It’s Aqua, Man: Comparing CamelBak and Hydrapak Water Reservoirs

By Kyle E. Olsen

IMAGE: SORBYPHOTO/PIXABAY

IMAGE: SORBYPHOTO/PIXABAY

Whether embarking on a winter hike over snow-capped mountains, channeling through dense forest in early spring or charging from stage to stage during a summer music festival, hydration is a paramount concern. Insufficient water consumption can lead to headaches, dizziness, irritability, confusion, exhaustion and worse.

Given the risks associated with dehydration, it behooves the outdoor enthusiast to invest in a quality water reservoir. Up for review here are two of the most popular hydration systems on the market: CamelBak’s Antidote® Reservoir and Hydrapak’s Reversible Reservoir™.

IMAGE: CAMELBAK

IMAGE: CAMELBAK

CamelBak Antidote® Reservoir: Product Overview and Specifications

Arguably one of the most well-known companies in the hydration biz, CamelBak has been quenching the thirst of adventurers for over three decades. In that time, it has produced a wide range of hydration products: water bottles, day packs, filtration systems and, of course, reservoirs and reservoir accessories.

CamelBak’s Antidote Reservoirs now feature “quarter turn” caps for easier opening along with wider fill ports to improve cleaning access. Also included are integrated support arms to hold the bag open for more effective drying. With a new quick link system, connection to the included delivery tube is fast and secure.

Currently, CamelBak’s reservoirs are available in 1.5, 2 and 3 liter configurations. Apart from these different sizes, various shapes are also available. One particular version of the reservoir, for example, is designed to wrap around your lumbar region for better weight distribution.

IMAGE: HYDRAPAK

IMAGE: HYDRAPAK

Hydrapak Reversible Reservoir™: Product Overview and Specifications

Since 1996, Hydrapak has been making a splash with its expertly engineered sports bottles, hydration reservoirs and accessories. Beyond hard polymer water bottles, the company also produces two space-saving containers: Stash Collapsible Bottles and SoftFlasks, both of which can be compressed to a fraction of their full size once emptied.

Perhaps the most unique attribute of a Hydrapak Reversible Reservoir is, well … its reversibility. Eschewing a conventional screw top, Hydrapak instead favors a patented slider opening. This makes for a quick filling, leak proof seal—the slide holds firmly over a double fold in the bag. To reverse the reservoir, simply open the slide, grab the container’s bottom and pull up; cleaning this bag is a breeze.

Other useful features include a quick disconnect hose and a magnetic clip for easy attachment of the delivery tube to a sternum strap or other handy location. Hydrapak’s Reversible Reservoirs are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 1 liter to 3 liters. A Tactical Reservoir featuring enhanced durability is also available.

Final Thoughts: Choosing a Reservoir

When you get right down to it, there’s not too much to quibble about here. Both CamelBak and Hydrapak offer well-built products with solid warranties. Price is not much help either as the two companies have kept the cost of their respective reservoirs nearly identical. What the discerning consumer is left with, then, is personal preference and intended use.

If you already own a CamelBak backpack (say that five times fast), or are thinking of purchasing one in the near future, you might want to stick with the Antidote Reservoir. CamelBak’s bags and reservoirs are a precise match for one another. Together they make a sleek go-anywhere hydration package with superb fit and finish.

Those planning on placing a reservoir directly into their primary hiking pack—many modern packs now come with dedicated reservoir compartments—should strongly consider the Hydrapak Reversible Reservoir. Not only does the reversible nature of the container make it a cinch to clean, but it is also dishwasher safe. As an added bonus, the reservoir comes complete with a powerful magnet allowing for convenient, removable attachment of the delivery hose anywhere on your bag.

Bottom Line

If you have a CamelBak backpack and want a perfect fit, stick with the Antidote. Otherwise, Hydrapak’s Reversible Reservoir offers just a little more convenience for the money.

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