This is the fourth in our Gnome-Proof Gear series of articles, that share our Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilot’s choices for the ‘best of the best’ in field tested fat-bike accessories. Check it out!
Geigerrig 3L Hydration Engine ($97, as pictured) by Ian Nycloud
About 2 years ago, while spec’-ing out my first bikepacking rig, my primary goal was to carry everything on the bike and liberate myself from carrying a backpack. I was continually carrying one of several hydration packs that have served my outdoor pursuits for the last decade, as it seemed the only way to carry a sufficient amount of water and have it easily accessible. It’s not.
Enter the Geigerrig Hydration Engine, a pressurized system.
I acquired mine by purchasing a Rig 1600 Tactical, one of their complete hydration packs, because:
1) You can never have too many packs (I’m also a sucker for Molle)
2) It came with a 3L engine that already had the insulated tubing
3) I got a screamin’ deal
From the first time I saw one of these, I knew it was my solution, and it has not disappointed. I pulled the hyrdration engine from the pack and either carry it in my frame bag (for day trips) or between my bar roll and the harness (for longer trips). The tubing is long enough to mount to my handlebar with a nifty 3D printed clip (courtesy of Bike Bag Dude). So what? You could do this with any reservoir right? Not exactly. Sucking water when the reservoir is below the bite valve or upside down can prove futile. What really makes the Geigerrig a winner for me is that it is no longer a “Unitasker.” The pressurized system means that in addition to hydrating, you can now also use it to spray things. You know, like the film of dust you get while gravel grinding or rolling desert singletrack, or salt crust when cruising miles of coastline, or for irrigating wounds, cleaning dishes, cooling off, hydrating your pet, and even showering (you can warm it in the sun). Pressurized also means that your hydration system is now your filtration system; the in-line filter removes greater than 99.9% of Cryptospordium and Giardia for up to 50 gallons, or the in-line virus filter which can process up to 100 gallons and additionally removes bacteria and viruses. The slide closure of the wide aperture makes it easy to fill quickly and for proper cleaning and sanitization after use (it can turn inside out and is top-rack dishwasher safe).
This water system has served me for almost 2 years for biking and bikepacking, hiking, snowshoeing, and camping and it is still going strong. It is also backed by a lifetime warranty against leaking, and is the only hydration system that I’ll be using for the foreseeable future.
Woolx Merino Wool Hoodie ($194) – By Gomez
I purchased a Woolx Merino Wool Hoodie two winters ago and it’s become my go-to choice for a breathable winter jacket. I’ve found that for riding wooded midwest singletrack, I prefer to wear layers that are not completely windproof. There are times that precipitation or wind would make me reach for a shell, but on most of my winter rides, I tend to ride in layers of wool that allow superior venting of the heat produced while active. The Woolx hoodie is thick and soft and perfect for rides from 20 – 0 degrees F. It looks very much like a standard hooded sweatshirt, but there are a few key differences that go beyond the incredible assets that Merino Wool brings to the table. The hood is large enough to go over my giant head, with a helmet on. There are thumb-cuffs to keep the wrist area tidy for getting in and out of pogies and a zippered pocket with an ear-bud portal. It’s a generously sized loose fit, so it’s perfect for bigger dudes and I’d buy another one of these bad boys, if tragedy befell my current model. I’ve worn this thing from Alaska to da UP of Michigan and run it through countless machine washings, and I think it’s earned the GPG/SOA!
Camelbak Podium Chill Water Bottle ($14) – by Scott Peterson
I am writing today to promote my favorite Gnome-proof gear. I have chosen the lowly water bottle as my object of adoration. The Camelbak Podium Chill water bottle is simply a great product. I received my first one as a gift, and assumed that no bike bottle could be worth $14.00. It did not take long for this item to prove its value. First, I love the leakproof squeeze valve. There is no need to pull up or push down on a leaky old fashioned bottle valve, this one is accessible all the time. Water comes out of a slit in a soft silicone element, not unlike a Camelbak hydration pack. A quick squeeze of the bottle provides a very satisfying blast of ice cold water (assuming you have invested in ice). Plus, there is a very reliable rotary shutoff feature that allows the bottle to be packed inside a backpack or frame bag, even laying on its side, without leaking a drop. That is a huge improvement over any other bottle I have owned .
The Podium Chill version I like is insulated, and usually keeps my water cold for at least an hour longer than the similar non-chill version. This insulation also helps in winter, delaying the freezing that often comes with Fat-Biking. I mention the ability for the bottle to be turned off and lay flat, because this might happen in your Fat-Bike frame bag.I prefer the 21oz unit, but it’s available in 16 oz and 25 oz models too. The soft plastic sides of the bottle conform to my bottle cage well, and I have not had any trouble with them flying out on rough downhills.
I have been using these bottles for about 2 years now. Most of them have been through the dishwasher about 200 times (hand wash recommended by the mfr) and they still look good and work fine, no leaks.
I have no complaint with this product, other than a high original cost. In the long run, this pays off with quality, convenience , and function. And if your old fashioned water bottle has ever leaked on your digital camera, you will understand that a few more dollars are well spent.