5 Best Hydration Bladders in 2021 Reviewed

A hydration bladder, also known as a hydration reservoir and/or water bladder, is a convenient alternative to regular water bottles. Not only is a hydration bladder lighter and more flexible than a plastic water bottle, making it easier to fit in your hiking backpack, but it also comes with a handy hose and valve for instant sipping. This leaves your hands free to roam or grip: ideal for biking, trail running, trekking, hunting, or other outdoor activities where full dexterity is key! 

In a hurry? Here’s an overview of the best hydration bladders on the market today:

Preview
Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder Reservoir - Streamer 2.0
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
Title
Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir
HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder
Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir
Sizes
3
2
3
2
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
1.5-liter and 2-liter
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
1.5-liter and 2-liter
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
Title
Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
Title
HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder
Sizes
2
Capacity
1.5-liter and 2-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder Reservoir - Streamer 2.0
Title
Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
Title
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Sizes
2
Capacity
1.5-liter and 2-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
Title
Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty

Hydration bladders come in all shapes, sizes, and styles; which is both a pro and a con. Though this means there’s a perfect hydration reservoir for every preference, it also makes finding your ideal match quite the challenge. That is exactly why our team at Outdoor Command has created this Best Hydration Bladder Overview: saving you time, money, and effort when shopping for water bladders. We’ve rounded up the top-rated, best-value, high-quality products on the market, giving you an instant overview of hydration bladders that tick the box.

To help you make a well-informed choice when buying a hydration bladder, we’ve also included a quick Buying Guide at the bottom of this post. In the Buying Guide section, we’ll cover the water bladder basics, such as what buying factors to consider (capacity, type of valve, pressurized versus unpressurized, etc.) 

Our 5 Best Hydration Bladder choices are:

Let us guide you towards the Best Hydration Bladders on the market, and discover our top-rated favorites below:

 

Best Hydration Bladder – Overview

 


Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir

Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
  • Premium taste-free, leak-proof reservoir with fast flow rate offers hydration on the go for hikers, backpackers, travelers and mountain bikers
The Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir is one of the most popular, highly-rated styles on the market. This hydration bladder has a low profile design with a space-saving, center baffle that helps the water reservoir sit flat in a backpack. The Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir is easy to use thanks to its wide-mouth opening with slide-lock closure, which makes it easy to refill and reseal the reservoir. 

The Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir features a quick-release hose for quick water flow and comes with a secure shut-off valve to eliminate spillage, drips, and leaks. The high-quality bladder is also equipped with embedded silver-ion, which helps protect the bladder against mold and bacteria – ensuring better hygiene between cleans. 

The Platypus Big Zip LP water bladder is available in 3 sizes: 1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter. The small 1.5-liter bladder measures 8.5 x 13 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces; the medium 2-liter style measures 8.7 x 15 inches and weighs 6 ounces, and the large 3-liter hydration pack measures 9 x 17.2 inches and weighs 6.5 ounces. 

Another perk: the Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir is covered by a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty, which serves as a testimony of its premium quality standard and durability. 

 


 

HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder

Sale
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
  • ADJUSTABLE BAFFLE: Low-profile and increased stabilization for high impact activities – mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, running – unlock baffle for full volume
The HydraPak Shape-Shift Water Bladder is a best-selling hydration system that is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to seal. The low-profile design makes it slot effortlessly in a daypack, hiking backpack and/or hydration backpack, whilst its adjustable baffle allows you to easily secure and stabilizes it during high-velocity activities such as running and biking. 

The HydraPak Shape-Shift Water Bladder features a PLUG-N-PLAY system with a slide-seal top closure, which enables you to quickly disconnect the drink tube for convenient refilling. The style is equipped with an auto shut-off valve, which prevents leaks and drips during the refilling process. The bladder comes with a twist-valve bite and a 36-inch Hydraflex drinking tube. 

The top-rated Shape-Shift Water Bladder by HydraPak is available in a 2-liter and 3-liter option. The 2-liter bladder measures approximately 13.3 x 6.4 inches and weighs 4.9 oz. The 3-liter bladder measures 17.4 x 6.5 inches and weighs 5.4 oz. 

The Shape-Shift Reservoir by HydraPak is fully reversible for easy cleaning. Additionally, the bladder is also dishwasher safe, allowing for a proper rinse when required. The bladder is made of 100% BPA-free plastic, silicone, and TPU, and is covert by a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

 


Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir

The Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir may look deceivingly simple, but this simple hydration bladder is packed with high-end technologies. The design features a full-width top opening for easy refilling and cleaning and comes with a fold-top closure with a secure slide clip for a tight, leak-proof seal. It’s taste-free, made of premium materials, and comes highly recommended by other backpacking enthusiasts. 

The Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir is a perfect fit with Deuter’s hydration backpacks but also offers compatibility with third-party brand packs. The bladder is equipped with Deuter’s special Helix Valve, which prevents leaks and drips during fast-paced activities such as biking and trail running. The bladder is easy to drink from, as it only requires light pressure to be exerted on the push-fit mouthpiece to enable water flow. The mouthpiece also features a twist-cap water-stop lock, preventing leaks when not in use. 

BPA-free materials

The basic yet very functional Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir is available in 3 sizes: 1.5-liter (6 oz in weight), 2-liters (6.2 oz in weight), and 3-liters (6.5 oz in weight). Each system is completely PFC- and BPA-free, made of quality Polyethylene. Do note that though the bladder can be turned inside-out for easy cleaning, it is not dishwasher-safe, a minor con.

A big perk of the Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir is its ‘Grunge-Guard’ technology. This refers to the interior lining of the bladder, which is completely smooth and has anti-microbial properties to prevent the build-up of bacteria – keeping your bladder fresh and taste-free. The hydration pack also comes with a Deuter Dirt Guard: an attachable protective cap that fits over the mouthpiece to keep it dirt-free. 

 


Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir

Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
  • Easy Slide-Seal top opening, seals watertight and provides wide access for easy filling and cleaning
The Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir is one of our favorite hydration systems, as it offers premium perks at very attractive pricing: giving you excellent value-for-money. This upgraded version of the original Osprey Hydraulics now offers an even more simplified operation than its best-selling predecessor, plus its also a lot lighter: saving on space, drinking effort, and up to 30% in packing weight. 

The Osprey Hydraulics hydration bladder is available in 2 sizes: 2-liters and 3-liters. The 2-liter bladder measures 14 x 6 x 3 inches and weighs 10.5 oz, the 3-liter bladder measures 15.3 x 7 x 3 inches and weighs 7.7 oz. The Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir comes with a fold-top closure, which can easily be secured with a patented slider that creates a strong, leak-proof seal. The bladder’s wide-mouth, fold-top further enables easy refilling and cleaning. The design is also equipped with a special pour shield, which cleverly extends the collar of the bladder to make it easier to fill up the reservoir in shallow sinks. 

Anatomically-shaped backplate

However, we think one of the biggest perks of the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir is its anatomically shaped backplate. This Hydrostatic backplate provides structure, enabling you to quickly and easily slide a full reservoir back into a fully loaded pack, whilst maintaining a flat profile. Another clever feature is the bladder’s magnetic bite valve. This valve comes with a magnet clip, which attaches to the reservoir’s hose and pairs with the included sternum strap magnet; allowing for easy water access and hose management. The bite valve also has twist-cap on/off controls for an ergonomic drinking angle and full control of the water flow. 

Also, the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir is made of BPA-free TPU plastic that can withstand freezing and boiling water. The material is also food-grade FDA-certified and dishwasher-safe – enabling quick clean-up after use. High-quality, innovative, functional, yet still affordable: the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir gets our seal of (leak-proof) approval. 

 


Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir

Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
  • 1.5 Liter (50 oz.) capacity to spray to drink, cool, clean, and share
If you’re looking for a pressurized water bladder with premium functionality and a high-quality standard, the Geigerrig Hydration Engine is a top contender. This highly-rated design is praised by other hikers and campers for its convenience and value and even comes with a lifetime warranty against leaks, making it a trustworthy choice for hydration on the go. 

The pressurized technology of the Geigerrig Hydration Engine makes it stand out from traditional hydration bladders, as featured previously in this overview. The Geigerrig Hydration Engine features two chambers: one of water, one for air. You can pressurize the air in the bladder using a bulb hand pump. When pressurized, the water flow becomes automated: you don’t have to ‘suck’ on the mouthpiece to drink. The bladder can also be used unpressurized when required. 

Compatible with water filters

The Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir is ready to order in 3 sizes: 1.5-liters, 2-liters, and 3-liters. This pressurized hydration bladder can easily be paired with certain water filters and water filtration systems, such as the Aquamira Frontier Max filter or Geigerrig filter. Meaning that even if you don’t have access to a drinking water source, you can turn any water into crisp drinking water – handy! 

The Geigerrig Hydration Engine features a slide top closure, a wide mouth for easy refilling, and quick-release valves for easy sipping on the ego. The bladder is made of dishwasher-safe, BPA-free plastic and comes with a lifetime warranty against leaks and manufacturing defects.

 


 

Verdict

Our 5 Best Hydration Bladders are:

We’re confident that every hydration bladder on this list is worth the money, scoring top-marks on quality, durability, ease-of-usage, and reliability. Which is ‘the best’ depends more on personal preference than selling points.

For example, if you want a pressurized hydration bladder that offers pressurized flow – no sucking required, the Deuter Streamer may be the ‘best’ fit. However, if you’re more focused on the ease of sliding a hydration bladder in your backpack, an option such as the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir – which has a special backplate to keep it stable during insertion or removal – could be a better match. Similarly, ease-of-cleaning can be a big buying factor. Do you prefer a dishwasher-safe bladder for quick clean-up, such as the HydraPak Shape-Shift Water Bladder, or is hand-wash only not an issue for you.

To make a well-informed choice in finding the best hydration bladder . for your needs, check out our buying guide below to get a better understanding of the different options, and buying factors. Rest assured: you can’t go wrong with any of these high-quality, 5-star Amazon favorites.

Choose a smarter solution to your hydration needs, and upgrade your outdoor gear with one of these great-value water bladders today! 

Preview
Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder Reservoir - Streamer 2.0
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
Title
Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir
HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder
Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir
Sizes
3
2
3
2
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
1.5-liter and 2-liter
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
1.5-liter and 2-liter
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
Title
Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
Title
HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder
Sizes
2
Capacity
1.5-liter and 2-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder Reservoir - Streamer 2.0
Title
Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
Title
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Sizes
2
Capacity
1.5-liter and 2-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
Title
Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty

 

 


 

Best Hydration Bladder – Buying Guide

 

Before we list the individual buying factors to consider when shopping for a hydration bladder, check out the handy Amazon video below to get a better understanding about how to choose the perfect pack for your requirements:

 

 

Capacity / Size

The most important factor to consider when buying a hydration bladder is its water capacity and size. You may be tempted to opt for a large sizing, but keep in mind: bigger isn’t always better – as you’ll also have to make sure the bladder fits in your backpack. Hydration reservoirs vary in size from 1-liter to 10-liter bladders – though most common (and most popular) are 2-liter and 3-liter options. 

As a general rule of thumb, follow these size tips: 

<1.5-liter hydration bladders

A small-capacity ideal for day hikes and trail running. This sizing won’t take up a lot of space in your pack and require you to carry less weight, making it ideal as a replacement of a regular water bottle.

2 to 3-liter hydration bladders

The most popular, mid-size options amongst hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This sizing allows you to carry an ample water supply, ideal for when you don’t have access to a water-point to refill it during the day. Plus, if you’re planning a short hike, you can simply load the bladder half-way if desired. More versatile than the 1.5-liter bladders, whilst similarly priced: a 2-liter or 3-liter bladder does offer slightly more bang for your buck. That said, it will take up more space in your pack, so ensure its dimensions are compatible with your outdoor gear.

>3-liter hydration bladders

If you’re planning a multi-day backcountry adventure and won’t have the option of refilling the bladder, going bigger maybe the right option. Large hydration bladders, such as the MSR Dromedary Bag Water Reservoir, are ideal for scenarios where drinking water is scarce, though do keep in mind that they take up a lot of space and weight in your pack.

Bladder Profile

Hydration bladders not only vary in size but also in profile. Generally, the design can come in two styles: a wide profile or a narrow profile. If you plan to carry a bladder in a regular backpack, the type of profile may not be as important. However, if you plan to store your bladder into a designated hydration sleeve of your backpack, carefully check your backpack’s requirements. Some hiking packs come with built-in compartments for narrow-profile bladders, whilst others are only compatible with wide-profile hydration reservoirs. 

Fortunately, a lot of brands offer their best-selling hydration bladders in both profile options, enabling you to mix and match them with your already-owned outdoor gear. We do advise you to double-check the Amazon product’s detailed listing to make sure you’re ordering the right type of profile, as sometimes this is not indicated in a product title or bullet-point section. 

Type of Opening

Hydration bladders can also vary in the type of opening, which affects how easy it is to refill the bladder. The 3 most used in hydration pack designs are the screw-cap opening, a zip-top opening, or a wide-mouth fold-top opening.

Though screw-top openings are the most time-consuming when opening a hydration bladder, they’re also known as the most secure. A screw-top opening also allows you to fill a bladder to maximum capacity, without having to worry about spillage, as the design creates a tight, leakproof seal. A zip-top opening uses – as you might have guessed – a zip-locking technology to prevent leaks and create a tight seal. Zip-top openings do require regular cleaning and are a bit trickier to sanitize, but the ease of use makes them worth the effort. A fold-top wide opening means a bladder is sealed by flipping the top part of the bladder over and securing it in place with a closure tab. A fold-top, wide-mouth bladder is the easiest style to refill in open streams and big bodies of water, though this means you will need to filter the water before drinking. An advantage of a large opening fold-top is the ease of cleaning and sanitizing: as it can be flipped inside out for a proper rinse. 

There isn’t one type of opening that is ‘best’, as each has its specific appeal. That said, for most activities, the security of a screw-top opening is our preferred option. 

Type of Bite Valve & Locking Mechanism 

The type and size of the hydration bladder’s bite valve is also an important factor to consider. The bite valve is the part attached to the water bladder’s hose that allows you to drink hands-free on the go. Contrary to what you would expect, a large bite valve can be trickier to use, as it requires more force to suck fluid via the hose/tube. Smaller valves may not offer you big gulps, but they tend to be easier to use. If you prefer a large valve, we recommend ensuring that the hydration bladder is pressurized (as explained further on in this Buying Guide). Smaller bite valves don’t necessarily need pressurization. 

Unsure what size of bite valve you prefer? Then simply choose a medium-sized option.

When it comes to the type of locking mechanism of the valve, there are 2 most common types: a turn-valve and a switch-valve. The first requires you to turn the valve to enable water flow, the second requires you to flip a switch/lever. Both locking mechanisms are easy to use and secure, meaning that which is ‘the best’ is simply a matter of preference. 

Pressurized vs Non-Pressurized

Hydration systems can be pressurized or non-pressurized. A pressurized drinking system means the hydration bladder has two separate chambers: one that’s filled with water, the other with pressurized air. This enables instant water flow through the tube and bite valve without any ‘sucking’. A non-pressurized hydration bladder will require ‘sucking’ to start up the water flow, making it slightly more strenuous to use. That is exactly why a lot of hikers, trail runners, bikers, and sports enthusiasts prefer a pressurized system, as it enables an instant water flow when you need it – ideal for when you’re already short on breath.

Cleaning 

To keep your hydration bladder free from bacteria, residue, and mold, regular cleaning is advised. How to clean the bladder depends on the specific product and brand. For example, some water bladders are fully-reversible and dishwasher-safe, allowing for a super easy clean-up. Whilst others require hand-washing and cleaning with a brush, baking soda or special cleaning kit. When choosing which is the best hydration bladder for you, consider how much effort you’re willing to put in the maintenance and cleaning of the product, and check how a particular bladder needs to be rinsed before purchasing. We also recommend a thorough cleaning session of the bladder before first use, as this can help get rid of any plastic taste.  

 


 

Recap

Preview
Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder Reservoir - Streamer 2.0
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
Title
Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir
HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder
Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir
Sizes
3
2
3
2
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
1.5-liter and 2-liter
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
1.5-liter and 2-liter
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 1.5-Liter, EVO with Fast Flow Valve
Title
Platypus Big Zip LP Water Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Hydrapak A262 Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder/Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks, 2-Liter (75 oz.), High Flow Bite Valve, Safe & Reliable, Clear
Title
HydraPak Shape-Shift Low-Profile Water Bladder
Sizes
2
Capacity
1.5-liter and 2-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Deuter Streamer Hydration Bladder Reservoir - Streamer 2.0
Title
Deuter Streamer Hydration Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 2 Liter , Blue
Title
Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Sizes
2
Capacity
1.5-liter and 2-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty
Preview
Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir - 1.5 Liter, 50 Ounce
Title
Geigerrig Hydration Engine and Reservoir
Sizes
3
Capacity
1.5-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter
Dishwasher-safe
Pressurized
Lifetime Waranty

 

 

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Caleb Cole

Caleb Cole

I grew up in Montana, spent my free time camping, hunting and fishing. I began writing as a side hobby while camping. Very happy to be working with the guys here at Outdoor Command and look forward to providing best in class outdoors content for you.