WXP 3L Storm Source Hydration Bladder (TLDR)
The WXP 3L Storm Source hydration bladder is currently (as of 6/15/2013) my bladder of choice for the GORUCK Challenge or any other event that needs a bladder. It can be purchased for $36 bucks form GORUCK or cheaper from Amazon. Both are great deals.
The Long Version
The WXP 3L Storm Valve Source Hydration Bladder is an amazing piece of equipment and will not leave you wanting a better water storage option. WXP is the model of the bladder (they also have WLPS), 3L stands for 3 liters as it is a 3 liter bladder, and Storm Valve is the type of valve on the bladder that you suck water out of.
There are some great features in this bladder that need to be noted. The hose can be detached from the base of the bladder through a simple clip press. Detaching these two items is great for many reasons. First, if you need to refill your bladder you can do so without having to re-route your hose through your ruck. Just detach the bladder, take it out, and fill it up. When you take the hose out the bladder closes up and won’t let water escape. This is excellent because you can hold it however you want and know that all of your new precious water will be safe. Also, if something ends up happening to your bladder or to your hose then you only have to replace one piece of equipment instead of the whole thing. This will make repairs (if they’re ever needed) cheaper.
You will want a 3 liter bladder for your challenge… that’s just a fact. Every cadre is different and I’ve been in challenges where we’ve only stopped for water once. I’ve also been in challenges where we’ve stopped over 5 times but we want to plan for the difficult not the easy. A 3 liter bladder is about as large as you can get without adding too much size or weight to your ruck. On many occasions I’ve gone the entire length of a challenge (over 12 hours) without ever refilling the bladder. I’ve also seen on an equal number of occasions people run out of water and have to drink out of their teammates bladders. You want to be the person with water to spare… not the person asking their buddy for the hose. With that being said if you have a super small ruck then a 2 liter bladder may be necessary but know that you need to practice water management when training. If you don’t want to deal with that then buy a larger pack.
From my experiences the Source Hydration Bladder is the most durable bladder I’ve used. In my first GORUCK Challenge I used a CamelBak UnBottle from REI which promptly sprung a leak halfway through the Challenge. Thankfully REI is the kind of place that doesn’t stand for shit like that so they took it back and gave me a refund. With that money I bought a Source and this thing has lasted me through almost two years of GORUCK Challenges (4 total events) and dozens of training sessions. For my money I cannot find a better quality and size bladder. I’m still on my first bladder and the only reason I would buy another is if this one busted (which I’d write about) or if my wife ever wanted to do a challenge with me. Source has proven to me that they make some of the most durable equipment for our line of events.
The bladder can get a little wide when it’s completely filled up. This can make it difficult to keep it in the bladder compartment of a ruck. If that ends up happening to you just toss it in the main compartment instead. I’ve ended up just defaulting to doing that and it has worked out great. The one thing to watch out for is sharp points of carabiners or similar pieces of equipment so that they don’t poke a hole in it. This is how I usually store my bladder when I’m going out for a long ruck. I’ve got 4 sandbags that total a little over 50 pounds in my GR2 and the bladder fits nicely below them.
At 36 bucks this is not breaking the bank by any stretch of the imagination. CamelBak bladders are more expensive, MSR Dromedary bladders are more expensive, pretty much all bladders cost more. I’ll say this again… for the size and durability of this bladder I do not believe you will find a better one. If you know of a better or equal quality one around this price point please let me know in the comments… I’d love to buy it and test it out!
The Source WXP 3L Storm Bladder can be bought fairly cheaply from Amazon.