The HydraPak ShapeShift Reservoir is the lightest bladder and hose set-up that we've tested thus far. We've used it while crushing ultradistance races of 50+ miles and ski touring in cold weather. Its slim profile is similar to the Geigerrig Hydration Engine but offers a faster rate of flow through the newly designed mouthpiece. While it's not as durable as the Geigerrig, it'll hold up for lots of use. Unfortunately, out of the box, it does have a plastic taste that eventually 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.
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
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Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir
|Price||$34.99 at Amazon|
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|$36.95 at Backcountry|
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|$35.96 at Amazon||$26.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to clean||Durable, reliable, fast flow rate, easy to fill||Many innovative uses, slim profile, pressurized system, fairly lightweight, easy to fill, dishwasher safe||Lightweight, super packable, durable material, inexpensive, incredibly versatile||Easy to fill, large screw top opening, inexpensive, great bite valve, narrow profile, compatible with most packs, divided compartments prevent sloshing|
|Cons||Not as durable as other options||Wider profile doesn't fit narrow hydration sleeves||Expensive, small learning curve, no measurement on bag, initial plasticky taste, not our favorite bite valve||Poor taste, does not come with hose or bite valve, doesn't pack easily into backpack sleeves||Somewhat difficult to clean, harder to fill in trickling streams|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight and slim bladder for any on-the-go athlete.||This favorite offers burly and reliable construction best for hiking and backpacking.||This notable bladder offers a pressurized system and a great all-around hydration system.||This reservoir is lightweight and durable with many functions.||This high value winner features stellar performance for a decent price.|
|Rating Categories||Shape-Shift Reservoir||Platypus Big Zip EVO||Geigerrig Hydration Engine||MSR DromLite Bags||CamelBak Crux Reservoir|
|Ease Of Use (25%)|
|Ease Of Care (25%)|
|Ease Of Filling (20%)|
|Quality And Durability (15%)|
|Weight And Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Shape-Shift...||Platypus Big Zip EVO||Geigerrig...||MSR DromLite Bags||CamelBak Crux...|
|Weight of Bladder & Tube (3L, *2.5L system,**4L system)||5.40 oz||6.90 oz||6.40 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|
|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 (no swivel)||Mid-tube, but can be changed to the base. Quick Release||Quick release hose (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||Lifetime warranty||Limited warranty||30-day money back guarantee||Limited warranty||Lifetime Guarantee|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our favorite lightweight hydration bladder saw a few updates that make it a touch bit fancier and more versatile. Its connections are more durable with a brand-new handle that makes filling a touch bit 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 goto 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 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 was 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 source, 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 also 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.
Other hydration bladders that are constructed of a heavier plastic polymer, like the Platypus Big Zip Evo, our Editor's Choice winner, did better in this metric. It's thicker and offers more resistance to abrasion and other forces that might pop it or put a hole in it. While we can't speak for this new model, simply because we haven't tested it long enough, the previous HydraPak Shapeshift maintained its performance for a long time.
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, like the Platypus, 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. There are lighter options, like the MSR Dromlite, our Top Pick for Backpacking because it is only a water storage container, but of the hydration bladders with a built-in hose and mouthpiece, it's the lightest we've tested so far.
Truly, this bladder can be used for any adventure, but its low weight and slim profile makes it prime for use on ultralight adventures like ski touring, trail running, or fastpacking. It's compatible with many water filtration systems, and the tubes and mouthpieces can be switched out for other options that you might prefer. This versatile and lightweight bladder is our favorite when we're trying to keep the ounces of weight off our back. It's a reliable option you can trust for long days in the backcountry.
Retailing for $38, this is just a few dollars more than our Best Buy award winner. The price is right, even though you might have to replace it after several years of use. We appreciate the value it brings for such a lightweight design.
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