Thursday, January 12, 2012
Superior Hydration: Source vs. Camelbak
Many individuals who are not into gear probably know the name Camelbak when it comes to hydration. Due to its popularity, it is the only name out there and as a result is often considered the "go to" bladder on the market. While I understand why this is the case, I due believe the Source brand has better bladders.
To start off, Source bladders have an easy access slider, which allows the bladder to open from the top and the owner to fit their whole arm inside in order to clean the interior (even though it is supposed to be designed not to be cleaned). Camelbak bladders do not have this feature, causing the owner to engage in the time consuming and in my experience, less effective cleaning measures (using vinegar or purchasing Camelbak brand cleaning solvent).
In my experience, the cap on the Source bladders is much easier to remove. It has beveling on the cap, allowing for a better grip. Camelbak caps always give me a hard time. At first, they turn slowly, and as one applies pressure, the cap opens. It is a like opening a food jar that has been closed too tightly. Source bladders simply open smoothly.
Next, both of the disconnects on the tube (the bladder end and the bite valve end) have quick disconnect buttons and sealed valves. This allows for two things; one: for the user to disconnect and connect tubes/accessories without much physical effort and two: it allows them to do so without losing all their water. It also minimizes the risk of leakage (i.e. the tube disconnects at the bladder connection point). While Camelbak's tubes do disconnect, the valves do not seal, meaning the bladder will loose water when there is no tube connect. Also their tubes are so hard to remove. One must press down on the button with sufficient force for the tube to separate.
This brings us to the bite valve. Source's newest Helix bite valve is simply superpub. First off, the cap fits snugly and never comes off. Camelback valve covers never fit securely, and pop off, exposing the bite valve to the elements and allowing it to collect dirt. Source's Helix valve operates by turning the bite piece, allowing water to flow freely. The nature of the valve allows one to drink without chomping on the bite valve. Consequently, this also means the owner does not have to squeeze the valve and risk have water dribble everywhere except for the container they are trying to fill.
This brings us to the last noteworthy features. Source has the most useful accessory ever; the Universal tap Adaptor, aka the UTA. This accessory enables the user to fill the bladder without removing it from their hydration bladder carrier. UTA's connect to the drink tube at the bite valve end, and have a large rubber receptacle which can adapt to a hose or spout of any kind (including water bottles). All one must due is turn on the spout, faucet, hose, or squeeze the bottle.
Best of all the Source bladders are at the same price-point of their more popular competitor, Camelbak. Checkout the links for more.
ITSTACTICAL Review- while a review, it is a incomplete comparison as well
Milspec Monkey Short Demo