Hydrapak Review and Giveaway

>> Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I was recently sent an "Avila" Hydrapak to try out. (It's like a Camelbak.) Here's what it looks like:

Here's what their website has to say about the "Avila" pak:


Speed Harness Ultimate Mobility Straps (SHUMS)
Ultra-Light Weight Materials
360 Degree Reservoir Insulation
Applied Mesh Pocket with Elastic Pump Loop
Silky Slider Sternum Strap
Key Clip
Reflective Light Loop

Weight: 7 oz.
Gear Storage: 40 cu ( in top flap)
70 ox (2.0 L) Reversible Reservoir II with Classic Connector
Measures 13” x 6” x 2.75”
Silcone Impregnated D Trilobal Ripstop and 210D Nylon Construction

I tried it out on my first long ride of the year, which was about 10 days ago. Here are photos from that process:

All wrapped up

The empty 70 oz bladder

Nearly plump full

The closing system is great - it's just a "slide" that goes over a folded part of the bag. I didn't know if it would really be water-tight, but it sure was!! Also, I didn't know how easy it'd be to get the full bladder into the tiny backpack, but it went in MUCH easier than I thought.

Loaded and ready to go

The next question I had was "how much 'stuff' can the backpack hold?" Surprising, a LOT. I put in my cell phone, all my keys, and 2 gels, and I had TONS of room left. Here's the little zippered part opened up, and you can't even see the things I've put in there:

I didn't really test it, but I could imagine that it could hold another 6 gels, or a few PowerBars, or whatever else. But the storage is MUCH more than I thought it would be, and that's when I tested it with a full bladder of water in it too.

So I set out on a long (for me for this time of year) bike ride of 34 miles. I posted this photo last week (from about mile 8 of the ride), and if you look closely, you can see the Hydrapak:

Right after I took that photo, I had to make a minor adjustment and loosen the shoulder straps. When I put on the Hydrapak before heading out, it felt nice and snug. However, when dropping into aero, it was a little TOO tight across my back, so I loosened it a bit, and it was perfect for the rest of the ride. (Imagine wearing a very tight shirt while going into aero position - it would feel really tight / stretched across your back at that point.)


• 70 oz is a LOT of water! I can't carry 70 ounces with my 2 bottle cages.

• Easy to put on. You'd think a TINY backpack could be annoying to put on. It's not. It goes on just fine.

• Extra storage. I like to carry a lot of crap. This allows me to (if I'd like to).

• Easy open YET water tight bladder. It's kinda like a "zipper seal" Ziplock bag, but even more "trusted." This was one of my favorite features.

• Essentially "hands free" operation. The mouth piece just hung by my chest, and I just needed to pop it in my mouth (which took 0.5 seconds), and then I could drink all I wanted to without taking my hands off the handlebars. This would be great for mountain biking where your hands off the bars could make you end up in a tree!

• Mouth piece did NOT drip. When I was in aero, the bladder of water was on my back, and the mouth piece was hanging over my shoulder in front of my chest BELOW the height of the bladder. And yet there was no dripping.

• You're not going to lose it. When you hit a big bump while road riding (or if you're just going over normal trails while mountain biking), it's easy for a water bottle to pop out of it's cage. This Hydrapak ain't going anywhere.


• Not as easy to refill as bottles. On water bottles, you just pop off the top. There's a LITTLE more work involved with the Hydrapak to open the pack, pull out the bladder, "zip" off the top, and fill. That's not a TON of work, but it is a little more.

• Harder to use when breathing hard. This is what got me on my long ride 10 days ago. When I was going hard, it was difficult to gently bite the mouth piece while sucking to get water - it would have been a bit easier to just squirt water from a bottle into my mouth. So this ISN'T for use during really strenuous "Zone 4-5" workouts, but it would work GREAT for those easy, all-afternoon "Zone 1-2" bike rides with that special someone. (And as far as racing goes, I WOULD consider wearing this for an Ironman, but nothing shorter. I could imagine using a Hydrapak for my CarboPro - that way, I know I wouldn't lose my calories for the bike, and I wouldn't be going SO hard in an Ironman that I couldn't take an easy sip now-and-then.)


• I would NOT use this for: time trials, hard sprints, or Olympic Distance triathlons. It's too hard to get the water out while working (breathing) hard.

• I WOULD use this for: mountain biking, easier road riding, longer races (like HIM or IM), or easier running. It's easy to forget back there (in a good way), and you can store a lot of water. Like I mentioned above, it'd be a great way to get your calories for an IM (by adding something like Perpetuem or CarboPro).

If you want to see an entertaining "test" of the quality of their bladders, check out this video:



ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST BETWEEN NOW AND MIDNIGHT NEXT MONDAY (the 25th of April). You just need to live in the US or Canada. I'll use a random number generator, or draw a number from a hat, or have a random Facebook friend pick a random number to choose the winner. If you don't have a blogger account, just make sure to leave a comment with something specific like "Hi! It's John Smith from Topeka, Kansas!"

Note: this WON'T get you an extra entry like I sometimes have done in the past, but if you want to fan Hydrapak on Facebook, you can stay up-to-date on their deals and what expos they'll be at. Check them out on Facebook.

So that's it! Comment to be entered! And check back later next week to see if you're the winner of a "Avila" Hydrapak!

The "Avila"

Thanks Hydrapak!!


Unknown 7:59 AM, April 19, 2011  

I have always wanted one of the "you wear it" fluid containers. Im not big on the belts, and I dont have enough fluids on my bike for the IM I'm doing this summer without a ton of bottle changes. I hope I can win this!

deet 8:00 AM, April 19, 2011  

Thanks for your comments! Have a great day!

Laura (LunaChickRuns) 8:01 AM, April 19, 2011  

I've always wanted to try something like this for running, but I'm afraid of having it bounce. Looks like it would be perfect for long bike rides though!

Kurt 8:03 AM, April 19, 2011  

I would love to have this. Thanks Steve!

SM 8:08 AM, April 19, 2011  

Sign me up for this one! Thanks Steve!

Lacey 8:08 AM, April 19, 2011  

I would love to win this. Count me in.

bobbi 8:15 AM, April 19, 2011  

I have always wanted to try one of these - I hate belts. Thanks!

longrun4fun 8:16 AM, April 19, 2011  

Draw my name/number for this giveaway.

kristen 8:18 AM, April 19, 2011  

I wonder if it is "lady-friendly". I have used my husband's hydration pack and found that it was too big and the straps wouldn't tighten enough to make it fit me properly...
Regardless, I'd love to win and find out!

Unknown 8:23 AM, April 19, 2011  

I have considered purchasing one of these prior. Of course it would be better to win it!

Dan Isaacs 8:24 AM, April 19, 2011  

Can you fill it with beer? If so, I'm in!

Lady Em 8:25 AM, April 19, 2011  

wish me luck! I would love to actually win tis one. ive been wanting to try out a pack system b/c I am terrible about carrying water and don't like fuel belts...help!

Greenking17 "TRI-harder" 8:30 AM, April 19, 2011  

Nice write-up Steve! The Hydropack looks good on ya! Maybe wear it for falls? Haha...probably not! Sign me up...

Dwayne 8:36 AM, April 19, 2011  

I have a camelbak and this looks a bit nicer than what I have....

Anonymous,  8:41 AM, April 19, 2011  

I would love to win this - I have been looking into these products and wasn't sure which would be good.

PS LOVE your blog!
Susan in Shoreview

Trevor Helmers 8:42 AM, April 19, 2011  

I'd love to replace my leaky camelback. Tired of losing my hydradion down my back...

atx77 8:46 AM, April 19, 2011  

Sign me up, it about that time in Texas to carry water like a pack mule.

Ironmom (Julie) 9:07 AM, April 19, 2011  

Count me in. Thanks for the giveaway!

Tri-ing 9:11 AM, April 19, 2011  

Hi, its Will in Illinois. It would be great to win the Hydrapak.

Drew 9:12 AM, April 19, 2011  

Sure I'll drop my name in the hat.

Robyn 9:16 AM, April 19, 2011  

Sounds like a great pack! Sign me up, please!

Anne 9:27 AM, April 19, 2011  

Can you imagine how sweet it'll look when I'm riding my new bike one of us is going to buy me?? I'm in!

Pretend this is real 9:27 AM, April 19, 2011  

Oooo! Oooo! I want a Hydrapack! My camelbak is 6 years old (well... not the bladder) and could use a replacement!

Penny 9:28 AM, April 19, 2011  

I would love to try this hydrapak. Thank Steve

Robert Lejeune 9:29 AM, April 19, 2011  

I always wanted one, thanks for giving us the chance to maybe win one :)

Ohio Triathlete 9:30 AM, April 19, 2011  

Hi Steve, it's Scott from Massillon, Ohio! Please enter me into the drawing, thanks and keep up the good work!

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES 9:37 AM, April 19, 2011  

I love my hydrapak. And so does my husband. He always steals it. I want to enter this giveaway for him.

Katie 9:37 AM, April 19, 2011  

Ooh, sign me up!
Katie K.

Ms. R 9:41 AM, April 19, 2011  

I want one! Did you test it running? I'm interested in getting a pack for trail running.

Jennifer Collins,  9:45 AM, April 19, 2011  

Sign me up, Jennifer from England, AR

Unknown 9:52 AM, April 19, 2011  

I would love to have and try this! I have been wanting one forever!

Christine 9:59 AM, April 19, 2011  

woohoo!! I totally want one!! I love your giveaways!

Diana Tries-A-Tri! 10:10 AM, April 19, 2011  

Oh OH Oh I want that! Thanks for the great giveaways!

Kris 10:16 AM, April 19, 2011  

Yes, please, sign me up! Thanks for the great giveaway!

SteveQ 10:21 AM, April 19, 2011  

OMG, I was going to buy a hydration pack today! Now I'll wait to see if I can win one.

Christine 10:21 AM, April 19, 2011  

Come on lucky number!!!! cz

Jason Wright 10:33 AM, April 19, 2011  

I was MTB riding the other day and wishing I had one of these instead of bottles.

Thanks for doing these giveaways Steve, you the man!

Now randon.org, take care of me just this one time.

kristen 10:40 AM, April 19, 2011  

Kristen in Alabama here! would love to try this out!

Mule 10:46 AM, April 19, 2011  

Woo daddy needs a new Hydrapak!! sign me up.

John 10:56 AM, April 19, 2011  

I would love to win this because my Camel Back just broke - I ended up with 1.5L of cold water running down my bike shorts.

Put me in for one!

Carolina John 10:56 AM, April 19, 2011  

I've used a hydropak for a couple of years now and I love it! Good call.

Anonymous,  11:00 AM, April 19, 2011  

Throw my name in the hat!

Kitzzy 11:08 AM, April 19, 2011  

Looks awesome! I'm in!

Unknown 11:09 AM, April 19, 2011  

I just want to win something worn by Steve...

Katie 11:11 AM, April 19, 2011  

Hey Steve! I'd like to win this, or if not, at least give you more numbers to have to choose from :-) (This is Katie from Minneapolis, by the way)

Anonymous,  11:12 AM, April 19, 2011  

Sign me up! I'd love to win one! (Jen from Ohio)

Kristin,  11:15 AM, April 19, 2011  

Ooooh, that is snazzy! I'd love to win that! (Kristin from Detroit)

Nelson 11:27 AM, April 19, 2011  

Cool, great review Steve, I'm in for one.

Crosses fingers.

Unknown 11:29 AM, April 19, 2011  

Excellent! I'd love one!

Clarkie 11:47 AM, April 19, 2011  

Random generator, please pick me! Pretty please!

Suzy 12:17 PM, April 19, 2011  

Just a comment? I'm leaving a comment. Count me in for this giveaway. It is a great one.

Unknown 12:26 PM, April 19, 2011  

this sounds awesome! fingers crossed...

Katie B 12:48 PM, April 19, 2011  

looks great! count me in :)

Mark 12:58 PM, April 19, 2011  

Hi! It's Mark from Kansas City, Kansas! haha, close to the example... IM FEELING LUCKY!

Dan 1:05 PM, April 19, 2011  

I'm in, just what I need!


Anonymous,  1:21 PM, April 19, 2011  

i'd like to see how this compares to my nathan hydration vest!

- kyndra from vancouver

Julie D 1:22 PM, April 19, 2011  

I definitely would like to try this as the weather heats up!

Justin 1:31 PM, April 19, 2011  

Me me me me me me. Please

Joel 1:40 PM, April 19, 2011  

I love free stuff.

Mark Baker 2:14 PM, April 19, 2011  

This would be great for my upcoming Tough Mudder.

John Bonk 3:06 PM, April 19, 2011  

Sad there is no way to get extra entries!

caasen 4:11 PM, April 19, 2011  

Hi Steve if you were giving away rocks I would comment about my interest in winning them! Since it is a Hydrapak I am even more interested.

Craig From Vadnais Heights

steele 4:29 PM, April 19, 2011  

Ooh! I could definitely use a new "hydration system". My Camelbak bladder has a giant hole and I've been too cheap to buy a new one :)

Nathan from NY,  5:04 PM, April 19, 2011  

Count me in Steve

Nathaniel 5:42 PM, April 19, 2011  

That would be really cool to use. Thanks for the giveaway.

SueM,  6:13 PM, April 19, 2011  

yes, please! SueM from WV

trihrdrgrl 6:36 PM, April 19, 2011  

I am in, as always!!! Thanks, as always! :)

The Triathlon Rx 9:19 PM, April 19, 2011  

Thanks for hosting another sweet giveaway Steve!

Erin Elizabeth Miller 9:28 PM, April 19, 2011  

Great review - glad you liked it :)

Mr. A 11:39 PM, April 19, 2011  

Water... I need water.

Nice read, will enjoy on long bike trips.

krystyna47 12:51 AM, April 20, 2011  

Thanks for the review, count me in the contest! Cheers! :)

Unknown 7:14 AM, April 20, 2011  

Phil from Columbus,OH __ sign me up for one of those!

bectom1 7:41 AM, April 20, 2011  

Thanks for the review. Please put me down for one entry in the contest. Or put me down for multiple ones because that would be cool as well :)

Kevin 8:01 AM, April 20, 2011  

I'm feeling lucky. Enter me please.


Richard 8:02 AM, April 20, 2011  

Baby needs a new pair of . . . I mean, a hydropack. Please enter me.



Rich 8:40 AM, April 20, 2011  

Sign me up. Thanks.

Bev 9:11 AM, April 20, 2011  

I need one of these for trail running, pretty please. Many thanks from Bev in Dublin, CA.

Michelle 9:38 AM, April 20, 2011  

Put my name in the hat!

gracia 10:57 AM, April 20, 2011  

Steve, I'm hoping to maybe see you around at a race again. The hydrapak is looking pretty handy for training!

Wendy 11:08 AM, April 20, 2011  

This seems like a perfect solution to hydrating during my 1st Ironman! Thanks Steve
Wendy - Madison

kia 12:19 PM, April 20, 2011  

Heck yeah Steve, count me in. I agree not to use it for sprint events, just training workouts.

Neil Richard 12:30 PM, April 20, 2011  

Neil from King George, VA! Sign me up!

a real mf 12:46 PM, April 20, 2011  

south florida, here....100 oz not enough on some days!!!!!

Nicole 1:45 PM, April 20, 2011  

oooo...looks groovy for a long off road adventure!

Jan in Katonah,  2:29 PM, April 20, 2011  

Looks great for summer. I'm in.

SwimBekiSwim 5:23 PM, April 20, 2011  

I def left gatorade in my camelbak and now it's disgusting an moldy... I'd LOOoOVE to replace it =-)

Val's Adventures 8:04 PM, April 20, 2011  

Looks like a great product.

Anna 9:01 PM, April 20, 2011  

Hey Steve - I've been eyeing this type of hydration system - would LOVE to win this one! - this is Anna from Monticello IA - runner and novice tri-athlete :)

Erin 9:26 PM, April 20, 2011  

Count me in! Erin from ND.

Katie 11:21 PM, April 20, 2011  

Cool! Put my name in the mix!

Shrinking Sara 8:07 AM, April 21, 2011  

Please enter my name in the draw!

neal 8:39 AM, April 21, 2011  

In on this, Neal F from Cartersville GA

swimfin 9:34 AM, April 21, 2011  

Boy, do I need this since all I can do is run after my fourth surgery on my bike crash injured arm from 2 years ago. Glad to hear you can run again, I hope to be able to swim again soon.

Anonymous,  11:50 AM, April 21, 2011  

Steve another great giveaway!
Clinton from NC

Kiley 3:44 PM, April 21, 2011  

Sweet giveaway! I posted it on my blog - http://dailyvitaminf.blogspot.com/2011/04/total-giveaway-tuesday-10.html

Chloe 5:15 PM, April 21, 2011  

One entry for me, maybe I can win two contests in a row. wouldn't that be awesome ;)

Unknown 6:59 PM, April 21, 2011  

Yes, throw me in the hat!

Jayson 7:01 PM, April 21, 2011  

Thanks for another great giveaway, Steve. Crossing my fingers :)

Erik 7:08 PM, April 21, 2011  

Count me in. Thanks for another great giveaway.

Belly 7:27 AM, April 22, 2011  

Count me in! Thanks!

Anonymous,  8:51 AM, April 22, 2011  

Thanks for another great giveaway, Steve. Looks like a cool bag, sign me up.


Mary V.,  9:04 AM, April 22, 2011  

Count me in for the drawing please. Mary V. in Crystal.

Brian 9:24 AM, April 22, 2011  

Pick me!!!! Pick me!!! I'm Donkey!!!

Paula - Running Mom of 5 1:21 PM, April 22, 2011  

This looks awesome! I would love to win! Paula

Stacie 4:35 PM, April 22, 2011  

I'd love to win one of these. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.

D Nyce 6:33 PM, April 22, 2011  

Darlene from NC... I want one. :)

Anthony 9:19 PM, April 22, 2011  

Steve - sign me up for a Avila please!
-dehydrated in New Orleans aka Anthony

Thomas 11:37 AM, April 23, 2011  

Nice give away
Sign me in


Limegren,  4:35 PM, April 23, 2011  

Woot! Free Hydration Backpack!


Turn The Damn Cranks! 10:12 PM, April 23, 2011  

Here's hoping my number is the lucky one!

mjskas1 11:03 PM, April 23, 2011  

Another cool giveaway! Thanks.

momtodc 12:20 AM, April 24, 2011  

Thanks for the chance to win this awesome prize!


live better 6:24 AM, April 24, 2011  

Great giveaway, enter my name.

Unknown 6:44 AM, April 25, 2011  

Put me down for one.

Jeff Vanis 7:47 AM, April 25, 2011  

Here is my comment, maybe will have some Bday luck!

fbhidy 10:27 AM, April 25, 2011  

Weiner weiner chicken diner?

Ken Davis 1:37 PM, April 25, 2011  

Good review. Sign me up for the drawing.

PhillipT 1:46 PM, April 25, 2011  

Thanks for the review.

Mark Berger 1:46 PM, April 25, 2011  


Sign me up!!

Mark Berger - Chicago, IL

Cupcake 1:54 PM, April 25, 2011  

Count me in!


Tater 1:57 PM, April 25, 2011  

Comment ....

Tater :o)

Tracy 2:10 PM, April 25, 2011  

I'd love to win this! Thanks for the opportunity!

Anonymous,  2:33 PM, April 25, 2011  

Count me in for this one.
Carol from WI

Heather Vance,  2:43 PM, April 25, 2011  

Looks like a great product! Count me in!

Heather Vance

Anonymous,  5:13 PM, April 25, 2011  

Darren in Wichita would like one entry please! Thanks!

Anonymous,  5:19 PM, April 25, 2011  

Would love to win!

Robin from North Liberty, IA

Unknown 5:58 PM, April 25, 2011  

Sounds like a great accessory for an all-day Munger Trail ride.
count me in, please!

Unknown 6:03 PM, April 25, 2011  

Hi! It's Barbara from Baltimore MD. It gets REALLY hot here in the summer (100's w/ 70% humidity). Sure could use 70oz of fluid! High Fives!

Michael Holtz,  9:49 PM, April 25, 2011  

I would love to have one of these. I just started riding and have thought about getting one.

Kristen 7:06 AM, April 26, 2011  

Time for a replacement hydra pack - hope I am a lucky one.

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