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Stylish Running Backpacks for Your Commute

10 Stylish Running Backpacks for Your Commute

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Have I ever mentioned that I run-commute? I love it. Two or three days a week, I skip the train and run to the office instead. Mostly, I try to plan ahead, bringing extra lunches and changes of clothes on the days I get into the office in a more conventional matter (read: the subway). But even then, I need to carry keys, glasses, my wallet, some work files, etc. while I'm on the run. So I rely on backpacks.

I started super basic, just tying my regular cloth one on as tight as I could and hoping for the best. Since then, I've learned that fabric and shoulder strap design make a huge difference in terms of comfort. But one thing I hate: So many running backpacks look like running backpacks. They're neon, or absurdly functional with a millions traps and zippers everywhere. I want a pack I can run with in the morning, then take out to dinner that night. These stylish options fit the bill. (Not a run-commuter? Check out these 15 gym bags for the sweaty but stylish.)

Photo: Shutterstock

REI Flash 18 Pack

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This REI pack ($34.50; rei.com) is surprisingly spacious, with a roomy sack and three inner pockets to organize items. Plus, it's convertible—turn it inside out and it becomes a stuff sack. The simple design and variety of colors means you can tote it around all day long without looking out of place. My one complaint: The first time I wore it running while wearing a tank, my collarbones ended up slightly chafed from the straps.

Photo: REI

JanSport Women's Agave Backpack

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Another bigger option, this daypack ($65; jansport.com) has AirCore shoulder straps designed specifically for women to prevent chafing. There are tons of pockets (even one for a laptop, though I've never tried running with that type of hardware), which makes organizing your fitness/life gear easy. I love the option of sticking your phone in the snug top pocket, and that the colors don't scream "RUNNING BACKPACK!"

Photo: Jansport

Rains Runner Bag

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This runner bag ($135; needsupply.com) is probably the most attractive of the bunch, and the one I was most excited to try. The sleek black material is totally waterproof, the straps and back are super-padded, and the interior is crazy roomy. The problem? This bag is huge. It still felt completely comfortable while I ran (and it fit a ton of stuff), but it was basically the size of my torso. Not surprising, since it's designed for men.

Photo: Rains

Osprey Rev 1.5

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Designed for trail running, this bag ($70; ospreypacks.com) is on the smaller side—you'll be able to squeeze in a change of clothes, a wallet, your keys, and maybe some water, and you'll be at capacity. But it's simple and comfy, fitting close to the body with two chest straps to ensure the pack feels stable. The fabric that's pressed against your back is mesh, so it won't trap sweat. Don't love this style? Osprey has a Packfinder that helps you find your best fit.

Photo: Osprey Packs

CamelBak Day Star 18

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For a super functional pack, this CamelBak option ($80; shop.camelbak.com) looks surprisingly chic. It comes with a water reservoir, which you can remove during shorter run-commutes to give yourself more room for a change of clothes or books. (There are also side pockets for extra water bottles.) Plus, it's designed for women, so it'll fit snugly for minimal bouncing. (See more of The Best Fitness Gear Built Just for Women.)

Photo: Back Country

The North Face Women's Microbyte Backpack

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Another made-for-women backpack, the sternum strap (with a whistle buckle, for those who are worried about safety) and removable waist belt on The North Face Microbyte pack ($85, thenorthface.com) add to the comfort. There's also a 13" laptop compartment and easy-access front pocket.

Photo: The North Face

Dakine Women's Shuttle 6L Backpack

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The pretty Shuttle pack (from $75; dakine.com) comes in three sizes: 6L, 8L, and 12L, depending on how much you like to pack. It's designed for biking (so the front panel expands to allow you to stow a helmet), but the sternum and waist straps work for running too. The shoulders and backpanel are super breathable, to minimize how much sweat is trapped while you're on the move. And the patterns and colors look even more chic than on some regular backpacks.

Photo: Dakine

Mammut Lithium Speed 15 Backpack

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Just because it's bright doesn't mean it's too fitness-y to work everywhere. The Lithium Speed ($63; backcountry.com) comes in a pretty yellow. It will fit a hydration system or whatever stuff you need to bring to work. It also has side straps that let you compress it flat when it's not quite full, which helps give you a smooth ride.

Photo: Backcountry.com

Nike Vapor Lite

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Yes, there are some neon highlights on this Nike running bag ($70; nike.com). But they read more like a trendy, sporty accent rather than telegraphing an in-your-face rave effect. It's ultra-light, reflective (good for running at night), and has two side pockets to store things you may need to grab en route, like your phone or some snacks. Plus, both the back panel and shoulder straps are extra breathable. And despite looking slim, it fits everything you need.

Photo: Nike

Black Diamond Bbee 11 Pack

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Another minimalist option, the Bbee ($50, blackdiamondequipment.com) is discreet enough to double as a workbag (it comes in a professional black or grey too) and functional enough to make your run-commute comfortable. The nylon is ultra light, and the contoured shoulder straps help minimize bouncing.

Photo: Black Diamond Equipment

Take a "Hot Spring" Break Vacation

Take a "Hot Spring" Break

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Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. We all know how important—and even healing—water is for our body. In addition to guzzling down several glasses a way, you can also give your system a beneficial boost by booking some time at hot spring. A recent study published in the Annals of Dermatology found that thermal spa waters may help reduce inflammation in skin cells, which may improve skin health (hello clear complexion!).

But the benes of taking a dip in hot or warm thermal waters aren't just skin deep; hot or thermal waters also help to improve circulation to muscles and joints and may also help decrease blood pressure, says Dr. Cyndi Gilbert, a naturopathic doctor on staff at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and the author of The Essential Guide to Women's Herbal Medicine. "By soaking in a natural thermal spring, you'll also absorb trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which can help to ease tense and sore muscles, relieve anxiety and even soften your skin," says Gilbert. Get ready to relax and rejuvenate by "taking the waters" at one of these locales. (Can't make it to any of the below? Here's how to create your own spa bath at home.)

Photo: Shutterstock

Glen Ivy Hot Springs, Corona, CA

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Glen Ivy Hot Springs, a historic 156-year old day spa in Southern California, is predominantly designed to be a social experience, where you can bring your friends in for the day and lounge in the 19 pools, all filled with healing hot spring water, natural sulfur or saline, so that your skin is constantly being pampered. Our fave feature of this hot spot: The subterranean chamber body moisturizing treatment—called "The Grotto"—where you're escorted underground and painted from neck to toe with a warm body masque of hydrating aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter, eucalyptus, and lavender. (Love traveling with friends? Book one of these Once-In-a-Lifetime Fitness Retreats for Women.)

Photo: Club Mud, Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia

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Celebrating its 250th anniversary this year, the iconic Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, has hosted over 20 presidents since opening its doors in 1766. Two major springs from the Allegheny Mountains flow through the property and allow visitors to soak in the natural mineral waters of the Jefferson Pools—named for Thomas Jefferson, who relaxed here in 1818. Follow in his footsteps: An hour-long Jefferson Soak, a restorative mountain spa treatment, is only $17.

Photo: Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia

The Gideon Putnam, Saratoga Springs, New York

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Built on top of Saratoga Springs, the Gideon Putnam houses the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, which was opened in 1935 thanks to FDR's act to preserve the Saratoga Springs area. The naturally-effervescent mineral water is captured cold from underground springs, then mixed with warm, fresh water to a neutral temperature. Here, you can soak in the benes of thermal waters privately in a traditional hydrotherapy spa setting.

Photo: The Gideon Putnam, Saratoga Springs, New York

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Ojo Caliente is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water: lithia, iron, soda and arsenic. Featuring eleven pools filled with different combinations of the waters, you can also slather yourself (or have a mud fight!) with clay mud—another natural detoxifier—from the Mud Pool. (Psst... These are The Best Vacation Spots to Get Fit.)

Photo: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Springs Resort and Spa, Pagosa Springs, Colorado

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Truly the most quintessential hot spring experience, The Springs Resort and Spa offers lots of pool options, gorgeous views and vistas, and a low-key feeling that checks fancy at the door. Located on the banks of the San Juan River, The Springs boasts 23 naturally hot therapeutic mineral pools and a mineral water lap pool fed by the world's deepest geothermal hot spring.

Photo: The Springs Resort and Spa, Pagosa Springs, Colorado

The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV

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The Greenbrier Spa is the only Forbes Five Star-awarded mineral spa in the world. Stunning decor designed by mid-century high society legend Dorothy Draper, you'll feel like you're taking the waters at the White House. The West Virginia spa combines the native sulphur water spa treatments with state-of-the-art therapeutic experiences, such as the Waterworks treatment. You'll privately relax in the spa's famous sulphur water and then follow it with an invigorating Swiss Shower and Scotch Spray, designed to increase circulation and stimulate the body.

Photo: The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV

Glenwood Hot Springs & Spa of the Rockies, Glenwood Springs, CO

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There really is something in the water at the Glen wood Hot Springs & Spa of the Rockies. Called Yampah, or literally Big Medicine, by Ute Native Americans, the water contains 15 trace minerals that will do your body a whole lotta good. Located on the grounds of the world's largest hot springs pool, the offers guests a 107-room lodge and a completely restored historic sandstone bathhouse. Relax in your own private thermal tub in the bathhouse and enjoy a plethora of healing services, ranging from holistic massage to body and facial treatments. (Check out 9 Clever Ways to Make Your Vacation Healthier.)

Photo: Glenwood Hot Springs & Spa of the Rockies, Glenwood Springs, CO

Glenwood Hot Springs & Spa of the Rockies, Glenwood Springs, CO

There really is something in the water at the Glen wood Hot Springs & Spa of the Rockies. Called Yampah, or literally Big Medicine, by Ute Native Americans, the water contains 15 trace minerals that will do your body a whole lotta good. Located on the grounds of the world's largest hot springs pool, the offers guests a 107-room lodge and a completely restored historic sandstone bathhouse. Relax in your own private thermal tub in the bathhouse and enjoy a plethora of healing services, ranging from holistic massage to body and facial treatments. (Check out 9 Clever Ways to Make Your Vacation Healthier.)

Photo: Glenwood Hot Springs & Spa of the Rockies, Glenwood Springs, CO