Gear Girl: Good Hydrations
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—Stephanie Pearson writes the Gear Girl column for Outsideonline.com
There’s no better place to hike, mountain bike, and dehydrate than in Arizona’s Coconino National Forest, which also makes these red-canyon trails in the hot sun and high, dry air an ideal testing lab for hydration systems. While it’s tough to calibrate exactly how much water you’ll need while exercising—it depends on your body weight, how much you sweat, the temperature, and other intangibles, like how many espressos you drank for breakfast—one thing is certain: There is a bottle, bladder, or receptacle out there that's the perfect fit for you. A few recent innovations:
• Designed by a former Marine officer who spent hours in the field sucking from substandard bladder systems, Geigerrig’s Rig 500 ($125; geigerrig.com) is the smallest in a series of packs with three game-changing features: First, the rig comes with a pressurized two-liter hydration system: Pump it up and the water sprays right into your mouth. Second, the bladder is compatible with an inline filter system, meaning that any trickling stream is fair game; and three, the ballistic nylon exterior, which holds 500 cubic inches of dry gear, is literally bombproof—yes, Geigerrig has a YouTube video to prove it.
• KOR’s Vida “Hydration Vessel” ($25; korwater.com) is one smooth way to re-juice. The stainless steel bottle with an easy-to-grab handle, which holds 750 ml of liquid, is nearly indestructible. But KOR’s design genius is in its “perfect spout,” a mouth-sized opening that allows you to actually sip water instead of gulp or suck—a comforting luxury on a hot, sweaty hike.
• If you like to amp up your H2O with electrolyte fizz or have trouble remembering to clean your bottle after a ride (which has resulted in an interesting mold experiment at the bottom of it), Clean Bottle ($10; cleanbottle.com) is your solution. With a leak-proof, screw-off bottom, the Clean Bottle is a breeze to wash. Since it’s BPA free, there’s no fear of the plastic breaking down in the dishwasher.
• The Hydrapak Reyes ($75; hydrapak.com) made from durable yet ultralightweight “Baby Rip” nylon is the perfect fit for minimalist hikers. The easy-to-clean, three-liter reversible reservoir, fits snugly into its own zipper pocket and the 325 cubic-inch main pocket offers just enough space for an extra layer, a cell phone, an energy bar, and a small First-Aid kit. With small, yet secure straps at both the sternum and waist, you can cinch this pack up so snugly you’ll forget it’s on your back.