Monday, February 27, 2012

CamelBak Antidote Reservoir Review

Camelbak's Antidote 100 oz (3 l) Reservoir fits perfectly in my Mountainsmith Alder 30 Woman's Day Pack.  Photo: Northern most section of the NJ Pine Barrens
We had the chance to do a day hike in the wild New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Situated about 40 miles west of New York City, it is a complex zone of ecosystems that include salt marshes, forest and open meadow.  Staying out for an entire day of backpacking means you may want to carry a hydration pack instead of individual water bottles.  We were impressed with the newer CamelBak Antidote Bladder when it came time to choose one for the Mountainsmith Alder 30 Woman's Day Pack.

This is the most recent upgrade the CamelBak line of reservoirs.  I had heard horror stories of strange things growing in hydration packs from my husband, the bicycle shop owner.  Mold, germs, funky tasting water, etc. did not appeal to me.  However the Antidote has a few things going for it to prevent that.

Antidote Features:
- Quick-snap cap that tightens in just a quarter turn
- Low-profile fit for unmatched stability
- Air-light fillport cuts weight
- Large fillport opening allows for easy cleaning
- Available in 100, 70 and 50 oz sizes (lumbar pack)
- Quick Link: Click off tube for fast refill or add Quick Link accessories
- Folding Dryer Arms keep reservoir open for quick and complete drying

Filling the Reservoir
The Quick Link System securely snaps off to separate the hose from the bag without leaking.  This means that I was able to leave my tubing in place in the day pack and simply remove the bladder itself to fill.  The inside of the bag is baffled allowing it to lay flatter after filling and the fillport securely seals with just a quarter twist.  Once filled, I reattached it to the tube and hung it on the hook inside the pouch of the Alder. Easy!

Hiking With the Antidote
Always take a medical kit!  SOL Hybrid 3
The Antidote has the standard CamelBak Big Bite Valve which opens the tube to drink.  There is also an Ergo Hydrolock shut off to the mouthpiece but even when I left it in the "on" position, it didn't leak.  It was a real pleasure being able to drink as much as I wanted during the hike but still have my hands free to take pictures and observe wildlife.  I found that even after more than three hours, the water was still refreshingly cool.  There was no shifting or "sloshing" even with running up and down hills and banks.

Ah, the dreaded clean-up.  The larger fillport opening and lower stack height are just two innovations that set the Antidote apart from similar reservoirs on the market.  However the larger opening in the fillport allows you to get your whole hand inside to scrub and thoroughly dry the inside of the bag.  The folding side arms extend out so the bag stays open for more thorough airing.  The tube is a little trickier but I just shook out as much water as possible. The Antidote has Hydro-Guard which inhibits growth of bacteria on the reservoir and tube surfaces.  However mold is another animal so I would be sure to dry it completely.
The Wrap
Overall the Antidote performed fantastically the first day out.  The bag itself is lightweight and BPA-free.  Since our water was taken care of, we filled our bags with insulated Klean Kanteens of hot chocolate and soup. You can purchase a cleaning kit but I think most problems come from using sugar based electrolyte and performance drinks in the reservoir.  Some backpackers recommend storing your hydration system in the freezer to prevent mold growth but I would check with the company before exposing the product to severe temperatures like your freezer.  CamelBak has a new "Got Your Bak" Lifetime Guarantee so if the bag malfunctions, you're covered.  Both the CamelBak Antidote and Antidote Cleaning Kit are available from Campsaver online. 
Having a hydration system in your day pack gives you freedom to focus on the hike, not worrying about your water supply.  PHOTO Naturalist Jim Faczak explains ecosystems in the Pine Barrens.

1 comment:

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