An unpleasant discovery.This is my review for the PolarPak gel hydration pack reservoir. Whew, is that a mouthful!
Most of us probably don’t think too much about hydration (I know I sure don’t). We just fill up the bottle or Camel’s Back and off to the races. This year on my second ride of the season I started thinking I was sweating an awful lot, especially considering it was only ten degrees above freezing. Of course, it didn’t take me long to realize that it was localized completely on my back and below my water pack. Dummm dummm dummmmmm! I had sprung a leak. Actually, my second. This happened last year, but I was able to use an iron to re-seal the lower part of my reservoir. It lasted a year, so I don’t regret it. But I figured, now was the time for a long-term solution.
The PurchaseLast year when I looked around, most reservoirs were running around $30.00, with a sale price of $20.00 being the lowest. With shipping and handling, it would end up costing close to the same as a whole new hydration backpack. What a crock. But, I happened to be wandering around the LBS and saw they had these on sale for $17.49. Hey, now that’s a decent deal! Plus, this company is based locally, so I’m supporting the home team as well. Extra deal!
PolarPak actually makes two different models of reservoir (they specialize in the replacement reservoir only, not the entire backpack). One is an ingenious system that you pump air into and the pressure forces the water out, so you don’t break a blood vessel sucking the tube. The second is this little beauty. It has a built in section of gel squares, of the kind that you find in reusable ice packs for your knees. You can store this pack in the freezer and when you are ready to ride, fill it up and the water stays cold for the entire trip. Neato!
Benefits / Features / Drawbacks
The only real drawback is the weight. Once the water is gone, you’re stuck with lugging a few ounces of gel around with you, but frankly I think the benefits outweigh the cost. Plus, it continues to cool your back even though the pack is empty.
So, if you need a new reservoir and can find one on special, I say go for it.