CASUAL runners keep what they carry with them to a minimum – a water bottle, music and fitness tracker is generally all that’s needed.
But for the serious track runner, running a long distance away from home, with no parked car or locker room at the end of the trail, a running backpack is a must.
As well as running essentials such as gels, sprays, drinks, snacks, towel and so on, you’ll also need space for things like your wallet, phone and keys.
The ideal bag will have separate sections for these, so they stay secure instead of rolling around in one big jumble all through the run, and they need to have straps – on the shoulder, chest and even waist.
These need to be well–stitched, padded for comfort and fully adjustable to ensure it not only fits your body perfectly, but distributes the weight of the contents evenly across your back. Generally the smaller the better, but if you have to stuff it all in so it’s fit to burst, it’ll weigh on your back more than if they were spread out.
Whether you’re heading out for a short run to a long distance trail, one of these running backpacks will help you go the distance.
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1. Best running backpack for commuting
If you live in a major city, the chances are you’re going to rack up most of your running miles on the commute to work. Karrimor’s running backpack boasts enough space in its 15 litre main compartment to carry your laptop and a change of work clothes, while maintaining a breezy light weight.
Alongside the main storage space, there are three zip pockets and elasticated sleeves for when you need to grab things quickly. Meanwhile, the shock cords at the front help keep everything secured.
- (AD) Unisex X Lite 15L Running Backpack, Karrimor, for £19.99 on Amazon – buy here
2. Best running rucksack for heavy packers
Rucksacks for running are mostly lightweight – but not all of us are good at packing light. This is where TYR’s Alliance Team 3 Backpack comes in, with 45 litres of storage for a suit or dress, laptop and more.
Typically used to lumber swimming and gym stuff, the padded straps provide comfort for those running with a heavy load. Also, a wet/dry mesh pocket reduces the odour and speeds up the drying of your sweaty clothes after the run. So no more embarrassing moments when you open the bag in the office.
- (AD) Alliance Team 3 Backpack, TYR, for £38.92 on Amazon – buy here
3. Best running backpack for long runs
Longer runs mean more supplies – more water, more food – and so you need a bag like the Terrex Agravic Backpack from Adidas. Best for when you want to remain light, the bag boasts two dedicated water pockets, as well as tube routing for your hydration bladder.
The bag is made of nylon ripstop, making it incredibly durable too. Importantly, the mesh back panel and shoulder straps help move the heat away and moisture away from those areas, to stop overheating.
- Terrex Agravic Backpack, Adidas, for £109.95 on Adidas – buy here
4. Best multi-use rucksack
If you’re one of the many people who cycle, hike, run and do every other physical activity under the sun, then you need a bag that can be used for everything. Keethem’s Cycling Backpack is versatile enough for all of these yet remains cost effective.
With a storage space of 18 litres, it is large enough to carry a lot of supplies but not so much that it becomes cumbersome, including a two litre water bladder. It has external pockets for quick-grab items and a detachable phone bag on the shoulder strap too.
- (AD) Cycling Backpack, Keethem, for £22.99 on Amazon – buy here
5. Best running backpack for marathon training
Those training for marathons need a very lightweight running backpack, such as the Inov8 Race Elite Running Vest. Maximising storage space without sacrificing on weight, it boasts two large mesh pockets at the front to store bottles.
Alongside this, there’s a larger mesh pocket at the back for more storage – though with this, you don’t want to carry too much. They also include two 500ml water bottles with the purchase.
- (AD) Race Elite Running Vest, Inov8, for £64.99 on Amazon – buy here
6. Best running backpack for night runners
The REFLECT360 does exactly what it says it does, providing both front-facing reflective strips and reflective webbing so there’s 360 degrees of reflectivity. This is especially important for people running on roads during the night, or while traversing busy city streets.
The backpack is more compact than the others, offering 10 litres of storage with space for a hydration bladder. There’s mesh side pockets for easy access to your water bottles, as well as a mesh ventilation system at the back to keep you cool.
- REFLECT350 Running Backpack, Proviz, for £44.99 on Proviz – buy here
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This article and any featured products have been independently chosen by The Sun journalists. All recommendations within the article are informed by expert editorial opinion. If you click a link and buy a product we may earn revenue: this helps to support The Sun, and in no way affects our recommendations.