One of the biggest things to hit the hydration backpack world has been the advent of newcomer Geigerrig. The accolades just keep coming in: called best new product in the outdoor industry by 3M, the Editors Choice award from Adventure World Magazine, and the Gear of the Year award from Camping Life Magazine, just to name a few. This is some serious street credit!
Central to Geigerrig’s success is a simple but revolutionary concept. Hydration backpacks have had water reservoirs forever, but Geigerrig adds a dynamic component, pressurization, to the tried and true hydration reservoir formula. A small bulb allows the user to pump air into a separate component in the Hydrapak-sourced reservoir in order to pressurize the water within it.
This pressurization gives Geigerrig the mantra, “Never suck again!” Instead of having to suck to draw water through the hose, after pressurization you simply squeeze the bite valve and the water squirts out. Drink from it. Spray yourself. Spray others—whatever makes you happy.
I’ve used gravity to do this for my dog for years, but this seemingly innocuous trick changes the Geigerrig from just another hydration backpack into an innovative leader with some of the best hydration technology I’ve ever tested—a combination of Hydrapak’s amazing hydration reservoir and Geigerrig’s innovative technology.
Geigerrig was kind enough to send two testers: their 1600 and 500. The names are simple storage capacity measurements, and I had the opportunity to test out the 1600 and give it a thorough beating (though not quite what some put it through). The 1600 is a substantial pack, not just because of its storage capacity but because of its manufacturing and composition. This sucker is just robust in every dimension, from zipper pulls to the heavy weave of the heavy-duty ballistic nylon. The 1600 comes in at a hefty 1.48 kg—not light by any means!
The 1600 feels as though it’s built to survive the end of the world; if I had to choose a hydration backpack for surviving the Apocalypse, this is the one I’d want. Lending to this feeling of invincibility is the availability of an in-line filter that allows you to break all the rules by simply dunking your reservoir in the nearest reasonably clean stream and letting the in-line filter purify the water that you drink. Yes, unlike competing filters that simply make the water tastes a little better, the Geigerrig filter actually strains out 99.9% of cryptosporidium and giardia. Activated coconut shell carbon also reduces water-born chemicals, improving taste. Unfortunately, flow is negatively impacted, and the squirting pressure doesn’t cooperate with filter too well. If you don’t expect to use the filter’s drink-anything feature, you’re probably better off bypassing it, however.
The 1600 is a great (and large) day pack—plenty of room, lots of storage pockets. With 1600 cu in of dry capacity, you can mount extended outings, and the 100 oz water reservoir provides plenty of drinkable water. When teamed with the filter, that fluid capacity becomes effectively limitless–just dunk, drink, and repeat.
At $140, the Geigerrig 1600 isn’t cheap, but with its industry-leading technology and bomb-proof build quality, you don’t need to ever suck again. If you’re interested in the ultimate hydration pack to get you through whatever happens, you like using the best new technology, and you buy into myriads of accolades, a Giegerrig 1600 is for you!