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.
Geigerrig Hydration Engine Review
Cons: Expensive, small learning curve, no measurement on bag, initial plasticky taste, not our favorite bite valve
Manufacturer: Aquamira - Geigerrig
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
Ease of Care
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.
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.
Quality and Durability
Manufactured by HydraPak, it offers good quality. 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.
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.
This is one of the more expensive hydration bladders. Unless you're specifically looking for a pressurized system, there are many other non-pressurized systems with a better value.
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