Before you head down your local running/outdoor shop and dive shoulders-first into the backpacks display, take a moment to consider what the best running backpack for you might entail.

• What kind of conditions will you be running in? If you're going to be run-commuting in Manchester during the winter months, for example, you're going to want something 100% waterproof.

• How much storage space do you need? You want to be running with the smallest and most minimal backpack that meets your needs.

If you're carrying little more than trackie bottoms, a T-shirt and a water bottle, a titchy-wee 8-litre backpack may be all you need; if you're regularly ferrying a laptop, folders, shoes and a full set of clothes, go for 20-litre capacity and up.

• What kind of straps do you want? You'll at least want a chest-strap to keep the backpack in place while running, but for extra stability a hip-belt can be a godsend – the chafing that jiggling shoulder-straps can cause is a literal pain in the neck.

If you do find that your backpack is rubbing into your neck as you run, consider applying some Vaseline or Body Glide to the effected area before heading off. Your skin'll thank you!

With that in mind, here are four of the best running backpacks – plus one oddball wildcard option – out there right now...

Ruggedly constructed with welded seams and a secure roll-top closer, this backpack offers the level of protection-from-rain you need if you're regularly running with laptops, tablets or luxurious angora sweaters in tow.

A chest strap, hip-belt and anatomically-shaped foam keep the bag firmly in place even when you've maxed-out its hefty 25-litre capacity, and it's surprisingly light given its size and toughness.

And while it may appear to be voguishly all-black, there are reflective elements to help keep you safe on late-night runs.

£49.99, available at

At this price you're obviously not going to get bleeding-edge tech and materials, but unless you'll be running with a heaving cargo, the X Lite could be all you need.

There are chest- and hip-straps, easy-to-access side pockets, and an internal hydration pocket that you can pop a water-bladder and straw into. Plus, it's barely-there light.

It is, by the way, available in colours other than retina-searing pink, if that's not really your cup of tea...

£19.99, available at Sports Direct

By far the lightest and brightest backpack here, this featherweight number from veteran US sportswear company Saucony keeps things pleasingly minimal.

What it does have is a chest-strap (no hip-strap – a bonus if you find them annoying); two mesh side-pockets big enough for bottles; and a removable foam backboard, if you want to really strip things down to the bare bones.

The Speed Of Lite may be ultra-thin, but it ain't flimsy: it's made of Ripstop, a hard-wearing fabric used in parachutes.


If you want to run unencumbered by a backpack – and you don't have much to transport beyond a wallet, keys and a phone – a FlipBelt could be a godsend.

Essentially a belt crossed with a bumbag, you slide your belongings inside the FlipBelt through its small openings, before flipping it over to keep them firmly in place.

We've road-tested one for several weeks, and – surprisingly – it neither rides up nor slides down while you run, and can be trusted to handle objects as large and heavy as a Samsung Note phablet.


Many women, particularly those with slender builds, can find that even smaller backpacks don't hug their figure properly, causing them to jiggle about and chafe during running.

Osprey's latest 'daypack' is perfect for smaller frames, however, and its adjustability, quality materials and clever air-ventilation make this a solid bet if comfort is your number-one priority.

The nine-litre capacity is just enough to handle a netbook/tablet, shoes and maybe a couple of items of clothing. It's not cheap, but it is extremely well-made, and built to last you years/hundreds of miles.