I never really considered using any sort of hydration bladder for any outdoor activities until I started hunting a couple of seasons ago. After lugging hunting gear around during the first couple of hunts, I really started rethinking my gear choices and streamlining the hunting pack. Hydration was one of those things that is a must have when I’m out hunting but I’ve struggled with. I wanted to carry water to stay hydrated and not worry about running out, but found larger water bottles (or several smaller bottles) to be cumbersome, hard to pack, and makes keeping the pack weight distribution balanced a challenge. It didn’t take long to decide to try a hydration bladder out.
I selected the CamelBak Antidote Reservoir for a couple of reasons. The first reason was the CamelBak brand name. Not necessarily because it was good, but because it was the one that I recognized. The Antidote line was selected mainly due to the tan insulation around the tubing which blends in well with the earthy tones of hunting attire and the pack. That’s it.
I found the attachment of the bladder to the hunting pack to be straight forward. I don’t know if all bladders have the ability to quickly release the tubing from the bladder, but this feature on the Antidote bladder makes it really easy to remove and refill the bladder without having to rethread the tubing through the pack. The large fill opening makes it easy to fill quickly.
The bladder has been out on a handful of hunts now and has worked very well. No leaks whatsoever. I had read some reviews where consumers complained about a weird plastic-like taste in the water. I didn’t experience that and that very well may have been because I cleaned the bladder well before using it for the first time. The bladder also keeps the weight evenly distributed even as water is consumed. As such, it has become a permanent item I include in my deer hunting load out.
One piece of advice I offer to folks who have never used a hydration bladder is to double check the dimensions of the bladder against the dimensions of the pack (specifically the hydration bladder compartment if the pack has one) to make sure the bladder fits. Other than that, I’ll just close with saying that I’ve become a believer in hydration bladders and will continue to use them for the foreseeable future.