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Hands-on Gear Review

Geigerrig Hydration Engine Review


Hydration Bladder

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Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $49 List | Sale $44.10 at Amazon
Pros:  Many innovated uses, slim profile, pressurized system, fairly lightweight, easy to fill, dishwasher safe
Cons:  Expensive, small learning curve, no measurement on bag
Bottom line:  A pressurized hydration system offering innovative uses along with traditional one. Our Editors' Choice winner.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Aquamira - Geigerrig

Overview

The Geigerrig Hydration Engine is the most innovative and versatile bladder tested. With its sleek design and pressurized system, it has (once again) won our Editors' Choice award. It has a variety of uses that no other bladder tested could even compare. The sleek profile is thin and narrow, which allows compatibility with all sorts of Backpacking Backpacks and Running Packs. The bladder offers you the ability to keep it pressurized or unpressurized with a double chamber - one for air, and one for water. When pressurized, it was the easiest to drink from and doubled as a sun shower and a great way to clean off your dog or dirty sports equipment before throwing it into your car. One of our caveats with this system is that when fully pumped, the water does slosh around quite a bit.

With its dishwasher safe technology, this was one of the two bladders that could easily be flipped inside out and cleaned right in the dishwasher! We also found that manual cleaning was easy with a simple brush. All parts were easy to take apart. It is more expensive than most other reservoirs, but not that much, considering its many innovations. It is a little heavy if you decide to carry around the pump. For the best value in a hydration bladder, we recommend the CamelBak Antidote Reservoir. If you are mostly backpacking or want to travel light, we recommend the MSR DromLite and the HydraPak Shape-Shift Reservoir respectively.

RELATED: Our complete review of hydration bladders

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Amber King
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Saturday
August 13, 2016
This Editors' Choice stands out for its innovative pressurization system. At first it seemed contrived and complicated - only something a serious gear geek would buy. However, the more we used it, the more we learned that it could have a place in anybody's gear closet.

Performance Comparison


Check out our complete Hydration Bladder Review to see how all the best options compared to each other.

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Ashley enjoys a cool drink at the crag with our Editors' Choice winner.

Ease of Use


This is by far the easiest hydration bladder to drink from. The pressure system really does spray the water without you needing to suck at all. The bite valve is smaller than the CamelBak Antidote or MSR Dromlite, but because of the pressurized system, this didn't have a major performance difference (only when depressurized).

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Jack isn't too pleased with this cleaning method, but we are! The pressurized system makes cleaning off paws and drinking on the trail a breeze.

We found a huge benefit to this spray in that we turned our bladder into both of sun shower and a way to clean off ourselves, animals, and equipment off before getting into our (or a friend's) vehicle. We also liked the option of a shower after long days on trail.

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The Hydration Engine features a flip top construct that is long and thin. It fits nicely into packs and stays pressurized for easy water access.

Initially, part of our skepticism with the pressurized system is it felt like it was solving a problem that didn't exist. All the hydration systems we tested were very easy to drink from. However, the benefits don't exist so much in how easy it is to drink from, but the variety of uses it fulfills when pressurized. That said, it is very simple to manually pressurize other bladders, but you can't do that while they're buried deep inside of big backpacks.

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A look at the air connection. The bulb pumps air into the bladder to keep it pressurized. When you want to take out air, simply depress the button next to the pump bulb. Easy peasy.

Our biggest caveats with the bite valve was that the on and off switch was pretty difficult to turn and actually got stuck when it wasn't cared for properly. That said, we preferred switch locks like we found with the CamelBak Antidote instead. We were also surprised that this bladder did not have a measurement system on the side of the bag. This made filling more difficult when we were trying to be very specific with the amount of water we wanted to carry on trail runs. We would recommend any other bladder if you're interested in one with a measurement.

If you're not a fan of the bite valve, switch the tube and valve out with whichever you prefer. All quick release hoses in this review were compatible with this bladder.

Ease of Cleaning




This is the easiest badder to clean. It is one of the two reservoirs manufactured by HydraPak that advertises as dishwasher safe. Not only is it easy to clean because of the huge opening, it is very easy to dry. This makes it a good option to use with sports drinks where the sugary residue breeds bacteria if you are not on top of it. That said, you still have the challenge of keeping the tubes clean if you are using sports drinks. Geigerrig claims that with the pressurized system, it actually keeps the tubes cleaner, which makes sense - but we didn't have a chance to test that claim. If you're not totally sold on a pressurized system to clean your tubes, look into the HydraPak Tube Brush for only $10. There are many kits out there you can find - just make sure the brush is long enough to fit at least 60% of the tube length.

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Dishwasher safe? These two HydraPak brand bladders are! On the top is the Geigerigg, on the bottom is the Shape-Shift. Just flip, clean, and dry. Just make sure to wash on low heat.

We often used kitchen tongs to keep the bags open. This makes them easy to dry out after cleaning. Throwing in a tablet like the Hydrapak Bottle Bright might not be such a bad idea either.

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A look at the attachments.

Ease of Filling


This bladder is a flip-top variety with a wide mouthed opening and a slide-closure. To fill, simply slide off the closure and pinch the sides of the reservoir for an easy opening.

This scored in the middle of the road for ease of filling. In a deep kitchen sink it is very easy to fill. In a shallow bathroom or camping sink, it can be hard to get the reservoir completely full and tricky to keep the bottom of the reservoir from touching the sink (only really important in funky campground bathrooms). If you want a bladder that turns horizontally for great top-offs, look into the MSR Dromlite or the wide-mouthed CamelBak Antidote.

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The flip top technology comes with simple instructions! Fold the top and seal with the lid closure. The wide top makes for easy filling in both streams and sinks.

That said, we found this bladder excelled at collecting water from slowly trickling streams. You can literally unfold the top, place it on the substrate and allow the water trickle in - a great use if you're stuck in the middle of the woods. On top of that, Geigerrig sells two types of filtration systems that easily clip into the tube, so you don't have to wait for iodine to kick in or work laboriously to pump water through a Water Filter. That said, it was a little more versatile for backcountry experiences. If you want a system that collects water more efficiently from trickling streams, check out the Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir.

Quality


Manufactured by HydraPak, this has a similar quality rating as other packs like the HydraPak and Osprey. However, it earned a little higher rating because it integrates a nylon fabric that protects the bladder from wear and tear. This is especially helpful when stuffing and pressurizing the system inside of a backpacking pack filled with many items.

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A look at the seams and construction of the four main bladder types. Top left: HydraPak varieties (hosted in Osprey, Geigerigg, and HydraPak) feature seamless technology with minimal welded seams. Top right: The CamelBak features smaller, more durable seams. Bottom left: Platypus features large seams that we could literally pull apart. Bottom Right: MSR features super strong welds in the fabric outer.

Weight


Even with the additional compartment (with a nylon exterior), pressure valve, extra quick release and tube, this is one of the lighter bladders tested. Weighing in at only 5.85 oz, we thought it was fine to bring on lightweight adventures. That said, if you add the pump, it becomes one of the heaviest by another ounce. It is not insanely heavy, but light hikers and backpackers will likely scoff at this extra features. Day hikers and mountain bikers will find the extra weight well worth it. If you're looking for a simplier option, check out the HydraPak Shape-Shift.

Best Applications


Of all the bladders tested, we thought this was one of the most versatile. It really does excel in most sports - especially day hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, and any other activity where moving as absolutely light as possible is not essential. We found ourselves reaching for lighter options while trail running, but we also brought it along for unconventional activities. While SUPing and surfing, it proved to be a great solar-powered shower to rinse ourselves off.

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Take this bladder backpacking, hiking, or trekking. It'll keep moving with you as far as you need to go.

Value


This is one of the more expensive hydration bladders. At $50, is it between $20 to $3 more expensive then other bladders. Unless you're specifically looking for a pressurized system, there are many other non-pressurized systems with a better value. For example, the CambelBak Antidote is our Best Buy winner with a great value.

Conclusion


While at first we were unsure about the value of a pressurized system, we are now believers. We love the versatility and creativity that we get with this system. We are always finding new uses, from pet cleaning to showering. We originally thought this would just be a product for gear nerds, but we think that its uses extend past the tech-obsessed outdoor user.

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Using the Geigerrig Hydration Engine as a sun shower after surfing.

Other Versions


This comes in both the 2L and 3L size. We generally recommend the Hydration Engine 3L for $50, because it is not that much heavier, expensive, or difficult to use.

Accessories


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Crypto Filter
  • Geigerrig water filter
  • Cost - $28
  • Claims to filter up to 50 gallons of water
  • Removes 99.9% of Cryptospordium and Giardia and will suppress the growth of unwanted bacteria, mold, and mildew

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G4 125 FL Virus Filter
  • Geigerrig water filter
  • Cost - $60
  • Lightweight
  • Claims to filter up to 100 gallons
  • Removes 99.9% of Protozoans (Cryptosporidium and Giardia),99.9999% of Bacteria, and 99.99% of Viruses

Insulated Tube
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  • Cost - $18
  • Keeps your lines from freezing in cold weather

Video


Amber King

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 13, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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