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Geigerrig Hydration Engine Review

This Editors' Choice winner offers many innovative features and functions that take hydration bladders to a whole new level of utility.
Editors' Choice winner  the Hydration Engine
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $49 List | $48.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Many innovative uses, slim profile, pressurized system, fairly lightweight, easy to fill, dishwasher safe
Cons:  Expensive, small learning curve, no measurement on bag
Manufacturer:   Aquamira - Geigerrig
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 21, 2018
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 9
  • Ease of Use - 25% 9
  • Ease of Care - 25% 9
  • Ease of Filling - 20% 8
  • Quality and Durability - 15% 8
  • Weight and Packability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

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 contest. 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 is the easiest to drink from, doubles as a sun shower and triples as a great way to clean off your dog or dirty sports equipment before throwing it into the car. One of our caveats with this system is that when fully pumped, water sloshes around quite a bit.

With its dishwasher safe technology, this is one of the few bladders that can easily be flipped inside out and cleaned right in the dishwasher! Manual cleaning is easy with a simple brush and all parts are easy to take apart. It is more expensive than most, but considering its many innovations, its worth the price.

It comes in both a 2L and 3L size, yet we recommend the larger size for $49 because it is not much heavier, expensive (only $1 more), or difficult to use. For the best-priced hydration bladder, the CamelBack Crux Reservoir is the highest value product in this review. If you are mostly backpacking or want to travel light, we recommend the packable MSR DromLite and the lightweight HydraPak Shape-Shift Reservoir.

If you seek a cleaning tube for this bladder, check out the HydraPak Tube Brush.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our Editors' Choice stands out for its innovative pressurization system. At first, it seems contrived and complicated - only something a serious gear geek would buy. However, the more we use it, the more we learn that it could have a place in anybody's gear closet.

Performance Comparison


Ashley enjoys a cool drink at the crag with our Editors' Choice winner.
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 sprays the water without the need to suck at all. Simply bite down, and water will come! The bite valve is smaller than the CamelBak Crux but because of the pressurized system, it didn't have any major performance differences (except when depressurized).


A huge benefit to the spray function is that we turned our bladder into sun shower and a way to clean off ourselves, animals, and equipment before getting into our vehicle. We also like the option of a shower after long days on the trail or to remove sand post-surf.

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.
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 are relatively 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.

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.
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 are that the on and off switch is pretty difficult to turn, and actually got stuck when not adequately cared for. We prefer switch-locks like on the Crux instead. We are 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.

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.
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.

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 bladder to clean. It is one of the two reservoirs manufactured by HydraPak that is advertised 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 by eliminating backwash when forcing liquids through, which makes sense.

A look at the attachments.
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.

Take a look at this video to see how to clean the tubes of this bladder.

Ease of Filling


This bladder is relatively easy to fill. 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 full and tricky to keep the bottom of the reservoir from touching the sink (only critical in funky campground bathrooms).


This bladder excelled at collecting water from slowly trickling streams. You can 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.

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.
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.

Geigerrig sells filtration systems that easily clip into the tube including the Crypto Filter and G4 125 FL Virus Filter). A cool feature that avoids waiting for iodine to kick in or work laboriously to pump water through a Water Filter.

Quality and Durability


Manufactured by HydraPak, this has a similar quality rating as other packs like the HydraPak and Osprey. However, it earns a 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.


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.
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 and Packability


Even with the additional compartment (with a nylon exterior), pressure valve, extra quick release, and tube, this is one of most lightweight bladders tested. Weighing in at only 5.85 oz, it's an excellent option for 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 may scoff at this extra feature.


Best Applications


This is a versatile bladder with many applications. 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 brought it along for unconventional activities like SUPing and surfing, mostly so we could rinse ourselves (and our gear) off before heading home for the day.

Take this bladder backpacking  hiking  or trekking. It'll keep moving with you as far as you need to go.
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 $49, it is a little more expensive. Unless you're specifically looking for a pressurized system, there are many other non-pressurized systems with a better value.

Conclusion


While at first, we weren't sure about the value of a pressurized system, we are now believers. We love the versatility and creativity in this system. We are always finding new uses, from pet cleaning to showering. We originally thought this would be a product for gear nerds, but its uses extend past the tech-obsessed outdoor user.

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


Amber King