Best Hydration Packs For Kids

If there is one item that will definitely improve your kids’ hiking performance it is a hydration pack!

We have learned a lot since we began hiking with our kids.  One key lesson we learned right away is that anything that makes hiking easier for us and more exciting for the kids is worth investing in!  After purchasing hydration packs for our kids, we saw a huge improvement in their stamina and overall attitude while on the trail.  

Here are our picks for the best hydration packs for kids.

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Name Image Type Our Rating Budget Price
Lightweight, Great size for younger kids or biking, breathable mesh, extra storage perfect for snacks, ergonomically designed handle, 1.5-Liter bladder
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
Minimalist design for younger children, lightweight, breathable mesh, no storage however, 1.5 liter
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
Larger Osprey Hydration Pack for older kids or longer hiking, great compartmental storage

How To Choose The Best Hydration Pack For Your Kids

Choosing the best hydration pack for your kid is subjective in many ways.  If your kids are anything like mine, the only criteria that matters is whether it comes in their favorite color. 

Camelback Mini MULE and Camelbak Scout

However since the newness will wear off in time, these questions are the ones you want to consider before making your final decision.   

  1. How heavy is the hydration pack?
  2. How many liters does the bladder reservoir hold and will my child be able to carry it?
  3. Do we need additional storage or just a minimalist hydration pack?
  4. How easy is the hydration pack to fill with water?
  5. How likely is the hydration pack to leak and will it hold up to the demands of a small child?

These are the five questions we asked when evaluating the following hydration packs and consider them to be the best hydration packs for kids on the market. 

We purchased the Camelbak M.U.L.E. for our two youngest kids and couldn’t be happier with them.  They are the perfect size for our kids and have just the right amount of storage space for our 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 cuteness factor doesn’t hurt, either.



  • The Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E. is very compact.  It is considered a good pack for biking, but we also find it very useful  as a hydration packs for smaller kids
  • The zippered storage compartments may appear small, but are the perfect size for small snacks 
  • 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  
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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
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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
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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
Click here to see the latest prices 

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!

One word of caution, you may wish to have discussions about not drinking from their hydration packs immediately.  Then we have to have discussions about how to use the potty on the trail. 🙂 

If you enjoyed this article and enjoy hiking with your family, then check out our 9 Best Tips for hiking with kids.

If you are looking for more ideas for gifts for hikers or the best shoes for hiking to buy, check out our other buying guides. 

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