Gear Review: The Hydration Engine vs. Residual Odor and Taste
“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”
- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
The ease and convenience of hydration packs have made them a standard tool for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Wherever your outdoor soul wanders, a hydration pack means there’s no need to slow down to take a sip of water, making the hydration process an almost effortless task. Because hydration packs make the intake of fluid simpler, you tend to drink more often, meaning you stay better hydrated and a well-hydrated athlete is a better performing athlete.
Yet for those who like some variety in their routine, hydration engines might be loaded with water one day and a sports drink the next. Does this affect the performance of the reservoir? Can it harm your performance in the field?
Out of the Box…
The beauty of the GEIGERRIG hydration engine does not merely reside in its unique pressurized system, or in its stunning durability. Free of BPA, PHTHALATE and TRICLOSAN, all GEIGERRIG hydration packs, with the help of Hydrapak, offer hydration engines that let you experience the taste of their contents, not the unappetizing flavor of their plastic.
Some manufacturers use anti-microbial or anti-bacterial films in their reservoirs to aid in their “taste-free” experience. However, rather than utilizing another agent, GEIGERRIG took a different approach and instead, simply designed their hydration engines to be as easy to clean as your dishes.
The entire drink system is PVC Free from the reservoir to the connectors to the drink tube. Many manufacturers still use PVC in their drink tubes because it’s an inexpensive way to make the tubes flexible, but GEIGERRIG and Hydrapak are dedicated to making a healthier product by not using PVC in the GEIGERRIG hydration engine. After all, the primary purpose of a hydration pack is to help keep you hydrated with crisp, clean, pure water not water infiltrated with contaminants leaching from potentially unsafe materials that get ingested into your body.
That being said, when your GEIGERRIG Hydration engine arrives on your doorstep, and you pull it out of the box, expect a system that is ready to provide an incredible taste and odor free hydration experience when loaded with water. With each of the hydration engines tested, I simply took a quick moment to swirl some water in the reservoir to rinse it out, then filled it up and hit the trail.
For users that are slightly more sensitive to plastic than others, you may experience a mild “plastic taste” that occurs upon the first few uses. If that’s the case for you, then there are some steps provided below that will assist you in removing any residual taste discovered by your taste buds when your hydration engine arrives.
Out on the Trail…
As we noted in our prior discussion, Hydration for the Masses, the advantage that both sports drinks and electrolyte drinks have over plain water is not just the fact that they have a light flavor. Studies show that when athletes are offered the choice of plain water or a flavored beverage, they consume more of the flavored fluid. Anything that helps an athlete instinctively take in more fluids during exercise is going to help decrease the chance that they develop the ill effects of dehydration.
For many of us, a simple option to help remain hydrated while exploring the great outdoors is to fill our reservoir with sports drinks or water enhanced by any variety of supplements from electrolyte tablets to Crystal Lite. By adding beverage powders or sports drinks to the GEIGERRIG hydration engine, it may help us remain hydrated, but the flip side is that in can affect the way our reservoirs taste and smell for future usage.
After several weeks of putting the GEIGERRIG Hydration engine to the test and loading it with tap water, Gatorade, and everything in between, the results have been as varied as the liquids that filled my reservoir.
By and large, what I discovered was that the higher the sugar content of the liquid, the more significant factor residual taste and odor played. For instance, after utilizing the Vitalyte Powdered Drink Mix (10 grams of sugar per serving), there was no noticeable residual taste or odor in the hydration engine. However, after loading the reservoir with Gatorade G series (25 grams of sugar per serving) and putting the hydration engine to use on a hot summer day, the sweet sugary scent of orange was still detectable even after a thorough cleaning with soap and water.
The potential result is that your three day trip into the back country where you filled your reservoir with a sports drink on day one, leaves you with day two’s water refill tasting slightly tainted. For those who have a greater sensitivity to these things, the leftover taste and odor could have a diminishing effect on your hydration efforts leaving your body tapped and sluggish on the trail.
At this point it is worth emphasizing that the issue of residual taste and odor is in no way unique to GEIGERRIG hydration engines. If you use flavored water or sports drinks in any hydration reservoir, it can be close to impossible to completely remove every hint of an introduced flavor from the plastic.
In the coming days the Hydration Summit will specifically address the issues of cleaning and deodorizing your reservoirs. However, here are some basic tips to help you avoid some of the basic problems with residual taste and odor that can be pervasive for active outdoor enthusiasts.
For review purposes, I did allow a deep red sports drink to remain in the GEIGERRIG reservoir for a period of two weeks. The result was a staining on the interior of the reservoir. More than any issue with the reservoir, the results illustrate the importance of the following point: When a trip is complete, a hydration reservoir and sip tube should be emptied as soon as possible and allowed to air out and dry. As with a tent, ensuring that a hydration reservoir dries completely is critical for avoiding mildew growth.
The crew at Cascade Designs (maker of Platypus and MSR Dromedary, Hydromedary and Cloudliner reservoirs) offer the following recipe for keeping reservoirs and tubing fresh and taste-free:
· Mix 1 or 2 cups of baking soda with 2 or 3 quarts of water.
· Squeeze half a lemon into that mixture, pour it into a reservoir and let it sit for 1 or 2 days.
· Empty the reservoir, rinse it very thoroughly and prop it open it so it can dry fully. (Commercial drying kits are particularly handy for this.)
· Some of that mixture can also be used to soak a sip tube to restore its freshness. Another option: Soak the tube in a mild bleach solution.
· Always rinse and dry the tube thoroughly.
The Bottom Line
BPA, PHTHALATE and PVC free, the cornerstone of the GEIGERRIG hydration system is designed to ensure that every sip of water is taste-free making the hydration process easy. Through the introduction of various supplements in our hydration engine, we will help ensure that we remain properly hydrated; however, it will often mean extra effort on the back end to properly clean and care for our hydration system which is to be expected. In the end, take care of your hydration engine... and it will take care of you for many miles and adventures to come.
Speak Your Mind
You must be logged in to post a comment.