By Tyler Servoss
Hydration packs have remained quite simple since they first gained wide acceptance 15 or 20 years ago. You have a bladder and a hose and something to carry it in. Nowadays just about every sporting goods store has some variation of the hydration pack. Enter the Geigerrig hydration pack.
What makes the Geigerrig unique is its ability to provide pressurized hydration in a simple system. The hydration engine (also known as the bladder) is built with a chamber for air and one for liquid. The air chamber is filled by squeezing a bulb attached to the left (or right) shoulder strap. This system forces pressurized liquid to spray out when the bite valve is activated. The bite valve also has a locking feature to shut it off completely when not in use.
Their innovation does not stop with the hydration engine and includes a zip-lock like top to the hydration engine that allows for easy loading and even simpler cleaning as the entire thing can be turned inside out and washed and dried in a dishwasher. One of my favorite features is the optional inline filter. When connected into the line leading to the bite valve with its unique quick release connectors, it filters 99% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia and does not reduce the water pressure. Coupled with the wide, zip-lock like closure on the pouch, I was able to refill the bladder from a mountain streams midway through rides and runs and have clean filtered water.
All of this is housed in a sturdy pack made from ballistic nylon with comfortable shoulder, waist and sternum straps. The hydration engine has a snug elastic hemmed pouch within the pack that keeps it from sloshing while riding. The model I tested had several small pockets for keys, phone, and the gear you would want for a short ride as well as straps to secure a jacket when your morning ride warms up.
Full disclosure, Geigerrig provided me with their RIG 500 Ballistic model free of charge for review. I used the pack on numerous mountain bike rides, trail runs and family hikes. The pressurized feature of the pack is a huge selling point. A dozen pumps of the bulb and the pack reaches full pressure. The pressurization allows sharing with other people, washing off gear and most of all hydrating quickly when your system is under duress without sucking.
For instance while on a mountain bike ride accompanied by my dog, I was able to keep hydrated myself, spray water for my dog without doggy slobber contamination, and spray the mud off my legs and bike at the end of the ride. Another excellent optional feature is the inline filter. I found the pack to be durable and it suffered no damage to the pack or bladder when I crashed and landed flat on my back, directly on the pack. In fact the pack provided some cushioning and protection for my back, but not my ego!
The one issue that I had with the pack was a leaky bite valve, likely directly related to my two year old son old chewing on it. Fortunately it is easily replaceable as with the other components or the pack.
Utah based Geigerrig set out to redefine the hydration pack and has done so to great success. If the industry awards they have accumulated in the last 12 months are not enough to sway you, the proof is in the pudding as I found in reviewing this product. Those industry awards include a best in show at the Winter Outdoor Retailer from www.gearjunkie.com , World’s greatest hydration packet from ION TV, and hottest new brands finalist at the ISPO show in Munich, Germany.
The technology behind the bladder system used in the pack was developed by another Utah Company, OGWA, which I profiled in the August 2009 issue (http://www.cyclingutah.com/august/August2009counter.html) of Cycling Utah. Geigerrig subsequently entered into a licensing agreement with OGWA to bring it’s technology to the outdoor market.
Company namesake Bob Geiger has been involved in several other Utah outdoor industry companies and brings his savvy and network to the development of the Geigerrig and the growth of his company. This includes the High Adventure passport, a coupon book that comes with each pack and includes benefits like a free day pass to Snowbasin, Canyons and a number of other ski resorts around the country.
The Geigerrig is pushing the envelope and bringing innovation and fresh energy to the hydration pack market. To learn more, or find a local retailer visit www.geiggerig.com.