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JetFlow hydration system replaces moldy bladders


February 28, 2012

The JetFlow manifold

The JetFlow manifold

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The JetFlow hydration widget is a little bit old school and a little bit new school. It pulls the dirty, moldy, bacteria-ridden hydration bladder out of your backpack and replaces it with a good old-fashioned water bottle you can toss in the recycling bin or dishwasher - but with much of the function of a hydration bladder intact.

Hydration packs are fickle, moody animals. They're super-friendly when you're out on the trail, keeping your whistle moistened and your water accessible wherever you wander. The minute you come home, though, their eyes go black and their demeanor changes. All you have at this point is a rotten cleaning job. And in two weeks, you have a moldy, parasite-infested fung-bag that you avoided washing since your last hike two weeks ago - pure evil.

JetFlow solves the cleaning dilemma by taking a step backwards. The JetFlow system allows a water bottle to function like a hydration bladder. The simple nozzle screws to the top of your water bottle, holds it upside down and delivers water through tubing. You get the same function of a hydration bladder, only with a water bottle that you can unscrew and recycle, or throw in the dishwasher. Most water bottles are considerably more straightforward to clean than bladders.

At first I wasn't too sold on this solution. It seemed both clunky and unnecessary. Plus several companies like Platypus and Hydrapak offer open-top hydration bladders that are easier to clean, kind of rendering the point moot.

Then I realized something: I have one of those convenient, open-top bladders and it's still a moldy mess hidden in some dank, forgotten corner of my garage. Half the time when I need a hydration pack, I just throw a water bottle in my backpack because my bladder is incapacitated. I'd say this solution makes some sense for those of us that simply hate cleaning out the bladder, or don't really like the taste of cleaning products that you just can't seem to wash out.

The JetFlow manifold, as they like to call it, works with a number of bottled waters and beverages. The system comes with two adapters, each of which is compatible with other sized bottles. Adapter number 2 works with Nalgene bottles and the like, so you don't have to be wasteful to take advantage of the system. One hose lets air in and the other attaches to a bite valve to let water out.

This system will likely be a little clunkier than a hydration bladder. Considering that bladders typically carry between 33 and 100 ounces of water (1 to 3 liters), the JetFlow system will probably cut your capacity. It says it can hold up to a 2-liter bottle, but depending on the size of your pack, that may be awkward or impossible. For those that tend to forget (or just plain avoid) cleaning their bladders, it could be a simple, effective solution.

The JetFlow system was originally aluminum, but JetFlow now plans to offer it in two separate plastic versions. The $29 Raptor system includes the manifold, both hoses, bite valve, air intake valve, two bottle adapters and the JetFlow bottle. The $39 Hornet kit includes all that and adds a plunger system used to clean the tubing. Both systems will begin shipping this April. A bladder from Camelbak or Platypus would cost about $30 to $35 retail, so this is competitively priced.

Source: JetFlow

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Vinegar and water solution always worked for me. Even if I forgot to clean the bladder, let a solution of warm water and vinegar soak for an hour or two and it cleaned right up. Been going on the same bladder for about three years now.

Another option, maybe Culligan or one of the other major water distribution could start offering a bladder replacement/refill service similar to their home and office 5 gallon water service. Would serve the same purpose as this in that it would eliminate a perceived inconvenience from some peoples lives.

Hate to sound negative but things like this that pull money out of peoples pockets unnecessarily drive me crazy. And yes, I know I don't have to buy it if I don't like/want it but it still drives me crazy.


... or when you get back from your adventure, simply empty the bladder and throw it in the freezer. No mold growth and no pesky washing chemicals.


Or you could wash and dry your bladder instead of throwing it in the closet

flying Spaghetti monster

The main advantage other than ease of access for bladders is how easy it is to fit a large amount of water in a bag with other items, a three litre bottle of water is a bit clunky and inflexible in comparison is it not?


"Culligan or one of the other major water distribution"

Who? What?

Another US only thing?

Keith Reeder

as Karen said, stick your bladder in the freezer & it will stay fresh. nothing grows at sub-zero temps. my bladder is 5 years old & still fine. i also only feed it fresh water- (i put supplements in a water bottle if i am racing/enduro-ing)- so the bladder never needs rinsing. also, the big advantage of a bladder is it conforms to your back- a bottle would be pretty uncomfortable, especially if you stack & land on your back yeah?


Karen! SPOT ON! my girlfriend has me keeping paint brushes in the freezer too (yes of course in bags) as my bathroom has been a three color months long project of two greens and black, looks SHARP! brush gets warm, ready for use, and our water bottles always clean from the freezer, spot on Karen

Bill Bennett

Among all the other drawbacks others mention, this doesn't address the fact that stuff also grows inside the drinking tube. So if you're lazy, you're back to square one and having something that needs to be cleaned out anyway.


Most bladders and tubes are anti-bacterial now! I use three different size bladders depending on the walk, the smallest gets left for a couple of months sometimes with the water still in it, just empty and add fresh if it tastes odd, no build up or anything!


At Keith Reeder, sorry for the assumption of Culligan being known to one and all. Culligan is a fairly large bottled water distribution company that brings in the 5 gallon water jugs for in home or office water coolers. Not sure what companies operate in other countries but I am fairly certain they are in operation around the world.

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