Will you agree that hydration is an aspect that most people overlook with regards to outdoor activities? Do you think that it’s only important when the temperature is hot? In truth, you need to be consuming more water the colder the temperature gets.
But let’s face it, carrying around a bottle can be tiring. Constantly stopping to have a drink or refill your bottle can get old real quick. With the best hydration bladder, you’ll be able to get a mouthful of fresh water simply by biting softly on a mouthpiece.
Given that the risks associated with dehydration can be so severe, it’s easy to see why hikers use their hydration bladders to ensure that their hike is dehydration-free. No more feeling too tired to deal with the hassle of taking a sip from a water bottle buried deep at the bottom of your backpack. You can drink whenever you want. But, how can you know which is the best hydration bladder to buy? Lucky for you, we are here to help!
In this article, we’re going to address the most important factors that you need to take into consideration when shopping for a hydration bladder. Afterwards, we will recommend to you some top hydration bladders available on the current market that are durable, sizable, and easy to use. Let’s get started!
Our Top Picks
|WACOOL Hydration Bladder||3L||EVA||Hybrid screw-capped, or zip topped closure||Check price on Amazon|
|OutGear Hydration Bladder||2L||EVA||Screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
|JUSTKIT Hydration Bladder||2L||TPU||Ultra-wide screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
|Outfitter Hydration Bladder||2L||Not specified||Ultra-wide screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
|Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder||2L||TPU||Ultra-wide screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
|BONL Emerald Hydration Bladder||3L||Antimicrobial GlassAS||A hybrid opening system that is both zip and screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
|RANIACO Hydration Bladder||2L||Polyurethane||Ultra-wide screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
|SportsTrail Hydration Bladder||2L||TPU||Ultra-wide screw cap||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
What do you have to consider when you are looking to purchase a hydration bladder? There are give key factors that you should always try to take into consideration, and how important each factor is will vary on a person by person basis.
The opening that a hydration bladder has is one of the most important things about the hydration bladder, and the ‘right’ option will be different depending on the hiker that you ask. Everyone has their own favorites. You have to consider whether the bladder will be relatively easy to fill in whatever environment you are in, so versatility is key here.
There are three main options when it comes to the opening of a hydration bladder, and they are:
- Fold Top: The fold top hydration bladders are usually seen more frequently on the market than other options. This is because the idea of flipping up and folding over the top means that they can be quickly refilled from a number of outdoor environments, making them quite versatile.
- Screw Cap: Screw cap options are our personal favorites, but not standard screw top options. You can get ‘wide’ screw tops—these are held either horizontally or vertically while you fill them, and they are excellent for use with shallow water sources.
- Zip Top: A hydration bladder that is topped with a zip top probably looks exactly the way that you think it does—it resembles a simple ziplock bag. Zip topped options are great for people who are new to hydration bladders. Their simplistic design is easy to use and easy to clean. While they do take slightly longer to open and close than a fold top, you can use them with a variety of water sources.
Most hikers prefer screw capped and zip topped hydration bladders to fold topped hydration bladders. This is because the two often seem more secure. Either way, another good way to help you decide which of the three is right for you is to decide what method you want to use to clean the hydration bladder.
Ease of Maintenance
Cleaning is another key thing to consider when purchasing a hydration bladder, especially if you don’t particularly like cleaning. Hydration bladders can appear to be easy to clean, but a lot of them have a sneaky area that makes the whole job a lot more difficult than it should be.
How easy it will be to clean a hydration bladder can usually be seen from what type of top it has. To clean a hydration bladder that is topped with a fold top you simply have to turn the product inside out.
You will usually need a small brush to clean a hydration bladder that is topped with a screw cap, although they do dry out almost effortlessly after. Standard screw cap options will take longer to open and close than both the fold top and the zip top hydration bladders. But, ‘wide’ screw tops will be just as quick to open and close.
Another thing to remember is that if you are only using water, you will not need to clean the hydration bladder constantly. If you are using a sugary sports drink, you should clean it every time you use it.
Hydration is one of the key things for any backpacker or hiker to consider, and you also have to consider whether or not you will have access to safe drinking water while you hike. If you will have plenty of access to safe drinking water, then you could get away with using a small water bladder.
1 liter hydration bladders are usually only suitable for minimal use, or children. They can be a good option for quick hikes, but on a longer hike, you would need to refill a 1L bladder a lot.
On the other hand, a 2 liter hydration bladder is one of the most popular options, and on a day hike, you would rarely have to refill it more than 1 – 3 times. Remember that water does have some weight to it, and a 2L option could be a better choice for some people.
But if you won’t have access to safe drinking water, then you might want to aim for one that can carry up to 3L of water. Hydration is what keeps us going while we hike, and the risks of dehydration mean that you need to make sure that you are well hydrated the whole time.
When purchasing a hydration bladder, first make sure that it will fit in the compartment of your backpack (or buy a backpack with the right size compartment). Hydration bladders have all been designed to have similar shapes, but they do come in different sizes. You should always consider versatility when picking the size that you think is right for you.
You might think that the smaller the hydration bladder is, the more versatile it will be. On the contrary, for versatility, compared to 1 and 2 liter bladders, a 3 liter pack is usually the better choice. The thing that makes a 3 liter bladder so versatile is that you don’t actually have to fill it up entirely. The amount of water that you put in is up to your discretion, and you can tailor it to your hike.
Unsurprisingly, hydration bladders do come in a variety of bells and whistles. There are systems that will have a bite valve shutoff switch which you can either twist or switch to make sure the water stays inside the bladder.
There are also reservoirs that come with quick disconnect tubing for a convenient way to disconnect the tubes from the body of the reservoir. Of course, the more features the reservoir has, the more expensive it can get.
Best Products on Today’s Market
There are now so many reservoirs available on the market that it can be hard to pick out the ones that are really useful and won’t make a mess every time you try to drink from it. Don’t worry, though, because all of the products we are going to recommend below are both reliable and durable.
WACOOL Hydration Bladder
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 16.2 x 7 x 1.3 inches
Specific features: 3-liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, hybrid screw capped or zip topped closure, double soldering around the seams, pressure-resistant extra thick liner, 100% EVA material
Best use: Long hikes, hikes where water sources will be minimal
If you are thinking about getting a 3 liter hydration bladder, then the WACOOL Hydration Bladder could be the right option for you.
It is made of a BPA free material that is FDA-approved, this means that the hydration bladder is completely non-toxic and safe for use. Most of the hikers that use this bladder say that it is successful because of the rigidity of the bladder itself, it has a 0.6mm extra thick liner that is both tolerant to pressure and wear proof.
This particular hydration bladder also has two separate closure options, a screw cap, and a zip top. This means that you can refill the hydration bladder under almost any conditions, making the bladder incredibly versatile. It also means that it is easy to clean, as you can approach it from two different angles.
The actual hydration bladder is double soldered, so there is next to no risk of accidental leakage. There is even a self-locking socket hose, so there won’t be any leaking even when the hose isn’t connected to the hydration bladder.
The only thing you might be having difficulties with, at least at first, is the cap. If you’re not used to it, it might take a few tries to screw it on.
- FDA-approved materials
- Durable thanks to the extra thick liner
- Versatile thanks to the two closure options
- Nonleak thanks to the double soldered bladder and self-locking hose
- Difficult to screw the cap on
Related: The more you drink, naturally the more often you’ll have to answer nature’s calls. You should bring a pack of this Coleman Camper’s Toilet Paper with you for convenience. Although some camping grounds come equipped with clean and well-maintained toilets, you don’t want to risk it.
OutGear Hydration Bladder
Weight: 7 ounces
Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.9 x 16.2 inches
Specific features: 2-liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, screw cap opening, 3-inch opening, FDA approved materials, high-flow bite valve, pressure-tolerant EVA material
Best use: Day hikes, longer hikes with plenty of spots for refilling your water
When it comes to good hydration bladders that feature screw caps, your best option will always be to get one with an ultra-wide screw cap. The OutGear Hydration Bladder features a screw cap that is just over 2 inches in diameter, and that means that the product is easy to clean.
Keeping everything as clean as possible has been one of the key design processes of this product, and even the mouthpiece has a handy protective cover that keeps the bladder free of pollutants. All of the materials that have been used in this hydration bladder are both BPA-free, and FDA-approved.
The bladder also has a smooth interior, which prevents the build-up of both lime and bacteria. Our favorite feature of this product is something that makes it even easier to use, a high-flow bite valve at the end of the detachable drinking tube. Just lightly bite the tube, and your water will flow.
Although this hydration bladder comes with a long list of benefits, it has its fair share of cons as well. The flow of water isn’t as fast as with some other hydration bladders. Also, it’s a bit tricky to fill due to where the opening is located.
- Ultra-wide cap
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a protective cover on the mouthpiece to keep it free of pollutants
- FDA-approved materials
- Buildup resistant thanks to the smooth interior
- Easy to use. All you have to do is bite the valve
- The water flows rather slowly
- A bit tricky to fill
Related: The bite valve on this hydration pack is made to be durable, but naturally, it’ll wear out sooner or later. Have some Aquatic Way Bite Valve Replacement Mouthpieces ready, so you’ll be able to fix a new one on ASAP and use the hydration pack as usual again.
JUSTKIT Hydration Bladder
Weight: 7 ounces
Dimensions: 16 x 1.4 x 6.6 inches
Specific features: 2-liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, ultra-wide screw cap opening, money back guarantee, detachable tube with quick-release mechanism, TPU material, FDA approved
Best use: Hiking and tougher activities such as mountaineering or rock climbing
The JUSTKIT Hydration Bladder is quite unique, and that is because it wasn’t initially designed for hiking. It was designed for military use and outdoor sports professional use.
This means that it has been built to be durable, and it could be considered to be one of the most durable hydration bladders that you can currently purchase.
All of the materials that have been used in this bladder are FDA-approved, and BPA free. This means that you won’t end up with a ‘chemical-like’ taste in your mouth that you could experience with hydration bladders that aren’t BPA free.
This durable product features a screw cap that is 4” in diameter, add that to the see-through material, and you have one of the easiest to clean hydration bladders on the market. If you want to venture into tough climates, take this hydration bladder with its insulated neoprene tube with you!
One thing we would like to warn you about with this hydration pack is that the water flows rather slowly. You may have to help it along by sucking on the mouthpiece with a bit more oomph.
- Very durable. Originally designed for military use
- FDA-approved materials
- Easy to clean thanks to the wide cap
- Insulated neoprene tube
- The water flows a bit slowly
Related: Even if you only plan to go on a day hike, there’s no telling what kind of emergency situations you could find yourself in. Make sure to bring this Grizzly Gear Survival Mylar Thermal Reflective Shelter with you. It’s lightweight, so it won’t drag you down, but at the same time, it can be a lifesaver.
Outfitter Hydration Bladder
Weight: 4 ounces
Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.2 x 1.4 inches
Specific features: 2 liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, ultra-wide screw cap opening, money back guarantee, insulation tube, soft bite mouthpiece, on and off switch on the valve
Best use: Day hikes, overnight hikes
This simple Outfitter Hydration Bladder is one of the easiest hydration bladders to use, and it is a good option for people who are new to hydration bladders. It also features materials that are both FDA-approved and BPA free.
It also features an ultra-wide screw cap opening measuring around 3 inches. Having an ultra-wide opening isn’t just good for cleaning, but it also makes it easier to fill the product up from a variety of water sources. This water bladder is easy to use because it has a soft bite mouthpiece, all you have to do is bite gently to allow water to flow.
It also features an on/off valve that gives you added leak protection, and an insulated neoprene tube that will keep your water cool even on a hot day. (Tip: If you want to keep your water cool you can also use your ultra-wide screw cap opening to add ice cubes to your hydration bladder).
The only thing we would like to warn you about when it comes to this bladder is that it’s not as easy to clean as the ones we’ve mentioned before, despite the wide opening. The unique, round shape makes cleanup a bit tricky.
- FDA-approved materials
- Ultra-wide opening
- Easy to fill up and drink from
- Leakproof thanks to the on and off valve
- Insulated neoprene that keeps the water cool
- A bit difficult to clean due to the unique round shape
Related: Looking for a hydration compatible backpack? Look no further than this TETON Sports Fox Backpack. With a capacity of 75 L and an extra 10 L if you stretch it, this is one of the most reliable and durable hiking backpacks available on the market. You’ll also have an easy time organizing your things since it comes with multiple compartments.
Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Dimensions: 1.18 x 6.46 x 17 inches
Specific features: 2 liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, ultra-wide screw cap opening, 100% money back guarantee, insulated tube, silicone valve, TPU bag
Best use: Hikes where temperatures may vary dramatically
The Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder is one of the best products on the market, and it has also been created by a customer-friendly company.
One or two people have had issues with this product leaking, and the company has immediately provided them with replacements that work perfectly.
They believe that no matter what, their customers should be their number one priority. This hydration bladder is made from materials that are both BPA free and FDA-approved, they are also antibacterial.
It has been manufactured with leak-proof sealing technology, and it has the ability to withstand both hot and cold climates with the insulated neoprene tube that it features. Our favorite thing about this product would have to be the bite valve; it offers a 90-degree turn. This means that you can easily bite down on it even while you’re active.
Unfortunately, this hydration bladder is not perfect. It takes a while for the plastic taste to go away and you may have to give it a thorough wash several times first.
- 100% money back guarantee
- FDA-approved materials
- Antibacterial properties
- Insulated tubing keeps the water cold
- The bite valve offers a 90-degree turn
- The plastic taste takes a while to go away
Related: If you’re using a hydration pack, surely you’re someone who understands the importance of having both hands free at all times while you’re challenging the great wilderness. Why stop at water bladder when you can go hands-free with the lighting if you plan to go caving also? Lighting EVER LED Headlamp comes with four lighting modes for you to choose from.
BONL Emerald Hydration Bladder
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Dimensions: 1.5 x 8.03 x 9.06 inches
Specific features: 3 liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, a hybrid opening system that is both zip and screw cap, SGS and FDA approved, self-lock connector, antimicrobial GlassAS technology
Best use: Long hikes
The BONL Emerald Hydration Bladder is another fantastic option for anyone who thinks that they would prefer a 3L hydration bladder to a 2L hydration bladder. It consists of materials that are both FDA-approved and BPA free, as well as anti-bacterial.
To add to the anti-bacterial nature of the product GlassAS technology has been used to ensure that the interior of the product is smooth, to prevent a build-up of lime and bacteria. This product is versatile and easy to fill from a variety of water sources.
This is because it features two different opening systems, one is an ultra-wide screw cap, and the other is a ziplock. Just like the WACOOL hydration bladder, this BONL hydration bladder also features 0.6mm extra thick liner that protects the product from both pressure and wear.
You might want to be careful when handling the hole seal, though, as it is the weakest part of the link. The rest of the hydration pack can withstand a lot of abuse, but that part is rather delicate.
- SGS and FDA approved materials
- Antimicrobial properties
- Easy to fill
- Comes with two opening systems
- Durable thanks to the 0.6mm extra thick liner
- The hole seal needs to be handled carefully, or it could leak
Related: Due to how versatile this hydration pack is, it is perfect for hunting trips where you may need to move around quickly and soundlessly. This ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Backpack is a must for any avid hunters. The camouflage design will make you blend into your surroundings easily.
RANIACO Hydration Bladder
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 8.2 x 7 x 2.2 inches
Specific features: 2 liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, extra-wide screw cap opening, money back guarantee, polyurethane
Best use: day hikes, for children
Most of the hydration bladders that you can find on the market are made out of a few different BPA-free materials. The RANIACO Hydration Bladder is simply made out of durable polyurethane, a material that is both FDA-approved and BPA free.
You won’t have to worry about any toxicity with this product or any chemical tastes. A lot of screw caps will take a while to open and close, whereas this one features a four-turn design. It has made it a fantastic option for parents with children who hike, as it is easy to open, refill quickly, and close.
You can also fit ice directly into the extra-wide screw cap opening. (Tip: Remember that if it is a child using this hydration bladder you don’t need to fill it entirely, otherwise it might weigh a little bit too much for some children to carry).
The only downside with this amazing hydration bladder is the fact that it doesn’t come equipped with insulation properties. However, for some dealing with drinking tepid water may only be a minor setback compared to all the benefits that this bladder offers.
- FDA-approved materials
- Easy to open and close thanks to the four-turn design
- Extra wide opening
- No insulation
Related: We all hope that our hiking trips would go off without a hitch. To make doubly sure of that, it’s best to be prepared for all occasions. Especially if you’re traveling with children, bringing this First Alert Red Roadside Beacon Flare is a must. Don’t hesitate to ask for help at the slightest sign of danger or mishap.
SportsTrail Hydration Bladder
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Dimensions: 16.8 x 5.9 x 1.8 inches
Specific features: 2 liter hydration bladder, FDA-approved material, extra-wide screw cap opening, money back guarantee, three pieces of cleaning kit included in the package, 90-degree mouthpiece, auto-lock system, TPU material, antimicrobial
Best use: All purpose
Have you been reading through this list and thinking to yourself, I don’t think that hydration bladder will handle what I need it to? If you have, then the SportsTrail Hydration Bladder might just change your mind.
SportsTrail is a fan of rigorous testing, and every single hydration bladder that they produce is subject to a pneumatic pressure test, and a 24-hour swing test. If that wasn’t enough, they also put them through a 24-hour vibration test.
This results in a pressure-tolerant, leak-proof product that can handle almost anything. This product also features a 90 degree, soft bite mouthpiece – making it easy to drink water while you are on the go.
FDA-approved material that is BPA free adds the cherry to the top of this hydration bladder. You simply can’t go wrong with it. It can handle mountain biking, long-distance hiking, and a number of extreme sports.
You may struggle to screw the cap back on after using, though. Even when you have managed to screw it on, it may not feel like the fit is quite right just yet. But this is just one minor caveat since it doesn’t leak water either way. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
- Very durable
- Easy to use thanks to the 90-degree mouthpiece
- FDA approved materials
- Difficult to screw the cap on
Related: You have water, but what about food? Even if the unexpected should happen and you’re stuck up in the mountains for more days than you expected, no need to worry if you’ve packed this Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar beforehand. Eighteen survival bars with each packing as much as 200 calories will keep you going for a while.
Don’t go out on a long hike with just a single bottle of water that you might not be able to refill, as water almost never lasts as long as you expect it to. You should also be aware that hydration is actually more important during the colder months of the year than it is during the warmer months. This is because the cold, dry air manages to strip the water directly from our bodies a lot quicker than hot, humid air does.
Luckily, long gone are the days of carrying a water bottle. Now it’s time for hydration bladders to take their platform. Remember that when you pick your hydration bladder, you have to make sure that it is the right size to fit directly into the compartment of your backpack. Most backpacks are designed to hold a 2L hydration bladder, although some can be different.
So, what sort of hydration bladder do you think would be best for you? Or, do you already have a hydration bladder that you simply love to use? Let us know in the comments below!Top of Form