The usefulness of a hydration bladder during an outdoor trip is relevant as it provides hands-free access to water.
Hydration bladder packs allow you to drink water during your hikes, while keeping you consistently hydrated. It is especially recommended for strenuous activities, because you will be able to drink water conveniently and efficiently.
They also maintain cool temperatures during warm weather, and have an extended lifespan compared to water bottles. There are many other desirable features that come loaded in a hydration bladder pack.
This guide will help you understand which factors to consider when purchasing a hydration bladder pack. We have also reviewed some of the best hydration bladder packs currently on the market.
Our 5 Best Hydration Bladder Packs
|Source Tactical WXP Hydration Reservoir|
|Deuter Streamer 2.0 Hydration Pack|
Bite Valve cap
|CamelBak Antidote Reservoir|
|Platypus Big Zip Reservoir Hydration Pack|
|Geigerrig Hydration Engine Reservoir|
1. Source Tactical WXP Hydration Reservoir – A Well Rounded Reservoir
The Source Tactical WXP hydration reservoir offers a wide range of excellent features. This product has both the slide-locking and screw cap locking design for closing and opening. Both opening types are leak-proof and watertight.
It has a slide-locking design that enables it to slide open for easy refilling, cleaning, and ice insertion. Its screw offers a faster way of refilling it, and is particularly important for those that prefer only water.
This 3-liter reservoir is made out of high-quality coextruded polyethylene material. This material is free from toxins and chemicals.
Its interior and tube-like features have a glass-like liner which bars the stored water from having a plastic flavor. It also eliminates the buildup of biofilm preventing bacterial growth inside the reservoir.
In addition, it is equipped with Grunge-Guard antibacterial properties that prevent microbes from thriving. Its maintenance is simple, as it only involves rinsing it with water and hanging it open to air dry.
2. Deuter Streamer 2.0 Hydration Bladder Pack – The Durable Choice
This 2-liter reservoir delivers odorless water that will ensure you stay hydrated for a very long time. The quick connect to the hose is located strategically at the bottom of the bladder. This will allow for an extended flow of water till the bladder is empty.
Additionally, the hose can be disconnected quickly which comes in handy so you do not have to remove the hose each time you remove the bladder. The hydration bladder does not leak when you remove the hose with the quick disconnect
It has a nicely-fitting bite valve cap equipped with push and pull technology for opening and closing. This ensures that your water is kept safe from impurities, and is leak-proof.
The product’s zip-locking mechanism ensures hassle-free refilling and ease of cleaning. Since it opens up its entire width, you are able to turn it inside out as well as clean and dry with ease.
3. CamelBak Antidote Reservoir – The Budget Option
This hydration bladder pack comes with a lifetime warranty which adds to its long-term value. Other features include drying plastic tabs, and a removable hose.
This product has integrated dryer arms that fold out for easy and faster drying. Its bite valves are moderate in size and do not come off easily. Also, the quick seal cap is convenient and quick to open.
In comparison to earlier models, the CamelBak has a baseline hose-connector, two water chambers, larger grab handles for filling, and a wider mouth opening. These modifications ensure it wavers around less.
4. Platypus Big Zip Reservoir – Very User Friendly
The Platypus Big Zip Reservoir is a good pick for those who are in search of durable 1 to 3 liter-hydration bladders. It comes in three capacities which are 1.5, 2 and 3L. These variations in size provide users with multiple options to choose from.
It has a secure locking system due to its slide-locking design, and the reservoir’s mouth opens wide to allow for easy refilling. In addition, its general design is user-friendly and compact.
This hydration bladder pack is made out of high-quality material which is free of phthalate, BPS, and BPA. Additionally, it will not affect the taste of your water. It has a silver-ion liner that protects it from bacteria and mold.
Thanks to its shutoff and quick-release valve, the users are able to refill it quickly and drink water easily. This product will stay flat when put in a hydration pack which is comfortable to the hiker.
5. Geigerrig Hydration Engine Bladder Pack – The Lightweight Alternative
The Geigerrig Hydration Engine is in a category of its own, and is considered to be the most versatile and innovative product tested. This bladder pack has an excellent design and a pressurized system.
Its sleek design is narrow and thin allowing it to be compatible with most running packs and backpacking backpacks. It has a double chamber that allows you to keep it unpressurized and pressurized.
This product is the easiest to brink from when pressurized, plus it can act as a sun shower. It is also equipped with dishwasher safe technology.
The Geigerrig is among the few hydration bladders that can be flipped and cleaned in the dishwasher. Its parts are easy to dismantle, which facilitates cleaning the product and can manually be cleaned with a simple brush.
Choosing the Best Hydration Bladder Pack
Since the early 90’s hydration bladders have been a necessity for most hikers and campers. This product was first featured among cyclists when they made a breakthrough in the market.
However, over time they rapidly spread among other outdoor enthusiasts and athletes. There are certain factors you should consider when looking to buy a hydration bladder.
Size and Compatibility
We recommend that you get a hydration bladder that will securely fit in your backpack’s bladder compartment. Readily available hydration bladders normally come in similar shapes but with minor variations.
They come in an array of capacities, but the most common ones are the three-liter and two-liter ones. However, it’s better to go for the three-liter capacity since it will hold more liquid.
A larger bladder may be a good option to go for, but it’s definitely not the best because water is heavy in large amounts. You need to consider the proper capacity for you, and one which will not require you to refill frequently.
When it comes to capacities, there are two main categories namely the 0.5L to 2L category and the 3L and above category. The former is recommended for light expeditions including ski, trekking, snowboarding, day hike and running.
On the other hand, the 3L and above category is ideal for those who are planning a longer adventure. These types of expeditions include trail running, long distance trekking, camping, and hiking.
The other compatibility consideration would have to be the bladder profile. Some are narrow while others wide. Some are flat and others fat when filled. However, majority of those are compatible with backpacks and come equipped with an incorporated sleeve.
Hydration Bladder Opening
Hydration bladder openings should include the ease of filling, the ease of opening and closing, and the environment that you will be filling in.
Bladder openings come in three styles namely zip top, screw top, and fold top. Each style is suitable for an array of settings.
If you are looking forward to filling up water in outdoor environments such as streams, then fold tops will be a great choice.
Zip top bladders are similar to fold top bladders but take longer to open and close. They are best suited for filling up water at slowly flowing streams.
Screw top bladders take the longest to open and close compared to the others. However, they are the easiest to fill particularly in shallow basins. Cleaning them can be difficult as they have areas that are hard to reach.
Bite Valve Size
These valves vary in types and size, and the majority of them have a locking mechanism. Some are larger than others. The bite valve size is particularly important as it affects the ease with which water can be sucked from the tube.
It is hard to suck water from largely sized valves especially when using a non-pressurized bladder. Small valves are relatively adequate but fail to offer sufficient water flow. Therefore, medium-sized ones are the best bet.
When it comes to the locking mechanisms there are two types namely switch valves and turn valves. The switch valve is much better as it’s easier to use and clean.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is dependent on the size and type of mouthpiece as well as its drinking mechanism.
A good mouthpiece should not be too small or too large. Smaller ones are difficult to use while the larger ones are harder to control.
The drinking and locking mechanism is another factor that determines the ease with which you will use your bladder. The mechanism usually involves biting and sucking the valve which does not require much energy.
In most cases, a medium-sized valve is recommended as it guarantees a consistent and easy flow of water upon sucking. When it comes to locking systems, the switch lock system is recommended as it easier and simpler to use.
Ease of Cleaning
Regardless of how sleek the bladder might be, it is important that you go for one that is easy to maintain and clean. This is necessary otherwise it will end up being a health hazard and become a home for bacteria and mold.
Many hydration bladders have hard-to-reach spots making it hard to clean and dry. Hydration bladders that are solely used to carry water do not need frequent cleaning. However, those used for carrying energy drinks and sugar require you to clean them often.
When buying a bladder, consider its ease of cleaning. Get one that has a zip-locking bladder or one with a wide mouth so that it will be easy to flip it inside out or fit a brush inside it.
Ease of Filling
It is advisable to go for a bladder that you can fill and refill with ease. Those with wider openings to refill but closing them can prove to be a challenge. We recommend you go for a bladder with a medium mouth opening. These provide a balance when closing, filling as well as cleaning it.
Pressurized and Unpressurized
Pressurized hydration bladders have an air and water chamber as well as a double chamber. With the use of a pump, you can easily create a pressurized reservoir by blowing up the air chamber. However, you should go for a pressurized over an unpressurized bladder one as its more luxurious and easier to use.
Our Final Review for Best Hydration Bladders
Getting a hydration bladder that best suits your needs does not have to be a daunting task. Our review has been cautiously curated with experts to ensure you get the best value for your buck.
Regardless of your experience in backpacking and outdoor activities, the list provided will prove to be very useful.
Bladder capacity, material as well as the opening mechanisms are just some of the important considerations to ensuring you select not only a durable but also a high-quality reservoir.
Get one of those listed above the next time you plan to head out for an adventure!