I’ve been riding, running, hiking and skiing for a lot of years, and I’ve gone through a lot of hydration packs. I’ve sampled Salomon, Camelbak, Nathan, and cheap brands from Wal-Mart that I had to pick up because I’d forgotten my good equipment back at home. In all the years I’ve been enjoying outdoor activities, it never occurred to me that it might be nice to have a pressurized hydration pack.
Honestly, it surprises me that I’ve never thought of that, since one of my great joys in life is complaining about all the awesome stuff that should be widely available but isn’t (like hand warmer felt, cut and sewn into a glove liner pattern). But the idea of pressurizing a hydration pack never even flashed. Check out the Geigerrig pump:
Notice that the pump in this Geigerrig RIG 650 zips up into a small compartment and is hardly visible when the item is actually in use. I have to say that my first thoughts when I saw this were, “COOL!” followed by, “gimmick” (I’m a skeptic deep down, and I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm). However, after having used this for a while, I have to say that this item works. Also, in terms of a gift item, I guarantee that any athlete in your life is going to have a look at this pack and be psyched to go out and give it a try, no matter what reservations they might pretend to be harboring.
Geigerrig recommends 26 pumps for pressurization, and it’s an interesting feeling to have your hydration pack tighten up across your back as you fill it with air. I didn’t know what to expect when I bit the nozzle for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised when water came out of the tube at the velocity of a gently-squeezed water bottle.
Besides the pressurization feature, this is a very well-made bag. It’s always nice to admire good craftsmanship, and this bag was designed with an attention to detail. The stitching is strong, the pack has the heft of something that can take a beating, and it is replete with pockets and pouches.
The only downside is that the extra tube for pressurization is one more complication when you’re trying to stuff the bladder into the bag. The slide top is perfect, and all the tubes are plug and play, so this system is as good as it can be in terms of design. However, if you’ve got one of those friends who starts getting anxious when you take the time to fill up a water bottle, you might want to have your pressurized pack ready to roll before you show up at the trailhead.
Also, this might not be ideal for winter riding. I find that to keep hydration hoses from freezing up in cold weather, you have to blow the liquid back into the reservoir after taking a drink. This wouldn’t be possible with a pressurized bladder. However, another trick of the trade is to put a tablespoon of vodka in your water to keep it from freezing… I’ll try that when the snow flies and update this then.
A well made, functional, attractive pack. If you’ve been looking for a pressurized pack, it would be hard to conceive of how this item could be improved.
Thanks to Geigerrig for providing the RIG 650 for review.