Whether you’re looking for the best hydration bladder for camping, cycling, hiking, running, or hunting, the process is the same. The process starts with what type of activity you will be doing. No matter what activity you participate in, this guide will help you make the best choice for your needs.
In 1988 a Texas paramedic, Michael Edison invented, and then patented the personal hydration system. It was used successfully by the military.
A hydration bladder may seem like a simple product, but many variables must be considered.
What size? How much storage capacity do you need?
Do you want an insulated bladder? Do you need one that can be worn on your back, chest, or belt for running or cycling?
When it comes to outdoor activities, hydration can be a tricky business. It’s very easy to over-hydrate yourself and end up with hyponatremia (too much water in your blood leads to dangerous electrolyte imbalances). However, this can be easily avoided with an intelligent beverage choice and the proper amount of hydration.
In some cases, you can get hyponatremia from not drinking enough. The difference is that with hyponatremia, you are fine if you drink more water, but not with over-hydration (imbalances).
How to choose your hydration system:
For help selecting the best hydration bladder based on your activities, here is more information about the most popular types of hydration systems.
The best hydration systems for outdoor activities have a minimum of 1 liter, 2 liters, or 3 liters of storage capacity. The largest hydration pack is 15 liters.
When participating in strenuous activity in the heat, you may need up to 3 liters of water an hour.
This means you will have to refill often and choose a hydration system that is easy to fill quickly.
On the other hand, if you are participating in an activity lasting less than 2 hours, it is much easier for your body to choose a hydration system with less storage capacity. Choose one that will keep you going for at least 2 hours, but no more than 3-4 hours.
When choosing a hydration system for an activity lasting longer than 2 hours, selecting a system with some insulation is best. You can also use a few ice cubes to cool the water.
This will reduce the temperature of your drinks and keep you from getting too warm. It will also prevent you from sweating that bottle out quickly in the sun.
The size of the hydration system may also be essential for your activity.
If you are hiking long distances, hiking and trekking poles or a pack may be a better choice. This will allow you to have the hydration system closer to your body. You won’t have to carry it in your hands or pack it all day.
If you’re running or cycling, it is best to go with a bladder with at least 2-3 liters of storage capacity. Having a bladder with more storage will keep you hydrated for extended periods and prevent your body from getting exhausted.
There are many hydration systems on the market today. The main challenge is to figure out what size of system you need based on your activity.
The better you can do this, the better off you’ll be, and the more comfortable your experience will be for you. The nice thing is that most of these can be easily switched from one activity to another.
So, no matter what type of outdoor activity you are getting into, there will be a hydration system on the market that is suitable for your above-all needs.
You will want to look closely at the material used in constructing a water reservoir to determine whether or not a given reservoir is suitable for you.
HDPE is one such material, and this type of plastic is the most durable. It will most likely last a lifetime, with little to no reduction in quality or effectiveness.
PVC ranges in quality as widely as HDPE, with some PVC reservoirs being of excellent quality and others being of poor quality.
Polyester is another material worth examining, as it is not prone to leakage or puncturing. However, it is a fragile material and somewhat weak. Polyurethane and polyethylene are also often used in bladder construction.
Silicone is a somewhat malleable material that has been used in the construction of many water reservoirs. There have been some instances where people have reported that the silicone used in constructing their reservoir was not of high quality. The poor quality caused the reservoir to dissolve.
A few other materials can be used in constructing a water reservoir, but these are less common.
Certain metals, such as iron and steel, can be used in the construction of reservoirs. They tend to be of high quality and difficult to puncture or cut.
Water can be stored properly with suitable reservoirs, however. This is accomplished by using reservoirs not prone to leakage or punctures.
An excellent way to determine whether or not a reservoir will be effective at storing water is to make sure that it can resist tearing and puncturing when you drop it on concrete multiple times.
If you plan on storing your reservoir in an environment where it will be subject to extreme temperatures or a lot of pressure, you should choose a reservoir made of HDPE, as this material retains its shape best.
Hydration bladders are designed to be filled with water. They are stored close to the body for a few hours at a time. There are two main types of reservoirs available.
Depending on the activity you will be engaging in, you will have to determine what type of reservoir best suits your needs.
Here is our list of the ten best hydration bladders:
SOURCE 2060220203 Tank-2060220203 Water Tank, One Size, Blue
Platypus Big Zip EVO Taste-Free Water Reservoir / Hydration Bladder, 2-Liter
CamelBak Crux 3-Liter Water Reservoir – Hydration Bladder – Faster Water Flow Rate – Leak-Proof Water Bladder – Ergonomic Shape – Big Bite Valve – BPA-Free – 100 Ounces, Blue
Source Tactical WXP 3L Low Profile Hydration System Upgrade Kit w/ Universal Tube Adaptor, Coyote
Aquamira Pressurized Hydration Reservoir
Gregory Mountain Products 3D Hydro Reservoir
Badlands Hydration Reservoir with Insulated Drinking Tube
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder for Backpacking, Hiking, Road Running, Triathlon and Trail Running
HydraPak Velocity Light-Weight Water Bladder/Reservoir for Running Hydration Vests, 1.5-Liter (50 oz.), Reversible for Easy Cleaning, Safe & Reliable