Anyone who’s undertaken the task of bleaching and rinsing a traditional backpack hydration bladder knows that dehydration almost seems appealing in comparison to cleaning the system. This is doubly true in austere conditions. Hydrapak has redefined portable hydration, not just for drinking tube systems but for bottles as well.
Hydrapak supplies water-carrying products for the civilian and military sectors, and used field operator feedback to re-design products for hunters and military operators. Their hydration products are amazingly durable in terms of puncture resistance. They maintain their original capacity and resilience no matter how twisted or misshapen they are when empty or partially full. The company has perfected the art of bulk reduction, too. Both the bladders and bottles collapse, completely free of air, when liquid is drawn or poured out.
Convenience in bite valve drinking tube systems, whether carried in a pack or in a pocket, is accomplished with a bag that seals across the top, akin to a Ziploc bag, rather than through a small opening. The bags are completely reversible, and thus easy to dry, preventing growth of mold and bacteria and eliminating the need for bleach. The company’s products are BPA-free. One-to-three liter reservoirs like the First Wave pictured above are in the $30-$40 range and can be purchased separately from packs. The tactical model has a matte finish to eliminate glare in hostile environments.
Hydrapak’s Stash bottle, with a screw-on lid, sturdy nylon carry loop, and drinking spout suitable for people and even dogs, is available in 750 ml for $18 and one-liter for $23 sizes. The bottle occupies an incredibly small amount of space. Even the liter size fits in the palm of the hand when the bottle is empty. A product called Softflask is suitable for cyclists, and can fit in a pocket with a bite valve attached for hands-free hydration.
This writer will be trading in her (insert name of difficult-to-clean water bladder) for a Hydrapak for an upcoming run and gun competition. I’m looking forward to having less bulk and no sloshing in my kit.