HydraPak Hydration Systems
Author: Moroka.30 Date Posted:9 February 2020
As one of the driest continents on earth, Australia presents so many unique hunting challenges, the least of which is staying hydrated whilst out in the bush. From the Alpine extremes of Sambar country, to the soaring daytime temps endured while stalking big boars up on Cape York, we have found Hydrapak ideally suited to the task, with some really handy features you just won’t find in other brands.
In the video below, Daz presents a comprehensive overview of the HydraPak Hydration System, featuring multiple products and accessories that work together, providing impressive versatility and function in the field.
Water bladders have been around for a while now and come in many shapes and forms. With so many companies having their own take on this very versatile water carrying system it’s a bit of a minefield knowing what to invest in. Especially, considering that having a failed unit when it comes to a lifeline product such as your water source in the Australian climate can lead to serious consequences.
Some things to consider when investing in a bladder is build quality, hygiene, the shape, volume, weight, versatility and as hunters, noise.
In terms of build quality not all are created equal. Materials should be BPA and PVC free with surfaces that resist microbial organisms. Sturdy components with quality seals or ‘O’rings. Insulated tubes help to protect the line and keep water from freezing or overheating for that first sip. The bladder opening should positively seal even under pressure as all of your gear will be pressing on it and be able to take the shock of a few falls without dumping the contents into your kit.
Choose an appropriate size and shape bladder for your application that fits well into its space both when its full and empty that includes an integrated hook or toggle to lock it into position. Some bladders have multiple uses or are part of a bigger system that are worth a look, and as hunters there is the noise factor. Some water carriers will slosh and glug as you move so using a bladder that has incorporated baffles inside will dramatically reduce any perceived sound from your kit.
Enter HydraPak. They have been in the business for over 20 years. Their portfolio is extensive as well as the long list of world leading brands working along side them to develop some of the best hydration systems to date.
HydraPak use Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) as their choice of material, it’s safe, reliable and 100% BPA / PVC free. Incredibly strong, it is able to stretch up to 5x its original size without breaking. Due to this strength they can make their product thinner and lighter, so in comparison their products can be 3 to 6 times lighter than plastic or stainless steel vessels.
Another reason TPU is such a good choice for bladder material is the way it can be joined together. HydraPaks are radio frequency welded or bonded. With this method the weld is structurally as strong as the material around it. Most other manufactures use simpler and cheaper processes of heat welding, which is like melting two pieces of material together. Seams created with heat welding are not very strong and are more prone to failure.
For my recent trips to both the Victorian high country and New Zealand I put these water systems to the test. Firstly the Full Force. This bladder stands out from the pack for its unique pump at the end of the mouthpiece. This appeals to me for a number of reasons. It can be used as a regular nozzle but has the advantage of being able to squirt some water to wash hands, dishes, clean a wound or eyewash, share water with companions or for the hound guys give your dog a drink.
The bladder utilises a roll top seal much like a dry bag and is flawless. Quality connectors, insulated tube cover and weighs in at a mere 264g for the 3L arrangement. Paired with a 4L Seeker pack tank your range between top up points can be increased. The Seeker has baffles and features a screw top, the top can also be upgraded to take the force pump system allowing easy sharing of water rations without risk of spillage.
The upgraded Plug N Play lid kit comes with a click in pack tap option that can then be fitted off with a small shower head. In an extended backpacking situation when water is plentiful this is a great asset. Just hang the bladder in tree to take the chill off the water and enjoy the best outdoor shower view nature can offer!
HydraPak has definitely earnt it’s place in my kit for the up coming seasons. For a quick stalk around my local area or out climbing the alps it’s versatility, robustness and technical advantages put this system well ahead of the market.
Safe and Happy Hunting.