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Since their debut, Geigerrig hydration packs have been winning awards and loyal fans right and left. For good reason too. Their patented pressurized hydration engine eliminates the need to suck on a bite valve for a drink, which is the basis behind their “Never suck again” slogan. But this is no gimmick – it provides some real advantages over other hydration packs. If you’ve ever used an inline water filter that relies on gravity, you’ll appreciate how much flow the Geigerrig provides. And if you’re wary of sharing a bite valve with friends or pets, the ability to spray from the Geigerrig is another plus. For mountain bikers prone to crashing, that spray comes in handy for washing wounds too. On top of that, the packs themselves are ballistic nylon, which is durable enough to provide years of use. Basically, unless you are obsessed with the weight of your hydration pack, the Geigerrig is the way to go.
We tested a Geigerrig Rig 700 Ballistic last year, pitting it against the popular CamelBak Charge 450, and the Rig 700 easily came out on top. That’s no small feat, since CamelBak makes great products too. It’s just that we find the Geigerrig to be better for our applications – hiking and mountain biking. Of course, not everyone agrees, which is fine. Healthy competition generally results in continuous improvement, to the benefit of consumers everywhere. A perfect example of this is the Geigerrig Bando Shoulder Pack. Responding to customers that liked the pressurized hydration engine, but didn’t necessarily want to wear a backpack, Geigerrig responded with the Bando, which is designed to be worn over one shoulder, and across the back and chest, like a messenger bag.
The Bando holds 70 ounces, and features the same slide top as the other Geigerrig products, for easy filling and cleaning. On the strap, you’ll find the drinking tube as well as the pressurization bulb, both handily located. A sliding chest strap is complemented by the stabilizing waist strap, and both are easily adjusted for a good fit. Little details that stand out are the velcro bulb holder, and the magnet that holds the tube in place. There’s a 5×7 inch pocket inside to hold a few small items, but not much else.
Our time with the Bando was very short. It arrived just before a trip to Colorado, and we used it on two hikes. It was passed around between myself and some other family members during a hike around the Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs, and quickly adjusted to fit each user well. As expected, it was comfortable and leak-proof. The mesh on the back and the strap helped keep things cool, much better than the backpack style packs, which was a big selling point out in the heat. It performed in every way just like any other Geigerrig product, but was sleeker and less-restrictive. Although construction appeared to be of a very high standard, we cannot vouch for the long term durability, as we discovered when we got home from our trip that it was no longer in our possession. I suspect some hotel employee was quite stoked at that find. We’ll be very pleased it if does get returned to us, as it’s a pretty solid piece of gear.
Note that the Bando can be used with Geigerrig accessories, such as the in-line filter, insulated tube, insulated tube garage, and the Power Bulb holder. Geigerrig products are popping up in just about every outdoor retail store, and have even shown up at Costco. If you can’t find one locally, order direct from Geigerrig.