The hydration pack has been a boon to all types of sports enthusiasts, providing an easy way of carrying enough water for long adventures in dry, hot weather. If there's one knock on such packs, it's that the hydration reservoirs inside can be difficult to clean. It's a problem that the industry has been continuously addressing with new reservoir designs and alternatives like the JetFlow. Texas company APK Gear has its own solution: disposable, self-sealing bladders that you never have to clean.
APK Gear's parent company AquaStorage has its roots in emergency preparedness. The company's AquaPodKit water bladder holds a two-week supply of water (65 to 100 US gal/246 to 379 L) in a home bathtub during natural disasters and other events that threaten to cut off water supply.
With the RoguePak, APK Gear shrinks this bladder technology down into backpack size. The low-density polyethylene bag comes in 50, 70 and 100 oz (1.5, 2 and 3 L) sizes. Unlike your typical hydration bladder, though, it is designed to be filled up, used once or a few times, then disposed of or recycled – no scrubbing and no residual soap or cleanser taste in your water.
The RoguePak can be used "as long as you want," according to the company. However, the value of this type of system is really in being able to quickly replace an older bladder with a brand new one.
RoguePak bladders are more than just heavy-seal plastic bags. They include a purpose-designed internal port that lets you fill the pack quickly but seals itself when you stop filling it, holding the water in without any additional adhesive or threaded closure. The company shows that you can turn the bag upside down without spilling any water. The top port clip isn't necessary for holding water in, but it does help keep the cartridge clean and prevents overfilling. The wide port can accommodate ice cubes.
The RoguePak cartridges are designed to eliminate cleaning while saving money compared to replacing permanent, reusable hydration reservoirs like those offered by Camelbak and Platypus. While cheaper than permanent reservoirs, they don't necessarily solve the expense issue. They average right around US$25 (cost varies by size) for a pack of four with a single drinking tube, bite valve, connector valve and top clip.
Once you have the drinking tube, you can just buy the refill packs, which average $13 and include three cartridges with single top clip. That's over $4 apiece, or the price of several gallon-size bottles of water. If you run or cycle everyday, or close to it, and start replacing these things regularly, you may find yourself spending more on portable tap water than on fancy coffee or alcoholic beverages.
The 70-oz RoguePaks are available now, and APK Gear plans on ramping up production on the 50- and 100-oz bottles in the coming weeks.