Source Ultimate Hydration System

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Ultimate Hydration System
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Tested: Source Ultimate Hydration System

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Fred Robinson

Source has been in the hydration game for over 25 years and is sold worldwide in more than 25 countries. Based in Israel, all of Source's products are made in-house by a team of over 200 workers with a percentage of their net-profit going towards local environmental activities. With their recent push towards a more complete line of mountain bike specific products, we got a chance to check out their Ultimate Hydration System: a stand-alone reservoir with some unique accessories intended to fit not only in Source's own packs, but any other hydration pack you may already own. Read on to see what sets this system apart from the others.

Source Ultimate Hydration System Highlights

  • 2-liter (70-ounce) or 3-liter (100-ounce) Widepac Reservoir
  • Helix Valve
  • Dirt Shield

Review by Fred Robinson

Source has been in the hydration game for over 25 years and is sold worldwide in more than 25 countries. Based in Israel, all of Source's products are made in-house by a team of over 200 workers with a percentage of their net-profit going towards local environmental activities. With their recent push towards a more complete line of mountain bike specific products, we got a chance to check out their Ultimate Hydration System: a stand-alone reservoir with some unique accessories intended to fit not only in Source's own packs, but any other hydration pack you may already own. Read on to see what sets this system apart from the others.

Source Ultimate Hydration System Highlights

  • 2-liter (70-ounce) or 3-liter (100-ounce) Widepac Reservoir
  • Helix Valve
  • Dirt Shield
  • Universal Tube Adapter (UTA)
  • Magnetic Clip
  • Weave Covered Tube
  • Glass Like Film Technology
  • Taste Free System
  • Grunge-Guard Technology
  • MSRP $55

Initial impressions

A reservoir we can fill without having to remove it from the pack? Whaaat? Source figured out a way to eliminate one of the more annoying aspects of using a hydration pack, and if you've ever tried to fill your reservoir with the pack dangling by the floor, you know the struggle is real. The Universal Tube Adapter, or UTA, is what makes this possible. It's a pretty simple contraption that snaps onto the end of the drinking tube and allows you to fill the reservoir via the drinking side using either a faucet or water bottle.

Should you want to pull the reservoir out of the pack, the drinking tube easily detaches with a Quick Connect Adapter and the Widepac Closure System makes filling and adding ice easy. This is actually the easiest reservoir to fill that we've tested with its wide opening and slide on closure design.

Besides the cool features, the Ultimate Hydration System looks to be constructed of quality materials with a thick-skinned, well-sealed reservoir, a woven UV-protected tube cover and an ergonomic, easy to use bite-valve.

We tested the Ultimate Hydration System using Source's own Fuze Pack, but the sleek reservoir will work in any comparably sized pack.

On The Trail

As mentioned above, this is one of the easiest and fastest reservoirs to fill and the UTA system adds an extra convenience not found on any other system. Source includes a Magnetic Clip with the Ultimate Hydration System so you can mount the bite valve pretty much anywhere you want, from your own shirt to the shoulder straps or the adjustable sternum strap. The magnet proved to be strong and kept the valve in place even over rough terrain while still being effortless to mount and unmount between drinks.

The Helix Valve is easy to use and has never leaked during a ride or in storage. The mouthpiece is a cylindrical style bite valve with three positions: fully closed, half-open and full-open depending on how much liquid you want to flow through it. Simply bite down on the valve to open it up. When you stop biting the rubber coating on the valve automatically closes itself to prevent dripping, though you'll need to twist it again to fully seal the system.

Number one in a good hydration system is always taste. If your reservoir makes your water taste like plastic or anything funky, it's probably not a reservoir worth keeping. Source uses what they call Glass-Like Film and Grunge-Guard Technologies to keep your water tasting fresh and clean. We've had this reservoir for about two months now and have only cleaned it once, solely for the purpose of being able to talk about it. Before that, the pack pretty much stayed filled and in the back of our car between rides and never required cleaning. Probably not the safest practice, but definitely a worst-case scenario test and the reservoir passed it with flying colors. No build-up, no fuzzy creatures growing inside or plastic tasting water at all, despite some 90-degree plus days spent in the trunk. When we finally did clean it, it was as simple as just rinsing-out the reservoir and hanging it upside-down to dry. Should you want to, the opening is wide enough to reach in there with a brush, too.

Another cool feature of the system is the Dirt Shield, which snaps over the Helix Valve to keep it free of dirt and other crud that can find its way on the valve. This is especially useful when tossing your pack in the car or in the dirt during a trail-side breather or beer. Have you ever forgotten to close the bite valve on your reservoir and had it leak all over your car? We have too, and an unintended second function of the Dirt Shield is to help keep that from happening. Even when we piled our riding gear on top of the valve or sat on it by accident, no leakage: bonus points to Source!

Long Term Durability

So far all is good with the Ultimate Hydration System. No plastic flavor has started to develop due to materials braking-down and everything has held up well with no signs of leakage or anything. It's looking like we'll be able to hold on to this thing for a long time to come.

Things That Could Be Improved

No real complaints here. The Ultimate Hydration System does its job and does it well. Some will remark that the amount of water flow through the bite valve is less than other systems, but if anything it helps us pace our water consumption better for those long rides.

What's The Bottom Line?

Source went above and beyond when it comes to something as simple as a hydration reservoir, and it's highlighted by some unique features you didn't even know you wanted. The UTA quick fill system actually turns out to be pretty handy in hurried situations. Enduro racers will find it especially useful when refuel stop times are limited. Combine that with a truly taste-free and practically zero-maintenance system and you have an excellent reservoir that will drop into pretty much any hydration pack out there. Kudos to Source for innovating on an often over-looked part of hydration packs.

Visit www.sourceoutdoor.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Fred Robinson, a.k.a. "Derf," has been on two wheels since he was two years old. He picked up a mountain bike in 2004 and started racing downhill in 2006. He has seen moderate success racing CAT 1 but focuses his efforts on building, maintaining and riding his local trails. He's deceptively quick for a bigger guy and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. As a SoCal native he mostly rides trails covered with loose, traction-less turns and sharp, immovable rocks. Besides downhill, he rides trail bikes, road, and also enjoys the occasional dirt jump session.

Specifications

Product Source Ultimate Hydration System
Rider Unisex
Hydration Pack Type Backpack
Bladder Capacity 2L (70oz) or 3L (100oz) Options
Storage Capacity N/A
Materials Triple Layer Taste and Odor Free Polyethylene Film with Anti Microbial Agent // Co-Extruded Tube // PP, PE and POM Injected Plastic Parts // Silicone Mouthpiece // BPA and Phthalate Free
Pockets N/A
Colors Blue
Miscellaneous Helix Valve 360-Degree Cylindrical Valve with Soft Bite // Dirt Shield Valve Cover // QMT Tube with Two Quick Connect Adaptors, One on Each End // UTA - Universal Tube Adapter for Refilling Your Reservoir Directly Through the Drinking Tube Eliminating the Need to Remove the Hydration Pack from the Back for Refills // Magnetic Clip Tube Holder Clip, Easily Attachable to Shirt, Shooulder Strap or Molle Strap // Insulated UV-Block Woven Tube Cover // Glass-Like Technology Prevents Bio-Film Build Up // Grunge-Guard Inhibits Bacteria Growth on the Reservoir and Drinking Tube Surfaces for the Life of the System Utilizing FDA-Approved and EPA-Registered Anti-Microbial Agent // $54 for 2L Option // $55 for 3L Option
Price $55
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