The Geigerrig Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration Pack is a pressurised hydration pack that eliminates the need to suck. Do bladder pack users really need to stop sucking?
Hydration packs have been around a good few years now with the simple bladder and suck on a mouthpiece doing a good job. Geigerrig don't think good is enough though and so have set about innovating on the current design, the centrepiece of which is a pressurised system, eliminating the need to suck.
Geigerrig sent us their medium backpack based bladders, the Rig 700 Ballistic. The ballistic in the name comes from the nylon material used: a nylon designed in WWII to repel a number of materials and used to create flak jackets. It's a very American glorification (from where Geigerrig hails) and nice to known I'm safe in case of drive-bys!
In all seriousness it does create an extremely hard wearing backpack, which doesn't feel like it will grow tatty over time or in the case of an off.
The star innovation is the bladder. Made from a tough polyurethane, it is constructed with an internal partition, creating two compartments - front and back. Each compartment has a quick-release, leak-free valve, which one of the two hoses attach to: one for water and one for air. The dual layer design also means a different approach to filling: the bag opens at the top like a sandwich bag, making it easy to fill right to the line.
Drying was always the bane of hydration packs for me but Geigerrig have that sorted too. Because the bag opens at the top, it can be turned inside out, allowing all those drops that lurk in the corners to evaporate - I found it to dry very quickly using this method.
Secondly, the inverted bag is dish washer safe.
Filling the bag, you wouldn't be able to tell there are two layers here; the air pocket is really part of the magic trick. The air hose leads to a rubber hand bulb, mounted on one of the shoulder straps.
Pumping the bulb fills the partition, creating pressure on the water bladder and allowing for all sorts of party tricks. The pressure means you no longer have to suck; simply pinch the bite valve and the water will quirt out.
What's the point in a bladder that squirts? Well, for one, you can easily share your hydration between others without swapping germs or them having to crouch up to your chest.
Secondly, you have a hose that can be used for cleaning hands, face, wounds...cleaning, you can even shower if you have the patience (like on of those camping packs, the black material would heat up if left in the sun).
And of course, squirting into your own mouth is easier than sucking, plus you can spray to cool your face. I measured it to squirt around a metre.
The bite valve itself is hard wearing (with minimal biting it shouldn't get as tatty either) and includes a twist to turn on/off.
The fit of the pack on my back is excellent, both with and without a full bladder. Shoulder straps are well cushioned and include upper, and lower, chest braces. The waist strap can be easily removed too, rather than having to leave it dangling when not used.
Plenty of cushioning on the back (around 1/2") is ergonomically shaped and very comfortable. All the straps are adjustable and include elastic loops to tuck away excess.
The 700 has 12 litres of storage with a 2 litre bladder. That's is plenty for a day out on the bike and more.
There are two front pockets (with headphone hole) and two netted compartments inside, all with nice strong zips.
One thing with hydration packs is the bladder moving about or sloshing whilst moving, and the pressurisation helps here too. When inflated, the bladder is wedged in place and water has less space to move. I still found the water sloshed around but not quite as much as other packs.
Something I thought would be an issue was the bladder ballooning awkwardly, however, a plastic plate prevents any deformation across the back section. You do feel the bag inflating but not uncomfortably so, and a release valve is included above the hand bulb. Said release valve is essential when accessing items in the pack, as the inflated bladder takes up quite a bit more volume that can trap stuff, especially those at the bottom.
Inflating takes around 10 pumps; a few seconds.
It's been a while since I've used a bladderpack, mainly because I hated the cleaning maintenance involved, so for me, the open top style of the Geigerrig and invert ability is one of the biggest advantages.
The pressurisation is nice and works well, but to be honest, isn't a revolution for me. This pack retails for £100, a similar sized CamelBak retails for around £80, whether it is worth the extra is down to whether you think you'd use the ability to spray; do you frequently need to share with others or need a supply of water?
Either way, the Rig 700 makes an excellent hydration pack with some neat features.
Pressurisation system is nice if you like to spray it around.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Geigerrig Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration Pack
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a hydration pack for runners, cyclists, hikers, anyone who needs water whilst out and about.
The big difference here is that it can be pressurised to spray rather than needing to be sucked (it can still be sucked). It works well and as intended.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bladder: 2l, quick-release valves for drinking tube and pressurization tube for easy refill and bladder removal, slide top for easy refill, cleaning and drying.
Fabric: Heavy Duty 1680 Ballistic Nylon
Weight: 2.80 lbs or 1.28 lbs
Zippers: Heavy Duty Size 8 Coil Zippers
I-Pod Ready Compartment w/ Waterproof Zipper Garage
Removable Waist Strap
Shoulder Strap: Ergonomic Fit, Terraced Overlay for Adjustable Tube Configuration and Power Bulb Configuration, Industrial Load Disbursement cut and padding
Chest Strap: Integrated slider chest strap
Additional Features: Plug & Play Reservoir Tube Connector, PVC Reinforced Compression Straps, Reflective Tabs & Zipper Pulls, Internal Storage Compartments and Organizer, Eco Rig Back Pads, Air Drive Ventilation, Heavy Duty Nylon Pack Handle and Vertical attachment hoops.
Ballistic nylon may be a little overkill but makes for a hardwaring backpack. Good quality zips are used throughout and the bladder feels extremely tough.
Can't fault it. As a standard bladder it works just like any other. Pressurised it does what it says on the tin too.
Well built piece of kit.
Average I'd say.
I found it to be an excellent fit and very comfortable on the bike.
Around 20% more than competitors, it is debatable whether it is worth it. I certainly enjoyed not having to worry about special drying hangers etc. but the pressurisation I could live without.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Both pressurised and unpressurised it works as a bladder. As a backpack, there is plenty of space and pockets for riding equipment.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The sandwich bag style opening for filling and invert able for drying.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
More than I am willing to pay for a hydration pack.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes - if I could find it a little cheaper than RRP.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,