Gregory 3D Hydro Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Thick and durable bladder, handle for easy filling, drying accessory, excellent flow rate, narrow and rounded profile for easy fit in narrow packs
Cons: Bulkier components don't pack down
Compare to Similar Products
Gregory 3D Hydro
|Price||$37.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$37.95 at Amazon||$35.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$29.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$26.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Pros||Thick and durable bladder, handle for easy filling, drying accessory, excellent flow rate, narrow and rounded profile for easy fit in narrow packs||Durable, reliable, fast flow rate, easy to fill, excellent valve locking mechanism||Lightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to clean||Durable, great water flow, easy to fill and clean, versatile use, good price||Lightweight, super packable, durable material, inexpensive, incredibly versatile|
|Cons||Bulkier components don't pack down||Wider profile, closure is hard to close in cold weather and requires maintenance||Not as durable as other options, connections get gummed up without lubrication||Can't flip inside out||Poor taste, does not come with hose or bite valve, doesn't pack easily into backpack sleeves|
|Bottom Line||Featuring a large handle and quality construction, this bladder is designed to take a beating on any backcountry excursion||This stands out for its high flow rate and durable design, but the closure could use a little work||Ready for any on-the-go athlete looking for a lightweight hydration system||A long-time top model among our testers, we find this versatile bladder useful in all kinds of recreational applications||Take this lightweight and packable reservoir on your next backpacking adventure|
|Rating Categories||Gregory 3D Hydro||Platypus Big Zip EVO||Shape-Shift Reservoir||CamelBak Crux Reservoir||MSR DromLite Bags|
|Ease Of Use (25%)|
|Ease Of Care (25%)|
|Ease Of Filling (20%)|
|Quality And Durability (15%)|
|Weight And Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Gregory 3D Hydro||Platypus Big Zip EVO||Shape-Shift...||CamelBak Crux...||MSR DromLite Bags|
|Weight of Bladder & Tube (oz)||7.1 oz (3L)||6.90 oz (3L)||5.40 oz (3L)||8.40 oz (3L)||5.20 oz (4L)|
|Bladder Capacity Options (liters)||3 L||1.5L, 2L, 3L||2L, 3L||1.5L, 2L, 3L||2L, 4L, 6L|
|Bite Valve||Push-button on/off valve||HyFLO Self-sealing Bite Valve||Bite valve with shutoff twist valve||Bite valve with updated shutoff valve||None (Bite valve with lock arm shutoff valve in separate attachment kit)|
|Can bite valve be removed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hose Connection||Mid-tube quick release, but can be changed to the base.||Mid-tube, but can be changed to the base. Quick Release||Quick release (no swivel)||Quick release hose (no swivel)||At the mouth of the screw top|
|Closure Type||Screw top||Zip top||Slide top||Screw top||Screw top (3 in 1 spouts)|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Gregory 3D Hydro stands out for its reliable design and construction features that make it a versatile option for all sorts of outdoor adventures. We appreciate its durable construction, hanging loop, and ability to take apart all components. We wish the opening was a touch larger in the case the bladder body needs to be cleaned. We tested the 3-liter version.
Ease of Use
This is the most user-friendly of all hydration bladders we have tested. It comes loaded with unique features including a push switch to lock the bite valve, a large handle for filling, and a hanging clip for drying. We love the high rate of water flow that makes it easy to drink and use while hiking, biking, and exploring in the great outdoors.
The bite valve is a regular-sized bite valve that feels comfortable in the mouth and offers a more than sufficient flow of water. To use, unlock the valve by pushing down, and start drinking. Our only gripe with the design is the lock can be hard to push when it gets gummed up after using it on several missions, so be sure to keep it clean.
It also comes with a robust hanging clip at the top of the bag that works well with plenty of backpacks. The clip is made of thicker plastic and fits all of the running and hiking bags we tested it with. One downside of the bladder's design is it can't be rolled up or packed away because of the thicker components (like the handle) on the body of the bladder.
We also appreciate the narrow profile that slides into the sleeves of some of the most narrow hydration sleeves in our packs. Unlike other bladders with a flip-top opening that uses a plastic arm across the top, this has a rounded and narrow shoulder. Many times, we have run with these flip-top plastic arms, and they have dug into our back while in a thinner running pack. The Gregory 3D Hydro stands out for its performance in these packs as it doesn't dig, poke, or abrade while running or biking.
We also appreciate that Gregory uses the standard auto-connect connections that will easily work with an on-the-go filtration system. We were also able to switch out the bite valve with any of the options in this review, so if you don't love the valve or locking mechanism, you can switch it out very easily.
Ease of Care
We appreciate that all components (including the bite valve) can be popped off and cleaned independently. The plastic hanging clip is a welcome feature that works surprisingly well. Instead of using a pair of kitchen tongs, you can hang it upside down to let it dry out. That said, the size of the bag and opening of the screw lid limits its cleaning capabilities.
This is not a dishwasher-safe bladder and cannot be flipped inside out. As a result, care needs to be consistent to avoid any bacterial build-up in the bag itself. You will have a hard time maneuvering a scrubbing tool inside the bladder because of its smaller opening. That said, it's not impossible but will take more effort than a flip-top option.
As mentioned before, all hoses disconnect from all connections and the mouthpiece completely comes apart for independent cleaning. It also features a mid-hose quick release clip. To empty, blow all the water through the hose before disconnecting the hoses, and hang to dry. If you use sugary substances, be sure to rinse out the bags well.
The drying hanger is a useful add-on that we used regularly in the kitchen. After rinsing, we would hang it over the sink. Some water does collect in the space between the opening and the hanger, but that's easily fixed by shaking it out once it's collected. We had no issues with bacterial build-up here. That said, this also worked well to dry by inserting a pair of tongs if you don't like the drying hanger.
Ease of Filling
We love the robust handle and screw-top lid used in the design of this bladder. The handle allows you to easily fill from a faucet, river, or another water source. Unlike a flip-top bladder, it can't easily collect water from super shallow sources, but most users will not need their bladder to do this.
We tested this while exploring streams and rivers in Sedona, Arizona. We also filled it several times at the sink. Overall, we appreciate the handle and screw top which makes it easy to collect water in all these locations. Under a small stream, we would submerge it and fill it right from the source (then we would treat it for health reasons). Since the handle is oriented along the long axis of the bladder, it sits lengthwise on the bottom of the water source. This helps to bring water into the bladder, instead of the body falling vertically and limiting filling capabilities.
The structure is a little more rigid than most due to the built-in handle. When the weight of the water is added to the bladder, the base does sink, but there is enough structural integrity to the handle that it stays easy to hold up and fill. Overall, we appreciate the design and thoughtfulness of this bladder making it easy to fill in most sources.
Quality and Durability
This earns top marks for quality. We appreciate the robust and almost over-engineered design that features bomber components like a stiffer hanger, reinforced screw top lid, and puncture-resistant plastic. This is a hydration bladder that we would trust to hang in the backcountry without the worry of it puncturing if it falls or encounters a few sharp rocks.
We tested it by stuffing it into fully loaded backpacks and smaller running backs. We filled and used it 30+ times in our testing and never had issues with leaks, punctures, or integrity flaws. We also pulled at the seams of the bags, and they don't delaminate, even with a lot of pulling force. We poked the bag with a pencil, which did leave an imprint, but couldn't poke through the plastic. Overall, we seem to be pretty darn durable, but far from indestructible.
Weight and Packability
The biggest caveat of this contender is its bulkiness and lack of packability. It weighs 7.1 oz, making it an ounce or two heavier than most. This is because of the integrated handle and components that we love so much, which scores it high in the durability metric. While this is a great option for backpacking and hiking bags, it's not our first choice for an ultralight adventure where the bladder itself needs to be rolled up and stowed when empty. Use it where structural integrity is needed. Because of this bulkier design, it is easier to stuff into fully loaded packs than other options that flop around when stuffing into tight spaces.
We appreciate the reliability of this bladder. Given the bomber design, it's one we'd trust for longer missions into the backcountry, where it might take a beating, either in your pack or out of it. We are willing to pay a little more for its extras, but some may not see the value in the handle or hanging accessory. At first, we were unsure, too. Now, we're fully convinced of its benefits and believe there's great value in getting this top-of-the-line bladder.
The Gregory 3D Hydro stands out as a top contender for its durable design that is thoughtful and easy to use. We appreciate the built-in handle and rounded shoulders that make it comfortable to fill and carry in most types of packs. While it is slightly heavier and can't roll up into a small ball, it's a great option for those seeking a reliable bladder that can be taken on a longer mission where reliability is key.
— Amber King