Ian McCall Codes

[Product Review] Hydration packs

review camping equipment hydration

My fiancé and I have been going for hikes every weekend since we haven’t been going anywhere else because of “you know what”. After one very hot and sweaty hike, I decided to get us a couple hydration packs. Hydration packs are basically a small backpack that holds a bag of water with a hose attached, so you can drink on the go.

So here is a quick review of the ones I bought.

The backpack on this one is very nice. The shoulder straps are padded and they have an adjustable sternum strap. The water hose can come out over the left or right strap, and each strap has a good quality plastic clip for the hose. The main zippered pocket is where the “bladder” goes, but it also includes a divider. So you can also store a few things in there, like some snacks and/or hand sanitizer. It also has an outer pocket that has a velcro closure, and it is the right size for a phone, or a backup battery and cable, or more hand sanitizer.

The bladder and hose were good (but not as good as the other one). So far they have performed fine, no leaks or major issues. The bladder holds 2 liters of water, which is enough for a good long hike. The hose attaches to the bladder using a standard barb fitting. It also has a 90 degree angled bite valve which can be locked by twisting the valve 180 degrees. It can be a little tricky to fill since there isn’t a good way to hold the bladder and point the fill port up with out using two hands.

The backpack on this one leaves a lot to be desired, especially when compared to the Water Buffalo. The straps are thin and have no padding. They do have a sternum strap, but adjusting it up or down is not easily done. There are ports for the water hose to go over your left or right shoulder and elastic loops which look like they are for the hose to go through. However when I tried put the hose through one of them it just ripped. The backpack also has some storage. The is a main pocket for the bladder that has a velcro closure on top. There are zippered pockets on either side, good for snacks and hand sanitizer. And there is a mesh pocket on the front that can hold a few items.

The water bladder and hose are really where the value of this product is. The bladder holds 2 liters of water, just like the Water Buffalo. But the Mubasel has a large fill port with a strong plastic handle! This makes filling supper easy, you don’t need to hold the bladder with both hands. The hose attaches to the bladder using a quick release push fitting. So you can detach the hose and remove the bladder from the bag more easily. The bite valve is nice to. You can open or close it by pulling the valve out or pushing it in. It also has a cover to help keep it clean.


I can’t really pick a winner between these two. My ideal would be the Water Buffalo backpack with the Mubasel bladder and hose.