The Best Hydration Pack for Hiking Junkies!

Best Hydration Bladders for Outdoor Enthusiasts - 2017 Buying Guide By Experts

A hydration bladder comes in very handy on hiking trips of all durations as it provides easy access to water and you have your hands free when drinking. Therefore, a water bladder allows you to take small sips of water throughout the hike. This is recommended during strenuous activities as it ensures that the water gets absorbed efficiently as well as prevents any splashing sensation in the stomach.

Furthermore, hydration bladders keep the water cooler in warm weather and can withstand a longer period of use than water bottles. In this review, we selected and reviewed the best hydration bladders for hiking in order to make your buying decision easier. We were especially looking for products that are easy to use and while at it, offering great durability and functionality.

Geigerrig Hydration Engine

Check Price / Buy

The Geigerrig Hydration Engine is the most innovative and versatile water bladder tested. With its sleek design and pressurized system, it has a variety of uses that no other bladder tested can compare with. The sleek profile is thin and narrow, which allows compatibility with all sorts of backpacking backpacks and running packs. The bladder offers you the ability to keep it pressurized or unpressurized with a double chamber - one for air and one for water. When pressurized, it is the easiest to drink from and doubles as a sun shower.

With its versatility, it is a great way to clean off your dog or dirty sports equipment before throwing it into your car. One of our caveats with this system is that when fully pumped, the water does slosh around quite a bit.

With its dishwasher safe technology, this was one of the two bladders that could easily be flipped inside out and cleaned right in the dishwasher. We also found that manual cleaning was easy with a simple brush. All parts were easy to take apart. It is more expensive than most other reservoirs, but not that much, considering its many innovations. It is a little heavy if you decide to carry around the pump.

  • Has many innovative uses.
  • Has a slim profile.
  • Has a pressurized system.
  • It is light.
  • It is easy to fill.
  • Safe to be used in a dishwasher.
  • Cons
  • It is expensive.
  • It has a small learning curve.
  • Has no measurements on the bag.
  • Bottom Line

    We love the versatility and creativity that we get with this system. We are always finding new uses, from pet cleaning to showering. We originally thought this would just be a product for gear nerds, but we think that its uses extend past the tech-obsessed outdoor user.

    CamelBak Antidote Reservoir

    Check Price / Buy

    It scores very highly on our quality scale and is extremely easy to fill, easy to drink from, and one of the least expensive bladders you can find. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty which further enhances its long-term value. We highly recommend this bladder if you are on a budget and if don't mind a little extra work cleaning.

    The Antidote is the latest Camelbak bladder in a lineage that goes back decades; it may be the oldest running hydration reservoir. Over the years CamelBak has continually modified this bladder. Compared to earlier versions, it now has a large wide mouth opening, large grab handle for filling, and two chambers for water so it sloshes around less, removable hose and drying plastic tabs. The bite valves were also our favorite. Not too big, and not too small. We also liked that the bite valves weren't as easy to come off and lose like previous models.

  • Easy to fill.
  • It has a large screw top opening.
  • It is affordable.
  • It has a great bite valve.
  • It has a narrow profile.
  • It is compatible with most packs.
  • It has compartments that prevent sloshing.
  • Cons
  • It is difficult to clean.
  • It is usually harder to fill in trickling streams.
  • Bottom Line

    For many people, this is the hydration bladder to get. It scores high and is a great value. This is the best value bladder both because of the price and because of the durability (cost per use).

    Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir

    Check Price / Buy

    The HydraPak Shape-Shift Reservoir is the best option for lightweight adventures. It has a simple lightweight design and slim profile that makes it race-ready and compatible with any running or hiking pack. The zip-lock divider prevents water from sloshing around, while the flip top opening makes for easy cleaning and fill ups. The blaster valve delivers water quickly with little suckage required, while the quantum clip keeps the tube in place.

  • It is light.
  • It has an internal zipper that reduces sloshing.
  • Features a magnetic clip.
  • It can be used in a dishwasher without any issues.
  • It has a quick release hose.
  • It is compatible with other brands.
  • It has a large flip-top closure.
  • Cons
  • You will need to maintain the O-ring.
  • The closure is not attached well.
  • Bottom Line

    This Top Pick for Lightweight Adventures is perfect race-ready bladder truly excelling where lightweight design is required.

    Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir

    Check Price / Buy

    The Osprey Hydraulics LT Bladder stands out for its longer flip top closure, built-in handle, extended quick release hose system, and magnetic bite valve that always keeps water close at hand. It is very easy to use and compatible with most backpacking and running hydration packs; the large plastic handle also allows you to hold the bladder level while filling.

    We loved the longer collar on the flip top, making it easy to collect and share water. It comes with a magnetic tube clip that attaches anywhere on the tube; this clip can also be removed and used for other packs that don't come with a tube clip.

  • It is easy to clean.
  • It has a large and long collar for easy filling.
  • It is affordable.
  • It has an extended hose attachment.
  • Cons
  • It is hard to flip inside out.
  • It has a plastic taste.
  • Bottom Line

    This bladder is perfect for the person in search of a light, functional flip top bladder with a handle. The magnetic attachment is super handy for easy drinking access while the quick-release system is ideal for fully loaded packs. It has lots of cool features that create value for money spent.

    MSR DromLite Bags

    Check Price / Buy

    The MSR DromLite is a highly adaptable, exceptionally durable, lightweight water bladder. The DromLite is available in three different sizes and has a slew of optional accessories including a hose and mouthpiece, a spigot cap for around camp, and a shower kit. This is much more than the average hydration bladder.

    Even though this is a versatile and awesome product, we do have our caveats. First, the MSR Hydration Kit (sold separately) that turns the bag into a hydration system (with a hose and bite valve) is rudimentary and not quick release. Second, we found the opening is hard to fill in small streams as the outside fabric gets wet and holds water. A wet bladder that needs to go back into a backpack is a recipe for wet clothing. That said, it is still one of the most durable products tested and we weren't afraid to just strap it on the outside of the backpack. It is also one of our most versatile bladders.

  • It is light.
  • It is easy to store.
  • It is durable.
  • Features a 3-in-1 mouthpiece.
  • It is versatile.
  • Has many accessories.
  • Cons
  • It is heavy with a hose.
  • It has a wide profile.
  • It is not compatible with all backpack sleeves.
  • Bottom Line

    The MSR DromLite bag is unique. It is durable and versatile. If you're in the market the best backpacking option - this is it!

    The Hydration Bladdder Buying Guide: What Should You Consider?

    Hydration bladders are a relatively new invention in the outdoor world that became commercially available in the early 90s. They first showed up in the cycling world where athletes wanted hands-free access to water. Initially, hydration bladders were just sold in hydration packs. But it didn't take long for all backpack manufacturers to realize this was a very convenient way to drink while hiking, backpacking, running, and many other sports. As a result, almost all backpacks sold today are hydration bladder compatible in some way, either as simply a hole for the drink tube or as complicated as multiple compartments and ways to thread the drink tube through the shoulder straps.

    The following are what you should consider while buying hydration bladders: