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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Heavy, expensive, some issues when filling, not the easiest to clean
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
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.
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.
This is the ideal pack for mountain biking and day hiking when you are not obsessed with moving as light as possible.
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
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
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 1, 2015
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