For the last 3,000+ miles on Nina, I’ve been testing out the GeigerRig RIG 710 hydration engine. Here’s the scoop…
What’s a GeigerRig?
Hydration packs are largely the domain of hikers, runners, and similar outdoors-people, but they’re also great for motorcycling. In fact, many riders use them to stay hydrated on the road. There are many brands out there but I’m partial to GeigerRig because they are beyond hydration packs, they’re pressurized bladder systems, or “hydration engines” as they call them.
As I’ve mentioned before in my review of the system we used on Hell Hike and Raft, I was a slow sell on the concept. Before I used it, a pressurized system seemed an unnecessary complication to me. I’m a fan now, though, for many reasons.
- It’s easier to draw water. When my head is pounding from exertion and heat, having only to squeeze the valve with my teeth to get water is a fabulous feature.
- The ability to squirt water has infinite uses. Think of any scenario when a stream of water is preferable over simply pouring or dripping: sharing with others or pets, filling other vessels, spritzing your sweaty face, flushing wounds, or squirting off a bug-caked helmet visor or headlight.
- When on a motorcycle, I can’t carry a lot of water like I can when in the car. Having a well-directed stream of water allows me to conserve my supply which is especially important when I’m camping off of the bike. I’m much more efficient when brushing my teeth or cleaning off my visor since I’m not slopping and dumping water out of a water bottle.
I’ve been a GeigerRig user for a while now so this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to the system; yet I haven’t been wearing my older RIG 700 to ride. It’s blue and black and covers the hi-viz panels on the back of my jackets which means it negates the benefit of having hi-viz. Instead, I’ve been carrying water bottles in my tank bag. Stopping to dig it out is somewhat of a pain, though, which means I don’t do it often enough. For me in full gear, especially in the heat of a Georgia summer, that’s not a recipe for hydration success.
So how to maintain hi-viz and stay hydrated? Fortunately GeigerRig has a couple of products, including the RIG 710, that come in a bright green “Cirtus” color. Problem solved.
Motorcycling gear is very specialized to handle high-wind conditions. GeigerRig didn’t design the RIG 710 with motorcyclists in mind but there are features that work very well for riders:
- The rain cover tucks neatly into a pocket on the bottom of the pack and can be tethered with a strap. Obviously riders need everything securely strapped or attached in some way so this works well.
- The waist strap has keepers for the excess length of webbing which means no flapping bits beating your legs and hips as you ride. It’s also long enough to wrap around my bulky winter riding jacket with room to spare.
- The tube clip on the shoulder strap is easy to access and pop out for a quick swig of water. A simple press and the tube is back in place between uses. I had no trouble with it, even in my bulkiest riding gloves.
- The RIG 710 has a built-in whistle on the chest strap. Whether I’m on the bike or on the trail, I love having that feature.
Care and feeding of the GeigerRig…
One of the complaints about bladder systems is the “slime” factor. There are ways to get around that. Some folks freeze their bladder systems in between uses. I opt for frequent drying and cleaning.
The GeigerRig bladder is dishwasher safe but I use vinegar and baking soda to flush it and get the solution into all the nooks and crannies. The pliable plastic inverts easily to dry and is the clear winner compared to the more rigid Platypus bladders that have all failed me.
I’ve also begun treating with the Potable Aqua PURE to keep it disinfected. It’s supposed to keep bladder slime at bay even when the water I’m filling with is safe. I’ve wanted to test that feature of the PURE since Hell Hike and Raft so I’ll have to get back to you on how well it works over time.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what I’d like to see improved. What can I say? I have opinions and I’m not afraid to use them. 😉
- Having a rain cover included is totally fabulous. I’ve had to make liberal use of it through some very sloppy weather while testing the RIG 710. But it’s black which reduces the value of having a hi-viz pack. The lettering on the cover is reflective though so it’s not a deal-breaker. I’d simply like to see the cover be as bright as the pack. As you can imagine, I’m a little bit twitchy about doing everything in my power to be seen while riding.
- Initially with the RIG 710, the tubing seemed to give the water a funny, bitter taste. Even though I flush it and clean it, it lasted a little while. I haven’t had that happen with previous versions of Geigerrig products I’ve used so I don’t know what has changed since then. It did eventually subside but it was slightly off-putting at first.
- Even with my old RIG 700, I’ve struggled with wanting a little more length on the pressurization tube. The position of the bulb is adjustable but I find I can’t get it low enough for my liking without the tube coming off of the bulb. Another inch on the tube would make all the difference.
Overall, I’m very happy with the addition of the RIG 710 to my riding gear. It’s working really well for me and I’m finally staying properly hydrated, especially on long rides. I, personally, wouldn’t bother with a non-pressurized bladder system since I prefer not wearing anything on my back when riding. But the benefit of a pressurized system is enough for me to overcome that dislike. I use that feature in more ways than I ever imagined I would.
For a few more images, visit my Flickr album. And as always, if you have questions, leave a comment. I’m happy to address anything I wasn’t able to cover here.
Disclaimer: GeigerRig provided the RIG 710 to me free of charge to test and review. However, my opinions are my own and your experience may vary from mine.
Also, tons of Val hugs to my buddy Tom Vadnais for helping me get some shots of the pack.
Cheers, friends. Adventure on!