The HydraPak ShapeShift Reservoir is one of the lightest bladder and hose setups that we've tested thus far, and in its lightweight class, it's definitely our favorite. We've used it while crushing ultradistance races of 50+ miles and ski touring in cold weather. It offers a faster rate of flow through the newly designed mouthpiece. Out of the box, it does have a plastic taste, but that went away after about two weeks of consistent use. While we didn't like that so much, we still used it for its easy design that is easy to maintain. Given that it is easy to clean, you can add sugary substances to the bladder, as long as you are on top of care. This is a top choice for our on-the-go athletes that care about the ounces. It's also the most reliable for the weight.
Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to clean
Cons: Not as durable as other options, connections get gummed up without lubrication
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Our favorite lightweight hydration bladder saw a few updates that make it a touch fancier and more versatile. Its connections are more durable with a handle that makes filling easier. Its rate of flow is faster than the previous iteration, making it very easy to drink on the go. It's still lightweight with a thin profile and our number one go-to for lightweight performance.
Ease of Use
The new bite valve offered in this iteration is advertised to offer "20% more flow" in the 2019 update. Indeed this design offers a faster flow compared to its predecessor. It's easy to hydrate on-to-go, and it is one of the easiest bladders to use because of its simple design.
The bite valve is long and cylindrical, similar to other HydraPak designs. It isn't too large and fits nicely in the mouth, offering a sufficient flow of water.
When testing it against the previous year's model, we noticed we hardly to suck water at all. Water was received readily…which we really appreciate! It has a twist lock that prevents water from leaking out when not in use. That said, we hardly locked it, as the bite valve is well-sealed and offers protection from leakage naturally on its own.
Ease of Care
This is a low maintenance bladder that is easy to care for. It can be flipped inside out, is dishwasher safe, is easy to scrub inside. Given its ease of care, we will say you can add sugary mixtures into the bladder if you would like it because it is simple to clean all the individual parts.
The hose connects at the base of the reservoir. After using it, we blew out additional water and unplugged the bite valve for easy air drying. The bite valve can be taken apart and soaked to cleaning easily as well.
The reservoir is pretty legit. Even though the profile is thin, it's simple. The plastic is flexible enough that you can turn it inside out. The center baffle comes apart, making this nice and easy. When we used it, we simply emptied all the water and put a pair of tongs inside to hold it open and air dry.
If you need to sterilize it, you can turn it inside out and scrub it with a brush and soap. If you don't have time for that, simply place it on the top rack of your dishwasher and wash on low heat. Most HydraPak reservoirs (that we know) have this wonderful care ability!
Ease of Filling
The Shapeshift has a plastic handle that makes filling up this bladder quite nice and easy.
While the handle is quite small, it offers enough room to get the tips of your fingers underneath it. The filling is not one-handed as the opening still closes on itself, and you need a second hand to hold it open under a spout.
On the go, we found it easy to dunk this bladder into a pond or river and fill it up completely. The spout makes it easy to pour water out, but shallow sources that don't run are a little more difficult to collect from. All in all, we found it pretty easy to fill from most sources, and the new handle promotes a better way to hold onto the bladder while on the go.
Quality and Durability
The ShapeShift is constructed of a durable polymer that is somewhat puncture-resistant, but is quite flexible. The new tube connector offers a much easier connection that seems far more durable than the previous design. In our testing period, we did not experience any issues with leaking or punctures, even after throwing it around in a climbing pack as both a hydration bladder and a storage vessel.
We owned the previous version for a few years, and it wasn't until after 100's of days on the trail that it started to leak at the seams. While we hope this design is more durable, it does look similar in construction. Overall, it's pretty darn durable for its ultralight construction. We have trusted this bladder while fastpacking 100's of miles in Europe and running ultradistance marathons. We've used it on backpacking and climbing trips, dumping all of our stuff into a bag, knowing that the HydraPak could take the abuse.
Weight and Packability
This bladder is lightweight and offers a slim profile that is easy to pack away into all hydration backpack systems. The 3L version weighs 5.40 oz with both the tube and bladder.
There have been heavier components added to make the hydration system more functional and easier to use than its predecessor. Previously, it weighed 4.80 oz. While it's not as lightweight as it used to be, it's still one of the lightest out there. The profile of the bladder is slim in width and depth, making it long and skinny. It fits nicely into even the most narrow bladder sleeves on any hydration pack. The interior baffle helps to hold the shape of the bladder. When it's not put together (it looks like a thick ziplock inside), it can hold 3L. When it is put together, the profile becomes even thinner, with a water capacity of 2.5L.
A reason that we really love this bladder is that it fits well with most running vests and hiking packs. Others are too wide to fit nicely into more narrow sleeves, making it a great option to articulate well with lightweight packs used for many lightweight adventures. Of the bladders out there, the performance is the best for the weight.
The price is right for the performance. We've tested this bladder for many years, and the latest update for almost a year now. While we love its lightweight design, it's important to note that the quick connect on this bladder has failed on us. We've had to replace it almost every two years after heavy use (it's our favorite to use for running, and we run a lot!). Just note that this may not be the same value as other contenders.
The HydraPak Shapeshift is a lightweight bladder with a slim profile. It can be used for pretty much anything but is our top choice when we're counting the ounces. For such a lightweight design, it's durable and fits nearly every hydration pack out there. Its a favorite for trail running, ski touring, and fastpacking.
— Amber King