Source Tactical WXP 3L Review
Cons: Heavy construct, flimsy plastic handle, pricey
Manufacturer: Source Tactical
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Source Tactical WXP 3L
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|Pros||Ease to clean, versatile filling options, insulated tube, natural colors (green & brown), puncture-resistant design||Thick and durable bladder, handle for easy filling, drying accessory, excellent flow rate, narrow and rounded profile for easy fit in narrow packs||Lightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to clean||Lightweight, super packable, durable material, inexpensive, incredibly versatile||Durable, versatile and lightweight design, good flow rate, great price|
|Cons||Heavy construct, flimsy plastic handle, pricey||Bulkier components don't pack down||Not as durable as other options, connections get gummed up without lubrication||Poor taste, does not come with hose or bite valve, doesn't pack easily into backpack sleeves||Harder to clean, bite valve doesn't lock off|
|Bottom Line||This fully featured bladder is versatile for the masses, from the outdoors person to the once a year hiker||This top performer stands out for its quality construction and easy filling profile that is reliable for hydration on backcountry adventures and day trips||A lightweight and slim bladder that's especially suited for ounce-counting athletes pushing deep into the backcountry||This reservoir is lightweight and durable with many functions and uses in the outdoors||This durable, lightweight, and simple bladder won't take a toll on your wallet|
|Rating Categories||Source Tactical WXP 3L||Gregory 3D Hydro||Hydrapak Shape-Shif...||MSR DromLite Bags||Platypus Hoser|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Ease of Care (25%)|
|Ease of Filling (20%)|
|Quality and Durability (15%)|
|Weight and Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Source Tactical WXP 3L||Gregory 3D Hydro||Hydrapak Shape-Shif...||MSR DromLite Bags||Platypus Hoser|
|Weight of Bladder & Tube (oz)||8.90 oz (3L)||7.1 oz (3L)||5.40 oz (3L)||5.20 oz (4L)||4.2 oz (3L)|
|Bladder Capacity Options (liters)||2L, 3L||3 L||2L, 3L||2L, 4L, 6L||1L, 1.5L, 3L|
|Bite Valve||Plastic valve with push in/out valve, plastic cover attached||Push-button on/off valve||Bite valve with shutoff twist valve||None (Bite valve with lock arm shutoff valve in separate attachment kit)||HyFLO bite valve|
|Can bite valve be removed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hose Connection||Quick release (swivel hose) at base of bladder||Mid-tube quick release, but can be changed to the base.||Quick release (no swivel)||At the mouth of the screw top||Screw-on hose|
|Closure Type||Screw top and zip top||Screw top||Slide top||Screw top (3 in 1 spouts)||Screw top (hose connection)|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Source Tactical WXP offers fantastic features that make it a suitable recommendation for all sports, from hunting to hiking!
Ease of Use
This bladder is very easy to use with several features that make it versatile. The slim profile fits nicely in everything from running vests to hydration backpacks. It sports a flip-top opening and a screw-top option for versatile filling and use options. The hoses are compatible with other brands, and the bite valve comes unclipped easily. One feature we love is the high-quality clips that make detaching the hose and bite valve easy!
The only caveat of this bladder is the bite valve. As opposed to a comfortable plastic, it has a hard plastic design with a plastic cap. To open it, you have to pull it out (which can be done with your teeth) and to lock it, push it in. This bite valve is not interchangeable with other designs.
When running and hiking, we learned that when open, it can leak, so it's important to close after use. It also comes equipped with an insulated hose that prevents water from freezing in the tube during the winter months. Overall, an easy to use bladder!
Ease of Care
Care of the Source Tactical bladder is easy. With the clips that attach the tube to the reservoir and the bite valve to the hose, it can be taken apart in a cinch. The zip-top and screw-top design make it easy to scrub away at tough spots in the bladder. It is not dishwasher safe, but the harder plastic exterior is less porous, offering a medium that does not inspire bacterial growth. Source claims this to be "self-cleaning" with a Polyethylene film that is supposed to block bacterial growth. We didn't observe any bacterial growth, even after forgetting to empty and air it out after a few days. That said, we'd still recommend giving it a good rinse and drying it out after each use.
To care for it, simply empty your water and air it out on a regular basis. If bacterial growth ensues, be sure to use a cleaning tablet and scrub brush, then put it in the freezer to make sure bacteria is killed. That said, since the hose is insulated, it is hard to see if there's any growth inside. Make sure to blow the water back through after each use.
Ease of Filling
With an elongated spout and a screw-top, this is one of the easiest bladders to fill! The screw-top is perfect for one-hand filling at a sink, though the plastic handle is super flimsy.
We would have liked to see a harder plastic used so it doesn't rotate when water starts to fill it up. The flip-top has an elongated spout that makes it easy to share water or collect it from shallow basins or trickling streams. Overall, super easy to fill up but a more study handle would be an improvement.
Quality and Durability
The harder plastic film provides resistance to punctures. During our testing period, it did not show signs of wear and tear, nor did it leak, even when the bladder was simply used as a reservoir (with the tube detached) on a canoe trip. That said, the plastic handle is of lesser quality and seems a bit cheap. Overall, good durability with hardy welded seams.[
Weight and Compressibility
This is a heavier and less compressible bladder. The screw-top doesn't allow it to fold up as small as other less-featured bladders. The heavier outer plastic also adds a bit of extra weight. The insulated tube has a wider circumference and the materials also add to its heavier construct. That said, we didn't notice these extra few ounces when running and hiking on the trail. It still great to function for quick, on-the-go sports, but there are lighter options out there.
This is a more expensive bladder. It does offer great durability and a versatile use system that no other bladder features. As a result, we'd say the price is fair. Those that will find it most useful are those that love the option for either a zip or screw-top option and durable construction.
This super durable bladder features a natural color perfectly suited for everything from hunting to backpacking.
— Amber King
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