Tested – Geigerrig Rig 500 Hydration Pack
Pressurized portable water fountain
Geigerrig is a company that delivers performance under pressure, literally. The company is bringing innovation to the hydration pack, an accessory that has seen almost no innovation since it was introduced decades ago. From what we can gather, Geigerrig’s design team consists of a bunch of outdoorsy nerds with way too many degrees and way too much experience to be relegated to the lowly bike industry. These guys should be designing spaceships, but instead, they chose to design the products that they love to use themselves when they’re out riding or hiking or whatever else they do. No matter what type of outdoor activity you’re doing, you need to stay hydrated. We tested one of these unique packs to see if it could keep us from getting thirsty in the parched SoCal desert.
Tech info: The Rig 500 is a 500-cubic-inch pack with a 70-ounce reservoir that has a unique feature. The pack has a tube that can be pressurized by hand via a Power Bulb shoulder-strap-mounted pump. That pressure is designed to deliver a stream of water straight from the tube to your mouth with less effort. The pack also features quality construction with ballistic rip-stop material that’s water-resistant, heavy-duty zippers and a waterproof compartment for any electronics you might want to take. The fit has an ergonomic load-distribution design deemed the “industrial load dispersement cut.” It also has options for in-line virus and crypto filtration systems that have been thoroughly tested by independent laboratories to consistently remove protozoan cysts, bacteria, and viruses to ANSI/NSF standards without the use of disinfecting chemicals such as chlorine, bromine or iodine. Our test pack weighed 2.4 pounds dry and empty and sells for $130.
On the trail: We quickly changed the dry weight of the pack by taking advantage of the ample storage inside. This is a pack that will work for the minimalist, as well as the person who packs everything but the kitchen sink. The pack has ample storage for even long rides and so many dividers we couldn’t fill them all even if we tried. The construction is top-notch, with quality materials used throughout.
Now for the fun part: the pressurized reservoir. With a full pack and just a few pumps of the Power Bulb, which is essentially a rubber ball that delivers air to the reservoir via another plastic tube; the drinking hose becomes a makeshift water fountain. There’s no sucking involved with the Geigerrig. That’s what sets it apart from the rest of the hydration packs available. The reservoir is a complex two-compartment system that keeps the air separated from the water. The fully inflated pack is relatively large, whether it’s full of water or air, but that didn’t bother our test riders much. As a bonus, the reservoir is also dishwasher-safe, which makes it easy to clean. If for some reason you don’t want to use the pressurized feature, Geigerrig provides a pressure-release button right on the Power Bulb to turn this portable water fountain into a standard hydration pack. This pressurized feature is great if you need to share water with other riders or canine friends along the trail. It’s also surprisingly nice to have a burst of cold water on a long climb, whether it lands in your mouth or on your face to cool you off. The inline filter, while not tested here, could be a life saver for bikepackers who don’t want to carry their water on the longest rides.
When the Rig 500 landed on our desk, we thought it was a gimmicky product; however, after weeks of testing, we recommend it. The system works, and it works well. If the idea of having an extra gadget mounted to your chest doesn’t sound appealing, this isn’t the pack for you; however, this pack proved that it’s more than just a gimmick and may be the right choice for riders who want a blast of refreshing H20.
• The pressurized bladder system works, and it works well
• Construction of the pack is top-notch, and there is plenty of space
• The pack rides well with a comfortable and cool fit
• Would be an excellent fit for anyone who needs to share water
• Filter option lets riders drink field water safely (claimed)
• Pack remains large and inflated, even after water is drained
• You have to pump to pressurize the reservoir
• They chose the name Power Bulb for the pressurizer