Rating: 8.6 / 10
Value for Money 2.3
There are two main types of hikers in this world as far as drinking water on the trail; bladder drinkers and bottle drinkers. Talk to either type and they will usually try to convert you to their point of view. Both Gill and I are bladder drinkers and in my case I just find that I will drink more water when I use a bladder as it’s just so easy to access. When you have to either take your pack off or reach around to the side pockets to access your water bottle, out of habit you will just drink less. No a problem on short hikes or on those days where its cool but on long and/or hot days this can greatly impact your ability to keep on hiking. On my biggest every summer day (58km/15 hours) I drank eight litres of water and the bladder just made this so easy.
There are a number of bladder brands on the market but I have found that I like using the Osprey water bladders particularly because of the magnetic clip that attaches the nozzle to chest clip. This means that the nozzle is always easy to find in addition (in this latest version) to having an easy to unclip detachment point half way along the tube which makes it very easy to remove the bladder out of the pack.
This current version of this bladder also has a new fill point at the top that replace the large screw cap that was previously located on the front of the bladder and that created problems with leakage for so many hikers, particular if you had smaller hands and struggled to get is done up correctly.
This bladder comes in a range of size ranging from 1.5-3 litres but I prefer to use the 3 litre version and fill up only as much as I need. The additional weight in carrying a bladder that you haven’t filled is not that much extra .
Like any product there are negatives on this bladder with the main one being that the attachment point to hold it at just the correct hight in the pack is a weak point that can fail so I end up using a small piece of ribbon which works well. The other downside is the magnetic drinking tube clip that I love so much will attract grit if you are hiking in environment with soils that are high in iron content. A minor inconvenience but you will need to wipe down the magnetic clip very so often to remove the grit. To limit this don’t drop the drinking tube into the dirt. The next downside is that ideally you only want to use drinking bladders when you have a dedicated bladder pocket on your pack (either internal or external) otherwise you run the risk of accidentally puncturing the bladder if you are rough with your gear (Rare occurrence) or you may need to unpack you pack to refill the bladder. The final downsize is that when using water bladders you will need to replace the soft rubber bite valve on the bladder every so often. I found on my Bibbulmun track hike the bite valve lasted the five weeks, but only just. If using this for day hikes this may only need to be once or twice a year. To be on the safe side carry a spare on long hikes, just in case.
While there are cheaper water bladders on the market I just love this model and will be hard pressed to replace it with something else.
Osprey 3litre Bladder
Rear of Osprey 3litre Bladder
Water fill point at the top of the bladder
Drinking tube detachment point
Magnetic hold point and bite valve. The other part of tis magnet lives on the cost clip. Twist the bite valve and the water is locked of or tuned on
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This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker