Best Hydration Water Bladders Compared
Hydration is one of the most important parts of any runner’s routine. It’s what keeps them going through the sweat and the struggle of distance runs, and what helps to replenish us after that final push to the finish line. Dehydration isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s also dangerous. Our bodies are made largely of water and running can deplete us of our liquid resources in record time. The obvious solution is to make sure that we bring some source of water with us when we go out for a run.
Trying to carry a bottle with you can actually use more of your energy and add minutes to your time. Many runners have found that water bladders are a great way to carry your water with you without having to handle awkward or bulky bottles. If you’ve ever had to try and carry something while you’re running for more than a couple of miles, then you understand just how cumbersome and uncomfortable this can be. Water bladders can actually be worn on your person and carry enough water to satisfy your needs. Not only will your run be safer, it’ll also be more convenient. Check out our list of hydration bladders below.
- Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
- Anti-microbial bacteria prevention
- Aquatic Way Reservoir
- BPA-FREE anti-bacteria materials
- Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir
- Quick-release hose and shutoff valve
How can you make sure that your hydrating properly? The answer to this question can be found from a combination of different sources. Each of us is just a little bit different, and your activity level can contribute to the amount of water that you require on a daily basis. The baseline recommendation is eight standard size glasses of water per day. This usually ends up being close to 64 ounces of fluid. If you’re running and sweating continuously, then you’ll need to increase your intake. In some cases, you may need to drink as much as twice that amount in order to stay properly hydrated. This is why it’s so imperative that you keep a water bladder with you during your runs. Dehydration can come on quickly, and can lead to symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion, and even unconsciousness. These are all things that you need to be able to combat when you’re on your own. It’s amazing how quickly drinking water can make a difference to your health!
12 Best Hydration Water Bladders
1. Osprey Hydraulics
- Backer plate help to shape the reservoir, keeping it low-profile so it won’t mess up the ballast of your backpack
- Pour shield extends the collar (almost like a funnel) to make filling and pouring easy
- Has a welded chevron baffles to help prevent too much sloshing and to maintain the shape
- Has a magnetic sternum strap that you attach can attach to you pack, giving the magnetic bite valve a spot to rest while out of use
- Well formed bite valve offers fast and easy water flow
Size: 15 x 7 x 3.1 inches
Capacity: 2 or 3 liters, depends on size
BPA- Free: Yes
Material(s): Metallocene PE Film
- Internal baffles help prevent sloshing
- Maintains a low profile structure
- Bite valve allows fast water flow
- Extended pour shield make refilling much easier
- Has a bit of a plastic taste at first
2. Aquatic Way
- Extremely well constructed from thick TPU that is pressure-treated and wear-proof. Manufactured with built in leak proof sealing technology.
- BPA-Free and FDA approved material, has antimicrobial properties
- Oversized opening, ideal for cleaning and easy access. Drying is a breeze and you can even scoop ice cubes directly from the fridge into the bladder
- Soft yet durable mouthpiece, has a 90-degree turn mouthpiece. Easily accessible shutoff valve, no leakage.
- Neoprene insulated tube cover helps water stay cold on hot days and vice versa on cold ones
- Shop with peace of mind. Sixty day100% money back guarantee
Size: 1.13 x 6.5 x 15 inches
Capacity: 67.6 oz
BPA- Free: Yes, FDA approved
Material(s): thermoplastic urethane
- Constructed of FDA approved material with antimicrobial properties
- Oversized opening allows easy refilling and cleaning
- 100% money back guarantee
- May not be ideal for extreme situations
3. Platypus Big Zip LP – 3 Liter
- Proudly manufactured in the USA
- Made from BPA-free polyethylene with silver-ion antimicrobial finish delivers fresh, sanitary and taste free liquids
- Has a wide opening with patented Slidelock™ closure is easy to refill and secure
- Lightweight, streamlined design is meant to ride flat in your pack — minimizes sloshing around and overall load
- Quick-release hose and shutoff valve make drinking and refilling the bladder a simple process
Size: 17.2 x 8.8 Inches
Capacity: 101 fluid ounces
BPA- Free: Yes
Material(s): thermoplastic urethane, stands up extremely well over time
- Refilling is easy with the wider opening and Slidelock closure
- Low profile design
- Limited sloshing
- BPA free
- No plastic taste
- Probably not ideal for rougher activities
4. Camelbak Antidote 70oz
- CamelBak Antidote reservoir has an access port which makes it filling it a breeze, the cap has also been redesigned and is easy to open/close
- Cleaning the reservoir is easy, the port is big enough that you can fit your hand or a toothbrush inside
- Has a Quick Link™ connection system so it’s easy to disconnect the drinking tube if you so desire
- The low-profile fit means leads to comfort and stability
- The Antidote has a built in baffle which is designed to stop water from sloshing all over the place and increasing tension on your back.
- Big Bite™ valve is super easy to use—just bite and swig; HydroLock™ valve shuts off water, making sure you don’t end up with a flood in your pack
Size: 18 x 8 x 3.5 inches
Capacity: 70 Oz
BPA- Free: Yes
- The large access port makes refilling and cleaning super easy
- The Quick Link system allows the drinking tube to be easily removed for cleaning
- Built in baffles reduce sloshing inside the bladder
- Camelbak's Big Bite valve provide fast flowing hydration
- The large closure may leak some when thrown around, or used under rugged conditions
5. Hydrapack First Wave Water Bladder
Hydrapak is the Original First Wave Military Water Reservoir. It conveys an amount of up to 1liter of water or more. The change in its plan is progressive contrasted with other ordinary drinking systems.This sort is novel based since it has just a single crease on it which makes it hearty yet exceptionally unique.It has a bladder which is twice as thick and as harder than typical bladders.
The water bladder is intended for most extraordinary states of exercises and operations. Its dependability, adaptability and solidness highlights makes it a definitive water stockpiling framework in the market for intense operations. The US Military uses this stockpiling and conveyance framework for extraordinary operations.
Capacity:2 Liter/70 -Ounce
BPA Free: Yes
Size:6.75 x 12.25-Inch
· It is reversible and with an anti-microbial properties to help in cleaning and avoiding bacterial infections.
· It is durable and built for a lifetime of tough use.
· It can be frozen or filled with water of up to a maximum temperatures of 170F/77°C
· It also contains a No- Leak lifetime guarantee.
· It has been tested and used by the US Military.Which makes it best for harsh environs.
Most users complain of the hose connection problem,sometimes it comes bigger or smaller.you have to check to avoid such instances.
6. GoFriend Outdoor Hydration Bladder
It has a foldable design which makes it easy to carry around,it has the antibacterial material that is good for use at any given time, its dual opening design allows you to clean and fill at any given conditions, it has the self lock feature that makes it easy to dissemble when cleaning and storing or sometimes when you need to replace its parts. Can easily fit into pocket and can store water at a cool temperature in case it is very hot.
Size: 15.94*7.87 inches / 40.5 x 20cm
BPA Free: Yes
Material:Food grade EVA.
· Its foldable design makes it easy to carry around even in your pockets.
· Easy to clean due to its self lock feature,that makes its easy to dissemble.
· Its dual opening makes it easy to fill at any given condition.
· Can keep water upto -20 degrees cold in a hot weather ,you feel right at home with it in any activity.
Can develop leaks when the hose is not well tightened to the bladder.
The bladder is made from neoprene which can regulate the temperature and the water doesn’t heat very much so you can enjoy cool water even if it’s very hot. It has special antilock system so no worries about licking. The water flow is very fast and the drinking is very simple. There’s also cap to prevent any dirt to get inside of the bladder. Many runners appreciated special cleaning kit delivered with the bladder. Runners said that it was very helpful to clean the bladder. There are also special drying supporters that help your bladder to dry faster.
Size: 36 x 15cm / 14,1 x 5,9 inch size (when it is full)
Capacity: 2 liter / 70 oz
BPA Free: Yes
Material: Neoprene, TPU
It can be used for many different sports and you can easily wear it in your backpack
There’s special lifetime guarantee
In the package, there are also special instructions how to fight the potential odor and bad taste
Special measuring scale will show you how much water do you have
Some runners complained that it leaks but it’s very rare
This product has very high pressure tolerance. The drinking tube is detachable and at the end of it, there’s bite valve that makes drinking much more easier. We can’t talk about any unpleasant aftertaste here. Like many other products on our list, it’s BPA free and it has FDA approval. The filling hole is also quiet large so you can easily fill it with water. This also means that the product is very easy to clean. It works the best in temperatures -20 to 50 degrees.
Size: 16.2 x 6.7 inches
Capacity: 2 liters
BPA Free: Yes
Material: EVA material
Many runners said that there was no leaking during usage
The construction of the bladder is very solid
It's veary asy to clean
The flow could be a little bit faster
The mouthpiece was specially designed for easy sipping. The opening of the bladder is also very large, it’s easy to fill the bladder with water. Don’t worry about the taste, it doesn’t leave any bad taste. If you want really cold water, you can put inside ice cubes. This product is BPA free FDA and SGS certified. The material maintain the water very fresh and prevents any bacteria. The wather conditions doesn’t make a change- this bladder works perfect from -20 to 50 degrees celcius. It is very easy in use but at the same time, it has special cover to keep all the dirt out. There’s also money back guarantee.
Size: L 14.2'' x W 6.8
Capacity: 2 liters
BPA Free: Yes
Material: environmental friendly materials
It is compatible most hydration packs
Measuring scale let you know about water level
Really praised for wide opening and easy cleaning
Some runners said that it's less than 2 liters
12. Geigerrig Hydration Engine
-Wide mouth and slide top for refills on the go
-Dishwasher safe and reversible
-Comes with a lifetime warranty
-Has a spray feature to cool you down
Size: 16L x 7W in.
12L x 7W in.
Weight: 0.2 lbs.
Materials: Polyvinyl Chloride
- Easy to fill
- Easy to use
- Dishwasher safe/no bacteria growth
- Easy to clean
- Some runners prefer less pressure
11. Camelbak 3L Crux Resevoir
-Patented hydroguard technology prevents bacterial growth
-Easy to clean and sterilize
-Wide mouth design makes it easy to fill on the go
-20% more water per sip than their original design
-Durable lightweight materials
-Easy to manipulate valve for quick hose control
Size: 46 x 23 x 8 cm / 18 x 9 x 3 in
Capacity: 3L/100 fl oz
Weight: 235 g / 8 oz
- 20% more liquid per sip
- Durable and lightweight
- Ease of use
- Easy to fill
- Easy to use valve on hose
- Too bulky and unforgiving
10. Crystal Creek Hydration Bladder
-Large opening and detachable tube makes it easy to clean and fill
-All aspects of design are improved and insulted to preserve the temperature of the water
- A double reinforced sleeve for a no leak guarantee
- Money back satisfaction guarantee
Size: 17.5 inches x 9 inches x 1 inches
Capacity: 3 liters
- Well insuled, including the hose
- Excellent customer service
- Easy to clean
- Easy to fill
- Clear plastic makes it easy to know when it needs to be cleaned
- Plastic taste fades/ is nonexistent
- Cap sealing issue
- Some durability issues
Criteria of Selection
Hydration bladders are a relatively new invention for the athletic and outdoorsy communities. They’ve been around since the 90s and offer athletes a hands-free way to access water while they’re in the middle of a run or some other activity. Many of these actually resemble backpacks that utilize a drinking straw that gives the athlete an easy way to get a drink on the go. Hydration bladders differ from the standard water bladder in the fact that they offer a straw or hose that allows a runner a hands-free way to stay hydrated. A regular water bladder simply attaches somewhere on your person and will still need to be detached and opened in order for you to drink from it. Many runners prefer the hands-free apparatus to the one that requires more attention.
Having the best hydration bladder is very important not only to runners but also to athletes who engage in various sporting activities. That’s why we make sure to give you information on the best hydration packs on the market. We looked at several factors when we were looking at the different hydration bladders from different brands, these features include:
Size and Compatability
The major thing to think about is whether the bladder will be a good fit with the compartment found in the backpack. Most bladders have similar shapes however they have little variations. The most important factor is the size. Almost all the bladders come in sizes of 2 and 3-liter capacities, though some are closer to 1 liter. The best bladder to use would be the 3-liter bladders since they cost similar to the other bladders (1 and 2 liters), the 3- liter bladder will offer more water capacity. Though the bladder will have to be refilled. it’s not appropriate for small packs as it won’t fit. If you need something that is more versatile, opt for a larger bladder, for those who look for bladders for specific purposes, go for a bladder that will suit your pack. Though larger bladders usually work fine, it never hurts to purchase the size that works best for you.
A 1 or 1.5 Liter bladder: They are perfect for minimalists with regards to size, preferred by kids and commuters. It is preferred for trail runs and quick hikes.
A 2 Liter bladder: This is the most popular type/ option. They are best for skiing, hiking or snowboarding. Perfect for those who don’t like filling up the bladder frequently. It offers a good amount of fluid/ water for the day.
A 3 Liter bladder: They are the most versatile bladder of all. It is perfect for athletes who don’t want frequent refills and tend to need water in large amounts. This capacity of this hydration bladder offers you the option of having little or plenty of water.
Profile of the Bladder
The profile of the bladder is crucial and refers to the size and shape of the apparatus. Some bladders have narrow profiles while others have wider profiles. Some bladders become fat or flat when filled with water. Before buying a bladder it is good to consider take the hydration pack. Bladders that are compatible with packs have built in sleeves. Check the sleeve to know how narrow and wide the sleeve is, this will help you to determine the type of bladder to pick from. The most ideal profile of bladders tends to be long and narrow because they fit into many hydration packs.
Different Types of Openings
When considering the type of bladder opening on your hydration bladder, you should consider the ease of filling the bladder, the filling environment, and how easy it is to open or close the bladder opening. There are 3 types of openings of typical water bladders: Screw cap, Fold Top or Zip Top
Fold Top Opening
With the folding top opening the tops part flips up, then folds over; then once they are folded over, slide the closure over on the top, this prevents the bag from experiencing leaks. It is the best bladder opening if you have to fill up your bladder when filling up in streams or any other outdoor water points especially where there are limited resources. It is easy to wash and clean, especially when it’s turned inside out.
Zip Top Opening
This bladder opening is similar to the folding top with a few marked differences. These platters utilized a zip locking system to make sure that their free of leaks and to make access a little bit easier. Many runners trade the ease-of-use for the time that it takes to fill them up. They take a little bit longer to arrange and to close afterward. Many runners recommend these four regular faucets or slow flowing water sources. One of the biggest differences is the way that these bladders have to be cleaned. The zip top bladder will need to be brushed out and can’t be turned inside out to sterilize the inside. This means that it takes a little bit longer to sanitize than other models.
Screw Top Opening
These bladders tend to take more time when opening and closing than both the zip top and fold top bladders. When looking for a shallower bladder basin, these are a much better option. These are perfect for camping trips, long trail hikes, and for long-distance runners who have the ability to fill them up at resources that are easier to access. They can also be filled to capacity, unlike bladders with other types of openings. Although, it’s always a good idea to leave a small amount of air under the cap to make sure that they don’t spill or leak on the go.
Bite Valve Size
The size of the bite valves is different and varies in type. Most will feature the locking mechanism. Some valves are bigger in size, while other valves tend to be smaller. The size determines how hard or easy you will suck water from the bladder, via the tubes. In summary, this means that large bite valves are harder to suck fluid via the tubes (if you don’t have the pressurized system). Small valves are sufficient, even though they cannot offer a large water flow, which is provided using medium valves. Medium valves are usually preferred by runners.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning the bladders can be difficult. Many hydration bladders will have parts that are difficult to clean and dry; this makes it a good place for bacteria to grow. Bladders vary in cleaning difficulty. For those who only put water into their bladders, frequent cleaning of the bladder is not necessary. But for those who use sugary drinks, you have to make sure there is no sugar residue in the bladder during cleaning. There are 3 main parts to clean: the mouthpiece, the bladder, and the hose. When buying your bladder, take into consideration how hard or easy it will be to clean it. Look for bladders with wider mouths, as this will allow you to easily flip it inside out. Then easily fit your brush inside, for a more thorough cleaning. Make sure that you are able to carefully disassemble your bladder (the hose & mouth piece) with no difficulty. Most bladders will have a mechanism that is quick-release which allows the hose to be disconnected easily.
Pressurized System or Non-Pressurized System
A pressurized system in a hydration bladder will have two chambers. The first one is for water and the other for air. By using a pressure pump, you are supposed to blow the air up so that you have a reservoir that is pressurized. Water will come out of the bite valve minus any sucking. The real advantage of pressurized systems: they make use easy when working out. Also, they are able to keep the tubes cleaner and free of any bacteria. They also need fewer cleaning sessions. Nevertheless, if you use sugary drinks in the bladder, you will need to clean the tubes whether it’s a pressurized system or a non-pressurized system. This is because sugar residues need intense flushing, using soap, brush and warm water; to come out.
Look for a release mechanism that is quick and it ought to be vertically oriented. Most of the hydration hoses tend to connect to the bladder using a quick release mechanism, which eases the opening and closing process of the bladder. Most manufacturers will use a similar system which has maximum compatibility; you have the bite valve or hose replaced with models you like. Though you will find some bladders with mechanisms which are oriented horizontally, having a specific attachment. When another model of the hose is plugged in (orientated vertically), it will stick out. Normally on the side of the bladder instead of it sitting up & down in the bladder. This will interfere with the durability of the bladder. Make sure there is maximum compatibility.
Daily Intake of Water
In general its highly recommended that we take 17-25 oz. of water per hour for hydration during endurance activities. The range is dependent on the air temperature and your exertion level. We generally take 18 oz. an hour for most activities (more when it gets hot). Based off this metric, you can determine how much water you should plan to carry (if there are no water sources to fill up).
When the temperature drops below the freezing point, there are chances that the water inside the bladder will freeze, even at the mouth piece and hydration tube. To avoid this make sure that you blow the water back, then clear the bladder’s’ hose after every sip of water you take. Or better get tubes that are made specifically for the winter season, they cover the hose part with neoprene. This acts as an insulator of the hose, preventing the water from freezing.
- Common Sizing – Most hydration bladders use a similar shape but they all vary a little bit. More important is the size. Almost all bladders come in two-liter and three-liter sizes, and some come in even smaller sizes (1 liter = 33.8 ounces or a little more than a quart). The best one to use is the 3L hydration bladders because compared to 1L and 2L bladders they are about the same price and weight but give you 50 percent more water.
- Preferred Size – The best one to use is the 3L hydration bladders because compared to 1L and 2L bladders they are about the same price and weight but give you 50 percent more water. Though a larger hydration bladder is perfect, it’s good to check which size is best for you:
1 Liter (or 1.5L): A great size for minimalists, commuters, or kids. It’s perfect for quick hikes and trail runs, or if you intend on filling up often on the trail (if you’re out for a day or more).2 Liter: The most popular option. This is best for those taking off for a day hike, ski, or snowboard into the back-country. If you’re not a fan of constantly filling up, this is a great option. It provides a sufficient amount of water for most of the day (depending on how thirsty you are!)3 Liter: The most versatile of all sizes. This is perfect for those who don’t plan on filling up or are in need of a lot of water. This size of hydration bladder size gives one option of carrying a lot or a little water.
It is very important that you practice good hygiene, cleaning your reservoir consistently, and caring for it properly after use. Cleaning instructions are as follows:
- Start with hot (almost boiling) water then add bleach/baking soda (2 tablespoons). Mix this solution thoroughly inside. Hold the bladder up just above your forehead as you continue applying pressure to the bladder’s bite valve, make sure the solution runs via the tub also.
- Allow the bladder’s reservoir and the cleaning mixture soak for roughly 30 minutes
- Rinse the reservoir using hot water together with non-chemical soap. Be certain you’ve cleaned all the bleach before resuming use. You may also take a toothbrush (or other small brush) and gently scrub the interior of the bladder’s reservoir
- Once you are sure the bladder’s reservoir is thoroughly clean, make sure you air dry so that no moisture ends up trapped inside the bladder. Sometimes stuffing clean rags inside can help to this end.
We have done some extra research, looking into what many other were asking when searching for similar products. As a result, we have put together a few frequently asked questions which might be helpful in your search.
Q. What is the Difference Between Hydration Bladders and Water Bladders?
A. Hydration bladders and water bladders are similar enough, the key difference being that a hydration bladder is designed to make drinking easy while on the move, usually with a hose, where a standard water bladder is meant for general water storage in situations where clean water is limited, like when camping.
Q. What size should I get?
A. Most hydration bladders use a similar shape but they all vary a little bit. More important is the size. Almost all bladders come in two-liter and three-liter sizes, and some come in even smaller sizes (1 liter = 33.8 ounces or a little more than a quart). The best one to use is the 3L hydration bladders because compared to 1L and 2L bladders they are about the same price and weight but give you 50 percent more water.
The best one to use is the 3L hydration bladders because compared to 1L and 2L bladders they are about the same price and weight but give you 50 percent more water. Though a larger hydration bladder is perfect, it’s good to check which size is best for you:
1 Liter (or 1.5L): A great size for minimalists, commuters, or kids. It’s perfect for quick hikes and trail runs, or if you intend on filling up often on the trail (if you’re out for a day or more).
2 Liter: The most popular option. This is best for those taking off for a day hike, ski, or snowboard into the back-country. If you’re not a fan of constantly filling up, this is a great option. It provides a sufficient amount of water for most of the day (depending on how thirsty you are!)
3 Liter: The most versatile of all sizes. This is perfect for those who don’t plan on filling up or are in need of a lot of water. This size of hydration bladder size gives one option of carrying a lot or a little water.
Q. How do you effectively clean a hydration bladder?
A. It is very important that you practice good hygiene, cleaning your reservoir consistently, and caring for it properly after use. Cleaning instructions are as follows:
- Start with hot (almost boiling) water then add bleach/baking soda (2 tablespoons). Mix this solution thoroughly inside. Hold the bladder up just above your forehead as you continue applying pressure to the bite valve, make sure the solution runs via the tub also.
- Allow the bladder’s reservoir and the cleaning mixture soak for roughly 30 minutes
- Rinse with hot water together with non-chemical soap. Be certain you’ve cleaned all the bleach before resuming use. You may also take a toothbrush (or other small brush) and gently scrub the interior of the bladder’s reservoir
- Once you are sure the reservoir is clean, make sure you air dry so that no moisture ends up trapped inside the bladder. Sometimes stuffing clean rags inside can help to this end.
Q. How often should I clean it?
A. As we always recommend, its good to read the specific care instructions for any product or gear you buy. On that note, you shouldn’t need to wash the bladder too frequently. Additionally, if you are still noticing a chemical taste in your water it may be good to increase your frequency of washes in order to rid the bladder of the taste.
Q. How much should you plan to drink daily?
A. In general its highly recommended that we take 17-25 oz. of water per hour for hydration during endurance activities. The range is dependent on the air temperature and your exertion level. We generally take 18 oz. an hour for most activities (more when it gets hot). Based off this metric, you can determine how much water you should plan to carry (if there are no water sources to fill up).
Q. Can I drink other liquids from it besides water?
A.Strong flavored drinks or anything that can leave a residue behind, like a drink mix powder, will leave a lingering flavor in the bag. So yes you can, but the question is whether you should. If you don’t have a problem tasting your leftover cherry drink during a 5k, then go for it.
Q. How should I store my bladder when it’s not in use?
A. Make sure that it is completely dry, roll it up and stow it in the freezer. This will ensure nothing can grow in it. If you’ve got limited freezer space anywhere dry will do.
Q. Where can I buy quality hydration bladders?
A. You can purchase quality bladders on any sporting equipment retail store and also in online stores.