Innovation Doesn’t Suck


Determining there was significant dissatisfaction with the traditional hydration pack, GEIGERRIG developed one solution that addressed all of those issues, and they call it a hydration engine.

Old school Semper Fi blood drives GEIGERRIG. In the early 90’s, Bob Geiger first experienced hydration packs as a rifle platoon commander in the US Marine Corps. He began to notice hydration packs were based on a belief that the application would provide hand’s free access to water in a way that is much more convenient than a water bottle or canteen. However, as he began using hydration packs, he found that the systems had some very real shortcomings. It was these experiences, often in tough times that drove him to design and create a better solution. Bob believes in keeping things simple, but also believes in closing the loop through end user feedback.

“In almost every instance noted, it became apparent that the canteen or water bottle had some meaningful benefits over and above the hydration pack. For these reasons, the promise of “Better than a Bottle” was at best arguable, and at worst completely unrealized. Accordingly, most of us who kept carrying a hydration pack did so with full recognition that the hydration pack had some frustrating limitations.” Bob Geiger 

During his initial research, half of the folks expressed difficulty sucking the water out of a hydration pack while engaged in aerobic activity such as running or mountain biking. They often said that they needed to stop, catch their breath, drink, and then proceed. Another top feedback item was maintenance, specifically having to wash the unit. After initial use, folks expressed difficulty cleaning their hydration system or didn’t clean it at all because the design didn’t encourage easy cleaning. Consumers left the system to collect mold and money was wasted. Users also wanted convenient access to water in their hydration pack to spray off their body, gear and even wounds. Maybe a surprise to some, most want to share their water, but didn’t due to the requirement to suck on a bite valve. Finally, it was virtually universal that consumers wished they could dunk their hydration pack in a stream and immediately begin drinking the water. Determining there was significant dissatisfaction with the traditional hydration pack, GEIGERRIG developed one solution that addressed all of those issues, and they call it a hydration engine.


The hydration engine uses a patented pressurized system that sprays water out when the bite valve is pinched or bitten, allowing water to be easily ingested during aerobic activity. Users simply pressurize the engine by squeezing a small bulb located on the shoulder strap. The pressurizing chamber of the hydration pack is separate from the water chamber. This ensures that the pressurizing air in the hydration pack never hits the drinking tube and subsequently depressurizes the hydration pack. Another benefit of the pressurized system is that it prevents mouth bacteria from back washing and hosting in the drink tube and bite valve. For filling and cleaning, access is easily gained through a large opening at the top. This design feature also allows the unit to be easily turned inside out and placed on the top shelf of the dishwasher for cleaning. Also, users can confidently refill the engine with water from a river, stream, lake or pond because GEIGERRIG offers an in-line filter. This is a game changer! The filters attach directly to the hydration bladder, in-line, with the drink tube, and are tested and certified to protect users from common gastrointestinal illness. All this is great, but you still need a smart and convenient way to carry the engine and maximize the technology. GEIGERRIG has done that, and added a layer of safety.


The main concept for the Guardian was to create a low-profile, high-pressure, impact-absorbing, slip-surface pack. Designers of the Guardian found out if you insert a hydration reservoir between two rigid plates, then compress the plates together using straps, the reservoir is immediately pressurized to a certain degree. If you then insert air into the air-chamber of the GEIGERRIG system, the plates will restrict the expansion of the reservoir, keeping it low profile. Now, with the air inserted into the air chamber, the water in the reservoir, and the rigid guardian plates on both sides, you now have an impact absorbing system arrayed over the back of the user. The pack is made from 500D Cordura® and futures 70 Oz engine, and the empty weight is 1.75 lbs.

Test and Evaluation

Upon initial inspection, the unit has a slim futuristic look. Shoulder straps and back panel are mostly mesh, with foamed diamond shaped padding. Overall, the pack has a sturdy construction. Fit is ergonomically correct, and shoulder straps feel light. A huge spine channel runs the entire length of the pack and helps stabilize the load when the engine is pressurized. The pack features a properly placed sternum and belly strap however I have a 36” waist and found the belly strap near its limits. The pack fits snug and I didn’t experience any pinching or creeping, however when the engine is fully pressurized I got a minor sensation of bulging through the back panel.

Unbuckling the two exterior snap latches allows access to the engine. To fill the engine, you simply quick disconnect the main drink tube and pressure tube, and remove the top slider to allow easy filling. Once the engine is secured back in place, the user simply pressurizes the engine. It took me on average 25-30 squeezes to charge the engine. A twist air release valve is located directly above the charge bulb. I noticed if I needed to re-pressurize the system during colder temperatures, the bulb was a little harder to pump. The water valve has a nice ergonomic bend of about 30 degrees that allows positioning the drink tube without bending it. Another nice feature is the on/off twist function that prevent user form inadvertently spraying water everywhere. Overall GERIGERRIG has a well thought out interface.

For obvious reason I didn’t test the impact absorbing claims, but I think It’s fair to say this design has the potential to help if the user experienced an impact to the center back. GEIGERRIG did not send a filter with this model, so I was unable to test the claims. GEIGERRIG is in production of a full on Tactical version of the Guardian. The pack will essentially be the same except for few minor but necessary changes. It’ll feature stowable straps and have the ability to connect to any Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS), plus 360 degrees of D rings around the exterior. None of the issue noted seriously distracted from the outstanding performance, and as matter of fact, I found the design to be one of the best I’ve ever worn.

GEIGERRIG has consistently won awards worldwide for their designs and the Guardian should attract similar attention. Both recreational and hardcore users will appreciate this small compact and versatile hydration system. I truly believe this is one of the more innovative applications available to the outdoor community, and I’m looking forward to seeing the tactical version. I’d like to thank GEIGERRIG for providing the Guardian. During my research I came across numerous reviews regarding GEIGRRIG’s customers service; Everyone had nothing but positive things to say. I can back all those up, because during my numerous talks with Bob and Curt, I always felt like they truly cared about the time they spent talking to me. If you’re looking for a proven hydration design, and superior customer service, look no further than GEIGERRIG.

Learn more about GEIGERRIG products at

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  1. Love the idea behind this. I would like to know price of the hard back mil spec edition. Also can I get it in Australia? I think apart from military friends I think it be very popular at my rifle club. Love to promote and show to others if you’d like to send me one with hard back. As we shoot in very hot conditions and boys having trouble with there light blue ones busting and hot hose water. Can get up around 43 degrees in summer and hotter. Even cool months very hot. My Address if you’d like to send info or for a beta tester in the hot Australian sun. 2/10 Anne st Pottsville NSW 2489 Australia. Very good idea.

  2. Really love one down under (Australia). Will they be available as sounds like a great hydration setup. Love the hard back so could put on pack over the top?

    • Hey Matt, I’ve been told by GEIGERRIG we should see availability for this unit soon. I believe you can pre-order these now on their website. ~Mike

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