Source Bladder Pack Review

Written by K2 Team Member - Kevin Reilly

In this sunburnt country of ours hydration is a very important factor for any bushwalk, at any time of the year. Water bottles are widely used and fine to keep you hydrated, but I believe it is a bit of a fiddle to;

  • Pull them out of your pack side pocket
  • Open
  • Drink
  • And then try to get them back in without looking like Harry Houdini trying to escape from a straitjacket!

This annoys me to the level that I don’t want to muck around getting the bottle out and subsequently I get really dehydrated.

I prefer hydration bladders. For me they are easier to use and having your bite valve within easy reach means you can drink when you want and avoid dehydration.


A lot of people get confused about which size hydration bladder they should get. Generally, they come in three main sizes: 1.5, 2 and 3 litre capacity. The size of the bladder you need will be based on what activity you are doing and how big of a drinker you are.

My personal rule of thumb is to get the bladder that you would use with the most capacity. I have a 3litre bladder that I use for short day walks and long  multiday  bushwalks. You can put 1.5litres into a 3litre bladder, but not the reverse. So, I step on the side of caution and go bigger. I am a big drinker anyway and, on most  day-walks  I like to have a cup of tea with lunch so, I tend to use most of my bladder’s capacity regardless of the weather.

A 1.5L one could be fine for a short day-walk in the winter, however, the same walk in mid-summer would need a 2L or even a 3L, if you are a big drinker.

One tends to get quite dehydrated during walks in the middle of the day and it's often during this period is when you tend to drink the most. It's an awful feeling when you reach in to quench your thirst and all you get is a mouthful of water that tastes like plastic.

In my search for a suitable replacement, I have found Source. They offer a great range and think outside the box a bit more than their competitors. Source also addresses two big problems with bladders; keeping the bladder clean and water taint.

They achieve this with three technologies that are simple and effective:

  1. Lined with their Glass-Like™ film makes the bladder’s sides 2000% smoother than standard TPU films used in other bladders. There is virtually no difference between it and glass. This multi-layer polyethylene film prevents build up, making the system virtually self-cleaning.
  2. GrungeGuard™is a patented anti-microbial agent incorporated into the inner surfaces, ensuring the bladder and drinking tube do not get any nasty build-up of mould or slime whether on a multiday bushwalk or when storing it, There are reports of people going 8 weeks of constant use without any need to clean their hydration bladder!
  3. TasteFree™ technology stops your water tasting like plastic on those really hot days ….aaagh!

Source offers a variety of bladders to suit the needs of their users.

  • Wider openings for easy refill and drying
  • Low profile bladders for use in smaller volume packs
  • Hoses that can be disconnected from the bladder while its full.
  • If you are a big drinker like me, they also offer high flow bite valves.
  • All their bite valves come with dust covers, nice touch.

Then there is the Source Divide, for those of you that want to have both water and electrolytes in one bladder. No more bulky water bottles or tainted bladders!

Concerned about the quality of the water? Source offers a bladder with a Mini Sawyer filter to clean things as you drink. The filter can filter over 450000 litres before replacement.

One thing that really annoys me is refilling my bladder and then attempting to get it back into my pack without having to unpack half my gear! Source's Ultimate Hydration System is a simple but great system that allows you to refill your bladder, without the hassle of taking it out of your pack!

Another big problem is hoses going brown when exposed to UV light. Source has a weave covered tube kit to protect your hose from the elements. There are also insulated covers for winter use and cleaning kits if you are concerned about the inside of the tube.

In addition to hydration bladders, Source also offers a range of hydration packs for trail running, mountain biking canoeing and stand up paddling (SUP).

Ready for an upgrade of your hydration system? I recommend giving Source a look at. I did and I am really happy with my investment.