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Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir Review

   

Hydration Bladder

  • Currently 2.8/5
Overall avg rating 2.8 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: June 7, 2016
Price:   $34 List | $34 online
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Pros:  Easy to hold under a sink, easy to drink from, convenient magnet bite valve attachment
Cons:  Heavy, expensive, some issues when filling, not the easiest to clean
Manufacturer:   Osprey
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 24, 2015  
Overview
This bladder stands out for having a rigid structure that gives it "passive pressurization" as well as a magnetic bite valve that always keeps the water close at hand. It is very easy to slide in and out of backpacks and the Osprey hydration packs. The large plastic handle is easy to hold the entire bladder level while filling. We mainly recommended this as a replacement if you already have an older model Osprey HydraForm Reservoir that is wearing out. This is the only blatter in our review that has a magnet that attaches to the Osprey hydration packs and potentially some on the other manufacturer packs. Review our complete hydration bladder review to see how this scored against other reservoirs.

RELATED: Our complete review of hydration bladders

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

While most gear is obsessed on being a light weight, the Hydraulics Reservoir is all about being sturdy and easy to slide in and out at your pack. If your main goal with a hydration bladder is a rigid handle that lies completely flat under a faucet, then this is the one for you. The magnet attachment for the pipe valve also set this apart from other reservoirs.

Performance Comparison


Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Credit: Osprey

Ease of Filling


This is one of the easier bladders to fill because of the rigid shape and large plastic handle. It would be the absolute easiest to fill except for one issue: the screw top closure. Once it is open it does not stay out of the way and when you want to close it it is sometimes hard to tell when it is completely sealed or not. By comparison, the CamelBak Antidote Reservoir has a plastic keeper that lips back to keep it out of the way during filling. It also gives a clear locking deal when the lid is completely closed.

Once full, the Osprey reservoir slides back into the place if your hydration pack or backpack has the right compartment.

Ease of drinking


Wow, this doesn't have active pressurization like the Geigerrig, because of the rigid back panel, it has a form of passive pressurization. This means the water does really shoot out when you bite down on the bite valve. The magnet attachment is the most convenient of all the bite valve attachments we tested. The only downside is that over time the magnet requires extra cleaning as it picks up little bits of magnetic dust.

Ease of Cleaning


This falls in the middle of the road for ease of cleaning. The opening is fairly large which allows you to get a brush inside but it is not nearly as easy to clean as a zip top reservoir like the Platypus Big Zip SL or the Geigerrig Hydration Engine. Also, because the tube does not have a quick release it is not as easy to get a brush from the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir Cleaning Kit inside the drinking tube. You can only approach from one end unless you want to go through the extra hassle of disassembling the bottom plastic connector. With the older HydraForm model, this was a big issue because the brush was not as long as the tube so you had to just assembled the unit every time you wanted to clean the tube. Hopefully the cleaning brush is now the length of the drinking tube. Because the newer Hydraulics Reservoir uses a thinner drinking tube, we are not sure if the older Osprey Hydraform Cleaning Kit will work.

Best Applications


This is the ideal pack for mountain biking and day hiking when you are not obsessed with moving as light as possible.

Value


At $34 for the 2 Liter model this is one of the more expensive bladders. This is also one of the few bladders without a limited lifetime warranty. In the past we have had problems with the older model Hydraform reservoir. But we have not used this enough to asses the durability.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir is available in 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3L versions.

Hydraulics Reservoir Cleaning Kit
Click to enlarge
  • Cost - $24
  • Keeps frequently-used hydration reservoirs clean and tasting fresh
  • Features a reservoir cleaning brush, delivery system cleaning brush, two cleaning tablets and a drying rack

Conclusion


This reservoir is ideal if you will love how it works with the Osprey packs. A large handle makes it easy to hold under most sinks. And the magnet attachment is very handy when a mountain biking as it allows no handed operation. Overall it did not win any awards because it is heavy and not the easiest to clean but if you don't mind the weight and don't use sugary sports drinks, those issues may be voided by the many positive attributes of this bladder.

Chris McNamara


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 7, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
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  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (2.7)

33% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 25%  (1)
2 star: 50%  (2)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jun 7, 2016 - 05:06pm
G-Man62 · Hiker · Lighthouse Point
Let me start by saying I am a huge CamelBak fan, I have a few and love them all. That being said, I have purchased these from Osprey in the 3 liter capacity. Now with a few hikes in with this reservoir including some back to back 10-14 mile days in Acadia I feel I can offer a good review. I purchased them after doing a lot of research and finally took a chance based on a the consistency of the positive attributes.

OK, I saw a lot about how they leak and are heavy. I agree they are a bit heavier than some of the others on the market but by 6-7 oz or so (I think), not by a huge margin. As for leaking, I gave them to my wife and offered no instructions other than check for leaks, she filled them and checked for leaking and in fact they both leaked. She opened the lids, then tried spinning them backwards until they seated then tightened them again. NO LEAKS!! Not even a little, ever again! If anything they are getting easier to seal with time and use. The lid is attached with a rather rigid plastic holder that insists on keeping it in place. It can be a pain to keep the lid out of the way when filling. Not a big deal but it requires you to kind of fold/hold it back out of the way. Okay, so there is a small learning curve here but not a big deal.

When putting them into our packs, hers is a 18L mine is a 32L both have dedicated bladder pockets. You find out immediately the handle is a great feature and makes filling, carrying and inserting them a breeze! The semi-ridged backing also helps in the reservoir holding it's shape and inserting it into the bladder pockets. This has proven to be a consistent finding for both of us. I think this is also where the extra weight comes in but in my (our) opinion it's worth it. If they could cut some weight out and keep these features it would be awesome.

The hose is also a good length. I am 6'3" and it's perfect for me. It's easy to cut shorter if needed but adding length is a bit tougher. The magnetic holder is an awesome feature and the bite valve is the best I (we) have ever used (sorry Camelbak). In fact it was a pleasant surprise that they really give you a lot of water with no effort! it's been described as a "passive pressurization" and I would have to agree! We live in sunny (read hot) South Florida and my wife loves that she can spritz her face and neck at will on the trail.

I would like to see a baffle be placed inside to stop the water from sloshing. We always remove as much air as possible and only use for hiking so sloshing is not a real big issue for us but if you run, climb or bike aggressively it might be.

I have a cleaning kit and really have not found them to be any more difficult to clean than any other non top-zip design. As with all my reservoirs/bladders, I stuff a balled up paper towel inside and leave the lid open, they dry no problem. We cleaned them before our first use with hydration bladder cleaning tabs and found they did not make the water taste bad.

Overall these are very good hydration reservoirs that allow you to carry a lot of water and work very well. I have held back one star for the weight and the lack of a baffle. I do recommend these and will probably purchase again if I need another.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 1, 2015 - 08:15pm
Michelle Lawson · Backpacker · Scarborough, Maine
I bought this reservoir in 2014 and have regretted ever since. It has consistently leaked every time I have used it, making a mess in my backpack. I tried everything to find the leak but failed to. The plus to this is that Osprey is shipping me a new one after a year of owning this one. They have a new style coming out in January of 2015. I'm hoping it's much improved.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 27, 2014 - 08:27am
Stefan Jacobsen · Climber · Danmark
Nothing much to add. Except that the magnet tends to pick up dust from rocks containing iron. Ditched the handle, still heavy.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Credit: Osprey
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