best hydration bladder
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For outdoor enthusiasts, it’s important to always hydrate. Hydration is essential for preventing heatstroke, muscle cramps and keeping your brain alert. Dehydration can significantly hamper your outdoor experience, making you easily fatigued, more irritable, and easily nauseated. It also puts you at risk of suffering from long-term health conditions such as kidney failure and low blood volume.

Keeping hydrated in the wilderness when you’re hiking, riding, running, or mountain climbing can be quite challenging. You have to stop or slow down to drink fluids, ruining your momentum and interrupting your flow. Hydration bladders come in handy to keep you hydrated on the go. You use the bladder’s tube You simply drink fluids via the tube linked to the reservoir without necessarily using your hands or losing concentration.

Outdoor gear reviewers have billed hydration bladders as out one of the greatest outdoor gear inventions facilitating ease of transporting water and making drinking efficient and convenient. Besides, hydration packs keep water cool during warm weather and have a longer lifespan than water bottles. In this piece, we’ve looked at the top-ranking hydration bladders that offer the best performance and worthwhile. Read on to find an ideal hydration bladder for your everyday outdoor activity.

Types of Hydration Bladders

Hydration bladders are soft-sided water containers constructed from soft, flexible plastics. They are usually flexible and squishy, meaning that they can fit neatly between the fabric of the backpack and its frame. Most outdoor backpacks are hydration bladder compatible, featuring a sleeve or a pocket that holds the hydration bladder complete with an opening for the tube’s penetration. Nonetheless, hydration bladders don’t come with backpacks meaning that they’re sold separately.

While they are quite similar in appearance, hydration bladders should not be confused with water bladders. Hydration bladders are specifically designed for hikers and backpackers. They come with a drinking tube and is carried in a backpack to allow for hands-free drinking. Water bladders, on the other hand, are simply meant for pure water storage either in a camp, boat, etc. It’s not possible to attached them to a backpack and often lack a straw to facilitate seamless drinking.

There are several types of hydration bladders usually classified based on the type of opening (fold-top, screw cap, and zip-top), size of bite valve, material, pressure, valve locking mechanism, capacities, and type of hose. With so many types of hydration bladders, you can be sure to find one that suits your needs.

Top 9 Best Hydration Bladders Reviews

The best hydration bladders are strong enough to sustain any puncture, capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, facilitate ease of drinking without spilling, have precise measurements, compact enough to fit in any backpack/hydration pack easily, and easy to clean. Here are the top 9 best hydration bladders you may want to consider:

1. Best Overall Hydration Bladder: Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir

Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 3-Liter, EVO...
  • Brand: Platypus
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2 x 11 x 2 inches
  • Available Sizes: 1.5L (51 oz.), 2L (68 oz.) – also lumbar version, 3L (100 oz)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Suitable For: Hiking, Mountaineering, Backpacking, and Trekking

Our top pick is the Platypus Big Zip LP which features a large zip lock opening at the top of the bladder. This durable hydration bladder packs outstanding features. It includes a versatile tube setup that can either be plugged at the bottom of the bladder or into a connection point found halfway up the tube. The tube can efficiently be disconnected from the reservoir by pressing the release button, which is located on the tube/reservoir joint.

The Platypus Big ZIP EVO is constructed of a double-layered polyethylene material. The inner layers ensure the water is always pure for consumption while the outer layer offers the required durability. The inner layer is also silver-ion treated to prevent bacteria and mold growth. The plastic construction is fairly robust and BPS, BPA, and phthalate-free.

The bladder features a reasonably wide slide closure at the top, allowing for ease of refilling, draining, cleaning, and drying. You can easily scoop water from a trough or simply fill it under a faucet. The bite valve offers additional water security thanks to its twist locking mechanism. However, the bladder doesn’t come with a valve cover (sold separately) to confer protection against dirt which can easily contaminate the water as you drink.

The Platypus Big Zip LP employs a compact, slim profile design and can easily fit most backpacks that support hydration systems. It also encompasses a top hanger that doubles as a carry handle, providing more stability. The bladder also comes with several accessories, including a mouthpiece clip, a tube insulator, and a Hyperflow bite valve, allowing for a faster flow rate. The Platypus Big ZIP is strong and lightweight enough for high-tempo outdoor activities such as mountaineering and backpacking. However, cleaning can be a challenge since it cannot be flipped inside out.

Pros

  • Slim, compact design
  • Durable
  • Silver-ion technology makes it resistant to bacterial and mold growth.
  • Easy to fill and clean
  • Offers and excellent flow
  • BPA-, BPS- and Phthalate-free-water has no funny taste

Cons

  • More lightweight options available
  • The bladder cannot be flipped inside for ease of cleaning.
  • Users cannot remove the internal baffle.
  • Insulation is not provided on the drinking hose.
  • Limited color choice

2. Premium Hydration Bladder: Source Outdoor 3L Ultimate Widepac Bladder

Source Ultimate Widepac Hydration Bladder (3L) for Hydration Packs...
  • Brand: Source Hydration, LLC
  • Weight: 10.08 ounces
  • Dimensions: 16.54 x 8.27 x 0.39 inches
  • Available Sizes: 1.5L (51 oz.), 2L (68 oz.) – also lumbar version, 3L (100 oz)
  • Material: Co-Extruded Polyethylene
  • Suitable For: Hiking, Mountaineering, Backpacking, and Trekking

The Source Outdoor Widepac is a popular hydration bladder among mountaineers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its durability and cutting-edge technology yet quite simple to use. A 3-layer co-extruded polyethylene material treated with an FDA-approved and EPA-registered antimicrobial agent is used to construct the bladder. i.e., Grunge Guard Anti-Microbial Technology.

In addition, the polyethylene construction features Source Glass-Like technology that makes it super smooth and very easy to clean with self-cleaning ability preventing bacterial growth and bio-film build up.

As the name implies, the Source Outdoor Widepac is equipped with wide slide closure at the top to facilitate ease of refilling, draining, and cleaning. The tube can easily be detached from the reservoir by simply pushing the button on the joint. The bladder comes with a rounded Helix bite valve made of silicon. The valve employs a safety shut off mechanism that completely prevents leakages during transportation under pressure or with prolonged use.

Biting the valve softly allows for adequate flow of water into your mouth. The valve is protected with a dirt-shield protective cover which prevents dust and other forms of water contamination. The suction tube is strategically placed at 90° creating a favorable drinking angle and eliminating excess tube load around the chest. The self-cleaning capability, easy refill, ice-insertion, and cleaning, not forgetting the high-quality slide-closure, makes the Widepac an almost inch-perfect hydration bladder. It comes with several accessories, including a universal tube adapter for easy tap filling, water filter, cleaning kit, docking station, tube insulator, and a magnetic clip for the mouthpiece to hold it in place.

Pros

  • Durable with easy maintenance
  • Self-cleaning capability with antimicrobial performance
  • Valve cover included in the package.
  • Comes with several accessories
  • Free from BPA, BPS, and phthalates
  • Easy to fill via UTA Universal Tube Adaptor

Cons

  • The suction valve seems to be a bit large.
  • Lacks a tie to hold the slide top to the bladder.

3. Best Hydration Bladder for Hiking: Deuter Streamer 2.0L Reservoir

Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder for Backpacking, Hiking, Road...
  • Brand: Deuter
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 17.32 x 8.66 x 0.39 inches
  • Available Sizes: 2L and 3L
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Suitable For: Hiking, Mountaineering, Backpacking, and Trekking

The Deuter Streamer hydration bladder is extremely durable thanks to the thick polyethylene material. Unlike most hydration bladders with the hose connector at about one-third of the base’s distance, this bladder is quite different. The hose connector is positioned at the bladder base, allowing for an extended odorless flow of water until the bladder is completely empty. This ensures you stay hydrated throughout the hike.

The Deuter Streamer hydration bladder comes with a twist-to-lock bite valve, together with the closing cap to prevent leaks via the mouthpiece. In addition, the closing cap prevents dust and other contaminants, ensuring your drinking water is always pure.

The bladder leverages a fold-top closure mechanism where the entire width can be opened to facilitate easy cleaning and hassle-free refilling. The fold-top closure is reinforced by a leak-proof sliding plastic clip providing adequate tightness.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Great for hiking even with small volumes of water
  • Easy to use
  • Full-width opening makes it easy to fill, clean, and dry.
  • Taste and odor-free hydration
  • BPA free.

Cons

  • The plastic clip can easily break

4. Best Hydration Bladder For Versatility: MSR Dromedary Bag Water Reservoir

MSR Dromedary Bag Water Reservoir, 4-Liter , Black
  • Brand: MSR
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces (4-liter)
  • Dimensions: 18.3 x 10 inches (4-liter)
  • Available Sizes: 2L, 4L, 6L, and 10L
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Suitable For: Camping, Hiking, Cycling, and Backpacking

The MSR Dromedary Bag is best known for its versatility. Its unique collapsible design makes it ideal for all types of outdoor activities ranging from road warrior expeditions to hardcore alpine adventures. The 3-in-1 cap allows you to fill, drink and pour with greater ease without spillages. The bladder’s exterior features an incredibly tough 1,000-Denier material making it extremely durable. An enhanced BPA-free food-grade lines the interior for odorless and taste-free water. The bladder also features streamlined webbing and strategic grommets, which allow for pack attachment and hanging.

The choice of 2L, 4L, 6L, and 10L gives you a greater option regarding the quantity of water you may need for your outdoor activity. Of particular is the 10L Dromedary Bag, which can conveniently store enough water needed for the entire camping or hiking activity. The bladder’s top opening is wide enough, facilitating easy refilling and emptying. The bag comes with a detachable mouthpiece allowing for easy sipping.

The collapsible design makes the bladder takes less space in your hydration pack or travel backpack. The bladder also comes with webbings and straps to facilitate easy storage and hanging if necessary. It also comes with a plethora of accessories, including Hydration or Shower Kits.

The Dromedary Water Bag is really a great option if you are looking for a versatile hydration bladder for all your outdoor hydration needs. While it’s quite large than the standard hydration bladder, it’s highly portable and easy to use.

Pros

  • Collapsible design makes it easy to store and carry
  • Extremely durable
  • Different capacity options to choose from
  • Comfortable ergonomic design
  • Highly versatile and convenient in multiple situations
  • Comes with multiple accessories

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a hose
  • Relatively larger and heavier than most hydration bladders
  • Not compatible with all hydration sleeve

5. Best All-Season Hydration Bladder: HydraPak HydraSleeve Reservoir 3L

Hydrapak HydraSleeve - Insulated Sleeve with Shape-Shift Low-Profile...
  • Brand: HydraPak
  • Weight: 10.8 oz
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Available Sizes: 3 L / 100 fl oz
  • Material: Nylon, EVA, TPU, PP/POM, ABS, Silicone
  • Suitable For: Camping, Hiking, Cycling, and Backpacking, Winter Activities, Kayaking

The HydraPak HydraSleeve is designed to withstand all weather and keep your water cold. This is achieved via the best-in-class insulation encompassing an insulating foam layer combined with a thermal reflective liner. The insulated reservoir sleeve keeps your water refreshingly cold even in extreme conditions such as hot desert conditions and freezing cold winter activities such a ski touring. The drinking tube is insulated as well and comes with a dirt guard to keep your water clean always. You can also choose not to include the insulation sleeve for modularized use.

The tough construction makes the bladder is exceptionally durable. The design features an intuitive slider top and an adjustable baffle allowing it to maintain a low compact profile when filled. The slider top also allows for ease of refilling without necessarily removing the insulated sleeve. The buckle closure is rolled over to create a handle for convenient carrying and a hang point. You’ll also appreciate the lash points, which allow you to conveniently attach the bladder to your boat, kayak, bike, or ATV to function as an external hydration gear setup.

HydraPak HydraSleeve has an extensive working temperature (can be frozen – max temp 60° C / 140° F). It is constructed with waterproof, 210D Nylon ripstop fabric with a smooth finish for durability and easy packing. The access port to the Plug-N-Play™ connect system facilitates convenient refilling while the High-flow Blaster™ bite valve self-seals after each sip to prevent leakages when not in use.

The bladder offers outstanding insulative properties making it a top choice if you’re looking for hydration bladders for all seasons, both hot and cold weather.

Pros

  • High-quality, durable construction
  • Insulated and waterproof
  • High flow bite valve
  • Compatible with all-weather.
  • Easy to clean and 100% BPA free

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Somewhat heavy
  • Needs regular maintenance and lubrication for longevity.

6. Best Hydration Bladder for Hunting: Badlands Hydration Reservoir With Insulated Drinking Tube

Badlands Hydration Reservoir with Insulated Drinking Tube, 1 Liter
  • Brand: Badlands
  • Weight: 6.08 oz
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.2 x 2.4 inches
  • Available Sizes: 1 L, 2L, and 3L-Rectangular and Square shapes
  • Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)
  • Suitable For: Hunting, Camping, and Backpacking

Badlands Hydration Reservoir is a product of collaboration between top outdoor brands HydraPak™ and Badlands . It is specifically designed for hunting. The bladder is durable, convenient, leak-proof, and much quieter than any other water bladder in the market currently.

Badlands Hydration Reservoir is constructed with 0.25mm thick Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) with outstanding hose and valve designs. It features a Plug-N-Play™ tube connector which allows users to easily attach and detach the tube from the reservoir plus facilitate ease of refills. A built-in foam insulates the bladder keeping water water within the tube colder for longer.

A simple suction will propel plenty of water to flow into your mouth and quench thirst in an instant, thanks to the Elite Surge Valve. The bite-valve is attached with a freely-suspended dust cover to allow for pure water intake.

The bladder easy to clean, thanks to the full-width top opening. Besides, the bladder is fully reversible, allowing it to dry quickly after washing. The Badlands reservoir is BPA-and PVC-free ensuring water odorless and tasteless. To top it up, it comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty giving you real value for money.

Pros

  • Advanced hydrafusion technology to keep water insulated for longer
  • Easy cleaning and quick drying is possible since the bladder can be turned inside out.
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes in different shapes and sizes to fit your hydration backpack
  • A Plug N Play tube connector confers convenience.
  • BPA and PVC-free
  • Comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The drinking hose is opaque, meaning it can easily harbor molds.
  • You have to keep turning the mouthpiece on and off when taking a sip.

7. Best High-Tech Hydration Bladder: Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir

Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50...
  • Brand: Geigerrig
  • Weight: 50 oz
  • Dimensions: 1.25 x 7 x 3 inches
  • Available Sizes: 1.5L, 2L, and 3L
  • Material: TPU
  • Suitable For: Camping, Cycling, Backpacking, and Mountaineering

The Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir suits tech-savvy outdoor enthusiasts. This hydration bladder sports an innovative pressure system which makes it quite advanced. It features an ellipsoidal air pump that connects to the reservoir’s air compartment forcing the water to squirt out through the suction hose. As such, you don’t really need to suck water into your mouth; the bladder does all the work for you.

The bladder is constructed with solid TPU making it quite durable. It comes in three different capacities of 1.5L, 2L, and 3L. It features a slide top and wide open mouth for fast refills, easy cleaning, and quick drying. Better yet, it’s dishwasher safe, meaning that you won’t really struggle cleaning it. Just detach the bladder from the tube via the easy disconnect system and place it in your dishwasher to clean.

Geigerrig hydration bladder pressure system makes it a versatile water system usable in different outdoor circumstances. Apart from general hands-free hydration, the bladder has found several use cases, including cooling off and washing outdoor utensils. It is compatible with Aquamira Frontier Max filter or Geigerrig filters (sold separately) to filter out impurities as you drink.

The Geigerrig hydration engine offers outstanding versatility thanks to its technology-conscious design, notably the built-in pressure system. It comes with a lifetime warranty against leaks.

Pros

  • Slim, compact design
  • Has an in-built pressurized system
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy refill and fill

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Takes time to learn how to use it
  • Excessive pumping creates enormous pressure, which may damage it.

8. Best Hydration Bladder on a Budget: Platypus Hoser Hands-Free Hydration System Water Reservoir

Platypus Hoser Hands-Free Hydration System Water Reservoir
  • Brand: Platypus
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.25 x 11.5
  • Available Size: 1.0 Liter
  • Material: Plastic
  • Suitable For: Thru-hiking, Day Hiking, and Backpacking

With prices starting at $20.76, the Platypus Hoser is an affordable hydration bladder that doesn’t compromise on quality or functionality. In fact, the bladder packs some outstanding features not found in some expensive models.

The bladder’s light, durable, and slim profile allows it to fit in most hydration sleeves. The flow rate is relatively high with the easy-to-use, one-piece, self-sealing HyFLO bite valve to keep you hydrated on the go. The bladder is safely secured in a backpack, travel bag or elsewhere using the hang/carry loop.

The bladder is taste-free, BPA-free, BPS-free, and phthalate-free. It’s interior is embedded with silver-ion protection to prevent mold and bacteria growth. The Platypus Hoser is great for light adventures and comes at a really great price for all those features.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Relatively durable
  • Minimalist design
  • High flow rate
  • Taste and odor-free water

Cons

  • Quite difficult to clean
  • The plastic construction makes it less durable.

9. Best Hydration Bladder for Beginners: Source Tactical WXP 3-Liter Hydration Reservoir

Source Hydration Bladder WXP - 3 Liter (100oz) Water Bladder with High...
  • Brand: Source
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6.5″x13.8″x1.5″
  • Available Size: 1.5L, 2L, and 3L
  • Material: Co-extruded Polyethylene
  • Suitable For: Hiking, Mountaineering, Backpacking, and Trekking

The Source Tactical WXP 3-Liter Hydration Reservoir is a beginner-friendly hydration bladder with plenty of handy features. The bladder comes in two main sizes: 2 liters and 3 liters, each featuring a combination of both the large screw top opening and the fold-top design to open and close the lid. Both types of closure are leak-proof and water-tight, preventing any form of annoying leakages.

The Source Tactical bladder is quite durable thanks to the high-end co-extruded polyethylene. The bladder’s interior features a glass-like liner that protects it against bio-film build-up-a major contributor towards bacterial growth. The Grunge-Guard antimicrobial technology significantly prevents mold and bacterial growth.

The Source Tactical WXP 3-Liter Hydration Reservoir integrates several innovative technologies. The QMT Source, Quick Mate hose fitting technology, offers push-button convenience and eliminates leakages. The patented push/pull storm technology makes it deliver 25% higher flow than regular bladders, plus ensures water remains sterile and uncontaminated.

The patented leak-proof wide slide opening makes cleaning easy and facilitates efficient draining and ice insertion. The bladder keeps water cool and pure for a long time thanks to the fabric webbing on the sacking tube to block UV-light. In essence, the bladder is easy to use and integrates a wide range of performance-enhancing features.

Pros

  • Choose from different capacity options and screw-cap and slide locking mechanisms.
  • Quality, durable construction
  • Self-cleaning mechanism with antimicrobial technology
  • Leak-proof and UV-light proof
  • Taste-free system

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit most hydration backpacks
  • Doesn’t come with many accessories

Frequently Asked Questions about Hydration Bladders

How does a hydration bladder work?

Hydration bladders are basically water reservoirs designed to make outdoor hydration easy and on the go. They are a necessity when hiking, hunting, running, skiing, mountain biking, etc. They appear as rubber pouched filled with water and consist of a hose that relays water from the bladder into your mouth via the bite valve.

What factors should I consider when buying an ideal hydration bladder?

Buying a hydration bladder can be daunting due to the numerous available models. Nonetheless, there are several things you should be mindful of, including capacity, construction material, size, compatibility to backpacks, type of bladder opening, ease of cleaning, hose compatibility, user-friendliness, and weather considerations.

How do I fill or refill my water bladder?

Filling or refilling your hydration bladder is dependent on the type of opening at the top. For the sliding closure of screw cap, you simply need to slide or unscrew the cap and fill the bladder with water directly from the tap or water dispenser. Sometimes, you may need to refill your water bladder in the wilderness using water from rivers and streams. For a screw cap top bladder, you’ll need to have an accessory like a filling jug.

How do I clean my hydration bladder?

It’s advisable to clean your bladder after every use. There are several ways of cleaning hydration bladders, including using a dishwasher, using lemon water or white vinegar, using baking soda or bleak, or using efferdent tabs.

Can a hydration bladder carry any other drink apart from water?

Yea! Sports drinks and energy drinks can be transported on some hydration bladders. However, be keen to read the manufacturer’s instructions before placing a drink in your bladder since it can provide a favorable environment for bacterial growth.

Final Verdict

Hydration bladders are simple innovations but play a crucial role in enabling outdoor enthusiasts to stay hydrated on the trail. The best hydration bladder, guarantees you constant hydration to fulfill your outdoor goals. While there are numerous options to choose from, an ideal hydration bladder should be dependent on your individual needs as well as your budget. The best hydration bladder is the one that serves your individual needs better than the rest.

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