The Source Clear 3 Litre is advertised as “A breakthrough in hydration technology. This Clear Hydration Reservoir features a large filler cap for easy filling and cube insertion, and a carrying handle easily attached to your daypack.” How will it stand up to testing?
On the top of the bladder there is a handy, reinforced loop which allows you to attach it inside most rucksac’s using the straps provided inside. Around this area the plastic looks tough and very well sealed. No problems with it on all walks so far and in fact because it is fairly wide it hangs better in my rucksack than others I have used.
This bladder has a screw top lid on it for refilling. Although this can be trickier to fill up than the sliding closure design we previously reviewed, I personally feel more secure with this type of seal inside my rucksack. I have used an older model previously to this so filling this one up was easy, and in general you just need to take a little more care about it.
The bite valve has a handy twist then suck design which is very easy to use. This was pretty impressive as it not only did it release the water after twisting the valve with a gentle bite down at a drinkable pace, but stopped any water leaking from the odd knock or over zealous suck when you had twisted it back. Last thing you need is a wet patch and questions from your fellow walkers! The cap fits over the bite valve with ease and the whole setup feels secure and tough. From experience I have fallen foul to the bite valve on bladders coming off, getting caked in dust and caught up on rocks, so it was great to see a design built to tough it out. Having said that there is no clip on it to attach to your rucksack straps so you have to tuck it under the straps. No biggy though!
The hose is 90cm in length which should get to you from your rucksack in even the biggest of packs. The hose feels tough and can be unlined from the bladder by using a simple clip.
3 Litres should be enough for most people in the UK to keep them going on a days walk. If you have the room in your rucksack but don’t need so much water you don’t have to fill it up the whole way! I personally wouldn’t go smaller than 3 litres unless running where a specially designed pack is better anyway.
Cleaning and drying
Because of the screw-top lid, cleaning this bladder is not as easy as the slide top design, having said that, you should always rinse the bladder out regularly, particularly after use, shaking well to remove as much water as possible. Hanging it up will also do the job. A special wire brush will get the hose clean. This pack also has anti gunge technology in the way of antimicrobial treatment which sounds impressive, but will need a little more testing before I comment on that.
Value for money
These bladders can be bought for around £20 which is a reasonable price and will certainly make a difference in your walking if not previously used before.
The bite valve is brilliant, the removable hose and fitting is well designed and the quality of the bladder feels great. The only issue you might have with this bladder is the screw top lid as it’s not for everyone, but this just points you in to the direction of the sliding closure design. I personally like this design as the water feels securely sealed in the bladder and it’s very easy to use, so much so I will be taking the winter covered example with me to Mount Blanc this year. Tristan Bawn