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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > GEIGERRIG 700 Ballistic Pack > Test Report by Christopher Cappetta

GEIGERRIG Rig 700 Ballistic Hydration Pack
Initial Report 18 September 2011
Field Report 28 November 2011
Long Term Report 2 February 2012


Initial Report


Tester Information:
Name: Chris Cappetta
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.9 m)
Weight: 215 lb (97 kg)
Email address: christopher.cappetta@western.edu
City, State, Country: Crested Butte, Colorado, USA
Backpacking Background: I am a student at Western State College of Colorado, getting my degree in outdoor leadership. I spend a lot of time in the Elk and San Juan ranges of the Colorado Rockies in both the summer and winter. My trips are generally a day to a week in mountainous terrain. Weather fluctuates drastically and snow can be a consideration at any time of year. For the past two years I have been backpacking in almost exclusively alpine terrain ranging from 8,000-14,000 ft (2,500-4,500 m). I am currently making the transition to lightweight gear.

Product Information:
Manufacturer: GEIGERRIG
Year of manufacture: 2011
http://www.geigerrig.com/
MSRP: $130
Listed weight: 1.20 kg (2.65 lb)
Measured weight: 1.15 kg (2.53 lb)

Rig 700

The Rig 700 hydration pack and optional in-line water filter.


The item arrived earlier this week and looks to be complete and fully functional. The pack material seems to be very durable and the hydration system is very innovative based on a home trial run. The selling point of this pack is the hydration system so that will be the emphasis. Upon arrival I took the pack apart. The hydration bladder has two compartments. In addition to the traditional water reservoir, there is an air compartment with a pump attached to the left shoulder strap. This allows the bladder to be pressurized and water sprayed out of the bite-valve.

Pump
The Pump
Bite Valve
Bite Valve


The plug and play connectors are easy to use and allow the bladder to be removed from the pack while the pump and mouthpiece tubes remain in their places on the shoulder straps. Both the air tube and water tube attach with these easy-to-use fixtures.

Connection

The manufacturer advertises the bladder's ease of cleaning. It can indeed be turned inside out to wash and dry, which is a feature I do think will come in handy. The instructions on the bladder indicate that you simply reach into the bladder, grab the bottom and pull it inside out. My hands are large, so I wasn't able to pull my hand back out of the bladder once I grabbed the bottom from the inside. I was able to get it inside out by pushing the bottom up to my partially-inserted waiting hand from the outside.

Inside Out
Inside Out

The bladder has a sliding seal along the top edge. I found it easy to hold open with one hand while pouring water in from another vessel.

Slide


The design looks as though the bladder can be dipped into a sufficiently deep water source, filled and sealed easily. The manufacturer included an in-line water filter so I am excited to try this method of filling and purification in the backcountry. The tube with the in-line water filter is slightly longer than its filter-less counterpart and attaches with the same plug and play connector.

Tag

The pack came with a tag offering a free one-minute tutorial on its features. I found this tutorial to be very informative, although it was closer to five minutes for the entire call. There is an initial overview which introduces the line of hydration packs, and a touch-tone list of more specific tutorials based on model. The initial overview mentions that GEIGERRIG offers a lifetime warranty from leakage on all aspects of the hydration system and a two year warranty on the pack. The model specific tutorial makes note of the flak jacket material used for the ballistic nylon pack, and the heavy duty 8-coil zippers.

The pack has a removable waist strap that rests just above my hips when the shoulder straps are comfortably cinched. It has two outside zipper compartments on the back and two mesh compartments on the inside.

First Impressions:

The size seems perfect for hiking, running, and biking which are the intended uses. I will likely give it a try Nordic skiing and snowshoeing as the test progresses, but it doesn't look to have the capacity to carry avalanche gear in addition to winter layers so I will stick to safe terrain.


The drink tube is easily connected and detached from the bladder, as is the pump tube. The tubes can remain in position while the bladder is removed for refilling. They are both easy to thread and remove from their shoulder strap positions. The drink tube has a clip on the right shoulder strap that holds the bite valve in a convenient position for drinking.

After taking apart and re-assembling the hydration system I filled the reservoir with water and the main compartment with my cold-weather layers. I was able to fit my down jacket, a spare long sleeved base layer, and a light rain shell into the main compartment, with the back compartments available for small items. These are the only layers I generally take cold-weather hiking.

Loaded
Fully Loaded

The packaging indicated that 15-20 pumps would pressurize the hydration engine. I found this to be accurate. The bite valve was able to spray approximately 3 ft (1 m) using the initial pressure, diminishing to about a third of that after 3 minutes of continuous spraying. The stream made noticeable jumps in pressure with every additional pump. I am very interested to see how this hydration engine performs in below-freezing temperatures, but so far I am impressed by the design.

I plan to test this pack on as many day outings as possible. Hiking will be the primary tests, but I may be able to use it for some late season mountain biking as well. As winter descends on The Rockies I will test it in cold temperatures on snowshoes and skis.


I like:
The pressurized bite valve; it seems to be a good idea.
The seemingly durable pack material.

I am concerned about:
The drink tube or bite valve freezing in below-freezing conditions.



Field Report

Field Locations and conditions-
I've used the GEIGERRIG 700 most often trail running, but also on two hikes and two days of mountain biking.

Hartman Rocks Recreation Area- Gunnison, Colorado-
I am fortunate to have some great public land just a couple miles from my house. I've taken the Rig 700 on six trail runs at Hartman Rocks. Like a lot of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property, it was originally considered unproductive land, but is now coming into its own as beautifully-stark desert and steppe recreation country. The trails are scattered through huge boulders and large swaths of sagebrush. The elevation is around 7,700 ft (2350 m). I generally ran around 5 mi (8 km) on these trips. The temperatures for my runs have ranged from about 30 - 60 F (-1 - 15 C) and I generally opted to run when it was sunny. I also used the Rig 700 during a 15 mi (24 km) day of mountain biking at Hartman Rocks.


Daisy Pass- Raggeds Wilderness Area, CO
I took the Rig 700 on a 7 mi (11 km) solo day hike up to Daisy Pass in the Elk Mountains northwest of Crested Butte. I started hiking around 8 am, the temperature was around 30 C (-1 C) and by noon it had risen to around 50 F (10 C). The weather was sunny.


Mt. Crested Butte, CO
I brought the Rig 700 on a morning hike up Mt. Crested Butte in late September. The lifts were shut down for the fall, which is my favorite time of year to hike Mt. Crested Butte. It's about a 5 mi (8 km) trip each way from the base area. The temperature was a cool 25-50 F (-4-10 C)


Upper Loop mountain bike trail- Outside Crested Butte, CO
In early October, I took the Rig 700 on a 10 mi (16 km) late-season mountain bike ride just east of Crested Butte. It was a sunny afternoon, the temperature was around 40 F (5 C).


The Rig 700 has been tested on a number of outdoor pursuits in cool, but not yet cold temperatures. Thus far I've taken the rig into the field a total of 8 days.


Performance in the Field-

On this leg of testing the Rig 700's design and durability lived up to my expectations. With a full bladder I can fit a light rain layer, a down sweater, a long sleeve shirt and snacks for a day trip.

The construction of the Rig 700 is very solid, I haven't found any areas that look to be problematic. I've come upon only a couple loose threads in the company logo; which is a non-factor in performance.

As I mentioned my primary testing has been trail running. The Rig has a comfortable fit high on my back. After my first couple runs I removed the waist strap and haven't missed it. I keep the shoulder straps short and the chest strap tight, so the pack stays well secured without it. There has only been one instance when the load of the pack caused my shirt to ride up, and that was in the front country. I ran across town to get a big bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap. The large, heavy, cylinder shape of the soap bottle had my shirt moderately riding on the way home. I suspect if I would have packed the bottle along with some extra clothes it would have sat more comfortably. The bite valve is at a comfortable place for drinking and it clips into the right shoulder strap to prevent obnoxious movement.

My other day pack is larger, oriented towards backcountry skiing. I do appreciate the smaller feel of the Rig 700 on my back and it has become my primary school backpack. Where my larger day pack keeps a small load low on my back, the rig holds it more comfortably near my shoulder blades. The hydration system is easy to remove for front country use. I've received numerous unsolicited compliments on the looks of the pack.

The reservoir has been sturdy with no leaks so far. Early on my Mt. Crested Butte hike the temperature was a bit below freezing. I kept the bite valve in my left armpit and had no problems with it freezing.  I was thankful for the option to turn the valve flow off. The plug and play connectors are easy to use and I like that you can refill the reservoir without taking the drink and pump tubes out of their places on the shoulder straps. I turn the reservoir inside out to dry after use and as yet have not experienced any of the displeasing smells that I've experienced with hydration systems before.

I really like being able to spray with the bite valve, this is truly an innovative feature. I find it easy to lose my breath at altitude, particularly when drinking from a conventional hydration pack while hiking or running uphill. Often on steep ascents I stop moving when I want to take a drink from a traditional hydration pack, but with the spray feature of the Rig 700 I can generally keep rolling. True to the slogan, the ability to drink without having to suck does help.

I find the volume of the pack to be well suited to my needs. I try to travel light, so even in the late fall this pack has plenty of space for a shell, and insulation layer, and a long sleeve base layer. The Nordic ski trails at higher elevations in the Gunnison Valley are starting to open up and the Rig 700 will be my go to pack anywhere safe from avalanches. For backcountry skiing, this pack will be on the small side as the shovel takes up a fair amount of space by itself.


Summary

I am very impressed with the construction of the Rig 700 and the hydration system is truly innovative. I have used a number of hydration packs and this stands out as my favorite.

Things I like:
Innovative hydration system.
Sturdy construction.
It looks pretty fly too.

I haven't yet found anything I dislike about this pack.



Long Term Report

I have used the GEIGERRIG about ten times as a running pack and once mountain biking since my Field Report. I remain pleased with its performance. In addition to back country use, the GEIGERRIG has become my primary school bag with the hydration system removed. To that end I have worn it extensively. Until very recently Southwest Colorado was unseasonably dry and unfortunately I wasn't able to use the pack Nordic Skiing as I had hoped. Despite the drought we had plenty of cold, so I did get to test the GEIGERRIG in below-freezing temperatures. I would keep the nozzle tucked in my armpit (with the bite valve closed) and had no problems with the hose or bite valve freezing.

As in the Field Report all of my runs, as well as the bike ride, were in the high-desert hills at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area outside Gunnison, Colorado. It is uncharacteristic for Hartman's to be open at this time of year, but due to the weather I was able to run there throughout the early winter. There isn't much flat trail at Hartman's so I grew to appreciate the pressurized hydration I was afforded by the GEIGERRIG. With traditional hydration packs I've used drinking on the uphill sections was a definite hindrance. The spray stream of the Rig 700 lets me wet my mouth and maybe drink a small amount without breaking my stride or breathing rhythm.

I typically take many breaks to enjoy the scenery so I would typically carry a down jacket out to ward off a chill. I would bring maybe a small snack – a bar or two – and my keys. With a full hydration bladder I still had room for extra layers if I had desired them.

Throughout the test period I used the GEIGERRIG with only unflavored water. I was diligent about emptying and taking apart the hydration pack to dry after uses and I have yet to encounter any unpleasant odors.

If pressed to find some flaw in the GEIGERRIG I would point to the chest buckle. While trying to buckle it single-handedly it jammed on rare occasion. I think it has to be inserted on a set track; inserted at an angle it will not buckle properly. As I said, this only happened a few times throughout the test; I mention it mainly for lack of other flaws.

As far as durability and innovation I could not be more pleased with the Rig 700. It is a tough piece of gear with some remarkable thought put into its functionality.

Final Summary

I began this test with a high opinion of the GEIGERRIG and time has proven it accurate. The Rig is durable, well engineered, and sleek looking. I would certainly recommend it to a friend.

I'd like to thank BGT and GEIGERRIG for the opportunity to test this awesome pack.





Read more reviews of GEIGERRIG gear
Read more gear reviews by Christopher Cappetta

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > GEIGERRIG 700 Ballistic Pack > Test Report by Christopher Cappetta



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