A couple months back I was sent a Geigerrig Rig 500 Hydration Pack to see if the pack really lives up to some of the things that I have heard about it. I was amazed at how much publicity Geigerrig has been getting and how strong some people's opinions have been when commenting on reviews of the Geigerrig. I thought if people really have these strong of opinions about the Geigerrig, there must be something to it.
Now armed with the Rig 500, I started to see what this pack was all about. I took the title for this article from a blog post that Geigerrig posted back in February and started from there doing my review and research about water bottles and hydration packs.
First of all if you go back years ago, people would carry extra water in canteens. Canteens made it possible to cover more distance without needing to stop or find water as often. This was improved on or made to look more stylish with the modern day water bottle. Water bottles are everywhere and have really helped people get into the outdoors more by making water more readily available while hiking. But with that said what are some of the disadvantages of the water bottle. I think the biggest down side to a water bottle is the amount of water that you can carry easily. Also it is hard to drink from some water bottles while riding your bike or moving down the trail.
So to try to improve on that, next entered the hydration pack. Looking over the web it looks like the first hydration packs come into outdoor scene in the late 80s to early 90s. I would love to know if it was earlier than that, so if you know please leave a comment. Hydration packs really did solve the problem of carrying more water easily by adding a huge bladder in the pack. Also with the bite valve one could now drink while riding their favorite mountain trail without stopping.
I know for me, if I have water in front of my face I am more apt to drink. This means that I stay more hydrated while on the trail. I believe this can be achieved with either the water bottle or the hydration pack as long as you carry enough water for the adventure you are planning on taking. But I have often wondered why, there are many times that I leave my hydration pack at home while out hiking or biking. I know that there are many benefits to using a hydration pack. I personally love my hydration packs and I tell people all the time they should buy one or use them. But if I love them so much then why do I leave them home and take a water bottle instead? The answer is convenience and cleanliness.
When traveling it is easy to bring along a couple extra water bottles to use while hiking or climbing. Water bottles are easy to clean in a hotel sink and if you have a wide mouth style you can add ice before you leave to have cool water on your adventure. My wife has never been a big fan of the hydration pack because she really doesn’t want to bite on the valve after my grimy lips have been on it. She will kiss me while I have dirt on my face, but sharing a bite valve is another thing. Also now that we have kids it is easy to give them a water bottle to drink out of, instead of sucking on my bite valve.
With all that said, what makes the Geigerrig Hydration pack different from all the rest? When you first see the pack it looks similar to other hydration packs in that it has a pack, bladder, tube and bite valve. But when taking a closer look you will see something different. It has a hand pump that attaches to the bladder. This pump will pressurize the bladder to give you water pressure. This means if you bite the valve or squeeze it with your fingers, water sprays out of the valve and you do not have to suck on it. Now you can spray water into your own, friend’s, dog’s or partner’s mouth without them or you sucking on the valve. You can also spray it onto yourself to cool you down.
Now I know there are some of you out there that will say that this can be done with any other hydration pack. And I know that it can. There are many methods that you can achieve this as well. You can blow air back into the bladder, pull the straps and pack against your back or lean against a tree. But I don’t think there is an easier or more convenient way to spray water out of a hydration pack then using a pump to pressurize the pack and then just squeezing the bite valve.
One of the best features of the Geigerrig is how easy it is to clean. The bladder of the Geigerrig turns inside out and can be put into the dishwasher to be cleaned. It doesn’t get much easier than that. It also makes it a lot easier to clean in the sink. As well the big opening on the Geigerrig makes it easy to fill up with ice at home or on the go.
The Rig 500 has plenty of room to shove in a few extras while out on any adventure. With 500 Cubic inches of extra space you can throw in some extra food, a rain shell and small first aid kit. There and four small pockets, two that are mesh pockets on the inside and two that are accessed from the outside of the pack. This is an easy way to keep your wallet, phone or other small items organized and accessible. The one outside pocket also has a hole so you can slide headphones in to listen to your favorite tunes while doing your favorite activities. The Rig 500 also has a daisy chain sewn in on the outside of the pack so you can clip on a few extras. And the two compression straps on the outside of the pack help keep the pack tight and close to the back.
One accessory that I was sent and that I think is a great idea is the plug-and-play in-line filter. This makes it easy to just add water to the pack while out hiking from any stream or lake and be able to drink on the go. I will say that I have never actually used the filter as I have always had enough water where I was going. But because of the filters size, I have always taken it with me just in case of an emergency or if I did run out of water I would have the ability to get more. It is worth the peace of mind knowing that I could get more water if I needed. Also if you know that you were going on a longer hike or ride it would just make sense to have it.
This pack really did perform for me over and over. One of my favorite things to do with the pack is spray my kids. While riding my bike I just spray the water over my shoulder at my kids in the bike trailer behind me. They think that this is one of the best things in the world. Also it has been nice to be able to just spray it into my kid's mouth while hiking or riding. I think that they even drink a little more because they think it is fun to have it sprayed into their mouths.
So with all that said, back to the title of this review, “Is the Geigerrig Hydration Pack a Solution To A Problem that Doesn’t Exist?” It is definitely a solution to some of the problems that have existed with other water bottles and hydration packs. As with all new inventions I think that the Geigerrig was designed to make drinking water just that much easier. It has made it easier to clean and maintain the pack as well as share your water with others. I started this article off not knowing if the Geigerrig was a solution or not, but now that I have one, I definitely love it. If you see me out hiking or riding my bike you will more than likely see it on my back now and my kids pulling at the pack asking for more.
I do have one question to end the article with though. Do you need a Geigerrig to enjoy the outdoors? NO! I do think that the Geigerrig is a great system and I would recommend it to anyone. But if you have a water bottle and that is all you can get please go out and enjoy the outdoors. I have been playing hard in the outdoors for over 15 years now and this is my first Geigerrig. It never stopped me before. But if the opportunity arises, I would say jump on it and get you a Geigerrig.
Below are the features of the Geigerrig Rig 500 right off their website. You can also check them out on the link below.
• Bladder: 70 oz., quick-release valves for drinking tube and pressurization tube for easy refill and bladder removal, slide top for easy refill, cleaning and drying.
• Fabric: 100% Ballistic Nylon, 500 Cubic In. Dry Capacity
• What makes the Rig 500 Pack unique?
• Weight: 2.60 lbs or 1.18 kg
• Zippers: Heavy Duty Size 8 Coil Zippers
• iPod Ready Compartment w/ Waterproof drink tube and bite valve Garage
• Removable Waist Strap Don't like having a waist belt cinched tight or hanging free? Just remove the waist belt and place it in one of your pack's storage pockets. Putting the straps back on is easier than tightening a pair of velcro shoes
• Shoulder Strap: Ergonomic Fit, Terraced Overlay for Adjustable Tube Configuration and Power Bulb Configuration, Industrial Load Dispursement cut and padding
• Chest Strap: Integrated slider chest strap
• Additional Features: Plug & Play Reservoir Tube Connector, PVC Reinforced Compression Straps, Reflective Tabs & Zipper Pulls, Internal Storage Compartments and Organizer, Eco Rig Back Pads, Air Drive Ventilation, Heavy Duty Nylon Pack Handle and Vertical attachment hoops.
• Free With Purchase: Skullcandy Mountain Passport Filled With Free Lift Passes and magazine subscriptions
• MSRP: $125.00
I also think that this video is a great demonstration of what you can do with the Geigerrig.
Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.