This year the CamelBak Antidote was replaced with the CamelBak Crux. We liked all the upgrades and it remains our Best Buy winner. Read more below. We also added in charts and graphs to make the differences in metrics easier to compare. Additionally, the Hydrapak Shape-Shift saw a cosmetic update and tiny price update. Keep reading for more details!
Geigerrig Hydration Engine
Multiple innovative uses
Ease of filling
Lacks measurements on bag
The Geigerrig Hydration Engine
earns top marks because it's easy to drink from and provided us with many fun innovative uses that made it one of the most versatile bladders. We loved that this bladder is top-rack dishwasher safe, making it much easier to clean than some competitors. The many attachments (like a filtration system, sold separately) made it fast and easy to collect and drink water from natural streams and lakes. All this and it doesn't cost THAT much more than the competition. We expect it to have a very long lifespan with a great long-term value.
Read full review: Geigerrig Hydration Engine
Best Bang for the Buck
CamelBak Crux Reservoir
Ease of filling
Wide screw-top opening
Great bite valve
Compatible with many packs
Divited compartments help prevent sloshing
Cleaning is a bit difficult
Not as easy to fill up in trickling streams
The CamelBak Crux
is an upgrade to our old Best Buy winner, the CamelBak Antidote. It is now even easier to fill and drink from. It has a lifetime warranty and sports a rough and tough construction. Even though it's not pressurized like the Geigerrig Hydration Engine
, it is very easy to drink from with it's ergonomic, easy to use bite valve. The hose connects via a quick-release system that makes it compatible with most reservoirs. It's the easiest reservoir to fill.
Read full review: CamelBak Crux Reservoir
Top Pick for Lightweight Adventures
Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir
Internal zipper helps reduce sloshing
Works with other brands
Large flip-top closure
O-ring needs to be maintained
Closure is not well-attached
The Hydrapak Shape-Shift
stands out for its simplicity and light weight. Many of our testers found themselves reaching for this bladder when heading out on a bike or trail running mission. The bite valve is smaller than most and provides a sufficient flow of water with no leakage. We loved how the bladder is divided via a welded zipper inside that we can open and shut. It easily flips inside-out for easy cleaning and is dishwasher safe. The hoses are interchangeable with all models tested (except the MSR Dromlite) giving you choices in the length of tube and type of bite valve. If you're looking for something to accompany you on lightweight missions, this should be your top choice! This bladder received an updated look this year, but the manufacturer has confirmed that nothing has changed about its functionality. It did increase in price by $1, but this doesn't stop us from believing that it is an excellent value.
Read full review: Hydrapak Shape-Shift
Top Pick for Backpacking
MSR DromLite Bags
Light (without the hose)
Ease of storage
Heavy (with the hose)
Only compatible with some backpack sleeves
The MSR DromLite
is one of the most versatile bladders we tested and one of the most durable models out there. It's a little different that most bladders since its exterior is made up of a nylon material instead of a type of plastic polymer. It sports a 3 in 1 top that makes accessing water easy. Even though the hose is available online; many of our users didn't want the tube anyway. In this case, less is more. It's a perfect compadre for backpacking because of its durable exterior. We loved that we could fill it with hot beverages and how it could double as a water bottle on cold nights. We were also able to turn this into a hand and dishwashing station if need be. If you want a water container with more capacity and flexibility than a water bottle but don't care for hydration hoses, this is the bladder to get. Strap it to the back of a backpack or stuff it in a pack. Don't be afraid to throw it around - it's pretty darn tough.
Read full review: MSR DromLite