For the uninitiated, Hydrapak makes some of the most highly sought after hydration systems on the market. Don’t just take our word for it… ask any of the world’s top twenty outdoor brands who are partnering with Hydrapak to make the hydration reservoir for their own brand of packs. Now Hydrapak has expanded their line of products with the introduction of the award-winning Hydrapak 350ml, 500 ml and 750 ml SoftFlasks.
On Performance & Design…
As our avid readers know, we’ve been through our fair share of water bottles. It’s one of the fastest growing market segments in the outdoor industry. And while the collapsible portion of the market continues to expand, we’ve had our fair share of sub-par experiences with differing designs in the past. Broken caps, cracked necks, and torn bottles, all of which seem to cosmically occur at the worst possible moment.
Made of incredibly durable TPU, featuring a high-flow silicone bite valve with twit shut-off valve, the Soft Flask line is an innovative spin on handheld hydration. And, given that it comes in three sizes, you’ll be able to stay happy and hydrated whether you’re cruising downtown or hiking in the heat of summer.
Whether it’s a dripping water bottle or a leaky hydration hose, few things can be more distracting on your adventure than a leaky hydration system. To help eliminate that distraction, each of the SoftFlask bottles features a self-sealing nozzle system that eliminates unwanted splatters and spills. Not only does this system let you concentrate on the details of your hike, run or boarding session, but for the parents out there, it helps keep the backseat of your car nice and dry when your little trail buddy asks to “borrow” your bottle.
When you’re ready for more water, simply unscrew the cap and fill up. Unlike some of the SoftFlasks hard and soft sided brethren, this series of bottles feature a wide 42mm opening which makes it easy to fill and load with ice. The wide opening also makes the bottles much easier to hand clean. But because it’s a fast paced world, and there isn’t always time for hand cleaning, these Soft Flasks are also perfectly at home (and safe) in the top rack of your dishwasher.
Notes from the Trail…
With the SoftFlask, Hydrapak brings several innovative improvements to this segment of the hydration market. There is however, a notable downside to this first generation SoftFlask. Unlike the Vapur and PlatyPlus bottles which feature a wide footprint enabling them to stand upright, the Soft Flask line features a molded (aka rounded) bottom which prevents the bottle from standing upright.
This may not be an issue for those using the bottle for running or speed hiking where the bottle will typically remain in the hand, or in a pack. However, we all set down our bottles at one point or another. With the SoftFlask this means subjecting the surface of your bottle on the ground where it can pick up dirt, grime and germs (think giardia near a river or stream). It potentially also puts the bottle at risk of rolling away on that vertical section of trail.
Trust us, there’s nothing worse than hitting a summit only to take a break and then watch your bottle pick up steam and base jump off the side of the mountain. Granted, that’s a potential issue with any round sided bottle, but it is a more pronounced issue when your only option is to lay the bottle down on its side.
Just like every Hydrapak product we’ve laid our hands on, these SoftFlasks are tough, resilient and durable enough to take on a life both inside and outside the urban jungle. Despite a few design critiques from our trail team, the SoftFlask is an innovative approach to the collapsible bottle design. For those looking to save on weight and space, fill it up and head on out into a great big world of adventure.
Gumption Gear Review received the product samples featured in this review from Hydrapak. The items featured were provided solely in exchange for testing the products and providing our honest views and opinions. We received no other form of compensation for this or any related review.