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Geigerrig Hydration Engine Review

This notable bladder offers a pressurized system and a great all-around hydration system.
Editors' Choice winner  the Hydration Engine
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Price:  $49 List | $39.00 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, initial plasticky taste, not our favorite bite valve
Manufacturer:   Aquamira - Geigerrig
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 16, 2019
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 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% 6

Our Verdict

The Geigerrig Hydration Engine is unique for its pressurized system and simple design. As a previous Editors' Choice winner, it is highly versatile and a perfect option for lightweight missions or hosing your dog down at the park. It has a variety of uses that no other bladder tested could even contest. The sleek profile is thin and narrow, and compatible 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. We also preferred other bite valves over this one, as it's hard to unlock the flow of water with one hand.

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


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $39.00 at Amazon$36.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Many innovative uses, slim profile, pressurized system, fairly lightweight, easy to fill, dishwasher safeDurable, reliable, fast flow rate, easy to fillLightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to cleanLightweight, super packable, durable material, inexpensive, incredibly versatileEasy to fill, large screw top opening, inexpensive, great bite valve, narrow profile, compatible with most packs, divided compartments prevent sloshing
Cons Expensive, small learning curve, no measurement on bag, initial plasticky taste, not our favorite bite valveWider profile doesn't fit narrow hydration sleevesNot as durable as other optionsPoor taste, does not come with hose or bite valve, doesn't pack easily into backpack sleevesSomewhat difficult to clean, harder to fill in trickling streams
Bottom Line This notable bladder offers a pressurized system and a great all-around hydration system.This favorite offers burly and reliable construction best for hiking and backpacking.A lightweight and slim bladder for any on-the-go athlete.This reservoir is lightweight and durable with many functions.This high value winner features stellar performance for a decent price.
Rating Categories Geigerrig Hydration Engine Platypus Big Zip EVO Shape-Shift Reservoir MSR DromLite Bags CamelBak Crux Reservoir
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
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9
10
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9
10
0
9
10
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9
10
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8
Ease Of Care (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
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6
10
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7
Ease Of Filling (20%)
10
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8
10
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9
10
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8
10
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6
10
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9
Quality And Durability (15%)
10
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8
10
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9
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6
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9
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7
Weight And Packability (15%)
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7
Specs Geigerrig... Platypus Big Zip EVO Shape-Shift... MSR DromLite Bags CamelBak Crux...
Weight of Bladder & Tube (3L, *2.5L system,**4L system) 6.40 oz 6.90 oz 5.40 oz 5.20 oz** 8.0 oz
Bladder Capacity Options (liters) 2L, 3L 1.5L, 2L, 3L 2L, 3L 2L, 4L, 6L 1.5L, 2L, 3L
Dishwasher Friendly? Yes Not specified Yes No No
Plastic Taste Yes No Yes Yes Yes
BPA-free? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bite Valve Bite valve with shutoff twist valve HyFLO Self-sealing Bite Valve Bite valve with shutoff twist valve None (Bite valve with lock arm shutoff valve in separate attachment kit) Bite valve with HydroLock shutoff valve
Can bite valve be removed? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hose Connection Quick release hose (no swivel) Mid-tube, but can be changed to the base. Quick Release Quick release (no swivel) At the mouth of the screw top Quick release hose (no swivel)
Closure Type Slide top Zip top Slide top Screw top (3 in 1 spouts) Screw top
Warranty 30-day money back guarantee Limited warranty Lifetime warranty Limited warranty Lifetime Guarantee

Our Analysis and Test Results

This notable mention 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 the Geigerrig Hydration Engine.
Ashley enjoys a cool drink at the crag with the Geigerrig Hydration Engine.

Ease of Use


This is by far the easiest hydration bladder to drink from if you pressurize it. 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). When it's not pressurized, though, the flow rate is about average.

A look at the attachments.
A look at the attachments.

A huge benefit to the spray function is that we turned our bladder into a 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.

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 almost 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. The huge opening allows it to be flipped inside out and cleaned if needed. It is also dishwasher safe. 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.

Simply flip it inside out and let it dry. Or...put it in the dishwasher!
Simply flip it inside out and let it dry. Or...put it in the dishwasher!

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).

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.

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.

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 Hydraulics LT. However, it earns a higher rating because it integrates a nylon fabric that protects the bladder from wear and tear that isn't used with other softer polymers. This is especially helpful when stuffing and pressurizing the system inside of a backpacking pack filled with many items.

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

Weight and Packability


Even with the additional compartment (with a nylon exterior), pressure valve, extra quick release, and tube, this is not a heavy bladder. Weighing in at 6.4 oz, it's an excellent option for lightweight adventures. That said, if you add the pump, it adds weight, too. 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. 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.


Amber King