“.. give me this water, that I thirst not ..” vers John 4:15 When John said that centuries back, he wasn’t joking. Water is the most important element in our body, in the world, in our life cycle. Without water, the life cycle stops. And the earth stops turning. (pun intended)
Cups, bottles, bags, bladders, hands. Whatever you fancy. But the Source WLP Hydration System is an ideal drinking system while you hike, and walk. The Hydration system consists of the Widepac, a tube and the drinking valve. What makes the this System so special is that it has a cut-out center in the middle, making the bladder look like an “O”
Have you ever brought too little water along with you? I did, and swore to never again leave the house with too little. If your path for the day does not cross rivers or streams, huts or refuge for the fill up, you might be in for dehydration on a hot day. Dehydration can lead to death and may start with headaches, cramps, fever, fatigue, etc. While you engage yourself in aerobic activity and sweat, you lose plenty of fluids through your pores. Good planing and preparation is thus essential for a safe fun day out. So, that was when I realised my 1 liter water bottle was way too little to last the whole day. And then Source stepped into my life.
- Capacity: 2 l
- Size: 26,5 x 3,5 cm
- Weight: 200 g
- Material: Triple Layer PE Film with anti microbial agent, Co-extruded tube, PP, PE & POM injected plastic parts, Silicon mouthpiece
- Price: 30,95 €
Drinking through the tube
Being someone who loves gulping down at least 500 ml at one go, it took me a while to get use to gently sipping the water out of the tube, without biting off the anatomic silicon head of the valve. I used to wait so long until I was really thirsty before I dropped my back pack to get the water bottle out. With this Hydration system, you can drink even while you are on the go, and not bother about losing valuable time during the hike or letting others wait for you.
The biggest plastic bottle you can find (and carry on your back) in the market is a 2 liter water bottle. It’s bulky, fat and takes up a lot of space in your back pack and it does not fit in the side net pockets. 2 liters are the amount I need on a day without having to cross any streams or sources for water. The Low Profile Hydration System is usually a thin bladder that fits to the size of the back wall of your back pack. Certain back pack models these days even have an extra pocket for these bladders. Filled up to the rim, the Hydration Pack with 2 liters of water fits evenly at the back of your back pack without it getting bloated in the middle. The “O” is the special feature that distributes the liquid evenly and keeps it flat. Forget the worry of it getting bloated.
So while you are on the go, take the valve from the side, remove the Protective cap and while biting the mouth piece, sip the water through the tube. You will realised that you don’t drink anymore in gulps and in irregular times but in a frequent pace, hands free and whenever you’re thirsty.
Water from a plastic bag
Water that tastes like plastic is yucks. It will be left to decay and find its way down watering the next plant. The team from the Source made some serious thoughts about this. The Glass-Like internal texture in the Hydration System makes sure that bacteria residue will not stand a chance and your water is taste free. The Grunge Guard antimicrobial technologies make cleaning the bladder easy and free from maintenance. So if you’re planning a trip out for a couple of weeks, you don’t have to worry much about the bladder, but instead the quality of your water source. Keep the bladder out from direct sunlight, to keep the water fresh for days or even weeks.
While there is no limit to the kind of drink to take a long, it is strongly advised to refrain from using boiling water, fresh fruit juices, milk, gassy drinks in this Hydration System. Not only will you be dealing with a real clean up afterwards, but be plagued with residue that stays forever. Best bets are plain water or water with some isotonic powder
Care and maintenance
Cleaning this bladder was far easier than it looked. If you are using sweetened liquids or energy drinks rinse the bladder with some soapy warm water after use. I would usually wash the mouth piece (disassemble it) and then like the illustration below, put the whole thing in the freezer. This way, it shock freezes all liquid and ice crystals fall off easily from the body and bacteria will not stand a chance to multiply during storage. Be sure to empty the tube from access water before putting this into the freezer. (And no, don’t make crush ice in it)
Same applies for the tube and mouth piece. Let some soapy water run trough it, rinse thoroughly by pressing the valve to allow the water to flow away. The usual method is to air the Bladder and tube in a cool dry place thoroughly to prevent any moldy growth. I loved the Wide Pac construction of this bladder which allows water to flow out quickly, so easy for cleaning. When not in use, it’s flat as a paper and fits everywhere.
After storing a long time, add a few drops of fresh lemon juice and rinse it off.
Filling the system with water is easy. Slip off the orange slider, and press open the sides of the bladder. Fill with water. Then fold the top, and slide the orange slider back on. The slider makes sure that the pack is closed and is leak proof. No matter where your water source comes from, be it a stream, a tap, a water hose or a beer tap handle, the big opening ensures easy filling. The valve at the bottom has a shut off mechanism when no tube is connected. This prevents water from flowing out when the tube is disconnected.
Many back packs these days have an extra pocket for these hydration system. And usually, there’s a small clip where you can clip in the bladder and “hang” it to prevent it from slugging down. Applies for smaller prototypes. Since my 2 liter Hydration pack was so big, it stood as a stand alone, even when empty, in that extra pocket. The tube goes all the way out and hangs out loosely at the sides. You can use one of the straps from the shoulder belt of your back pack to tie in the tubing to prevent it from swaying around too much. There’s even a magnetic clip to keep the tube in place.
Using the Hydration System to go with my hikes was a whole new experience for me after decades of using plain water bottles. It’s a great solution when you need to pack in lots of water on longer hikes where water sources are rare (these Hydration Systems comes in 1, 2 and 3 liter). My choice was a 2 liter System that was sufficient for a days supply (for me!). This system fits perfectly into my Osprey Kestrel 38 liter Backpack, which comes with a Hydration System pocket. It took a little getting use to in moments when your back pack is on the ground and you have to bend down to reach for the tube, but it wasn’t a big deal. Maintenance is a little tricky comparing to classical water bottles which can be machined washed. Whats really nice is, stopping to drink on sport activities like hiking, biking or climbing a Via-Ferrata will be a thing of yesterday.
[Disclosure: I have received product samples for my time and efforts in reviewing this product and creating this article, thanks to Bergfreunde.de. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ]