This is a completely unbiased review. I am not an employee of PolarPak. I am just an average ride who was so impressed with this product that I wanted to help promote it. I would have put this in the product reviews, but there it was not there.
The Company: PolarPak is a smaller business located in Boise, Idaho. Their product remains relatively unheard of as compared to Camelback, even though their ideas are very innovative and really work.
The Product: PolarPak manufactures the only freezer-gel insulated hydration reservoir I know of. This gel is imbedded back wall. All you have to do is throw it in the freezer for several hours, and you are set. Actually, it is best to store it there to prevent bacteria growth. That way it is always ready; just make sure you put it back after your ride. The reservoir also sports a quick release coupler with a shutoff valve to make for quick and easy removal of the bag from your pack. Their newest model which I have no experience with: “The 70 oz. MoFlow” comes with a special pump that allows you to pressurize the system. This eliminates the need to suck the fluid out. All you need to do is pump it up to pressurize, and then the water simply comes to you when you bite on the valve. Do you have a trail dog but don’t have a way to provide water to? With the MoFlow you do! Feeling hot? Squeeze the valve with your fingers and give yourself a refreshing squirt in the face with ice cold water. Do you ever worry about trail side injuries? The reservoir serves as a great ice pack.
My Review of the Product: I have used PolarPak Reservoirs for 3 years now, and mine gets used every day. I own an older 100oz version. I enjoy riding all-mountain, freeride, hiking, backpacking, and camping. My reservoir always comes with me. Here is what I have to say about each feature of the pack:
Freezer Gel: This is the thing sold me. I store it in the freezer, and when I am ready for a ride I fill it ¾ of way full of water, and fill the rest with ice. This way the gel isn’t wasted getting the water down to temperature and lasts longer. After a 1.5hr ride in 70 degrees F, there are still ice fragments in the water and there is some gel that is partially frozen. On 2.5 hr 90 degree ride, the water stays ice cold. I will not ride in weather hotter then 90, but it goes to work with me on the mowing crew 5 days a week 8hrs per day. I will note that it will get up to 110 degrees during the summer. The gel plus ¼ ice keeps my lunch cool and provides me with 4 hrs of cold water until lunch break. I have a backpack that I leave it and my lunch in which stays in the truck. By lunch, I have sucked 100oz. dry, sometimes sooner. The gel is exhausted by then, so I refill it with water and add lots of ice at the convenience store to last me through the rest of the day.
Quick Release Coupler w/ Shutoff: I really appreciate this feature because I don’t have to freeze the hose and wait for it to thaw out before I can drink anything. I also like this because I don’t have re-thread the hose through my pack every ride. Before a ride, I pull the bag out of the freezer, fill up, run a bit of hot water over the valve to thaw it out, pop the hose on, slip it into my pack, and ride. When I am done, pull the bag out of my pack, pop the hose off, dump any excess water out, and throw it in the freezer for another ride.
9.5/10 because you have to thaw the valve out
Bite Valve: PolarPak’s bite valve is very comfortable to bite on, allows plenty of water through, has a convenient shutoff, and DOESN’T LEAK!
Hose Insulator: One model I had came with a black hose insulator which I thought was kind of stupid. It simply attracted more heat and only ran 2/3 of the length of the hose. The one I have now has a grey one and runs the entire length which makes more sense. The old hose began to crack where it was exposed to the sun because the UV Radiation was degrading it. I often had the whole system sitting on the seat of the truck. Of course, this was warrentied. I will talk about that later. I think it’s a good idea and it does keep the water in the hose cooler longer, but does still heat up.
10/10 for the better insulator
Mouth: I used one model for a summer and the mouth began to peal off. Epoxy, Superglue, and Automotive Goop wouldn’t hold. This was warrentied. The older model I have doesn’t have a handle to make filling easier, but the newer ones do. The thing I do like about mine is that the mouth is glued to the inside of the reservoir vs. the outside on the other one so it won’t peal off. Unlike Camelbacks, the mouth is way too small to fit your hand in for easy cleaning.
My Review of the Company: PolarPak has been THE BEST company I have ever dealt with.
I will repeat that I use mine more then the average person: 6 sometimes 7 days a week.
-The rubber/plastic that makes up the bag began to peal. I called them up and Jeff Skillern who is the president said that he had never heard of that before and shipped me a new system no questions asked.
-I used the replacement system for a summer and as I said before the mouth began to peel off. Email sent: whole new system in the mail same day!
-The system I received in the mail was used for another summer but the hose began to crack because of the UV light degrading the exposed hose. Email sent: whole new system shipped out next day because he Jeff got my email during non-business hours.
-This experience was NOT PolarPak’s fault: I was getting in or out of the car after a ride, caught the hose, and lost it. I emailed Jeff and asked him if I could buy a new hose, emphasizing that it was my fault. He asked for my address and shipped me a new hose for FREE!
Bottom Line: If you love the outdoors, I highly recommend buying a PolarPak gel insulated reservoir. It works, the company stands behind the product 110%....what more could you want? Check them out at www.polarpak.com
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