Best running water bottles 2022: convenient hydration for mid-length runs

A montage of the best running water bottles
(Image credit: Future)

Running light? Then the best water bottles for running can be useful allies. On most training runs, people generally want to carry the least amount possible – usually some water, and perhaps a snack or a running gel, car/house keys and a phone. On longer outings, hydration packs and vests are often your best option, but for shorter runs, handheld water bottles come in (sorry, we have to say it) very handy. 

Super light and easy to carry, the best running water bottles enable you to stay happy and hydrated while you’re out training on the trails. And during races (where single-use plastic cups are increasingly being phased out) you can refill them at water stations along the route. 

Some of the best water bottles for running are pretty basic – just a bottle with a hand hole through it – but there are more featured options, including some with zipped pouches for carrying snacks and a phone.

The best running water bottles with no-frills

Ultimate Performance Runners Bottle

The Ultimate Performance Runners Bottle is basic but it does the job and costs next to nothing (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Ultimate Performance Runners Bottle

A classic solution when you just need to carry water on a short run

Specifications

RRP: $4 (US) / £4 (UK)
Capacity: 300ml / 10 fl oz
Weight (empty): 70g / 2.5oz
Colors: Blue / Pink / Transparent
Pockets: None
Compatibility: Short runs when only a small amount of water is required

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Classic, simple design
+
Light & easy to use
+
Hygienic mouthpiece cover
+
BPA-free

Reasons to avoid

-
Sloshes
-
No carry loop
-
A wider mouth would make it easier to refill and add energy / electrolyte powders

If you want simplicity, the Ultimate Performance Runners Bottle is a great value, BPA-free handheld water bottle for every runner. 

The simple, donut (mmm donuts…) design is very easy to carry with one hand through the middle, gripping onto the curved finger-grooves. The bright colors (blue and pink) will appeal to a lot of runners, as will the transparent mouthpiece protector for extra hygiene should you drop it. 

It’s easy to swap hands too, or pass to another runner or support crewmember. It’s fairly slim and the neck of the bottle is narrow, which makes it easy to pack into a suitcase or backpack for travel. However, this can mean that it’s a little harder to pour electrolyte / energy powder into, and slower to fill up from streams. 

If you don’t mind the soft sloshing with every footstep the only downside to such a simple bottle is that you do have to grip it at all times – some of the others in this test have fabric loops around the hand that allow you to run without such a tight grip, or any grip at all.

Best running water bottles with straps

CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Insulated Handheld with 620ml Podium Chill Bottle

The CamelBak Quick Grip Chill has an easily adjusted hand grip with reflective details for safety (Image credit: CamelBak)

CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Insulated Handheld with 620ml Podium Chill Bottle

A comfortable way to carry water, small essentials and a smartphone without actively gripping the bottle

Specifications

RRP: $35 (US) / £30 (UK)
Capacity: 620ml / 21 fl oz
Weight (empty): 144g / 5.1oz
Colors: Black / Red / Teal
Pockets: Two (one zipped, one elastic)
Compatibility: Short runs where water is needed, plus a small snack / keys / card and smartphone

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to drink from
+
BPA-free
+
Wide-opening bottle
+
Insulated
+
Valve lock
+
Two pockets
+
Reflective details

Reasons to avoid

-
Sloshes
-
Heavy in one hand at full capacity
-
No key clip

CamelBak have packed a lot of incredible features into their Quick Grip Chill Insulated Handheld with 620ml Podium Chill Bottle. 

The first is the high-quality, BPA-free insulated bottle which keeps water cold for twice as long, tasting less plasticky and with a wide opening that makes it easy to add energy / electrolyte powder or refill from streams. 

There’s an easy-to-use on / off valve so you don’t lose any liquid, and if you squeeze the bottle it propels a jet of cool water down your throat so you don’t have to make any sucking effort when you’re already tired – a nice touch. 

There are two pockets: the zipped one is large enough for a standard (not plus-sized) smartphone, cards and a key, while the elasticated one will take a snack. It would be good to see a key clip for extra security and perhaps less chance of the key bouncing up and down next to your phone. 

Carrying the bottle is effortless thanks to the easily adjusted hand grip with reflective details for safety. However, if it’s full you will still feel a bit heavy on one side, such is the nature of handheld bottles. 

Kalenji Running Hand Flask

The Kalenji Running Hand Flask’s holster adjustment is very easy to tighten around any sized hand (Image credit: Kalenji)

Kalenji Running Hand Flask

A simple, effective and great-value way to carry water on your run

Specifications

RRP: $10 (US) / £7.99 (UK)
Capacity: 350ml / 11.8 fl oz
Weight (empty): 54g / 2oz
Colors: Black
Pockets: None
Compatibility: Short runs where only liquid is needed

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Great value
+
Wide opening bottle
+
Reflective detail
+
BPA-free

Reasons to avoid

-
No pocket
-
Sloshes

The Kalenji Running Hand Flask is a light and easy way to carry 350ml water on short runs. 

The bottle has grooves to enhance the grip, and the opening is wide enough to easily pour in any electrolyte or energy drink powders, and fill up quickly from streams. The one-way valve allows you to squeeze water out of the bottle into your mouth for easy drinking on the move, but there isn’t a complete closure so make sure you don’t place anything heavy on it while travelling as the pressure may cause the valve to open. 

The holster adjustment is very easy to tighten around any sized hand and can be used easily in the left or the right thanks to its asymmetrical design with a large hole for the thumb. 

There’s no pocket but the Kalenji tag is reflective, which is a nice touch for night running. There is some sloshing from the hard plastic bottle, but for this price, you can probably put up with that.

Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle

You can pack a surprising amount of (small) stuff along with the Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle

A clever way to carry water and small items without having to actively grip the bottle

Specifications

RRP: $10 (US) / £15 (UK)
Capacity: 600ml / 20 fl oz
Weight (empty): 108g / 3.8oz
Colors: Yellow / Purple / Pink / Orange / Red
Pockets: One zip pocket with key clip
Compatibility: Short runs where water is needed, plus a small snack / keys / card

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Light
+
BPA-free
+
Wide-opening bottle
+
One small zip pocket with key clip
+
Reflective strap detail

Reasons to avoid

-
Sloshes
-
Heavy in one hand at full capacity

Carrying the Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle is made easier with the adjustable, padded, reflective strap over the back of the hand so you don’t actively have to grip the 600ml bottle. 

There’s also a small zipped pocket with a key clip, big enough for car keys, a cash card and a small snack but not a smartphone (although it would fit a small Nokia-style emergency phone). The bottle is BPA-free and has a wide opening so it’s very easy to refill in streams or pour in energy / electrolyte powder. The rubberized drink valve is also very easy to use and doesn’t leak. 

If you fill the bottle and stuff the pocket to full capacity it can feel a little heavy in the one hand, and once you’ve drunk some of the water it sloshes around with each step. However, if you don’t want to use a running backpack or waistbelt this is a really good, great-value option, available in five bright colors, for carrying quite a few essential items on your run. 

Best compressible running water bottles

Salomon Active Handheld Running Bottle

The Salomon Active Handheld Running Bottle’s soft flask compresses as you drink water from it, which reduces sloshing (Image credit: Salomon)

Salomon Active Handheld Running Bottle

A simple, easy and lightweight way to take just water out on your run

Specifications

RRP: $25 (US) / £22 (UK)
Capacity: 500ml / 17 fl oz
Weight (empty): 56g / 2oz
Colors: Black
Pockets: None
Compatibility: Short runs where only liquid is needed

Reasons to buy

+
Light
+
Simple
+
Wide-opening bottle
+
BPA-free
+
No-slosh soft bottle
+
Reflective detail

Reasons to avoid

-
No pocket
-
Can only use Salomon soft-bottles with loop at base

The Salomon Active Handheld Running Bottle is a super-light and simple way to carry 500ml water on short runs. 

The soft bottle compresses down as you drink so you don’t have the slosh of water to disturb your run, and the very simple adjustable strap threads through a loop at the base of the bottle then Velcros tight to lock your hand around it so you don’t have to grip tightly. It works well, but this system means you can only use these specific Salomon bottles with the loop at the base with this holster. 

The opening to the soft bottle is wide enough to easily pour in any electrolyte or energy drink powders, and fill up quickly from streams. A lock to the valve minimizes spillage. There is no pocket as this is a truly lightweight, minimal piece of kit for runs where you just want to take water, or longer runs where you need a lightweight solution to carry extra water in your hand as well as your running pack. 

There’s a little reflective strip on the tag at the base which is a nice touch for night running. Retailing at a reasonable price, this a great lightweight option for carrying water on your next training run. 

Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld

The Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld is definitely one of the best handheld water bottles around, but it comes at a price (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld

A light way to carry water and small items with no sloshing

Specifications

RRP: $45 (US) / £40 (UK)
Capacity: 360ml / 12 fl oz
Weight (empty): 77g / 2.7oz
Colors: Black
Pockets: Two pockets, one zipped one elastic
Compatibility: Short runs where water is needed, plus small items

Reasons to buy

+
Light
+
Small zip pocket
+
BPA-free
+
No slosh soft bottle
+
Safety whistle
+
Fantastic grip-free carrying

Reasons to avoid

-
No reflective detail
-
High price
-
Designed for right-handed use
-
Confusing, seemingly upside-down elasticated pocket

The Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld Bottle is a light and easy way to carry 360ml of water and a key or small snack on short runs. 

The bottle is soft, so as you drink it collapses down, which prevents the sloshing that you get with the harder plastic bottles. The opening is wide so it’s easy to pour in energy or electrolyte drinks in and fill up from streams. 

The fit around the hand is great with a very lightweight holster that you can adjust around the wrist so you don’t have to grip the bottle at all. It suits a right-handed fit better, but you can still wear on the left if needed. 

The small, stretchy zip pocket is great for a small snack, keys and cards (not a smartphone), and the safety whistle zip pull is a really nice touch. The pocket area is stiffened so you can operate the zip one-handed with ease. 

The second elasticated gel pocket confuses us, however, as it appears to be upside down with the opening at the base of the bottle… We can’t work out if we’re missing something here – when we run with the opening facing downwards we’re worried about the gel slipping out. 

It’s a high price but apart from the confusing elasticated pocket, it’s one of the best. 

Ultimate Direction Clutch 5.0 running bottle

The Ultimate Direction Clutch 5.0 is well named – you really need to keep your grip on it (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Ultimate Direction Clutch 5.0 running bottle

A lightweight holster with one pocket and a soft bottle that compresses as you drink

Specifications

RRP: $40 (US) / £35 (UK)
Capacity: 500ml / 17 fl oz
Weight (empty): 79g / 2.8oz
Colors: Blue / Black
Pockets: One zip pocket with key clip
Compatibility: Short runs where water is needed plus small items

Reasons to buy

+
Light
+
Small zip pocket
+
Key clip
+
BPA-free
+
No sloshing!

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy in one hand at full capacity
-
No reflective detail
-
Must grip bottle constantly

The Ultimate Direction Clutch 5.0 running bottle was so promising with its lightweight pouch and soft bottle inside. However, you just can’t get it tight enough to release your active grip on the whole caboodle like you can with the others here, especially if the bottle isn’t full. 

This is quite disappointing as the multi-way strap looks so promising; it allows you to use it either with a thumb through the middle of the strap or the thumb round the bottle, but it just won’t go tight enough on either large male or smaller female hands (we tried a selection!). 

However, if you don’t mind gripping onto the Clutch for the entire run it works well. The soft bottle itself is great, with a wide, chunky opening that’s easy to undo, plus an in-out / on-off bite valve. 

As it’s soft, the bottle also compresses as you drink the water so there is no room for sloshing – awesome! The stretchy, zip pocket with key clip is also fantastic for small snacks, keys and a card.

Best running water bottles for smaller hands

Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500 running bottle

The slim and wide design of the Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500 make it suitable for smaller hands (Image credit: Ultimate Direction)

Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500 running bottle

A clever way to carry water and small items without having to actively grip the bottle

Specifications

RRP: $30 (US) / £27 (UK)
Capacity: 500ml / 17 fl oz
Weight (empty): 110g / 3.9oz
Colors: Blue / Black
Pockets: One zip pocket
Compatibility: Short runs where water is needed plus access to smartphone

Reasons to buy

+
Slimline design
+
Light
+
Comfy to hold
+
BPA-free
+
One zip pocket

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy in one hand at full capacity
-
No key clip
-
No reflective detail
-
Pocket quite large

The Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500 Running Bottle is one of the comfiest plastic bottle designs to carry because it’s slim and wide rather than a regular round water bottle. 

This is especially good for people with smaller hands, and the adjustable strap fits around tightly so you don’t have to actively grip the bottle to carry it. The bottle opening is neither narrow nor particularly wide so it shouldn’t be too hard to pour any energy / electrolyte powders down its neck.

Ultimate Direction have had a great idea in making the single-zipped pocket transparent so you can see and use your phone without taking it out. However, it would be better if they sold standard and plus-size versions of the Fastdraw 500 because a standard-sized smartphone shifts around in the plus-sized smartphone (iPhone X) pocket with each step. It would also be good if there was a separate compartment with a clip for keys, as they're free to clang and bang around on your phone in there – screen protector needed. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Best handheld water bottles comparison table
Trail running shoeRRPCapacityWeight (empty)Collapsable?
Ultimate Performance Runners Bottle$4 (US) / £4 (UK)300ml / 10 fl oz70g / 2.5ozNo
CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Insulated Handheld$35 (US) / £30 (UK)620ml / 21 fl oz144g / 5.1ozNo
Kalenji Running Hand Flask$10 (US) / £12.99 (UK)350ml / 11.8 fl oz54g / 2ozNo
Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle$10 (US) / £15 (UK)600ml / 20 fl oz108g / 3.8ozNo
Salomon Active Handheld Running Bottle$25 (US) / £22 (UK)500ml / 17 fl oz56g / 2ozYes
Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld$45 (US) / £40 (UK)360ml / 12 fl oz77g / 2.7ozYes
Ultimate Direction Clutch 5.0 running bottle$40 (US) / £35 (UK)500ml / 17 fl oz79g / 2.8ozYes
Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 500$30 (US) / £27 (UK)500ml / 17 fl oz110g / 3.9ozNo

Testing

How we tested the best handheld water bottles

Why you can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Each of these running bottles was extensively tested on trails, paths and pavements, across a range of different distances and in various climatic conditions, so we could see how sweaty our hands felt after a few miles, and assess their overall ergonomic performance.

Choosing the best running water bottles for you

For a seemingly simple piece of kit, there are quite few factors and features to consider and look out for when you’re trying to find the best water bottle for running to suit your needs. Before you make a choice, think about where and when you’re most likely to use your running water bottle, and contemplate the following points… 

Grip

The main thing is that you don’t have to actively grip the bottle, otherwise you’d just carry a bottle! So check that you can get the adjustment tight enough, release your grip on the bottle and swing your arm to check how well it is attached to your hand.

Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld

The Osprey Duro Dyna Handheld features a soft bottle that collapses as you drink water from it (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Bottle design

There are two types: hard and soft. We prefer soft as they compress down as you drink, avoiding annoying sloshing as you run. Just check the holster still adjusts around your hand enough when the bottle has reduced in size or is empty. 

CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Insulated Handheld

The on / off valve of the CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Insulated Handheld (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Valve

An on / off valve to the bottle is a great feature to avoid leakage.

Capacity

We don’t recommend carrying much more than 350ml to 500ml in one hand as it can make you feel a little lopsided, especially if you have a pocket in the holster with snacks, keys and even your phone in as well.

Kalenji Running Hand Flask

The large thumb hole of the Kalenji Running Hand Flask’s holster (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Holster

Depending on how much you wish to carry with you, you can get a very simple, light holster that just attaches the bottle to your hand, or one with one or two pockets. Look for a zip on these so nothing falls out. A key clip is handy too.

Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle

The reflective detail on the strap of the Ultimate Performance Kielder handheld bottle (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Reflective detail

If you’re running in the dark a reflective strip or logo is a great feature.

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races. 

With contributions from