt for a hydration vest is for storage reasons - to keep your keys, phone, gels and other essentials in while moving. We only included hydration vests below that had adequate storage space, but also kept things in place.
  • Are they worth the investment? Lots of hydration vests sit at a higher price point, so we wanted to make sure the quality of the vests included was reflective of the price point. 
  • Did they wash well? Self explanatory, really - but being able to wash your vest easily is key. No one likes a stacked laundry pile.

4 best hydration vests to support you on your next run, walk or hike

1. Best Decathlon hydration vest:

hydration vests

(Image credit: Decathlon)

Evadict 8L Trail Running Bag

Reasons to buy

+
Chest pocket is clear for comfort
+
Doesn't puncture the skin when wearing a vest with no sleeves
+
Reflective for night running
+
Easy access to water with longer straws

Reasons to avoid

-
Longer straws can flap around if not properly adjusted
-
Thick material which retains heat

What we thought when testing: "I was pleasantly surprised by this hydration vest as my first impressions made me feel as though it was going to be too bulky to enjoy on longer runs. However, I really enjoyed how adjustable the straps were and the extra chest strap with protection for the longer straws. The hydration vest did not ride around and stayed put throughout my run the entire time."

"I was super excited to try hydration packs with straws and really enjoyed the precision that they offered and the lack of time spent stopping and reaching out for the bottled pack. Overall, I really recommend this hydration vest and it has quickly become a staple in my long runs." - Sofia Piza, Producer

2. Best lightweight hydration vest

hydration vest

(Image credit: Satisfy)

Justice™ Cordura® 5L Hydration Vest

Reasons to buy

+
Super lightweight
+
8 pocket system with two extra zipper pockets and rear storage
+
Branded sleek flasks included
+
Sleek design 

Reasons to avoid

-
Cord tying system 
-
Expensive

What we thought when testing: "I had seen these Satisfy hydration vests all over social media, so I was excited to see if they were actually worth the investment. Throughut the testing process I was super pleased with this hydration vest, partly because of its comfortable design but motsly because of its extra storage. I take quite a couple of gels during my long runs so the extra storage came in super handy as I was able to store them all plus any extra cargo I needed."

"I did find the cord tying system really hard to crack at first as I always tend to opt for buckle straps, however, after the first time I was able to adjust the vest properly and had no problem moving forward. The hydration packs are situated between the rib cage and chest so it doesn't feel uncomfortable in the chest when running. Overall, I really recommend this hydration vest for those looking for a super chic yet well-equipped option that will serve as a long-time serving investment piece." Sofia Piza, Producer

3. Best Salomon hydration vest

hydration vests

(Image credit: Amazon)

SALOMON Adv Hydra Vest 8 Unisex Hydration Vest Trail

Reasons to buy

+
Multiple stretchy pockets with zippers
+
Sleek backpack-like storage in the back for more kit
+
Great for longer runs and hikes
+
Elastic closure system for extra comfort

Reasons to avoid

-
Hydration pacs lay on the chest
-
No reflectivity for night running

What we thought when testing: "This hydration vest has long been my go-to. I first purchased it when training for my 37 ultramarathon back in 2020 and have used it ever since. In my opinion, it's the best on the market, which is probably why it's gone so viral on TikTok. Main pros: it's easy to slip on, has a simple toggle system on the front so you can adjust the straps to fit your chest size, and loads of handy storage in the back for water."

"Only thing to note - it's not machine washable (as I found out the hard way) and can rip slightly if washed on a high heat or spin. Similarly, the front pockets can be a little loose and result in your phone flying out if you don't pack them carefully. You were warned." - Ally Head, Senior Health Editor

"A slightly higher quality, and therefore higher price point, option from Salomon. Similarly to the Evadict, this has multiple front pockets for you to keep your belongings safe and also carry easily accessible front flasks as well. The rear also provides an opportunity for a bladder as well for longer events. The front has an elastic wrap closure rather than clips which make this even more adjustable to your individual shape and size." - Lillie Bleasdale, athlete and founder of PASSA

4. Best affordable hydration vest:

Hydration vest

(Image credit: Decathlon)

10L Blue Unisex Trail Running Bag

Reasons to buy

+
Adjustable cross body fastenings
+
Carries up to 2L of water
+
Has a total of 11 pockets for storage
+
More economic option

Reasons to avoid

-
Hydration pacs lay on the chest
-
Rubs slightly in the arms 

What we thought when testing: "This is a super low cost option and a great starter hydration vest. The Evadict has front pockets for flasks, as well as a separate pocket for your phone as well. The back can carry up to one litre of water, allowing for two litres in total - plenty for those long runs. The cross body fastenings are also adjustable, allowing for a good, snug fit, to avoid any bounce." - Lillie Bleasdale, athlete and founder of PASSA

Are hydration vests worth it?

According to Senior Health Editor Ally Head, who's run nine marathons and one ultramarathon, they certainly can be. "It depends on the type of training you're doing and how much you like to take with you while you're moving," she shares. "While I often opt for my hydration vest for longer runs - they're incredibly handy for packing full of gels, water, SPF and so on - I prefer a running belt or cycling shorts with pockets on the side for shorter distance."

Ultimately it's down to personal preference, but if you're looking for a phone-carrying solution for your long runs, this could be a great option for you.

Sofia Piza
Fashion Writer

Sofia Piza is the Fashion Writer at Marie Claire UK. 


Sofia Piza is a Fashion Writer with experience working across runway trends, shopping picks, creative production, and celebrity fashion news. Born in Mexico and raised in five countries, Sofia decided to settle in London after spending four years at the London College of Fashion, studying Fashion Journalism. When she's not sourcing inspiration from social media, you will most certainly find Sofia anywhere from a local vintage market to busy central London streets people watching - the possibilities are endless.