Hydration Packs Are Cool, Actually

Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
I’ve always been a fan of backpacks, crossbody purses, and belt bags for their practical, hands-free benefits. A girl has places to go and people to see, after all! However, I’ve more recently been reaching for an unconventional accessory for casual outings and errands — a Camelbak hydration pack.
I know what you’re probably thinking: Karina, aren’t those just for hiking and doing outdoorsy things? Wrong. Now, I should preface this review by saying that I drink a ton of water — in the before times, I was constantly refilling my bottle at the office and going to the bathroom. After seeing how hydration is key for healthier skin, more energy, and generally keeping in tip-top shape, there was no going back. While I did indeed first discover the joys of hydration packs as I got into hiking, I’ve found they’re not just a convenient way to always have water readily available — dare I say they’re kind of… cool?
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My go-to pack is the Camelbak Arete 14 in goes-with-everything black. It’s not quite at mini proportions but is still relatively compact. (I also copped an Arete sling that comes with its own water bottle pocket.) As I mentioned up top, a backpack is clutch for holding my daily essentials — phone, wallet, book, dog treats — and this one is plenty roomy enough to include a 13-inch laptop. But what I love about the pack specifically is that you don’t need to stop and fish around for your water bottle — the straw is right there in the straps when you need it. It truly doesn’t get more convenient than that. (As a hiking/small day pack, you have room for snacks and a light jacket if you need 'em, but probably not too much more than that.) 
Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Never not hydrated.
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There are plenty of hydration packs available, but personally, I’m a Camelbak stan for its lightweight construction and durability. The Arete retails for $60 and comes in aquamarine and a buttery bright yellow if those better suit your style. As a lover of nature, I embrace its granola-chic vibes, and I frequently pair it with everything from athleisure to denim to a cute sundress. 
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