Review of Geigerrig 700 Hydration Pack

We were recently asked to test the Geigerrig 700 Hydration Pack, distributed in the UK by Whitby & Co.

The Geigerrig 700 Ballistic Nylon 11L is one of a range of seven Geigerrig hydration packs which come in four different sizes. The 500 and 700 models have 2 litre water bladders and 8 litre/11 litre carrying capacity respectively, while the 1200 and 1600 models have a 3 litre bladder and 19 litre/26 litre packs.

The selling point of the Geigerrig compared to other hydration systems is its pressurized water system, which means that you can simply bite down or squeeze to expel water under pressure for drinking, washing, etc without the need to suck – hence the Geigerrig strapline, “You’ll never suck again!”

We’ve been putting the Geigerrig 700 through its paces on various outdoor activities in the hills and forests of Dorset, where Nature Travels is based, in recent weeks and here are the results.

Sofia from Nature Travels tested the pack for hiking, running and mountain biking

Hiking:

“The Geigerrig 700 felt very comfortable and was easily-adjustable for the best fit. There’s no sloshing at all when hiking and the 700 is ideal for short tours of a couple of hours or so when you don’t need to take much with you. For longer hikes when you would need to take lunch, rainclothes, etc, one of the larger sizes would be more suitable. The 2 litre bladder means that when out with a friend, only one person needs to take water (another of the Geigerrig’s advantages is “spray to share”, meaning that you can share with others without the “yuck” issues associated with a sucking system or water bottle).

One very cool feature of the Geigerrig is the optional inline water filter, which allows you to refill your bladder from water sources along the route. We didn’t have one of these for test, but they sound like a great idea!

Running:

“I went for a short run, around 4.5km, to get a feel for the pack. The rucksack itself sat very securely and comfortably and it would be no problem to run with just the pack only, but I must say that I found having water sloshing in my pack didn’t feel comfortable. Listening to music meant that I couldn’t hear the water, but still felt the motion against my back. That said, this was the first time I had run with a hydration pack, and Geigerrig do claim there is less imbalance caused by water movement with their pack compared to other systems.

Running and drinking at the same time was very easy. Biting gently on the mouthpiece to drink worked very well on the move and was certainly more comfortable than sucking to drink. The spray function means that you can spray cooling water over your face, and it was a great sensation to be able to do this regularly when I started to get warm – a definite plus.”

Biking:

“A short cycling tour in the forest (7km) to test the pack and here it really came into its own. A compact and comfortable backpack with space for a small jacket and mobile as well as an iPod pocket. No problem at all to drink while cycling and the rucksack sits snug to the body. Again, I really like the possibility to spray water over your face when you get hot, which is not possible with conventional systems.”

Bob from Nature Travels has also been cycling to work at the new Nature Travels offices over the last couple of weeks:

“I found the Rig 700 ideal for biking – just the right size when you only need to carry the essentials and really comfortable. Using the pack makes it easy (and also safe – very important when cycling in busy traffic!) to take regular sips as you ride and this really boosts your energy levels without needing to stop. The only small point I’d mention is that it’s quite easy to accidentally pull out the hose from the power bulb when taking off/putting on the pack, which depressurises the system, but as it takes just a few seconds to reconnect and pump up, this is a very minor issue.”

Ease of Use/Cleaning:

With the Geigerrig came a short explanation of how to use it. At first it’s easy to think it will be more complicated that it is, but in reality everything is quite straightforward. In the main, the system consists of a water bladder with two compartments, one for water and one for air, with a hose to each. Connected to the air bag hose is a “power bulb” to pump air into the air bag and create pressure on the water bag so the water can be expelled under pressure. The other hose has a mouthpiece for drinking.

The simple mechanism is easy to use and easy to clean, take apart and reassemble. To fill the water bladder, just remove the hoses from the pump and mouthpiece, take the bladder to a tap, open the top (the bag opens very wide for easy filling, another advantage) and fill with water. Close the bag, replace in the pack, pump to pressurize and you’re ready to go. The wide opening to the bladder also means the bag can be turned inside out for easy cleaning.

Backpack:

The pack itself is comfortable and compact and looks built to last. The Geigerrig 700 is one of the smaller of the available pack sizes, so space is limited but just enough for a light jacket, wallet, mobile, keys, camera and hat. For additional pack space, choose one of the larger sizes.

Verdict:

The Geigerrig 700 is perfect for cycling and shorter hikes. The pack is very comfortable both for men and women and is easily adjustable. The hydration system is easy to use, easy to clean and easy to fill, and the additional applications allowed by the “spray not suck” functionality (cooling down, easier sharing, even cleaning wounds) are a definite advantage.

Best regards

The Nature Travels Team

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