If you’ve ever taken a swig of warm water from your hydration pack and longed for it to be nice and cool, this one is for you. It’s no secret that Hydro Flask prefers their water cold. Walk into their headquarters in Bend, Oregon, and it’s right on the wall – “Saving the world from lukewarm.” With that in mind, you start to understand why one of the largest insulated stainless steel water bottle makers also wants to enter the very crowded hydration pack market.
We had a chance to hang out with Hydro Flask in Bend late last year, and while we knew there would be a new hydration pack, we didn’t really know what to expect. After seeing the early samples of the new Journey Series though, it all started to make sense. There are a lot of different hydration packs out there, but there are a lot fewer that offer any sort of insulation to keep the water cold, not to keep it from freezing.
That’s where the Hydro Flask Cold Flow system comes in. Using a combination of an insulated neoprene reservoir sleeve with a reflective coating and an insulated Hydrapak IsoBound reservoir, the system is said to keep water cold for more than four hours.
To keep your back from heating up the water, the articulated back panel makes space between the two surfaces, and the insulated sleeve protects the insulated bladder further. Otherwise, the bladder offers the same bite valve and hose with magnetic clip that you’ll find on most other Hydrapak reservoirs. Interestingly, the bladder does not include the Hydrapak Fusion insulated tube which we recently saw at Sea Otter, due to the fact that it may not ever make it to market.
On the outside, you’ll find a waterproof construction with taped seams and sealed YKK zippers to keep water out, and the cold in. With all of the added insulation and waterproof construction, the bags weigh in at 3-3.6lbs.
The Journey Series will be split into two different packs, a 10L and 20L. Storage pockets are minimal, though the 20L offers a few more since it has added space.
We had a chance to get in both a ride and an awesome hike while we were in Bend to get a feel for the packs, and they definitely keep water colder than the average hydration pack. The packs we were using were still very early samples though, so the full review will have to wait until we get our hands on a real production version.
When they’re available April 1st, the Journey Series will sell for $165 for the 10L or $200 for the 20L.