Author: Bundy Outdoors Date Posted:25 January 2023
Hydration Reservoirs (Water Bladders)
Water Bladders or Hydration Reservoirs have been around for years, and most people would have heard of Camelbak who were one of the pioneers of the technology which has been adopted by a wide range of sports people, professionals, and military personnel alike.
Water bladders are a convenient and easy way to stay hydrated when performing sports activities such as hiking and running where time is often of the essence. With water or other liquids readily available with the simple bite action on the bite valve. With a huge range of capacities carrying a water bladder means you are less likely to run out of water, or alternatively it gives you a greater scope for water consumption and conservation between stops.
Carrying a water bladder in a backpack makes it easier and more comfortable to carry a greater volume of water versus using 500ml bottles. You can carry a single 3L water bladder inside your backpack instead of trying to carry and store 6x 500ml plastic bottles.
What to look for in a water bladder?
Materials – it is important to look at the materials used to manufacture the water bladder. It is best to look for BPA free. Both Osprey and Camelbak water bladders are all 100% free of BPA, and free of other nasties often found in cheaper hydration bladders.
Spare parts – are their spare parts readily available. Buying reputable brands that have been around for yonks means you are more than likely able to buy spare parts, while we all hope we don’t need them, you never know, if you pop your bag down on a sharp surface and some how puncture a hose, or eventually bite through your bite valve.
Easily replaceable spare parts – following on from the availability of spare parts, are the parts easily replaceable or even upgradeable? Both Osprey and Camelbak water bladders come parts that are replaceable individually in sections or even upgraded without having to replace an entire section or upgrade the whole unit. This means if you need to replace one section of tubing, you don’t need to replace the bite valve, the cover, the quick connects. Which makes this type of water bladder more economical in the long run.
Durability – how durable is the material? If you are using your hydration bladder inside a backpack it’s more than likely going to encounter the contents of the backpack at some stage or even when inserting or removing it for filling and cleaning. Are the materials tough enough to withstand the jostling and pushing and pulling that comes with using a water bladder… Obviously no water bladder can hold up to something sharp like a pocketknife or tent poles – it’s not made of Kevlar.
Ease of filling – is the water bladder easy to fill? Some water bladders have a large circular bung on the front giving access to a wide mouth to fill like in the Camelbak Crux or Camelbak Mil Spec range. Others like Osprey have a fold and slide-seal opening where the slide is removed revealing a frog mouth opening at the top.
At Bundy Outdoors we use and recommend both the Osprey Hydraulics and Camelbak range of hydration bladders for versatility and serviceability, but never fear if these brands are a bit out of your budget we also stock a range from Oztrail.