All you need to realize the value of a hydration pack is digging into the bottom of your backpack. Instead of wading through all your stuff just to get a drink of water, wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to do any digging at all?
Hydration packs are designed with one of our greatest needs in mind—staying hydrated. Often equipped with reservoirs that rest on our back and drink tubes that hang out right near your face for easy access and hydration while you move.
It’s important to realize the kind of activity you will be doing with your pack. Do you need a pack for water only? Or are you going to be needing to carry gear along with you? What kind of activities will you be doing? If your primary concern is an activity with a lot of motion (running, biking) you’ll want to buy a pack designed to move with you in that specific activity. They’ll likely also have the right amount of pockets for the gear you need for that activity.
Finally, how much capacity do you need? If you’re in an area where potable water is readily available, a smaller bladder, like 1.5 liters should be plenty. But, if you’re going to be out adventuring for hours at a time, 2 or even 3-liter capacity could be a good idea.
The scourge of any hydration pack is cleaning it. The easiest first step is to only put water in your hydration pack. But even with water, you should clean your reservoir regularly. You could buy a reservoir cleaning tablets and use 1-2 tablets for every liter. Let it sit for the recommended time, drain it through the drinking tube, and rinse out. Alternatively, you can accomplish a similar first stage cleaning by adding 2-5 drops of bleach per liter of water to your reservoir, let it sit for twenty minutes, then rinse twice.
Next, fill the bladder with warm water and mild dish soap. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub the interior. To clear the drinking hose, tie knots along with a skinny piece of twine or string and pull through the hose. Use a smaller brush to clean the bite valve and where the hose connects to the reservoir. Rinse a few times.
Next, let it air dry, make sure to put something in the reservoir to keep it open. Try a drinking glass or whisk, and hang the drinking tube so water can drip out. If you don’t like all of this improvising, consider a kit that's built to clean hydration packs.
Finally, once it's dried out and smelling fresh, fill with water, head out the door, and hydrate while you adventure.
pack that’s as rugged as your next tactical adventure. With a 3L reservoir for staying in the field, it also comes with 20L of space for all the gear you need as well, including Molle webbing on front for attaching the gear for easy access. With an air detector back panel for breathability and that same great Camelbak bite valve, it's not hard to image why it's apparently a favorite of the SEALS