Annoyed by the weight and difficulty of cleaning screw top hydration packs? If so, then the Widepac Hydration System by Source Outdoor should be given serious consideration.
If you’ve been following Adventure Strong for a while you know how much I love my Osprey Hydraulics hydration pack. So, I was excited to try out a new pack from a company I wasn’t too familiar with. After testing out the Ultimate Hydration System and Winter Tube Kit for several weeks, I was pleasantly surprised by Source’s unique features.
Ultimate Hydration System
The Ultimate Hydration System is a kit that includes either a 2.0L or 3.0L Widepac Hydration Reservoir, the valve for drinking (called a Helix Valve), the hose, a valve cover (Dirt Shield), Universal Tube Adapter (UTA), and a magnetic clip.
About the Widepac
The main thing you’ll notice right away is that the Widepac doesn’t have a screw-on cap like most hydration systems. It’s a flap that folds over with the green piece sliding over and locking it in place. When I was scoping it out online I wasn’t too sure how I’d like it. But since I’ve had a chance to use it I have to say Source’s enclosure is preferable to caps.
The primary benefit of this design is when it’s time to clean it. The Widepac is easy to drain with no residual water lurking about because there’s nowhere for it to hide. The mouth opens wide allowing it to dry out quickly.
Another cool design feature is the removable hose. Using a simple connector you can detach the hose making it easy to scrub out. Or replace the normal tube with the Winter Tube Kit (sold separately), which is insulated so it doesn’t freeze.
I’ve been using the Winter Tube almost the entire time I’ve had this gear because it’s obviously winter. Temperatures here in Suwon, South Korea have been between 18 and 40 degrees F and I’ve used the Widepac in all of it – hiking, running, and walking. No problems at all with frozen water.
After leaving water in the pack for over a week, I was curious to see if there was any plastic taste. I’m happy to report that even after 10-days sitting in my backpack the water tasted as fresh as the day I filled it. Three cheers for the “multi-layer Polyethylene film utilizing SOURCE’s Glass-Like™ technology, which prevents bio-film build up…”
The Ultimate Hydration System comes with two nice accessories – the Universal Tube Adapter (UTA) and the magnetic clip. The UTA allows you to refill the bladder without taking it out of your backpack. How cool is that?! Just attach it to a bottle of water or hose spigot and fill’er up. Clip the hose to your pack in an easy to reach place and it’ll hold fast without dangling in your way.
Because it lacks the extra plastic of the Osprey Hydraulics bladder, it weighs less than half the weight. This is a big bonus for anyone counting grams (or ounces).
- Easy Maintenance (Drying/Cleaning)
- Detachable Hose
- No Plastic Taste
- The Universal Tube Adapter (UTA)
- Ultimate Hydration System:
- Clunky Dirt Guard
- Minor Shifting/Swaying
- Hard Plastic Nozzle (rubberized would be better)
Winter Tube Kit:
Cost: Ultimate Hydration System 2.0L $61 / 3.0L $62 Winter Tube Kit $19
Capacity (as tested): 3L / 100 oz
Dimensions: 21.5cm X 42.5cm
Weight: 125 grams
Source also makes an interesting O-design bladder called the WLP Hydration Reservoir that would be fun to test out too.
If you have any questions about the Ultimate Hydration System please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thanks!
Note: The Ultimate Hydration System and Winter Tube Kit were provided by Source Outdoor at no cost but, as always, all opinions are my own.