It’s difficult to visit any trail these days without seeing someone sipping through a tube from a hydration bladder in their pack. They’ve become so popular due to the sheer convenience they provide. The ability to carry so much water without taking up a huge amount of space and drink hands free from your pack is just hard to beat. There are now plenty of brands and variations to choose, but many will argue the lesser known Source Hydration System leads the pack. Originally created by the Isreali Military, Source products have now been adopted by armed forces and civilians worldwide… testament to the quality and durability of their design.
Source has released a variety of different products, but all of them have some of the same winning features. First and foremost, their patented FDA approved, EPA registered “glass-like” liner effectively blocks the growth of bacteria and prevents unwanted taste or odor. In fact, it’s the only bladder that won’t leech any nasty plastic flavors in to your clean drinking water. This allows one to skip cleaning after days, weeks, even months of use. When it comes time to wash it out however, Source bladders come with a full-length top closure that allows full access to the interior of the unit. The ability to stick your whole hand into the pack eliminates the frustration of trying to shove complicated utensils through the small opening over comparable products. Finally, Source hydration systems simply don’t leak. While other systems have been known to spill water all over the precious contents of one’s pack, Source’s products are able to stand up to the kind of abuse offered by military use.
Connections and Accessories
One of Source’s other innovative features are quick-disconnect fittings. This allows one to swap hoses or mouthpieces on the fly. Also, if you want to remove the bladder from your pack for filling without fishing that long hose through the loops and holes of your pack; you can simply quick disconnect the hose and remove the bladder. All fittings are also complete with an auto-shutoff feature that allows one to swap attachments while water is still in the bag without leaks. Sources hoses even come with a tightly woven cord wrap. This not only increases the life and durability of the hose, but insulates the hose from UV rays preventing water in the hose from becoming lukewarm by the time you drink it.
As for the bladder cap and valves, the cap itself has the same dimensions as a Nalgene Wide-Mouth Bottle. Therefore, the same accessories and water filters compatible with a Nalgene will also work on your Source bladder. Valves/Mouthpieces swivel 360 degrees, and are angled 90 degrees allowing the optimal mouth to hose angle for easy drinking. Both the bladder cap and valves are attached with lanyard so they’ll never be lost. The provided cap is especially important on the mouthpiece which may frequently come into contact with dirt and dust, which it completely seals out.
Another powerful attachment for Source systems is the Universal Tap Adapter (UTA). By swapping this for the mouthpiece, one can easily fill the bladder directly through the hose. Fill using a water bottle, faucet, or hose without ever removing the bladder from your pack.