Best Hydration Bladder Review – 2017’s Edition!

A few years back, I got to hike in the boiling condition. I was packed-up with my hiking gears like best hiking shoes & hiking socks. However, I was carrying a regular water bottle which caused me a load of trouble to stay hydrated.

But, after that hiking trip, I never repeated the same mistake because I managed to purchase the best hydration bladder for hiking, and I still consider it to be a top gear for hiking to hike in hot weather.

Over the time, I purchased many hydration bladders to find the best hiking bladder. My team & I put the bladder to the test during backpacking, trailing, cycling, hiking, and dog-walking to discover high-quality bladder that could be reliable in tough hiking situations.

We also put the hydration in the freezer, like any other reviewer, to unleash the best for me, my team & for you guys.​

I kept a couple of things in mind like weight, durability, mouthpiece, size, accessories and stuff like that. So, without any further ado let's get right into our topic, i.e.,

Best Hydration Bladder​

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1. Geigerrig Hydration Engine

Capacity: 2 liters, 70 ounces reservoir.

Pros: Pressurized system takes this hydration bladder to the next level by making it easy to drink and do other jobs.

Cons: The water bladder leaves the water with a strong plastic taste in the beginning.

geigerrig hydration engine

Geigerrig Hydration Engine tops my list for hydration bladders, because it's innovative, easy to drink water, and comes up with a lifetime warranty against leaks, easy to clean and maintain.The pressure filter does a great job by making it easy to use when you're not still.

The water flows into the mouth so smoothly that you don't even have to waste your energy to try to suck in the water. The pressure system helps to perform different tasks like showering your head or your pet. I know this sound crazy, but it's a lot of fun, and when you're used to it, then there is no looking back at other bladders.

Geigerrig is a relief for backpackers who don't want to waste time cleaning up the after a trip as possible. The tubes on the Geigerrig are readily detectable to rinse out to make it dry as soon as possible.

The reservoir itself can be turned inside out and then placed right on the top rack of your dishwasher to dry it up quickly. However, if you're using energy drinks, then you've to put some efforts to keep it clean as sugary residue breeds bacteria which is not health at all.

Water filling is very easy. Top of the reservoir opens wide for easy filling and cleaning. Just slide the top off, open the reservoir and fill it from a faucet or a high-mountain stream, as easy as that, no rocket science.

It weighs about 5.85 oz which makes it super lightweight, but with the pump, it becomes little heavier, and it might become a problem for backpacker, and hiker. However, mountain bike and day hiker will find it negligible.​

Quality wise it's better than other water tanks listed in the list as it is integrated with a nylon fabric that protects the bladder from damage and wear. It is particularly useful when stuffing and pressurizing the system inside of a backpacking pack filled with several objects.​

Overall, it's one of the best hydration bladders I came across. Initially, I was skeptical about the pressurized system, but it turned out to be fun and addicting. I could wash my head, and do a heck lot of other cool stuff. If you've got a budget, then I would really recommend purchasing it.

Check out Geigerrig Hydration Engine on Amazon

2. CamelBak Antidote Reservoir

Capacity: 70 oz, 2 liters reservoir. 

Pros: The lid opens and closes smoothly without spilling water, Quick release hose, dryer arms are a great addition to the reservoir.

Cons: The hanging hole/hook is significantly small. 

camelbak antidote reservoir

Camelbak was started back in 1988 and brought revolution in the water-on-back. This water bladder is bang for the bucks as it often gets featured in flash sales and comes at high-quality for its price.

It features a significant snap closure which makes it super easier to clean the 2l hydration bladder as compared to other 2l water bladders. The snap cap opens in just a quarter of turn that makes it simpler to refill.

​Although it's pressurized like Geigerrig Hydration Engine, but it's easy to drink water from the water pipe. There’s an internal partition that keeps water from splashing around. The material is constructed with an antimicrobial agent to prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria.

We also liked the Interspersed dryer arms fold out for faster, spontaneous drying, and Quick Link system for quick loading and unloading. This bladder remains our best buy product for hydration reservoir.​

Check out Camelbak Antidot Reservoir on Amazon

3. Source Outdoor Widepac 3 liter

Capacity: 100 ounce 3-liter hydration bladder.

Pros: Durable, easy to clean, antimicrobial, valve cover included.​

Cons: Valve does not come with a cover for protection against the dirt.

3 liter hydration bladder

Source Outdoor Widepac is yet another impressive hydration bladder in our list. Apparently, Three different sizes ranging from 1.5 to 3-liter are available. The bladder is consist of 3-layer polyethylene film a which is treated with an antimicrobial agent in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. The polyethylene inner film helps to deliver plastic taste-free whereas the outside layer is sturdy and provides the durability.

​The reservoir has wide slide closure opening/closing which it very easy to fill. In fact, it beats Camelback and Geigerring in water filling. Not only that, but its wide opening system helps to make it easy to clean and dry quickly. The rounded Helix bite valve delivers the full water flow into the mouth with the minimal energy.

​The hose connection is solid, and the fold over seal doesn't leak. The slim design, plastic free water taste makes it an excellent choice for hiking, trekking, cycling, and backpacking. Source Outdoor Widepack offers Platypus include a valve and tube insulator, lapel clip and hyperflow bite valve, which has a faster flow rate.

Check out Source Outdoor Widepac 3 liter on Amazon

4. Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reversible Reservoir

Capacity: 1.5 liters to 3 liters.

Pros: lightweight water bladder, 100% BPA & PVC free.​

Cons: Plastic water taste.​

bpa free hydration reservoir

Hydration shape is our top pick for the lightweight reservoir. This is a go-to bladder for trail running and cycling. The flip-flop opening makes it easier to fill water and clean. There is a zip-lock divider in the middle of the bladder that prevents the water sloshing around. The flip-flop closes tight for a leak-proof Seal (no cap threading required). The water valves are fine; water flows smoothly in the mouth with a little sip. It features a twist on/off the bar to prevent leakage when not in use.

The overall bladder quality is good, but not comparable to the models listed above. One more cool thing, you can freeze the bag, as advertised, and put warm beverages inside. The Plug-in-play connect system helps to disconnect the drink tube quickly, an auto shutoff valve blocks leaking, and remove the reservoir from your pack for comfortable refilling. If you're looking for lightweight reservoir, then this a great choice, however, it's plastic water taste is still a concern for any backpacker.

Check out Hydra Shape-Shift Reversible Reservoir on Amazon

5. Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir

Capacity: 3L, 2L, and 1.5L available (50, 70, and 100 pounces).

Pros: no plastic taste, larger hanger for hanging, durable, and big bite valve.

Cons: No protective covering on the bite valve for dirt protection.

Platypus Big Zip LP

Like previous two models, it also has a wide-mouth opening with Slidelock design to make it easy to refill and lock tightly to prevent leakage. Unlike Hydrapak, the big zip is taste-free as well as BPA-, BPS-, and phthalate-free.

It is It is constructed of a very sturdy material, high polymer plastics which give it a strong endurance beyond its competitors. The rubber hose flexible, however, sturdy enough to prevent leaking.

​We are using for it like six months, and still its working fine, it's not leaking, and the waste taste is normal. Since the slide lock design makes the bladder wide open, therefore, it's easy to keep it clean and make it dry quickly.

​But, unlike other models, the bite valve of the platypus is little stiff, so more bite force is required to open the bite valve. You also have to suck harder to pull water from the bladder due to a more compressed opening of the bite valve.

​Overall, it's a good, simple looking and durable hydration bladder. It has minor defects, but overall it's a good quality bladder to make it to the list of the best hydration bladder.

Check out Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir on Amazon

6. MSR DromLite Bags

Capacity: 2L, 4L, and 6L

Pro​s: lightweight (without hose), large capacity to store water up to 6 liters, best backpacking hydration bladder.

Cons: Compatibility issues, heavy to carry with the hose.​

MSR-Dromedary-dromlight water storage bags

MSR dromLite is a 3-in-1 cap hydration bladder which makes it unique. The first cap opens wide which is used to refilling the water and drying the bladder; it is easier than filling a water bottle. The second cap is less wide, as compared to the first cap, and can be used for washing hands, and rinsing dishes. The last and the third cap is the smallest cap which backpackers solely use for drinking water. Without water pipe, it's little hard, but the mouth grasp to the cap pretty quickly, and water flow is very smooth.

The other noticeable point is durability. It is consist of Made with rugged 200-denier Cordura which makes it super durable. Our team has been using it for like two straight years, and it is going solid so far. With new improvements in the bladder, now the taste of water has been improved, firstly it used to taste like a chemical water.

It's our best pick for backpacking hydration bladders. It has a maximum capacity of 6 liters which makes it suitable for backpacking, and long hiking trips. If you're in cold weather, then you can fill it with hot water and can use as steaming and vice-versa. For its versatility, it definitely deserves being on the list of the best hydration bladder.​

Check out MSR DromLite Bags on Amazon

Hydration Bladder Buying Guide

These were our top picks for the best water bladder. However, if you're purchasing it for the first time, and don't know what factors you should look forward to in order to find the best hydration bladder for yourself, then take a look at the table chart below, it is plotted by the rei.com. It'll give you an idea of your need.

Weight Selection:

Weight selection is important, if you're carrying a bladder that doesn't fit your requirement, then even the best hydration wouldn't be able to help you, and make your experience better. So, read the following chart to know which hydration bladder could be a possible fir for you.

Activity


​Trail-runners, racers, fitness walkers.


​Trail-runners, racers, fitness walkers


Road cyclists focused on speed


Recreational cyclists


Touring cyclists


Mountain bikers


Snowboarders, skiers​

Popular Choices


​2/3 Reservoir only  or any hike-specific


Waistpack or minimalist (1L) hydration pack​


Small or no pack; traditional water bottles. ​


Sleek pack with 1L to 2L reservoir capacity​


Small to medium, with large (2L/3L) capacity


Large pack with with 2L to 3L capacity​


Small to medium pack, 2L reservoir; insulated sip tubes​

Durability: 

Either you're buying hiking boots for yourself or any outdoor gear; durability is always a matter of concern in regards to the product, and similar is the case with the hydration bladder. Although the reservoir rarely gets punctured or ripped, however, joints points such as the mouthpiece/tube and tube/water reservoir are more prone to leak. So, it's important to purchase the reservoir allowing a detachable tube and mouthpiece as this allows you to replace the particularly damaged part instead of the whole hydration system. In our list, all the featured bladders have detachable tube and mouthpiece feature.

Easy of Filling:

Hydration bladders are equipped with wide slide closure or a snap cap closure. Both these closure helps to fill the water quickly. However, the opening should be wide enough so that you can clean it up quickly after using. Few models like MSR DromLite have 3 in one cap which can be utilized separately for the different tasks like water filling, washing reservoir, drinking water, but it generally adds extra weight to the bladder which is not convenient, but such bladder without water pipe weights lightweight.

Ease of Drinking Water:

Well, there is one and the only reason to buy the hydration bladder, Water. New hydration bladders are usually attached to bite valves, and bite valves are further connected to the mouthpiece. By creating little pressure with a sip, water should flow smoothly into your water. We've also taken care of this factor, so you don't have to worry about it. Our experience with Geigerrig Hydration was magnificent, but other mouthpieces do the job comfortably. Make sure, you clean your mouthpiece on a regular basis, you can easily detach the mouthpiece, but the process for every mouthpiece is different, you can youtube or visit the official website of the respective brand to learn how to separate the mouthpiece for cleaning.

Wrapping it up

So, that's it guys for this post. I've shared my and my team's thoughts on the best water bladder. We kept our reviews unbiased. If you guys have any question or opinion, then do let us know in the comment section.

And, if you enjoyed the post, then don't forget to share it with your community. Don't forget to check our hiking tips and tricks before you hit the trail.