After a long weekend bike trip or a big mountain hike, all you want to do is relax and recover. However, maintaining your gear is an important step that future you will thank you for. Keeping your hydration pack clean is essential to enjoying the taste of fresh water. As our Enduro 2.0 Hydration Backpack includes a Hydrapak Compact Shape-Loc, our guidelines will be based on this model, but they are likely to be helpful for cleaning other brands and models of hydration packs and bladders. Always check with the manufacturer for best practices.
What is a hydration pack?
A hydration pack, also known as a bladder or reservoir, is a hydration system built into backpacks. They’re designed for easy hydration on-the-go and are popular amongst mountain bikers and hikers. They come in a range of sizes, typically between 2 and 3L.
Keep Your Pack Clean with 3 Simple Steps
- Fill with warm water & a mild soap, leave to soak
Fill your hydration pack with warm water (not too hot that it would burn you), add in a soap solution. When the pack is full, squeeze it to see the water exist through the tube to ensure it is flowing through the entire pack correctly.
- Use a brush to scrub
Some hydration packs may include a brush for cleaning purposes, otherwise use any standard kitchen brush and scrubbing pads to clean any remnants. This is a particularly critical step if anything other than water was stored, as leaving any traces behind could lead to mould growth. You can separate the bladder from the tube and bite to scrub each part separately.
- Rinse well and hang upside down to dry
Rinse your pack thoroughly to ensure any soap or bleach is removed. To dry, simply use clothes pegs and a hanger, leaving your pack to air dry. Be sure to hang your pack in a non-humid area for faster drying and prevent mould growth.
You should make sure you’re cleaning your hydration pack frequently – after every trip you use it. This will help ensure it stays in a good condition.
How do you clean a mouldy Hydration Pack?
One of the most common causes of mould in hydration packs is when they’re filled with sports drinks, and the sugars aren’t properly cleaned out after use. Preventing mould with regular, thorough cleaning is the best practice. However, if you do notice mould, you can clean it out with warm water, soap, and a small amount of bleach. Just be sure that all of the bleach and soap is rinsed away and removed before refilling and using your pack again.
If you decide your hydration pack is beyond saving – you may be able to repurchase valves and tubes separately, or replace the bladder without needing to buy an entire new pack.