When you’re out hiking or jogging, staying hydrated should be your main concern. Unfortunately, when using a traditional water bottle, this is easier said than done. Apart from being impractical, a water bottle doesn’t allow you to consume the water in it as gradually as you should. Introducing the hydration bladder, a device that provides a constant supply of water without occupying your hands.
In order to help you choose the right bladder for hydration, we will thoroughly review five of the best ones on the market.
Benefits of Hydration Bladders
Convenience and Practicality
Using a bladder, hikers no longer have to stop walking, take off their backpack, take out the bottle of water and open it before being able to take a sip. Instead, bladders for hydration feature a useful tube that can be easily reached with your mouth, resulting in instant hydration without having to stop moving.
No Wasted Backpack Space
Most hydration bladders are installed between your pack’s frame and its fabric. As a result, carrying them does not result in having less space in your backpack for all your other stuff. Additionally, these devices shrink as you drink its contents, resulting in even less space being wasted.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Without a doubt, it is a hassle to have to stop walking to get your water bottle out of your backpack every time you need hydration. On the other hand, carrying it in your hand is uncomfortable and tiresome. In contrast, a bladder does not occupy your hands. Additionally, the weight of its contents is evenly spread at all times, resulting in a more balanced and comfortable walking.
One of the best things about bladders for hydration is that they are incredibly lightweight in comparison to water bottles. Typically, a three-liter bladder weighs less than six ounces. Meanwhile, a normal water bottle that holds two liters of water weighs around eight ounces.
What to Consider Before Buying a Bladder for Hydration
No matter what type of bladder for hydration you end up choosing, there are certain features that you should take into account before you do it.
Consider the following:
First things first, bladders for hydration vary in sizes. Of course, the bigger they are, the more capacity they have. Normally, their capacity is measured in liters. The most common capacities are one liter, two liters and three liters. They are so unobtrusive and lightweight, however, it’s always a good idea to choose the bladder with the largest capacity as it won’t make much difference to your carrying ability. Of course you need to make sure it will fit with your packs dimensions.
Ease of Access
Without a doubt, bladders for on-the-go hydration are practical and convenient. However, before choosing a specific model, make sure that it’s easily accessible in terms of both drinking and re-filling. Regarding the latter, it’s important to look for a bladder that can be easily opened and securely closed. What is more, you want an opening that is ample enough to allow easy re-filling.
When it comes to drinking, the most important thing to look at is the bladder’s bite valve. Make sure that it reaches your mouth comfortably. Furthermore, make sure that you can hold it in your mouth with ease and that the liquid flows uninterruptedly through it.
Ease of Cleaning
When choosing a bladder, one of the most important aspects to take into account is its ease of cleaning. Make sure that you can access the water reservoir with enough ease to clean it properly. Additionally, make sure that the bite valve can be easily washed and rinsed. There are some great tools to help with cleaning such as this TAGVO universal cleaning kit.
Some bladders for hydration are pressurized. Using one chamber for water and another for air, they are able to dispense water without you having to suck it in. While this is not a must-have feature, it can certainly add to the comfort and ease of use of the bladder.
There are three main types of bladder openings: fold tops, zip tops and screw tops. Without a doubt, all three forms of opening are effective and efficient. However, you should be aware of the main differences between them.
- Fold Top: The most popular of the three, a fold-top flips up and folds over for providing access to the water reservoir. To close it, reverse the process and slide a closure over the top, preventing leaks.
- Zip Top: Zip top bladders use a closure that resembles that of a large Ziploc bag. This makes them very practical and easy to use. What is more, bladders with this type of opening are very easy to fill.
- Screw top: Screw top bladder openings are the most secure and tight of all. However, they are more difficult and morose to open and close.
The Best Hydration Bladder On The Market
Practical, user-friendly and incredibly durable, this Source hydration bladder can be a great choice for experienced hikers who enjoy pushing their own boundaries. Using a patented closure system, the bladder prevents leaks while encouraging a consistent flow of water. What is more, it’s perfectly compatible with the USMC Miox filtering system, resulting in even more purity.
In terms of materials, the Source Tactical WXP has a lot to offer. The high-tech plastic it’s made of is solid, durable and resistant to external elements. Despite this, it’s also remarkably lightweight. It’s antimicrobial and completely taste-free. As if all this wasn’t enough, this material is UV resistant, preventing accidental evaporation or heating of your precious water supply.
Regarding accessibility, the Source Tactical WXP is among the best of its kind. Its hydration hose is tough and durable without sacrificing flexibility. It’s long enough to allow its bite valve to be picked up at any time using nothing but your mouth. Meanwhile, its patented push and pull Storm Valve can be used without biting. Additionally, this valve features a reliable shut-off mechanism.
- Patented leak-proof slide opening
- Blocks UV light
- Valve requires no biting
- Easy to refill
- Low maintenance
- Hose may break off
If you are looking for a streamlined and simple bladder design, this hydration device may be right for you. FDA-approved and made of BPA-free materials only, this bladder is completely safe for human use. What is more, it’s antibacterial and antimicrobial. At the same time, the product is wear-proof and resistant to pressure, resulting in extreme durability no matter how intensely it is used.
Without a doubt, the design of this Aquatic Way bladder for on-the-go hydration makes it one of the most practical items on this list. Its main body is compact and simple in its shape, making it very easy to find room in your backpack for it. Its large opening makes it very easy to clean and refill. It only holds two liters and seventy ounces.
To make cleaning even easier, this Aquatic Way product can be taken apart with ease. It’s pleasantly surprising to see that, even when you take out the hose’s connector, the device doesn’t leak at all. As a matter of fact, the hose’s quick-release connector mechanism allows you to take the hose in and out at any point using a single button click. Without a doubt, this is useful when you want to adjust your setup while on the move.
- Large opening
- Easy to clean and refill
- Durable bite valve
- Gives off some amount of plastic taste
- Hose may become detached
With a capacity of three liters, this bladder for hydration is certainly capable of keeping you hydrated during long hikes. Its design is ergonomic and comfortable, even featuring a high-flow hose that doesn’t require biting to deliver water. Featuring a large screw top on its opening, this WACOOL product is incredibly easy to refill and clean. Additionally, the device features a second opening that allows refilling under difficult conditions.
Made of BPA-free EVA material, the WACOOL Hydration Pack Bladder is incredibly rigid and tough. Without a doubt, this is an advantage for those who tend to embark on high-impact adventures. However, it can also make the device less versatile as it does not adapt to the shape of your pack. At any rate, though, this material has many advantages apart from its rigidity, including being tasteless and odorless.
One of the best things about this WACOOL product is its military-grade insulation. Said insulation isn’t relegated to the device’s water reservoir. Instead, it’s also used in its hose, preventing temperature conditions and external elements from ruining your drinking water. Expertly constructed, the bladder is also completely leak-proof, even using rubber binds to fully insulate both extremes of its hose.
- Large capacity
- Rigid and wear-proof
- Pressure-tolerant liner
- Double opening design
- Self-lock hose connector
- Opening may leak
- Difficult to clean
Due to its low profile and compact design, this product can be a fantastic addition to any hydration bladder backpack. Using a specially-designed center baffle, it rides flat in a pack. Leakproof, easy to use and completely secure, this water reservoir bladder can be relied upon during long hiking trips.
Made of a premium advanced material, the Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks is tough and flexible at the same time. Additionally, it contracts as the water in it is consumed, reducing the space it takes in your backpack. Even better, this material is protected with silver-ion, preventing mold and bacteria from growing on it. Additionally, this protective coating eliminates all tastes and odors that could detract from your hydrating experience.
With a large opening that can be easily accessed, the Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks is easy to refill. However, due to its compact design, it can be difficult to clean. Even worse, this compact design can cause the water flow to slow down or even stop at certain moments. At any rate, however, the design is completely secure and leak-proof, an advantage that may compensate for its faults.
- Taste-free plastic
- Secure opening
- Quick and easy access
- Leakproof shut-off valve instantly stops water flow
- Large capacity
- Water flow may slow down
- Difficult to clean
Constructed and made of high-quality materials, this Cherainti bladder for personal hydration certainly has a lot to offer. Featuring a remarkably large opening, it’s very user-friendly, practical and convenient. In addition, it has a sleek and futuristic design whose priority is to make it easy for you to stay hydrated at all times.
As previously mentioned, this fantastic bladder for on-the-go hydration by Cherainti is made of premium materials. Apart from being tough, durable and resistant to external elements, these materials are pressure resistant, ensuring that the water delivery system will remain efficient and functional even after extensive usage. As if all that was not enough, this advanced material is BPA-free as well as SGS and FDA certified.
Taking into account reviews and comments online, one of the most popular characteristics of this Cherainti product is its leakage proofing. Even though it has a very large opening for easy cleaning and refilling, when closed, it is completely secure and leak-free. Unfortunately, the tightness of this system can cause the water flow to be somewhat slow at times. However, in our opinion, that is a small price to pay for complete reliability and efficiency without leakage of any kind.
- Large opening for easy cleaning and refilling
- BPA-free and FDA-certified
- Perfectly leak-proof
- At the time of writing it includes a free bandanna
- Precise water flow control
- Water flow is not great
Without a doubt, all the products featured in this article are worth looking into. Expertly constructed with high-quality materials, each and every one of these products is capable of doing its job efficiently and consistently.
However, there is one that stands out above the rest. Taking into account its features and benefits, we can confidently say that the Source Tactical WXP is the best hydration bladder on the market right now. Incredibly durable, astoundingly efficient and perfectly designed, this product is definitely worth a try.