Geigerrig RIG 500 Review
Benefiting outdoor enthusiast and athletes, innovation in hydration packs has held constant for many years. What does this mean for runners, hikers, bikers, etc? It typically means that you can enjoy your activity more vs. having to focus on the performance or lack thereof of your gear. When I first saw that Geigerrig was getting into the hydration pack scene, I was a little skeptical. I thought to myself, there are a number of hydration pack makers and they seem to have the hydration category covered. But my curiosity took over and I got my hands on a Geigerrig RIG 500 to test.
What sets Geigerrig hydration packs apart from the rest of the competition is the reservoir and how it distributes water to you. The actual reservoir is made from Hydropak which makes a good quality reservoir, but the reservoir for Geigerrig has a twist. There is an extra air sack within the reservoir that allows air to be pumped into it. By air being pumped in, pressure is created on the reservoir with water in it. When you go to drink from your bite valve, water comes out freely instead of having to suck water out of your bite valve. By having water pushed into your mouth instead of sucking out of the bite valve, you drink more water and it is easier to focus on your activity than having to focus on sucking water in. I decided to test out this pressure and found that the Geigerrig reservoir hose can spray in excess of 6 feet. Now you ask, how is all this pressure created? There is a pump similar to that of a pump in a blood pressure gauge that pushes air into the reservoir. If you have ever sat on your reservoir, you will notice that water comes shooting out because of that pressure created. This is very similar to the air being pumped in to create pressure.
There are a number of benefits to having this pressurized spray outside of increased water flow to you. Since I am often hiking with my dogs, I have to supply them with water from time to time when the creeks run dry in the summer. Having the pressurized spray allows me to give them water without getting dog slobber on my bite valve. It also works nice to spray down there body to keep them cool. If you find yourself getting super muddy or sweaty during an activity, you can easily spray the areas of interest and clean up very easily. When hiking or running with a hydration pack, one of the more annoying things I find is when my water is sloshing around in my reservoir. By adding pressure to the reservoir, you can avoid any sloshing. Another thing that I do with other hydration packs and reservoirs is turn the reservoir upside down, and suck all the air out to eliminate any extra air.
As for the actual pack in the RIG 500, I found the pack to be somewhat equal when compared to other packs on the market. The RIG 500 comes with a removable waist belt which helps distribute the weight on your back and shoulders. There are 5 raised pads that lay on your back and allows for added ventilation to help keep you from overheating. On hot days or long strenuous hikes, I still got a sweaty back though. There are two outside pockets that are big enough to store a cell phone, small camera, and other like sized items. The inside of the bag has two internal mesh pockets for when you want to keep things separate. When you fit in a full 70 oz. reservoir that comes with the RIG 500, there is a fair amount of room in the pack, but not a ton. I find there to be enough room for a jacket/baselayer, a little bit of food, and a small emergency kit. There are also 2 straps on the outside of the pack that you can use for strapping on extra gear if needed. These I often use for a jacket or items that I would need in a hurry in case the weather turns on me.
For an add on to the pack, you can purchase a water filtration system that connects to the hose and you can then just fill up your reservoir in any stream or water source and be ok. If you do that, just be sure to clean the reservoir and hose out thoroughly for the next time you use it without the filtration system. I only used the filtration system when I knew I would need additional water. The filtration system cost is $29.99 and the price for the pack including the reservoir is $110. For more information on the Geigerrig RIG 500 (there is plenty!) please visit Geigerrig.com