We have learned a lot since we began hiking with our kids. One thing we learned immediately was that investing in gear that makes hiking easier for us and fun for the kids is well worth it. After we purchased our Camelbak kids hydration packs, there was an immediate improvement in their stamina and overall attitude while on the trail. Everyone was excited to get their own personal hydration backpack and “snack stash”. I was more than happy to be relieved of carrying water for four people on the trail. Mom, do this for you!!
There are a few different options for kids hydration packs. Here is a review of the top kids hydration packs on the market. To skip to our favorites, check out our store on Amazon.
|CamelBak Kids Mini M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack, 50oz||Lightweight, Great size for younger kids or biking, breathable mesh, extra storage perfect for snacks, ergonomically designed handle, 1.5-Liter bladder||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||$$$$||Check|
|CamelBak 2018 Kid’s Scout Hydration Pack, 50oz||Same great features as the Mini M.U.L.E., but slightly larger for older kids or hiking, lightweight breathable mesh, larger storage compartment than Mini M.U.L.E., 1.5 liter bladder||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||$$$$$||Check|
|CamelBak Kid’s Skeeter Hydration Pack, 50oz||Minimalist design for younger children, lightweight, breathable mesh, no storage however, 1.5 liter||⭐⭐⭐⭐||$$$||Check|
|Osprey Packs Kid’s Moki 1.5 Hydration Pack||Highly breathable, great storage including a shove it compartment for easy access to small jacket, easy front zipper access to the 1.5 Liter reservoir||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||$$$$||Check|
|Osprey Packs Kid’s HydraJet Hydration Pack||Larger Osprey Hydration Pack for older kids or longer hiking, great compartmental storage||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||$$$$$||Check|
How To Choose The Best Kids Hydration Pack
Choosing the best kids hydration pack is subjective, if your kids are anything like mine, the only criteria that matters is whether it comes in their favorite color.
However since the newness will wear off in time, here are a few questions to consider when evaluating whether a kids hydration pack is the right one for your kid.
- How heavy is the hydration pack?
- How many liters does the bladder reservoir hold and will my child be able to carry it?
- Do we need additional storage or just a minimalist kids hydration pack?
- How easy is the hydration pack to fill with water?
- How likely is the hydration pack to leak?
- Will the hydration pack hold up to the demands of a small child?
We purchased the Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E. for our two youngest kids and love them. They are the perfect size for kids between the age of 3 and 9. A younger child of 2 years of age could also probably use the Mini Mule, I would just be cautious not to fill the bladder all the way or put heavy snacks in their pack, but it is a great starter kids hydration pack for your youngest hiking tykes!
The Mini Mule has the perfect amount of storage space for small children on day hikes. Since purchasing these hydration packs, our children have been able to hike longer and more difficult hikes simply because it allows them to stay hydrated without having to stop and get out a water bottle every few minutes.
The Mini MULE comes in several nice colors and are super cute!
- The Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E. is very compact. It is considered a good hydration pack for biking, but we also find it very useful as a kids hydration packs for smaller children.
- The zippered storage compartments may appear small, but are the perfect size for small snacks for small hands!
- The 1.5 liter reservoir holds plenty of water for a day hike without over burdening the weight of the pack
- Very lightweight at 4.7 oz
- The bladder can be difficult to remove from the pack, especially when it is partially full.
- The bladder cap can also be tricky to retighten.
The benefit of purchasing the Camelbak Scout over the Mini Mule is primarily the size of the pack. We purchased the Scout for our older son to help us carry more snacks and extra electrolyte beverages. The weight is still very manageable for him and all the Pros of the Mini Mule are true for the Scout. In fact, we have found with the Scout getting the reservoir in and out of the pack is much easier. The reservoir has the same tricky cap on the bladder so take care in securing it properly.
- Great lightweight pack for hiking or older kids
- Larger zipper storage compartment than the Mini M.U.L.E. along an additional smaller outer compartment
- Side mesh pockets for extra water or small flip flops or sandals
- Same great breathable mesh and adjustable straps
- Easier to remove and replace reservoir after filling
- 1.5 Liter capacity
- Weighs only 14.4 oz when reservoir empty
- Same tricky reservoir cap as the mini mule
- Larger pack may be too big for a smaller child
Camelbak’s Skeeter hydration pack is a minimalist pack. This pack is great for the really small kids or if there is no need to carry gear.
- Very lightweight at only 3.5 oz
- Perfect for the smallest hiker in your crew
- Reflective accents help keep things visible in low light
- 1.5 Liter Capacity
- No storage compartments
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We chose the Osprey Kid’s Moki hydration pack as another excellent hydration pack for kids. Osprey brand packs and kid carriers are well designed and have an excellent reputation in the outdoor market. We like the Osprey for it’s compact lightweight design as well as great storage. We also really like the magnetic attachment for the hydration tube.
- Compact and relatively lightweight at 7 ounces
- Great front shove it pocket for light jacket, small shoes, or extra hydration beverage
- Magnetic water tube helps prevent dragging on the ground
- Blinker light attachment to help in seeing kids after dark
- Small size may not be suitable for older children
The Osprey Kid’s Hydrajet hydration pack is a larger pack with front panel access to the main compartment. The bungee makes it nice for carrying extra shoes, drinks, or other gear with easy access. Again, we love Osprey’s magnetic hydration tubing and their new reservoir design makes filling and emptying a breeze.
- Larger pack with large compartments for storage
- External bungee cord makes a great place for extra jackets, shoes, or electrolyte beverages
- Magnetic water tube helps prevent dragging on the ground
- Larger and more expensive than other hydration packs we reviewed
One general word of caution with regard to any kids hydration pack, be sure to train your child NOT TO DRINK CONSTANTLY from their packs! Otherwise, you will be hearing, “I’ve gotta pee!” before you even hit the trail head!
We love our hydration packs and have found them to be an invaluable piece of gear on our hikes. Kids love having a special pack of their own and parents love not having to lug extra bottles of water around in their own packs. By the way, mom has an Osprey Skimmer Hydration Pack and loves it!
Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping the kids going? Leave us a comment and let us know!
If you enjoyed this article and enjoy hiking with your family, then check out our 9 Best Tips for hiking with kids.