Once again I was fortunate to receive some product to test for the manufacturer. This time, it was from the great people of JetFlow. I was a little apprehensive about this one because I’m not much of a “hydration system” guy. I don’t really use my Camelback unless it truly is just a short day hike. I don’t use the bladder at all when I go on multi-day backpacking trips and prefer Nalgene bottles instead. But in the end, I figured that a more objective review would come of it.
I did a little research on this system before accepting it and was initially very intrigued. The nicest thing about this system is that it utilizes your own, existing water bottles. It will accept a standard, plastic water bottle that you can buy from the gas station, a wide-mouthed bottle such as Gatorade or Powerade, and even your super wide Nalgenes that you’ve collected over the years. This is great because washing your soft bladder is a pain in the ass. It also cuts down on waste by allowing you to reuse any other bottles you may already have.
With soft bladders, as the water empties, so does the container. It collapses to the volume of water that’s in it. This would obviously be impossible with a Nalgene. To get around that, Jetflow has developed a valve that allows the air to escape your container as you suck the water through the hose. Color me excite.
When I received the Jetflow, it looked to be everything it said to be. The Tomahawk pack containing the system was even cool. However, for one reason or another, I was under the impression that this was a suck-less hydration system. Rather than biting down and sucking the water out of the bladder through a tube (like a soft bladder), I thought this would flow freely into your mouth after biting the bite guard. Basically, a competitor of the Geigerrig hydration system. It is not. Color me disappoint.
The first time I decided to test the hydration system turned out to be a failure on my part. Every single water bottle or water delivery system manufacturer that I’ve seen always has a “please wash before use” sticker, and I’ve ignored every single water bottle and every single water delivery system manufacturer every time I’ve bought one. This time, it backfired. There was a very strong chemically, bitter, plasticy taste to the water. Lesson learned: wash your JetFlow before use!
The next time I decided to test it out (after washing it) was for a short little hike up Boulder’s Flatiron Mountains. I filled my Nalgene, connected it to the JetFlow system, and headed out. It took a little more effort to suck the water through the hose than it would with a soft bladder. I also got a gulp of air with every drink, and the gulp of air displaced that amount of water that should have been there instead. Any bouncing of the pack containing the Jetflow exacerbated the problem.
Although my experience with the Jetflow wasn’t all that great, I still can’t bring myself to give it a poor rating. The versatility of the bottles, the ease of cleaning, the reduction of waste….it’s all very attractive. It’s also really great if you like to sip on flavored drinks on your adventures that otherwise may flavor-stain your bladder, even after you’ve washed it. Those reasons alone make it worth taking a look at. I also find the bite guard to be far superior to the few I have from CamelBack.
However, if you’re a mountain biker or avid trail-runner that regularly uses a hydration system, the JetFlow definitely has some drawbacks. In these instances, large amounts of air getting into the line. If you’re like me and don’t have the lung capacity to make an extra effort just to get water, you may want to steer clear. Otherwise, I definitely like the concept of the JetFlow hydration system.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.