Check out this list of the Top 10 hydration bladders and you be the judge which one to take out into the field on your next adventure.
#10 HYDRAPAK HYDRASLEEVE
I really love this bladder and use it daily. It really does keep water cold on hot days, is durable and rugged, and best of all doesn’t make the water taste like you are drinking out of a hose, something I’ve never encountered before in water bladders. The top folds like a dry bag, and you have to fold down the outer sleeve to fill it, something that takes a little more effort than a Camelback, so you have to do it a few times before it becomes routine.
I bought this to keep my water cool while on my day hikes and it definitely does the job. The design and quality are great, the tube can easily be removed and snaps back on to the bladder without much effort. The Hydrapak Hydrasleeve bladder itself is tough and well-made. My only issue, the tube doesn’t always stay cool and water can get warm. Still highly recommend.
#9 GEIGERRIG HYDRATION ENGINE
I bought a Geigerrig hydration engine and took it for 11 days in the High Sierra, stuffing it into three packs (none made by Geigerrig) and carrying it on long hikes and alpine rock climbs.
The pressurized Geigerrig Hydration Engine is a great concept and works well, especially when you’re moving fast at high altitude. Who can spare the energy for sucking hoses when they’re busy gasping for breath? It’s also good for sanitary sharing, spraying down your handkerchief for a swamp cooler effect, and irrigating wounds.
I love being able to disconnect the hoses to keep them from dragging in the dirt on the way to the creek for a refill. (In fact, when doing an easy downhill hike or carrying only a small daypack I prefer to leave the pressure hose disconnected and use the bag like a normal hydration bladder.) I also love being able to turn the bag inside out for cleaning. The drybag-style slide eliminates the problem of cross-threading a big cap. The bite valve works great: it delivers enough water and doesn’t leak even when the bag is pressurized unless you squeeze it with a pack strap or something.
#8 CAMELBAK ANTIDOTE RESERVOIR
Doing 3 hour bike rides & all day snowboarding with this. The Camelbak 100 oz Antidote Replacement Reservoir nailed it with this design. Every feature they highlight is dead perfect and works as intended. I have only one long term concern: Will the clip-in part of the tube (where it connect to the bladder) eventually break?
Only other problem is figuring out how to disconnect the mouthpiece from the tube for drying/cleaning. Very tight fit, I’m not sure it wants to come apart there. And based on experience, once I take it apart there, the tube will not be as tight and eventually start leaking. So I’ll just dry it out without disconnecting that part. Seems to dry with just having the opening at the other end, but I am a little concerned about something growing in the mouthpiece area.
#7 PLATYPUS BIG ZIP SL
I bought two of these in the 3L size. They work perfectly. No complaints at all! My worries of leakage (think of a zip lock bag filled with water) are all gone. The big zip on the Platypus Big Zip SL 2-Liter Hands-Free Hydration System makes them easy to fill, clean, and dry. The zip stays shut!
The handle/zipper makes it easy to get the bladder zipped, and is a secure handle. I keep one in my Teton Sports Explorer 4000 backpack and one in my Osprey Stratos 24 day pack.
To make it easier to get the bladders into a full pack, I made socks for the bladders from the sleeves of a long-sleeve XL excercise shirt. The spandex-type material of the sleeves really helps to get the bladders in and out. No sewing skills needed, just cut the sleeves from the torso, and the bladder slides right in. Instant bladder sock!
#6 SOURCE TACTICAL GEAR WXP HELIX SYSTEM
I purchased this as a requirement for a 10 hour athletic event. Part of the event (goruck.com, if you are curious) was to carry a bundle of bricks in a ruck sack. The very same ruck sack that this water bladder would be in.
After all was said and done, being tossed about with 40lbs of brick, laid on, dropped without care, and otherwise abused, this water bladder survived where others (looking at you, camel pack) did not. Playful ribbing aside, the Source WidePac Hydration System is an absolute beast of a bladder, and easy to fill/clean to boot.
This bladder is very easy to fill which means that cleaning, and draining is easier than ever while being 100% leakproof. It comes with a wide-mouth bladder, and a 90-degree design round Helix bite valve with tubing.
#5 MSR DROMLITE BAG
I bought a few of these MSR Dromlite bags for a backpacking trip to desert country in Arizona and Utah. Knowing my routes would take me through some mostly water-less country, I needed something lighter and more comfortable than than my old 2-liter plastic pop bottles.
The MSR DromLite Bag is well made water storage bags. Though reasonably tough, they are lightweight, un-insulated, and made of fairly thin material, so aren’t meant to resist being stored outside the pack or dropped on sharp objects. Instead I carried them inside the backpack where they can be protected and insulated from excessive heat. I found the 2-liter and 4-liter sizes to be the most useful, not to mention easier to fill and pour.
The soft, conformable design of the bag was a lot easier to pack than the old hard plastic soda bottles and made for a more balanced pack. You can attach a modern supply tube and bite piece to these water bags, but I didn’t use that for my trips. I just poured the water as needed into a smaller insulated water bottle on my waist.
On another trip I added a hose and mouthpiece from my Osprey rig. So far that has worked out well. The MSR hydration bladder is easy to clean and last a long time. I have used mine for more than 7 years.
#4 WATER BUFFALO OASIS
I have owned two Camelbaks and the is a superior design. The wide mouth makes it easy to clean and dry out, the clip that closes the bladder opening is very easy to use.
The Water Buffalo Oasis bladder has a mouthpiece design that is very effective because it doesn’t need a shut-off valve to prevent it from leaking if pressed on accidentally. This bladder has Advanced Leak-Proof Technology: The Oasis hydration pack bladder is designed with a high-quality and durable TPU material, ensuring a leak-proof experience for all your outdoor adventures. Plus, the tube detaches for cleaning. A really fine product.
#3 CAMELBACK OMEGA WATER BEAST
I bought this bladder for my Maxpedition Condor II. It is the first hydration bladder I’ve owned so I have nothing to compare it to, but I am very impressed with the build quality of the CamelBak Omega Water Reservoir.
The wide mouth that appears to be common on all hydration packs makes filling it up very easy even as it becomes heavy under the weight of the water.
There is a nice handle integrated into the mouth that looks to be designed as to allow for not only at the sink fill ups, but also the ability to dip it into a stream and hang onto it as it fills on its own (of course you’d want to treat water gathered from a body of water).
#2 PLATYPUS HOSER
I like to use the Hoser in my Day pack which fits perfect. I purchased this 3L Platypus reservoir to go in a reservoir compatible small day pack I already owned. I found that the Platypus Hoser 3.0L Hands-Free Hydration System fit well in the pack, and I was able to use it easily.
The biggest plus I found with this reservoir is that it had absolutely no taste what so ever. Even at the end of a 3 hour hike the water tasted as if I had just poured it into a glass from the fridge. I own the 3l (100oz) version of this and I really like the size of the reservoir, as it allows me to carry the majority of my water needs all in one container.
This makes it excellent for a single person on a long hike, or even for sharing among family members. I always have a back up vessel in case of a problem, but assuming all is going well with a 3L reservoir I don’t have to worry about running out quickly and finding water sources on the trail.
#1 OSPREY HYDRAULICS RESERVOIR
I have no idea if the complaints of this newer model are valid but I heeded the warning.
If you check the website it is the .5 packs that are the newer models. Those are the 1.5 and 2.5 “LT” models. I gambled that the older ones are the 3L and 2L original (non-LT) packs. I ordered the Osprey Hydraulics 3-Liter Reservoir.
What I got has a firm back, no leaks, no issues at all. It fits right in my Kestrel 48 and doesn’t bulge at all.
Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder
Gregory 3D Hydro
Questions from our SGPT Athletes
QUESTION: I need a way to keep my hydration bladder cool during hot summer trail runs. Do you have any suggestions?
ANSWER: In a pinch you can use a t-shirt cloth around the bag. Check out the thermal sleeves that you can buy to place around the bladder.
You can also add a thermal hose sleeve to the hose as that area can get really hot if you are walking in full sun.
The thermal sleeve and hose sleeve will also keep your water from freezing if you are hiking in a cold part of the world.
Question: Which do you prefer with Geigerrig vs Camelbak? Check out the info and video below. I wear a camel bak in my go bag pack and in my mtn bike pack. Recently I have switched to using my MSR as my everyday carry.
Question: Where can I find out more info on Army Special Forces? Check out the website here: