A lot of people tend to underestimate the importance of hydration when they are outside. You cannot depend on finding water along the trail, and that is where hydration bladders come in.
But the big question is how do you choose the best hydration bladder for your journey? The truth is there are tons of these products in the market today.
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Benefits of Hydration Bladder
We all know that water is essential, and hydration bladder makes it easy to carry for two to three days on your back without having an additional container.
So, what do you stand to gain if you decide to use hydration bladder while you are cycling, running, or hiking as compared to bottle water?
I prefer using a hydration pack whenever I am on a longer trip. The reason for this is that it is quick and easy to use.
Instead of having to reach between your legs and pull a bottle, and hold it while you are drinking, the hydration bladder is more convenient, immediate and straightforward to use without you removing your hands from the bike.
Great for Racing
I also prefer going with a hydration pack while I am racing. The reason for this is because you can quickly drink water with it while riding your bike.
For me, I do like to drink water every 10 to 15 minutes. If it is more than that, I’d really get pushy more than where I want to be.
I believe it is much easier to grab the hose of my bladder, stick my mouth to it with both hands on the bike, and I’m ready to go.
Watch this video to find out benefits of Hydration Pack vs Water Bottles:
How to Choose the Best Hydration Bladder
Proper hydration maintains body functions, prevents overheating and dehydration. For cyclers on the go, it is important to have complete access to fresh water while embarking on a journey. Hydration bladders are available in different brands and volumes, so it is important to know the right brand before making a purchase.
So, I have outlined some tips to help you make the right decision on the type of hydration bladders that will serve you better.
Few Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
- Can you leave water in the bladder for a week or so?
- Will it taste okay ?
- Are they easy to clean ?
- Are they taste free ?
- And of course, which bladder size is going to fit in your particular packs ?
The way a water bladder works is that it is going to be in its pocket and the hydration tube will run down to one of the sleeves of the pack to give you access to fresh water while on the move.
What to consider with Hydration Bladder ?
Before you decide to buy a hydration bladder you need to find out which type comes with great functionality and durability.
Here are few factors that will help you make an informed decision:
Image source: outdoorgearlab.com
The Size of the Hydration Bladder
Hydration bladders come in one of three various sizes. You can see a brand of one liter, two liters, and three liters.
One aspect to look at is your hydration carrier- that is the pack you are going to be carrying that bladder in. Can your backpack hold three liters? Or can it hold two? If you are not willing to purchase a bigger pack, then go for two liters.
But if you have a full-size pack that can carry 3 liters hydration bladder, then go after the largest size.
The difference between the weight of one liter, 2 liters, and 3 liters is basically a fraction of an ounce. So, go for the larger ones.
The design of the water reservoir
Also, there are two main designs of hydration bladders. We have the pressurize and non-pressurize bladders.
I personally go for the non-pressurize version. The reason is that it is simple to use, has a lighter weight and it's less expensive. With the pressurize ones, you will have to pressurize air into the bladder, and to me, it’s more complicated. Well, except you want to take a shower with it; that would be okay. Of course, it all boils down to what you want.
The Bladder Top
Also, when it comes to filling your bladder, there are two types; one with the screw top, and one with the slide locking mechanism. Personally, I happen to like the one with a zippy top. They are easy to fill up with water and easy to clean.
The screw cap bladder comes with a pretty small hole that is a little more complicated to clean up and sometimes difficult to fill.
The Bladder Hose
Finally, one aspect you need to pay more attention to, and that I find so important is the hose of the bladder. Some bladders have a quick connect and release tubes while others take a bit of work to wiggle them off. So, go for bladders that come with much flexibility that you can clean with ease.
The 5 Best Hydration Bladders on the Market
The Bonl emerald bladder is very affordable, and you can easily put it on your backpack or any outdoor equipment. The Emerald bladder comes with a big screw cap opening for filling water and a slide lock for washing and drying out. The dual fill option makes this brand unique. Both features are reliable and easy to use.
This high quality product holds water as much as 100 ounces, so you are sure of having enough water with you while you embark on your journey. The reservoir is built with an advanced Microban technology to eliminate bacteria or mold.
The smoothness from the liner prevents the germ and the lime from adhesion which promotes your health. The bite valve comes with a dust cover to prevent outdoor pollution.
- Easily add ice through the zippy top or add water through the screw top
- Cleaning, rinsing, and drying conveniently
- Taste free
- Great for hiking, biking, and climbing
- The Microban makes it healthy and safe to use
- A self-lock tub connector allows you to attach or detach the tube without leaking or spilling the water.
- The tube and the mouthpiece are both designed with a built-in dust cap to prevent dust during outdoors adventures.
- Mouthpiece might be difficult to unlock at the first moment.
- The cap to the drinking tube comes off pretty quickly.
This imagery hydration bladder is made up of a nice long hose that comes with great functionality and design. They are ideal for cycling, hiking, running, and outdoor activities.
One unique feature of this high-quality reservoir pack is that it comes with a single design slide lock opening for easy washing and drying. This means you can get your hands on the pack and clean up the bottom.
Another great feature about this easy to use brand is that it comes with an insulated tube to keep your water fresh all day.
- The pack comes with a simple to use functionality
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Very easy and simple to clean
- Dust cover on the drinking tube prevents dust from entry the mouth valve
- Leak-proof shutoff valve
- Might be difficult to use the bite valve on first time
- The bite valve might be difficult to bring out water
The camel 70 oz is a low profile hydration bladder which means it doesn’t have a wide footprint when it is full. So, you are sure of a portable bladder that perfectly fits into your backpack.
This high-quality product is a much-improved system of the conventional blue Camelbak. It comes with a translucent design that allows you to check for any signs of fungi or molds growing inside the hydration bladder. With this feature, you will get to see how much water is left on your reservoir.
One nice feature of this brand is that it comes with an insulated tube to keep your water cold. You can easily position the tube with the aid of a clip. This makes it flexible and easy to use.
Unlike the older version, you can quickly disconnect the water from the bottom of the bladder without leaking out water. The hose and bite valve come in large design which allows for increased water flow.
- It has an easy to open cover top which makes it convenient to refill
- The tube comes with a built-in dust cap to prevent dust during outdoors activities
- The bladder is taste free
- The reservoir is more durable and sturdy compared to the former model
- The tube comes with a mouthpiece cover to make the bite valve clean
- The bladder comes in very handy. It can perfectly fit in your carrier
- Zero leaks and durable design
- It doesn't open all the way at the top for easy washing
- The drinking tube is a little bit longer which some people may have to deal with
- It takes a bit of time to dry out
The Wacool 3 liter hydration bladder is made up of plastic-rubber material with excellent construction and functionality.
The bladder comes with a double opening screw cap and a slide cover for easy filling and cleaning. With a simple push of a button, you can quickly detach and attach the hose from the bottom of the pack which makes it simple to use.
One feature I like about this product is that it has a little lever on the drinking tube where you can adjust the flow of the water. You can as well take the drinking valve out to clean it, and snap it back together with the help of a little button.
This feature makes it more flexible to use. You are always sure of extra protection as it is FDA approved. So this ensures that your water is free from the growth of bacteria.
- It is perfect for hiking, running, cycling and outdoors activities
- The hydration bladder is one of the rigid bladders in the market
- Unlike other products, it has an extra thick liner that prevents leakages
- It has a big opening for filling, cleaning and drying
- The tub is well connected. No leakages when it is disconnected
- The hose might be pretty difficult to clean
- Drawing out water from the mouthpiece might not be as quick as you want it. So, the flow is a little bit restricted
The Riqik water bladder is designed to hold 3 liters of water. That is about 100 oz of water to keep you hydrated all day, especially when it is really hot and dry.
The military hydration bladder comes with a slide lock mechanism which makes it easy for you to get your hands in it to clean, fill in water, and also add ice to your water.
One thing that impresses me the most is that this product is made of a thicker silicone that prevents it from leaking and also makes the bladder last long. The tube comes with a unique quality design that keeps the water from sweating on you.
This product also comes with a Microban that keeps the product clean and fresher by continuously preventing the growth of bacteria in the hose. And believe me, stains get packed up in the tube, but with the help of the Microban, this just makes it much better.
You can basically bite the valve and water start flowing out so easily. You can also shut it off when you are done drinking.
- The bladder is taste free and also BPA free
- You can leave water on it for a week or even longer and it will still feel okay
- Durable hose and a durable shutoff valve that prevents leakage of water.
- A thick layer cover that prevents it from getting damaged even if it falls on the ground.
- It is made of an excellent quality bladder with clips to put the hose in place.
- Also, this nice brand is made up of an insulated drinking tub cover to keep your water fresh and cool.
- It would have been much better if the hose was a little bit longer.
- Over time the bite valve could degrade due to frequent biting
After carrying out a thorough research on the 5 hydration bladders, I do prefer the BONL Emerald Hydration Bladder.
- This is because this product is designed with a quick and easy to use functionality.
- The water bladder also comes with a unique and thick cover layer that prevents the bladder from getting damaged even if it falls on the ground.
- Durable hose and a durable shutoff valve that prevents leakage of water
- The hydration bladder comes with an intuitive and durable design which I think is the major reason why most users prefer using it.
- Comes with a more durable mouthpiece compared to any other brand
- Dual functionality; comes with big screw cap opening to fill in water and a slide lock for washing and drying out.
- The bite valve comes with a dust cover to prevent outdoor pollution
BONL Emerald Hydration Bladder 100 Oz/3-Litres
So, I hope you guys enjoyed taking a look to seeing some of the water bladders that I use, and some of the features that I look for when selecting a best hydration bladder.
Let me know what you think? Do you prefer other brands compared to the BONL Emerald Hydration Bladder 100 Oz/3-Litres? I look towards your comments.
Take care and ride safe.