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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > Hydrapack The Morro Hydration Pack > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Hydrapak Morro Hydration Pack

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - April 30, 2011

Field Report - July 19, 2011

Long Term Report - September 20, 2011


Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 57
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 230 lbs (104 kg)
Email address: kwpapke (at) gmail (dot) com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking background is a combination of the Minnesota area, where I have lived most of my adult life, and Southern Arizona where I moved about two years ago to Tucson for a new job.  Staying hydrated in the Sonoran Desert where I live and hike is a constant challenge -- I am always looking for better ways of carrying and consuming fluids.

Initial Report

Product Facts

Product Information
Manufacturer
Hydrapak

Manufacturer website
http://www.hydrapak.com
Year manufactured
2011
Model
Morro
Color tested
Orange (Black also available)
Size tested
One size available only
MSRP
$109.99 USD
Weight
measured: 1 lb 12.4 oz (805 g)
Pack capacity
800 in^3 (13.1 L)
Reservoir capacity
100 oz (3 L)

The Morro is one of the larger hydration packs offered by Hydrapack.  From their website: "ALL-DAY CAPABLE HYDRATION PACK THAT'S LIGHT ENOUGH TO BE WORN ON EVERY RIDE".  It has a large main compartment and multiple small pockets to accommodate the fluids, food and clothing needed for a full-day outing.

Initial Inspection

I spread the pack out on the floor to take an inventory of the various features.

Back view
Back view

From the bottom-up, the above picture shows:
  • Drain hole for the reservoir pocket
  • Waist belt
  • Padded back panel
  • Shoulder straps with attached sternum strap
  • Drink tube with bite valve (the plastic wrap is still covering the bite valve)
  • Drink tube emerging from the reservoir pocket
  • Push-button drink tube connection for hooking up to reservoir
  • Reservoir
Somewhat visible as lighter vertical bars in the back panel are ribbed or corrugated padding sections for ventilation.  All of the white areas on the back of the pack are padded.  Both the black and white areas are meshed.

Front view
Front view

Again from the bottom-up:
  • Lower black lift strap -- in the photo this appears to have two parallel dashed white lines running through the middle of the strap
  • Lower front pocket -- not visible inside the pocket are two sleeves (one nylon, one mesh) and 3 elastic hold-downs
  • The large main pocket -- not visible inside the pocket are a large sleeve with hook-and-loop closure, two pen/pencil (or maybe tire pressure gauge) sleeves and a small zippered pocket
  • Two elastic side pockets with enwrapping compression straps
  • Small vertical pocket -- not visible inside are two elastic mesh pockets and a mitten-hook on a strap for storing keys
  • Circular media port opening into the vertical pocket
  • The black strip on the very top of the pack is the main lift strap
Somewhat visible on the photo is the fact that all the pockets have tabbed pull cords on the zippers.  The tabs have a nice grip, and the pockets zipped open and closed with no problems.

First Impressions

Size: when I removed the pack from the box I was surprised how large, yet how small the pack seemed.  Hydration packs are often not very deep, so the great depth of the Morro surprised me; it almost looked like a day pack.  Yet it was too small for a day pack.  Clearly the pack height is very short; the belt was designed to ride on my waist, not my hips.

Drink Tube: my next step was to connect up the drink tube.  It wasn't obvious to me where it threaded through from the reservoir pocket, so I went to the Hydrapak website to look at their photos and noticed that the tube came out of the sleeve on the shoulder strap.  Searching around with my fingers on the top of the reservoir pocket I found the channel, and with a little fiddling managed to thread the tube out properly.  On most backpacking packs there is a well-marked and reinforced hole in the fabric (similar to the media port on this pack) for the drinking tube exit; this hydration pack is a little more sophisticated.

Clip: Quantum clipone of the more intriguing features of the Morro is the magnetic clip ("Quantum Clip") for the drink tube as shown in the photo at right.  It consists of two pieces, one that wraps around the drink tube, the other hooks on to a pack strap.  It was a bit of a head-scratcher to figure out where to attach the pack strap piece.  The drink tube is on the short side from what I am used to, but I found a spot on the sternum strap that should be convenient.  My guess is I will play around a bit with the placement to find the right spot.

Each half of the clip is a permanent magnet, and when brought into close proximity they really want to come together.  It'll be interesting to see how well this works in practice on the trail.  I swing my arms a lot when I hike, and do a fair amount of bushwhacking, so I'll be watching for how well the clip holds.  The good news is if it does get snagged nothing is going to break, the clip will just let go.

Side pockets: I took two 500 ml (16.9 oz) bottles of water out of the fridge and jammed them into the side pockets.  They fit, but just barely.  It'll be interesting to see if I can get them in & out of the pockets on the trail without having to take the pack off.

Reservoir: it is much thinner and more flexible plastic than I am used to in backpacking reservoirs.  We'll see how well it holds up.  I filled it with 100 oz (3 L) of tap water (the gradations on the side of the reservoir matched the measured amount) and sealed it up.  Turning it upside-down and shaking it I could find no leaks from the top seal nor the drink tube connector.  I hooked-up the drink tube with a satisfying "snap": no drops, no leaks.  Next I slid the reservoir into the pocket, hooked it onto the hangar, and zipped the pocket shut.  All set to go.

I removed the plastic wrap from the bite valve and had a close look.  There are two twist positions on the valve: "X" indicates closed (twist counterclockwise), and the other looked maybe like a water droplet (twist clockwise).  The two icons were hard to see as the color is black-on-black, but it's easy to tell when its in the closed position when I try to take a drink.  There was no leakage from the bite valve when I left it in the open position.

Fitting: time to strap on the pack.  I loosened all the straps to the maximum, put on the pack, and closed both clasps (waist belt and sternum strap).  It fit with just a bit of slack.  I tightened up the shoulder and waist straps each about an inch (2.5 cm), and left the sternum fully extended.  I have about a 38-inch (97 cm) waistline, and if I were to gain a little weight the waist strap would be tight.

The bite valve reached my mouth, but not with a lot to spare.  I had the magnetic clasp positioned on the sternum strap, but the drink tube is not quite long enough to reach the clasp.  With the tube channeled under the elastic band on the shoulder strap, it didn't seem like the tube is going to flop around much even without the clip engaged.

With a lot of pulling and tugging I managed to get the magnetic clasp attached to an elastic band at the very bottom of the shoulder strap instead of its former spot on the sternum strap.  The magnet on the drink tube engaged and seemed to stay in place.  This is what I'll go with at the start.

Summary

I am excited to get this pack out onto the trail.  With a total of 4 L (135 oz) of fluid in just the reservoir and side bottle pockets, I should be able to hike most of a day in the Arizona sun.

Kudos:

  • Lots of storage options with many good-sized pockets, and sleeves within the pockets.
  • Well-ventilated back panel design.

Concerns:

  • Side bottle pockets seem a little short.  They are plenty wide, so I'll look into shorter squatty-shaped bottles for a better fit.
  • Users with waistlines larger than mine may have to use the pack without the waist strap.
  • I could have used a little written guidance in the printed materials or on the website about how & where to attach the magnetic clip.

Field Report

Field Use

Date
Location
Trail
Distance 
Terrain/ trail type
Weather
Altitude range      
Fluid consumed/ carried
May 1
Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona
Romero Canyon
8 miles
(12.9 km)
High desert mountain canyon, rock & gravel
50-70 F (10-21 C), 5-10% RH, winds 0-15mph (0-24 kph), sunny
2600-4300 ft
(790-1310 m)
3 L/4 L
(3.2/4.2 qt)
May 8
Saguaro National Park, West Unit in the Tucson Mountains, just West of Tucson, Arizona
Sweetwater to Wasson Peak
9 miles
(14.5 km)
High desert mountain, rock, sand & gravel 75-90 F (24-32 C), 4-10% RH, winds 5-25 mph (8-40 kph), sunny
2800-4690 ft
(850-1430 m)
4 L/4 L
(4.2 qt/4.2 qt)
May 14
Coronado National Forest, Dragoon Mountains, near Tombstone, Arizona
Cochise Stronghold
10 miles (16.1 km)
High desert mountain, rock, sand & gravel 70-85 F (21-29 C), 6-10% RH, winds gusting to 25 mph (40 kph)
4900-6000 ft (1500-1830 m)
4 L/4 L
(4.2 qt/4.2 qt)
May 15
Saguaro National Park, West Unit in the Tucson Mountains King Canyon to Wasson Peak
7 miles
(11.2 km)
High desert mountain, rock, sand & gravel 70-88 F (21-31 C), 5-16% RH, winds 0-14 mph (0-23 kph), sunny
2850-4690 ft (870-1430 m)
4 L/4 L
(4.2 qt/4.2 qt)
May 28
Coronado National Forest, Santa Rita Mountains, near Green Valley, Arizona
Old Baldy
10.8 miles (17.4 km)
High desert mountain, dirt trail with rocks
78-88 F (26-31 C), 7-16% RH, winds 10-30 mph (16-48 kph)
5400-9453 ft (1646-2881 m)
4 L/4 L
(4.2 qt/4.2 qt)
June 12
Tortolita Mountains, Northwest of Tucson, Arizona
Wild Mustang
7.4 miles
(11.9 km)
High desert + desert wash (sand)
75-91 F (24-33C), 5-15% RH, winds 6-16 mph (10-26 kph)
2770-4100 ft (845-1250 m)
3 L/4 L
(3.2 qt/4.2 qt)
July 10
Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona Finger Rock
7.2 miles
(11.6 km)
High desert mountain canyon, lots of granite slabs and boulders
82-92 F (28-33 C)
29-51% RH, winds were calm
3000-6300 ft
(915-1920 m)
4 L/4 L
(4.2 qt/4.2 qt)
July 16
Willow Creek Reservoir area near Prescott, Arizona
Willow Lake
about 2 miles (3 km)
Granite boulders
80-90 F (27-32 C)
5200 ft
(1585 m)
2 L/1 L
(2.1 qt/1 qt)

Field Usage Observations

Romero Canyon

For my first outing with the pack I kept the two 500 mL (16.9 oz) water bottles in the side pockets but never opened them.  It is not possible to reach the side pockets without taking the pack off, so I opted to simply use the reservoir.  During the course of the hike I played with the tension on the various straps as I settled into my comfort zone with the gear.

In addition to water I packed my wallet, car keys, camera, GPS, maps, snacks, and a first-aid kit into various pockets.  I was able to carry everything I could wish for in a day hike without trying to optimize where I put what.

I liked using the bite valve and magnetic clip.  I quickly came to trust the bite valve and now only turn the valve to the "closed" position when I am throwing the pack into my vehicle.  The draw on the drink tube was comfortable, and I was able to drain the entire 3 L (100 oz) without any issues.

Sweetwater Trail

On my second outing I removed the water bottles from the side pockets and substituted my camera on one side and GPS on the other.  These are the most-often used pieces of gear for me, and the side pockets allowed me to get at them quickly.

I prefer a mix of electrolyte drink and water when I hike, so I packed a full 1 L (34 oz) Nalgene bottle in the main compartment.  I had to loosen up the compression straps to accommodate it due to the substantial bulge in the pack from the full reservoir, but it swallowed the rigid bottle with aplomb.

I kept myself hydrated with water from the reservoir while hiking, and consumed the entire bottle of electrolyte at the mountain peak.  I was quite thirsty at that point, so I resolved to drink more on the way down, and indeed I drained the reservoir just a few minutes before arriving back at the trailhead.  A full four liters (over a gallon) of fluids may seem like a lot, but in the desert with such low humidity, temperatures around 90 F (32 C), the sun beating down on me, and a substantial mountain to climb it seemed just right when the hike was all over.

It seems so far that the pack is quite comfortable with 4 kg (8.8 lbs) of water, though I can certainly verify that the pack feels a lot lighter at the end of the hike than the start!

Cochise Stronghold

Morro hanging on an alligator juniper in the DragoonsThis was my longest hike and most strenuous with the pack so far, as it was a mountain pass traverse and return, so all the elevation was gained and lost twice.  The 4 liters (4.2 qts) of fluid carried and consumed may seem like a lot for a day hike, but with the heat, beating sun, low relative humidity, and lots of hugging and puffing up and down the mountains I perspire and transpire a lot of water.  In fact, after this hike I was dehydrated, requiring two beers and a tall glass of milk before I was back to normal.

On this hike I tried reversing the reservoir so the hose connector was facing the front of the pack, and it gave me several more inches of tubing to work with.  As can be seen in the photo at left, the magnetic clip is now well above the bite valve.  This worked out much better for me, as in the two prior hikes I felt like I had to bend my neck quite a bit to get the valve in my mouth.

The hang/lift strap at the top of the back is good-sized; I was able to hang the pack from a small branch on the Alligator Juniper tree shown in the picture at left very nicely.

I have settled into a pattern of what I pack where in the Morro: spare batteries in the small lower pocket, wallet plus keys plus knife in the small upper pocket, camera and GPS in the side pockets, and everything else gets crammed into the large pocket and its sub-pockets.  When the reservoir is filled to capacity it bulges into that main pocket pretty substantially, forcing me to put my Nalgene at the very bottom, or off to one side.  Perhaps it would be easier and more balanced to have two smaller bottles that I could place on either side of the reservoir bulge.  I'll have to try that on a future hike.

King Canyon Trail

Petroglyph in King CanyonI have been trying every approach trail to Wasson Peak (highest point in Saguaro National Park West Unit), and early one Sunday morning I decided to try the King Canyon trail from the Southwest.  The Sweetwater trail described in a prior paragraph is the closest to my house and is more of an Eastern approach to the mountain.  They both share a 1.2 mile (1.9 km) lung-busting final ascent section.

The initial section of the trail goes up a wash, and high on the rocks are ancient petroglyphs scratched into the desert varnish by Native Americans long ago.  I stopped to take a long draw from the Morro reservoir, and snapped a picture of one of petroglyphs as shown in the photo at right.  Looks like a dragonfly at first, but there are too many wings.

The Morro performed very well on this hike.  I was making good use of my trekking poles on the ascent and I noticed the magnetic clip detached a few times, but it immediately snapped back into place all on its own.  I am starting to like the magnetic clip!


Old Baldy (Mount Wrightson)

The Old Baldy trail is a lung-buster up the second-highest peak in Southern Arizona.  Because of the altitude and predicted winds at the peak, I added a windshirt to the Morro for this hike.  This made the pack bulkier than my prior outings:
Morro on Baldy
The above photo was taken at the summit after I had consumed about half the reservoir of water, but I left the compression straps unbuckled.  The pack was stretched pretty taut, nothing was really going to move around, and I've found that the upper straps slow me down getting into the main and side pockets.

The magnetic clip was a real asset on this hike.  The trail was quite busy, and every time I passed someone going the other way I'd pull off to the side and take a sip of water.  I have read that water is more efficiently assimilated when drunk in many small sips than a few big gulps, and the Morro really encourages that with the ease of access using the clip.  I ran out of water with about a mile (1.6 km) to go, which is about right.  I don't like to get thirsty, but neither do I like to arrive back at the trailhead with any water left.  I don't like carrying water up and down a mountain for nothing!

Wild Mustang

All the wildfires raging in Arizona have closed most of the close high-altitude mountain ranges for hiking.  I had done parts of the Wild Mustang trail in the Tortolitas, but never completed the trail, so even though this is more of a cooler-weather locale for me I set out early on a Sunday morning.

I added a large portion of ice cubes to the reservoir before I filled it with water to keep things cool.  The reservoir opening was plenty wide and I had no problems scooping handfuls of ice cubes into it. I liked being able to sip cool water all morning as the ice cubes melted.  The breeze was quite steady and the temperatures not too hot so I returned to the trailhead with half of my electrolyte and a little left in the reservoir.

My back was hurting during this hike from a muscle spasm the day before, but the Morro carried well and I felt great as long as I kept moving.

Finger Rock

The Finger Rock trail is, by reputation, the toughest hike in the Tucson area.  It is not the steepest, rockiest, brushiest, nor most dangerous trail, but it ranks near the top on all of these attributes. It is the combination of these challenges that require that a hiker bring their "A game" when they do Finger Rock.  I hadn't been on it in well over a year, and I'm in much better shape this year and wanted to test my mettle after the Coronado National Forest was re-opened following the diminishing fire danger that came with the inception of our monsoon season.  With the heat and humidity I wanted an early start, and my GPS records that my hike began at 5:17AM.

Around 8AM I decided to turn around.  My shirt and pants were soaked with sweat, something that rarely happens in the dry desert, but we are in our monsoon season and the humidity is up.  Despite being wet with sweat, the Morro did not feel clammy on my back.  The mesh breathes very well.

I seemed to have more problems with the magnetic clip detaching on this hike, as I had to snap it back into place about 10 times.  This was likely due to the difficult trail conditions, which required me to use my arms and poles more.  Other than that, the pack performed flawlessly.

Willow Lake

PrescottMy wife and I took a weekend jaunt to the Prescott, Arizona area to cool off at some altitude, as things were getting pretty steamy in Tucson.  We took a short day hike in the Granite Dells area around Willow Creek Reservoir.  I didn't bother to fill up the Morro bladder, we just tucked a few bottles of fluids into the main pack pocket.  This worked out quite well.

The picture at right shows the pack in action on the granite stonescape.

It was a bit bothersome to have the sip tube in the way when it was not being used at all, but this would be the case with any hydration pack.


Summary

The Hydrapak Morro effectively bridges the gap between a day pack and a hydration pack.  Its large volume allowed me to stash it with supplies for a half day of hiking in extremely hot weather.

Kudos:

  • Magnetic clip for the drink tube works exceptionally well.
  • The pack handles a large volume of heavy water with great comfort.  I never felt that the Morro was overloaded.
  • The mesh back panel breathes very well.  Even when my back was soaked with sweat the pack did not feel uncomfortable.

Concerns:

  • The compression straps go over the main and side pocket zippers making it cumbersome for frequent pocket access.  The placement of the front strap anchor on the main pocket lid provides good strength and durability as the zipper doesn't take any of the tension from the strap, but the strap gets in the way.
  • The front bottom pocket (with the horizontal strap) is a little small; I couldn't get much more than a set of spare batteries in it.

Long-term Report

Field Use

Date
Location
Trail
Distance 
Terrain/ trail type
Weather
Altitude range      
Fluid consumed/ carried
July 24 Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona
Sutherland Trail
9.3 miles
(15 km)
Mix of sand and fist-sized rocks 78-85 F (26-30 C), 60-80% RH, winds were calm 2650-4600 ft
(810-1400 m)
4/4 L
(4.2/4.2 qt)
August 13
Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona Ventana Canyon Trail
7.6 miles
(12.2 km)
Mix of sand and granite boulders
82-88 F (28-31 C), winds were extremely calm, 40-74% RH
3000-4800 ft
(915-1465 m)
3.3/4 L
(3.5/4.2 qt)
August 14
Coronado National Forest, Santa Rita Mountains Southwest of Tucson, Arizona
Arizona Trail, Kentucky Camp trailhead
7.2 miles
(11.6 km)
Dirt, gravel and rocks
75-85 F (24-29 C), breeze from the South, very high humidity from rains the night before
5100-5400 ft
(1550-1650 m)
2.5/4 L
(2.6/4.2 qt)
August 20-21
Coronado National Forest, Santa Rita Mountains Southwest of Tucson, Arizona Cave Creek Trail 8 miles
(13 km)
Dirt, gravel and rocks, some areas thick with weeds 60-80 F (16-27 C), thunderstorms shortened my hiking plans due to lightning 5700-8100 ft
(1740-2470 m)
6/5 L
(6.3/5.3 qt)
September 18
Tortolita Mountains Northwest of Tucson, Arizona
Alamo Springs Trail
6.6 miles (10.6 km)
Mix of sand and granite boulders 75-85 F (24-29 C), light breeze
2700-3900 ft
(820-1190 m)
3/3 L
(4.2/4.2 qt)

Field Usage Observations

Sutherland Trail

It is monsoon season in Southern Arizona, so the day dawned with oppressive humidity from the rains the night before.  Fortunately the skies were overcast, so the temperatures didn't start to shoot up until after I finished my hike.  As usual I consumed my full load of fluids on this hike, much of which I seemed to sweat out immediately, soaking my shirt and shorts.

One of the pack features I've begun to appreciate more lately is the nice strap retention bands that keep extra webbing from flapping around.  I noticed it on this hike because I didn't have the excess webbing on the shoulder harness restrained at the start of the hike, and it was slapping against my arm pits as I hiked.  I quickly pushed the elastic bands out towards the end of the strap, and they stayed perfectly in place for the rest of my hike.  The picture below shows one of the bands on the shoulder straps.  This is one of those great little features that I didn't really consider with the pack until I noticed how well they really work.

Retension straps

I haven't really mentioned it much before, but after every hike I do turn the reservoir inside-out for drying.  This works really well, and the bladder dries very quickly and cleanly.  The following picture shows the inside-out reservoir drying after my Sutherland hike:

Drying reservoir

The only hassle with this feature is I have some small difficulties in getting the reservoir turned right-side in again.  When I reach in with my hand and grasp the bottom of the bladder it makes my hand a little bit too big to come back out the reservoir mouth:

Hand in reservoir

This is just like the old story of the monkey trap where the simian's hand is too big when grasping the peanuts in the bottom of the jar to extract its hand and the peanut.  This could easily be fixed by making the reservoir just slightly wider, even just at the opening to allow the hand to slip out.  I don't have particularly large hands, so I would expect some folks would have more of an issue with this than I do.  I am able to get the reservoir back in order, it's just a bit of a struggle and I'm concerned that I'll eventually tear one of the reservoir seams.

Ventana Canyon Trail

It had been 2 years almost to the day that I hiked the Ventana Canyon, so it was time to go back.  As I was packing up to go I went to the sink with the reservoir and when I began to fill it the water started draining out of the tube connection port -- oops, when I took it apart to dry after my last hike I must have yanked too hard with the reluctant connection and pulled the fitting with the check valve right out of the reservoir:

Disconnected

Easily fixed, I just inserted the barbed fitting back into the connector and we were good to go.  It does show just how recalcitrant this disconnect is.

It was a bit overcast and early in the morning so the heat was not too bad yet, but with the humidity and the altitude gain I was sweating profusely.  This was one of the few times I did not consume all my fluids, and I paid for it.  By the end of the hike I was quite dehydrated despite consuming over 3 L/qts of water and electrolyte solution.

Other than the connector problem the pack performed flawlessly.

Arizona Trail - Kentucky Camp

There is an historic mining area on the East side of the Santa Rita Mountains that I've wanted to visit for some time, so I headed off to the Kentucky Camp trailhead of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) early on a Sunday morning.  This is high desert, so the temperatures were substantially cooler than in Tucson, and it must have rained quite a bit the night before because there were puddles along the trail and the ground was still wet, raising the humidity.

I carried my usual complement of hydration fluids, though I figured I wouldn't go through it all, as I was not too ambitious in my hiking, the temperatures were tolerable, and this trail segment doesn't have a big altitude gain.  This section of the AZT traverses the Eastern foothills of the Santa Ritas, but does not attempt anything close to a summit.

The pack performed well, and thankfully I did not see any sign of leakage from the fitting I had the altercation with the prior day.

Cave Creek Trail

This was a backpacking trip, but I wanted to use the Morro gear as much as possible, so I took the reservoir with me in my regular backpack.  While I was removing the drink tube from the Morro pack the mouthpiece broke off the tube:
Busted
There seemed to be some residual adhesive on the joint, so I superglued the pieces back together again.  This held fine until the tube caught a snag on some brush on the trail and it re-broke.  I was able to crimp the tube to stop the flow, and could still drink from the system by uncrimping the tube.  Since my glue job did not hold, I'm going to try and contact the manufacturer to see how they want to handle this.

I also noticed on this trip that with the permanent fittings on the drink tube there was no easy way to attach it to my filter system.  Most backpacking hydration systems allow the mouthpiece to be easily removed, and the hose fits right onto a fitting on my filter.  The disadvantage of the Morro system is that I have to fill a bottle, pour it into the reservoir, and repeat three times.  It's only a nuisance, but workable, and probably the right tradeoff for the designer to make as it is not often that I use a day pack with a water filter.

Alamo Springs Trail

On August 23, 2011 I submitted a customer service request to replace my broken mouthpiece.  The next day I was contacted by one of their agents who cordially requested a photo of the broken mouthpiece, which I sent out the next day.  I received a replacement part sometime over the weekend of September 3rd -- we were out of town for four days so I don't know exactly when it arrived, but it was in my mailbox when we got back into town on September 5th.  I was a little surprised that they didn't send an entire new drink tube, as I had indicated that I had to crimp the tube to save my water on the Cave Creek trail.  I removed the broken mouthpiece with a pair of pliers (the barbed fitting was a little reluctant to let go) and easily fit the new part onto the tube.  Everything worked well.

It was time for my last test hike with the Hydrapak.  The weather has cooled down a bit, so I returned to the Tortolita Mountains and the Alamo Springs trail to try one more time to find the petroglyphs that are supposedly in the area.  I didn't take an additional bottle with electrolyte; I figured with the lower humidity and temperatures I wouldn't need the additional fluids.  A great hike, but alas, no petroglyphs were found.  The repaired drink tube/mouthpiece assembly worked great, and I returned from my hike well-hydrated.

Summary

The Hydrapak Morro has become the permanent replacement for my 2-bottle lumbar pack for all day hikes longer than 1-2 hours in the desert.

Good Stuff

  • Lightweight pack
  • Scrunches down nice and small for stowing in luggage (discovered this on our trip to Prescott)
  • Durability has been excellent for the pack itself - no failures in four months of use
  • Nice touches like the elastic straps to keep excess webbing in place
  • Good responsiveness from the customer service folks

Improvement Suggestions

  • I struggled to find things to stash in the smallest pockets.  The small bottom front pocket is even too small for stowing two snack bars.
  • The reservoir mouth could be just a little bit larger to help me get my hand out when restoring the reservoir from an inside-out condition
  • The drink tube connection to the reservoir is a bit of a struggle, particularly when detaching
  • Fragile mouthpiece connection

Many thanks to Hydrapak and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.



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