Backpacks with built-in hydration packs have long been essentials for many hikers – they make getting a sip whenever you get thirsty a convenient affair, after all. While a sip of water is definitely refreshing, however, we doubt it’s as refreshing as getting a sip of cold water from an insulated bottle. Turns out, it can be with the Hydro Flask Journey Series 20 Hydration Pack.
A backpack with an insulated hydration pack, it keeps your drink reasonably chilled for up to four hours. We know, that’s not much, since you’ll still be drinking lukewarm water the rest of the hike. If you’re setting up with a cooler at camp and taking the bag for hikes to explore during the day, though, it offers a potential solution to keep your refreshments just a little more satisfying, even if for just a short while.
The Hydro Flask Journey Series 20 Hydration Pack only manages to keep drinks cold for four hours because it doesn’t involve any cooler-level insulation. Instead, it relies on a simple neoprene internal sleeve with reflective material to minimize the heat transfer to your water bladder. Other than that sleeve, the hydration system is pretty standard, relying on a 3-liter sweatproof reservoir, a magnetic hose clip, and the outfit’s own Blaster bite valve.
The bag itself has a streamlined appearance that should make it suitable as an everyday backpack as much as it is an accessory for hiking. It’s made from 300-denier polyester with a thermoplastic polyurethane coating, with taped seams and sealed zippers, ensuring this thing can keep out water so well, you can hike in the rain without worrying about soaking your stash. With the material, it should resist punctures, tears, and abrasions, too, making this a perfectly suitable hiking pack.
The Hydro Flask Journey Series 20 Hydration Pack has a 20-liter capacity, divided among the top-access main compartment and two exterior zippered pockets. The main compartment, by the way, is divided into two sections, giving you a way to easily organize your gear, while a quick-access pocket on top gives you a place to store small items you want to keep within easy reach. A rigid and articulated back panel creates a convenient space between your back and the rear of the backpack, allowing air to circulate, so you both sweat less and avoid transferring your body heat to the water reservoir inside.
Truth be told, keeping the water cold inside the hydration pack isn’t even something I’ve thought about during hikes. After seeing this, though, we do wish someone would flat out make a version of it with even better insulation. Even one that can keep the water cold for a full day will be good enough, so we can go on day hikes enjoying somewhat chilled water, instead of having to drink the same room temperature refreshment every single time. It also comes in a smaller 10-liter version, by the way, in case you want something more suited for a single day out in nature.
The Hydro Flask Journey Series 20 Hydration Pack is available now.