Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Outdoor Retailer Winter 14: Source Hydration. Tastes Better. Innovative Designs

Source is an Israeli hydration company well known in Europe and by militaries worldwide, including the US, French, and of course Israel's IDF. They have not recently been strongly present in the US market. At OR they had a large booth with neat consumer packs, bottles,and reservoirs and  very serious military tactical hydration and packs on display

Their key differentiator is a "glass like" reservoir film material. By "glass like" Source means the material is far smoother with fewer peaks and valleys on the surface than competitors.

Source Hydration Glass Like Film

This translates to less gunk accumulating in the bladder. I have had a Source hydration bladder for several years, it came in the original Salomon Advanced Skin run vest. I think liquids do taste better in Source and it was my goto bladder on our 10 day trek from Chamonix to Zermatt a few years ago, got one for my wife, and I put it in my run packs.

I was given a  free sample and demonstration of Source's Ultimate Hydration System ($61 MSRP). The Ultimate features:

  • Most innovative, smart and successful design, the Widepac Hydration Reservoir makes filling, cleaning and draining easier than ever, and it's 100% leakproof.
  • Features a 360 degree cylindrical valve with soft bite which eliminates the need for a specific mouth orientation. The retreat spring sealing mechanism is leak proof even under pressure.
  • An effective Valve cover that keeps the valve protected and clean when not in use.
  • QMT Tube
    Tube with two quick connect adaptors, one on each side.
  • A revolutionary solution for refilling your hydration system on the move. The reservoir is filled directly through the tube eliminating the need to remove the hydration pack from the back for refills.
  • Magnetic Clip
  • A smart and simple magnetic tube holder clip, easily attachable to shirt, shooulder strap or Molle strap, allowing complete ease of use.
  • Insulated UV-Block woven cover. Keeps liquid cool and bacteria-free from the first to the last sip. 

Source Ultimate Hydration Bottle Refill
The reservoir tube can be disconnected at both ends by pressing and pulling secure spring snap valves,  to clean the tube and also to fill the reservoir. Using the blue UTA Universal Tube Adaptor, a soft wide coupling you can refill from a sink tap or from a water bottle without removing the bladder from your pack and opening  the wide mouth as one normally does. The UTA fill came from input from the US military in Afghanistan as drinking water used by soldiers there is bottled. The drink valve is easy to use, rotates 360 degrees and twists to secure shut. A dust cap is included but I find it fussy string, leash and all, and will remove. The magnet is a nice addition to secure the hose wherever you want.

Source 1 liter Liquitainer

The 1 liter (33 oz)  Liquitainer ($11) caught my eye. For most runs of less than 3 hours I use bottles in the front pockets of my race vests. I like the Salomon soft flasks but they tend to flop over when less than full if the pocket is not deep enough. The Liquitainer, as it is more rigid,stands up far better. To drink all one has to do is bend my head a bit and squeeze the bottle. I can almost entirely drain the bottle without taking it out. There is also a 750 ml version which will fit in shallower pockets. Folds flat.

The Dune Extreme Sport Hydration Pack ($126 MSRP)
Source Dune Extreme Sport Hydration Pack

Source Dune Extreme Sport Hydration Pack

Source's take on a performance hydration pack was very interesting.
The cross straps lie over the center area where the bladder sits
allowing a very secure customizable fit. The zip hip pockets
 are easy to get at without removing the pack and will hold an iPhone 5. 
No pockets on shoulder straps which is a bit of a downside as I like to be able to carry bottles, mobile, or nutrition there. 

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