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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > GEIGERRIG 700 Ballistic Pack > Test Report by Andrew Buskov

GEIGERRIG Rig 700 Ballistic
Hydration Pack
GEIGERRIG's 700 cu in (11.5 L) pack with pressurized bladder.
Andrew Buskov
Initial Report: September 19, 2011
Field Report: November 29, 2011
Long Term Report: January 29, 2012

FrontTester Biographical Information:

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 215 lbs (98 kg)
Torso:
22 in (56 cm)
Chest:
44 in (112 cm)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for years now, and finally have my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to between 20 to 25 lbs (11.3 - 13.6 kg) before water. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and enjoy the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Product Information:

Item: Rig 700 Ballistic
Manufacturer: GEIGERRIG
Website http://www.geigerrig.com
Year of Manufacture: 2011
MSRP: $130
Listed Weight: 1.20 kg (2 lbs 10 oz)
Actual Weight: 1.15 kg (2 lbs 8 oz)

Bulb & ValveProduct Overview:
(From Manufacturer's documentation & Website)

The GEIGERRIG Rig 700 Ballistic pack is a 700 cu in (11.5 L) heavy duty ballistic nylon pack with a 70 oz (2 L) pressurized hydration bladder. The main compartment has 2 zippered entry points, one for contents, and a smaller one for easy removal of the bladder. In addition to the main compartment, there are four additional zippered compartments; two on the outside of the pack and two compartments on the inside of the pack. The two exterior compartments have zipper hoods to protect the contents from rain. The right outside compartment also has a headphone hole to allow the use of an iPod or other mp3 device. The interior pockets are mesh and sewn to the outer main flap.

The hydration bladder itself is a completely new design from what I usually use. Instead of a single main threaded fill hole, the entire top of the bladder is folded over onto itself and secured with a sliding piece of plastic. There are two connection ports on the bladder that allow for tubing to be quickly connected or disconnected. One of the connection ports is an exit point for the stored liquid while the other is an entry point for pressurized air. Because the hydration bag has a wall separating the two areas of the bladder, air will never contaminate the liquid. Also included in this test (though optional) is a filter ready drinking tube & GEIGERRIG in-line filter. This allows the user to fill the hydration bladder with unfiltered water as it will pass through an activated coconut shell carbon filter before exiting the drinking tube.

BladderInitial Impressions
:


The GEIGERRIG Rig 700 Ballistic pack arrived to my door in complete condition with no damage. Included in my shipment was the Rig 700 Ballistic pack, an In-Line Filter, and a Filter Ready Tube. Looking at the Rig 700 for the first time, it was apparent that this was not your average hydration pack. Not only was the design of the hydration bladder completely different from anything I've been exposed to before, the pack itself appears to be designed for extreme use.

Immediately noticeable was the quality of the seams on the pack, as all appeared in good condition and sewn very heavy duty. There are multiple attachment points on both the straps and the face of the pack in addition to the carry handle on top. The back side of the pack had five very cushy areas with a cavity for air movement between the pack and the users' back. At the bottom there appears to be a drain hole for the bladder section, though I would hope that it was never used since the bladder would need to bust.

The right shoulder strap holds the inflation bulb for the air side of the hydration bag. By using this bulb, the user is able to pressurize the bag so that the liquid 'sprays' out of the drinking tube rather than the user having to suck the liquid out of the tube. As the liquid is pressurized, and therefore sprayed from the drinking tube, it allows the wearer to share a drink with another person without that person contaminating the drinking tube with their own saliva. It also allows the wearer to use the drinking tube to wash their hands, equipment, or share with a dog; all without the need of physical contact with the drinking tube end. The end of the drinking tube has what appears to be a silicone sleeve that seals the end when not being bitten or pinched. In addition, there is a twist valve that allows the flow of liquid to be stopped completely. Both tubes thread through the pack with very little effort.

The bladder itself has directions for use printed on it for quick reference. These directions are easy to read & understand, and provide information on size and cleaning techniques. The connection points are not designed like the typical bladder either. Inside the male coupling is a spring valve that closes when either the drinking tube or the pressure tube is removed. This prevents water from leaking out of the bladder even with all tubes removed. Split ClipThis appears to be a wonderful design as I am able to completely submerge the bladder in a stream to fill it without having to remove the tubing threaded throughout the pack. Because the in-line filter is on the drinking tube side of the pack, I don't have to worry about contaminated water as it is rated to remove 99.9% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

So far, my initial thoughts on the pack are quite positive. All of the features appear to be well designed and construction seems to be very durable. There are only two aspects of the pack that I have an issue with. The first is the bottom inside zippered mesh area. Even with the pack completely empty, it is a bit difficult to insert and remove items from this pocket. If the main exterior zipper extended a bit further toward the base of the pack, entry to the bottom mesh compartment would be much easier. The second issue I have is with the chest strap. As I rarely use a chest strap, I often remove them completely from my packs. The hardware on this chest strap is sewn directly to the pack with no way of removing it. I would like to see a split style clip similar to the one on the left. This would allow the user to remove the entire chest strap without damaging the buckles or webbing.


Field Report: November 29, 2011

Testing Locations:

Over the course of the past couple of months I have been able to get in a number of hikes in the area ranging from five long day hikes, to a lot of laps around the walking trail at the local land preserve. Because all of these hikes were near to home, elevation was roughly 500 ft (150 m) above sea level. The terrain was hilly, but not strenuous. Temperatures during my outings were between 50 - 60 F (10 - 15 C) with little change throughout the hike. Weather conditions were good each trip. There was no precipitation of any kind, the wind was calm, and the sky was sunny. Perfect weather conditions to get out in the woods.


Performance:

The GEIGERRIG Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration Pack has so far performed to my expectations. The hydration system has functioned without problems since the day I got it. It continues to remain easy to open, fill, and close without any signs of weakening material or cracking of the bladder or tubing. The only problem I have is that it continues to be difficult to remove the bladder from the pack during filling. After the test series is over, I may attach a quick-coupling device and just back feed through the supply hose from my filter. This way I wouldn't have to remove the bladder every time I wanted to refill at a stream. The pressurization system works a lot better than I thought it would on the trail; or maybe it's the fact that I didn't see myself using it as much as I do. Many times I've cleaned my hands, spork, and washed out cuts & scrapes with the water stream. The only drawback for me is more of a mental one; as I'm used to a non-pressurized system I have found that I tend to suck on the tube after the pressure in the bladder falls. In short, I forget to pump up the bladder due to habit.

I've found that while the Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration Pack fits on my back nice, it rides a bit high after walking for a few hours. This may just be due to the pack becoming lighter due to my water consumption. However, it is something that, while not uncomfortable, is still a bit irritating if it continues over a long period of time. The zippers remain functional despite a few times of over packing due to weather conditions. At the time, my wife was using some of my lightweight rain gear, this left me with the bulky stuff. This, coupled with the water in the bladder, my personal effects, and a tarp made for a very stuffed pack. This doesn't happen often as I prefer to travel light, and I think it's time I got my lightweight gear back.

The material remains well intact, with no scratches or scuffs despite a few battles with some brush on an unmaintained trail. I had to crawl through some downed trees and through a patch of thorns on one hike and while I had quite a few scratches on my arms, the pack did not suffer any damage. I have not found the need to wash it yet as it really hasn't been exposed to any dirt or mud. I have cleaned out the bladder a few times though. Cleaning itself is relatively easy due to the design, but as mentioned before getting all of the components out of the pack is a bit of a pain. I wish there was an easier way to thread the drinking tube through the shoulder strap. This would have to be one of the aspects I dislike most about the Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration Pack.

In all though, I must say that I am pleased with this pack so far. With only one negative aspect, but many positive ones, I think this is an excellent hydration pack. I will continue to use it as much as possible and summarize my findings in the Long Term Report.

Long Term Report: January 29, 2012

Testing Locations:

During the final testing phase I was able to get an additional two nights worth of testing and 4 day hikes. All of these hikes were in the Western Kentucky area, with most being in the Land Between the Lakes recreational area. All elevation was near the 500 ft (150 m) mark. Due to the mild, yet still cold, winters I was only able to test this equipment on warm weather days and nights with no precipitation.

Summary:

I've continued to be pleased with the GEIGERRIG Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration pack. Additional use has shown that the pack really does stay where I want it with little shifting in any direction. While I've been able to use this on overnight trips, it was mainly used as a water bladder and not nearly as much as a pack. I needed entirely too much equipment to stay safe and warm to be able to use only the Rig 700 without an additional pack. I feel that the Rig 700 will see a lot more use as a three season pack than it ever will during the winter months.

All material remains intact. No additional scratching or scuffs can be found, and it still has not needed to be washed yet. The buckles continue to remain intact and functional as do all zippers and pulls. The bladder is still pliable with no cracking areas, and it is still intact with all the continued use it has received. In short, all materials used are in nearly the same condition as when the pack arrived at my door.

My only complaint continues to be the hassle that is involved with filling the pack, especially on the trail. Having to remove the bladder completely from the pack to fill it is really a pain. While I had discussed the option of adding a quick coupling to the hose tube so as to back feed through the inline filter, I'm not so sure this would be the best option. I would much rather see the manufacturer include a quick coupling wye that would allow the bladder to be filled from the dirty side of the system. That being said, the pack really is a pretty ingenious design and one that serves its purpose.

I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and GEIGERRIG for allowing me to participate in testing the Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration pack.


Read more reviews of GEIGERRIG gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > GEIGERRIG 700 Ballistic Pack > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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