When at the outdoor retailer show this winter 2016 we saw a few products from Hydrapak that caught our eye. We have used their Reservoirs in our backpacks before and prefer them to Camelbaks because of their wide mouth opening for easy filling and cleaning, as well as a nicer bite valve and removable reservoir hose. We have recently been drawn to soft water reservoirs that collapse down as you drink from them. They are great to throw in your pocket for a day on the slopes or a quick hike.
Hydrapak has their solution for these types of soft bottles. They are great for backpackers and active hydrators. We got a chance to try the SoftFlask(™) and Stash (™) water bottles and see what we thought.
This flexible and durable bottle has a shape that was a bit weird to get use to. Opening the bottle was a bit tricky the first time. And I could imagine would be quite difficult to do with cold hands. You have to pinch the bottom sides together and the bottom kind of pops out. It then easily expands.
These bottles are made from a TPU (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoplastic_polyurethane) and HDPE (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-density_polyethylene) materials.
Our first time filling the bottles was a little bit of a weird feeling too. Having been use to a solid structure we weren’t sure what to expect. If the top would just fold over as we were filling it, or just spill all over. Surprisingly as the bottle fills it becomes very stable and stands well on it’s own. It also felt solid enough to hold it by the soft sides while filling the bottle without it malforming.
We love that you can collapse the bottle as you use the water. Saving room in your pack. The bottle was extremely durable. As you can imagine there is a ton of room for failure of a bottle constructed with soft sides and glue, but we fill the bottle, stepped on it, froze it, and dropped it with no failure.
The only downside is that the plastic top and bottom that give the bottle the structure when not full add bulk to the bottle when empty. For example we like to fill the bottle before a hike and carry it with us. As we drink the water and collapse down the bottle when we have finished it, it’s still a large hard cookie that we have to put back in our pocket to carry around with us until we refill.
We used the 1L (32oz) (88g) and the 750ML (24oz) (68g) bottles. We couldn’t be more happy with them. For a retail price of $22.99 and $17.99 respectively we would definitely choose a soft bottle over a hard pottle in the future.
We also got to try out the SoftFlask(™) 500 on a few runs and hikes. It’s the perfect hand held size to hold while running and also packs away nicely in a running vest or hip pouch. Again, the ability to shrink down the container as you consume is the best selling point of these SoftFlask. The ability to reduce the sloshing of water in a bottle is great, just squeeze out the excess air, or suck only as you drink from a full bottle.
The SoftFlask come in a number of sizes for whatever you distance might be. Great for small pockets in bike jerseys, backpacks, jackets, etc.
The SoftFlask has become our new favorite for winter hiking. It’s small collapsable size makes it perfect to keep on the inside of your coat to keep from freezing. Staying hydrated during a day of skiing is something often overlooked. The Hydrapak SoftFlask just shrinks down as you drink it and you forget that it’s even there.
Again the only downside was the size of the lid and bite valve. Once the bottle was empty. We did also note that the bite valve is removable without much effort, this makes it nice for cleaning, but we are a little worried that over time it will stretch and fall off too easily.
The bottles have a No-Leak(™) lifetime warranty guarantee. If for any reason your bottles ever leak you can return them. And have them replaced. In addition, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all products to last in all environments.
The Hydrapak bottles, flask, and hydration packs are all around great products. They are built with quality and made to last. The soft bottles are rugged and safe to use almost anywhere. They are also dishwasher safe, BPA Free, and best of all collapsible. If you’re looking for a better water bottle our suggestion would be to give the Hydrapak bottles a try. There will always be little things that annoy, but overall the benefits out way the downsides of the line up in our opinion.