I break the systems down into 3 general types:
- Handheld bottles such as the 16 oz. Nathan quack Draw Plus which is ideal for an hour or less of activity
- Belt packs with between 16-40 oz or so ounces of fluid plus gel and other essentials and good for 2-3 hours of activity. Belt packs can be broken down into 2 types: water bottle holder packs such as the 2 bottle 44 oz Nathan Elite 2V Plus which is great for trail running or multi-bottle (5 to 10 oz each) triathlon origin race belts such as Fuel Belt Terminator 6 Bottle Belt with a 42 oz. capacity. and comparable systems from Ultimate Direction such as the Thunderbolt with 32 oz. capacity. In an increasingly specialized world one will typically find trail runners with water bottle packs and triathletes and runners who will have more frequent access to water stops using the fuel belts as they are able to carry energy gel in the small bottles and pick up their water as they go. I prefer water bottle packs.
- Hydration packs such as those from Camelback, Nathan, Patagonia, Northface, and many others incorporate a bladder holding 70-100 oz of water. In fact most packs on display at OR, of all sizes and types, incorporate a pocket for a hydration bladder so you can bring your own preferred bladder to each pack. These systems are most suitable for longer treks without access to water or those where extra gear is required, such as in winter. I use a 70 oz Camelback Unbottle inside my various packs.