Best Hiking Hydration Bladders – Reviews & Guide 2020

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Last Update: 25.Dec.2019

Best Choice Go to Amazon Shop

Platypus Big Zip EVO

Whether you're hiking to your local lookout or mountain biking your favorite trails, the improved flow rate and self-sealing Bite Valve valve make it easy to get hydration when you need it, while the leak-proof shutoff valve, handy grip, and secure SlideLock make it easy to operate. Plus, thanks to Platypus' clean taste guarantee, along with embedded Silver-ion to keep away mold and bacteria, you can have peace of mind as you hydrate yourself on countless adventures.
Best Choice Go to Amazon Shop

CamelBak Crux

A baffled design keeps the reservoir's profile low, so you don't have to pull everything out of your pack to slip the reservoir inside. Crux's innovative construction keeps water flowing to ensure you stay hydrated from the initial hike in to that last mile when you're blissfully exhausted from a satisfying day on the trail.

by Willie Test

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Last Update: 25.Dec.2019

Hydration bladders have been very popular with thru-hikers as they have to cover a lot of distance. As they are covering long distances, they have to deal with changes in temperature and humidity levels.

Hiking with water bottles can become exasperating. You have to stop every time you want to have a drink and then you have to take off your heavy backpack to pull out the bottle.

Stopping by to have a drink on a day when you have planned to cover a lot of ground can cost you time and daylight. With the best hiking hydration bladder, you can sip along while covering your distance with ease.

These hydrations bladders have made it easy to use and maintain. So if you haven’t used it before, then you are going to love it! We’ll explain various factors that you should consider before buying the best hiking hydration bladders!

Platypus Big Zip EVO

Perfect for long day hikes or backpacking trips, the Platypus Big Zip EVO 3L reservoir features a new, self-sealing bite valve and wide tubing.
Whether you're hiking to your local lookout or mountain biking your favorite trails, the improved flow rate and self-sealing Bite Valve valve make it easy to get hydration when you need it, while the leak-proof shutoff valve, handy grip, and secure SlideLock make it easy to operate. Plus, thanks to Platypus' clean taste guarantee, along with embedded Silver-ion to keep away mold and bacteria, you can have peace of mind as you hydrate yourself on countless adventures.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Multisport

Bite Valve Shut-Off Switch

Yes

Liquid Capacity (fl. oz.)

100 fluid ounces

Wide-Mouth Opening

Yes

Quick Disconnect Tubing

Yes

Material(s)

Polyethylene

Dimensions

21 x 9.5 x 1.25 inches

BPA Free

Yes

Bladder Capacity Options (liters)

1.5L, 2L, 3L

Pros

New self-sealing HyFLOW bite valve

Embedded silver ion protects

Semirigid baffle helps keep reservoir open

Hydration reservoir with a clean taste and quick flow rate

Cons

Did not notice

CamelBak Crux

With high-flow hydration and an on/off lever at the bite valve that makes it easy to prevent leaks, there's a lot to like about like the CamelBak Crux reservoir.
A baffled design keeps the reservoir's profile low, so you don't have to pull everything out of your pack to slip the reservoir inside. Crux's innovative construction keeps water flowing to ensure you stay hydrated from the initial hike in to that last mile when you're blissfully exhausted from a satisfying day on the trail.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Multisport

Bite Valve Shut-Off Switch

Yes

Liquid Capacity (fl. oz.)

70

Wide-Mouth Opening

Yes

Quick Disconnect Tubing

Yes

Material(s)

Polyurethane

BPA Free

Yes

Volume

1.5 L, 2 L, 3 L

Pros

Integrated reservoir baffles

Hydrogaurd antimicrobial technology

Leakproof on/off lever

Large access port makes it easy to clean and fill

Cons

Fairly heavy weight and packability

Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir

Tackle the toughest of endeavors with adequate hydration with the HydraPak Shape-Shift hydration reservoir.
A Plug-N-Play connect system makes it easy to connect and disconnect the hose, while an auto shutoff valve instantly works to prevent leaking when disconnected. This reservoir also is fully reversible for easy cleaning and drying, and features a durable, abrasion resistant, and stretchy TPU material to keep it going for many an adventure.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Multisport

Bite Valve Shut-Off Switch

Yes

Wide-Mouth Opening

Yes

Liquid Capacity (fl. oz.)

100 fluid ounces

Quick Disconnect Tubing

Yes

Material(s)

Thermoplastic polyurethane

Dimensions

17.4 x 6.4 inches

BPA Free

Yes

Volume

2L, 3L

Pros

Slide-Seal top opens wide for easy filling

Dual FlexGrips make it simple to fill

Made from abrasion-resistant thermoplastic polyurethane

Cons

Hose attachment point claims it should be lubed sometimes

Advantages of using a hydration bladder

Having a sip on the go is the topmost benefit of this bladder. But that’s not all… here is a list of advantages that you can have when using a hydration bladder!

  • You can sip a bit frequently to keep yourself hydrated. 
  • As you consume water, the size of the bladder starts reducing to provide you a lot of space in your backpack.
  • Since these bladders are sacks and don’t have any shape of their own, you can easily place them in your pack wherever you want.  
  • You can easily place the water weight close to your body. It will enable you to carry it with ease. 
  • These bladders are compatible with water filters. 
  • The hydration bladders are a lot easier to use and maintain as compared to the water bottles. 

Water bladder capacity and size

The size and capacity of a water bladder is a very crucial aspect to consider. Of course, there are bladders available of different sizes and capacities. But the thing is you need to carry it with you and it will add weight to your backpack. The bigger the size the heavier the weight; making it difficult to carry on long distances. 

You can choose from a 3-liter, 2-liter or a 1.5-liter. It doesn’t only a matter of how much you can carry but of where you are hiking and how fast do you consume the fluid. 

A 1.5-liter bladder is good for people who like to go on short trips. It is also suitable for those who plan a trip on a trail where there are plenty of refill opportunities available. You won’t have to carry a lot of water with you but you will have to do the refilling quite frequently depending upon your consumption. 

You can go for a 2-liter bladder if you are not sure what size to choose. You can easily fit them in many kinds of daypacks. But make sure that you can refill the bladder at the end of the day. 

A 3-liter bladder is best for trekkers or thru-hikers. This bladder will serve you well if refilling is not easily available. But make sure that your pack can have this much space. You won’t need to refill it in a day on short adventures but of course, the option is there and that’s what makes this option more versatile than the previous two capacities. 

What to look for when buying a hydration bladder?

As there are different kinds of hydrations bladders floating on the market, finding the best water bladder for backpacking can be a daunting task. Understanding the critical factors before buying the hydration bladder will prevent you from overspending. To make things simple, we have developed this buying guide for you.

Construction Material

BPA free hydration bladder has become common because many manufacturers have started using Bisphenol-A free plastic in the construction of these bladders. Many of them have gone a step ahead and start preparing hydration bladders using the BPS-free materials. Make sure your hydration bladder is free from phthalate and PVC free as well. 

Some of the manufacturers also treat the hydration bladders for inhibiting bacteria growth. This is an important development for the hikers who have to go on long distances without any means of washing their bladder.

Size and Compatibility

The hydration bladders come in different types, capacities and sizes, you need to be sure, which one is the right option for you. The critical things you need to consider here is the available space in your backpack and the place where you will be hiking. 

If there are plenty of refilling opportunities available on the trial, then go for small capacity water bladders for backpacks (1.5-liter to 2-liter). When you have sufficient space in your backpack and you know the trail won’t have little refilling opportunities, only then go for a large capacity water bag for hiking (3-liter). 

Just make sure that the size of the bladder is according to the sleeve in your backpack. A small hydration bladder is good for short trips and a large hiking bladder bag is good for thru-hiking. 

Weight

Of course, you will be carrying everything on your back and your hydration bladder is going to be there as well. It is better for you to pack as light as possible. But don’t go off-track here because being excessively lightweight bladder might raise the question of durability. The best water reservoir for backpack should be lightweight along with durability.

Hydration Bladder Opening

There are different designs available on the market when it comes to openings of hydration bladders. Here are some of the frequently available ones:

Zip-Top

These bladders have zip tops that work like zip lock freezing bags. However, these bladders come with robust fasteners. They come with a wide opening that is enough for easy cleaning and drying. You can easily fill these bladders from rivers and streams.

Fold-Top

The opening mechanism of this bladder is similar to zip-top except there is no plastic joining together here. You can simply fold over the top. And then a fastener will slide over this fold to make sure the top is sealed completely. 

This style makes it effortless to clean and dry the bladder. Moreover, you can easily do the filling from a river or a stream.

Screw-Cap

The most common type of camping water bladder comes with a screw-cap opening. You can easily refill the bladder from a sink or a tap. But these bladder come with their own limitations. 

You will find it difficult to scoop from slow stream waters. Their cleaning and drying are quite difficult because you can’t get your hands in easily. 

Bite Valve Size and Locking

The bite valve size and locking mechanism must be simple so that you can quickly have a sip whenever you need it. However, judging this feature without trying out a product is merely a guess.

The bite valve also needs to have a design that prevents any leakages and for this, they need to come with some on/off mechanisms. It should prevent water leakages when the bladder is not in use.

Ease of Use & Cleaning

Your hydration bladder needs to be effortless to use and maintain. You must be able to fill it with ease and should be able to clean it without fuzz. The valve of the bottle should prevent any leakages. 

Some bladders also come with pressurizing systems and they make sure that the water flow remains at its best even when the bladder has a low amount of fluid in it. 

Hose Compatibility

Recently, many manufacturers have shifted their focus on making bladders that come with different hose configurations. You can easily detach them and the valves automatically close when you disconnect them. The hose compatibility makes sure that there are no leakages and the refilling process become easy. 

Pressurized vs. Unpressurized

The pressurized bladders come with a double chamber – one for water, and one for air. A small pressurized hydration bladder is the easiest to drink from. 

You can also use it to clean your dirty sports equipment or to clean your dog. But they also have a drawback because when they are fully pumped, the water gushes around quite a bit.

Bladder profile

The bladder’s own profile also matters a lot because it needs to have a design that fits nicely in your pack and doesn’t take much space either. In usual cases, the best water bladders for backpacking with pressurized systems do tend to have a larger profile as compared to an unpressurized bladder.

Conclusion

The best water bladder for hiking is suitable when you’re going on long trips. Having the best hydration bladder with you makes it much easier for you to drink water on the go. Taking your backload off and stopping for a sip of water can be challenging because you are tired and you almost forget to drink and start resting. It can cost you a lot of daylight time. To reach your final destination, a hydration bladder becomes your trusty companion. It will allow you to quench your thirst without stopping.

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