Geigerrig RIG 1600

Geigerrig RIG 1600

 

When Geigerrig wanted 4AllOutdoors.org to test some of their hydration systems I did not jump right at the chance like I do some other items.  I already have a hydration pack the similar size of the RIG 1600 and really wasn’t looking for another hydration / day pack until I got on Geigerrigs website and started doing some research.  What really peaked my interest was the inline filter that allows you to fill up your bladder from any water source and the filter ready drinking tube gives you clean, safe drinking water.  Another thing that interested me to try this pack out was the hydration system sprays the water into your mouth rather than having to suck it.  Once I decided to try the pack and received it, I found that this hydration pack has many more things to offer than my current pack.

 

Below is just a small amount of information about the Rig 1600 on the Geigerrig website.  The website is full of information and videos concerning all aspects of the bag.  The website is www.geigerrig.com .

Geigerrig RIG 1600

Photo from Geigerrig 1600 website

Fabric: 100% Heavy Duty Ballistic Nylon
Weight: 1.48 Kg

Bladder: 100 oz. (3L), quick-release valves for drinking tube and pressurization tube for easy refill and bladder removal, slide top for easy refill, cleaning and drying.

Dry Capacity: 1600 cu inches (26.2L)

Zippers: Industrial Size 10 Coil Zippers

I-Pod Ready Compartment w/ Waterproof Zipper Garage

Padded and Stowable Hip Belt: Removable System with pockets configured for hosting Power Bulb if desired

Shoulder Strap: Ergonomic Fit, Terraced Overlay for Adjustable Tube Configuration and Power Bulb Configuration, Industrial Load Dispersement cut and padding

Chest Strap: Integrated slider chest strap

Additional Features: Plug & Play Reservoir Tube Connector, Compression Straps, PVC Reinforced Exterior Side Storage Pockets, Reflective Zipper Pulls, Internal Storage Compartments and Organizer, Eco Rig Back Pads, Air Drive Ventilation, Heavy Duty Nylon Pack Handle

When I received the pack and pulled it out of the box my first reaction and comment was this bag is made very well.  The heavy duty “ballistic” nylon seems very durable and all the zippers and buckles are heavy duty which is very important to me.  There is no wasted space on the pack.  If there is a place to put a pocket, Geigerrrig has found a way to put it there.  Starting with the front of the pack there is a waterproof pocket for a cell phone, iPod, etc.  It has a rubber port that would allow your ear bud wires to come out but not allow water in.  It is not a huge pocket but I can fit my phone (HTC Thunderbolt) and my wallet and that is all I can fit in there.  On both sides on the bottom there are pockets that have zippers that go about half way down the pocket.  These pockets are large enough for a camera and other miscellaneous items that you can reach without taking the pack off your back.  I will use them to hold my bottles that I mix powder drinks or electrolyte tablets in.  The pockets are large enough for Nalgene type  bottles or bike bottles.  The lower cinch straps will hold the bottles in place since the pockets are not tall enough to zip the bottles inside.   I do not like mixing drinks in my bladder so I use the water from the bladder to mix the drinks in smaller bottles.

 

Front waterproof pocket

Nalgene type and bike bottle in side pockets

 

The pack has two large main compartments.   The first compartment has a large mesh pocket that is divided in the middle to give you two smaller pockets.  They are large enough for a book, journal, food, bike tubes, tools, etc.  Behind the divided mesh pocket there is room for a larger notebook (I will keep my geocache notebook there) or smaller clothing items like gloves, skull cap, extra socks or a lightweight layer.  Sewn in the compartment is also a small organizer.  It has two zipper pockets that could store a small notebook, drink mix, electrolyte tablets, etc.  There is a small pocket that closes with Velcro that could hold a flip phone.  There are also three sleeves for pens or pencils.  There is also a hook to hold your keys.  The second compartment is one large pocket.  It is the length and width of the pack.  It has enough room for me to put 5 rain jackets (2 adults and 3 kids) inside with room to spare.  It will be great in the winter for mountain biking to store the extra layers I peel off as the day warms up.

 

Mesh Pockets

Organizer

Large Compartment

The hip belt which is attached to the pack with Velcro can be removed if you prefer not to use it.  It also has a pocket on each side. These pockets also are large enough for my phone but not room for much more than that.  The hip belt is approximately 4 inches wide at the hips and has thin padding.  It buckles and is adjusted by pulling on the straps to tighten or pull on the buckle to loosen.  The shoulder straps are about 2 inches wide and padded.  They are very comfortable and with the mesh backing they do not generate a lot of heat when using the pack.  The same mesh is on the pack the rest against my back that covers thick, comfortable pad.

 

Hip belt pocket

Other hip pocket

Padding and mesh backing stays cool against body

The pressurized hydration system is one of the reasons I wanted to test this bag.  It is a very easy system to use.  I found the easiest way to use it is unhook the pressure tube at the top of the bladder by simply pressing a button and twisting, then do the same thing to the drink tube.  Once the tubes are disconnected the bladder is very easy to fill.  It has a wide mouth that is similar to a Ziploc bag so it is easy to fill from a refrigerator, sink or and creek.  Once full, simply roll the top once toward you and slide the supplied slide in the direction of the arrow.  Once it is seals, water will not come out until you want it to.  I then reattached the pressure tube and drink tube and slid the bladder in its sleeve in the back of the pack that is separate from the two main compartments.  I zip the bladder compartment closed then pump up the bladder.  The pump is a bulb type that is like the ones you would see when you get your blood pressure tested at the doctor’s office.  The bulb is on the left shoulder strap near the bottom and is easy to pump.  I pumped the bulb around twenty times to get a nice steady flow of water.   To get the water flowing all you have to do is either bite on the bite valve or squeeze it and the water comes without having to suck.

 

Wide opening bladder

Pressure bulb

Blader sleeve

I have only had one chance to test the Geigerrig Rig 1600 and I was very impressed.  I went on a 2 hour mountain bike ride.  The temperature was 87 degrees with the humidity in the 50 percent range.  I was a little concerned that the pack would be very hot to wear but I wanted to give it a try.  The mesh backing on all the straps and the back kept the heat away from my body.  I did not use the chest strap but did use the hip belt.    I filled the 100 ounce (3 liters) full of water and ice and filled the bag with 2 pairs of flip-flops, a pair of shorts and 2 t-shirts.  Everything fit nicely with room to spare.  I pumped up the bladder and we were off.  We climbed the mountain and it was very easy to drink when I didn’t have to suck to get fluids.  As I drank and the bladder started to empty and was very impressed that the water did not slosh around.  Because the bladder is a two chamber system, the bladder holds constant pressure on the water and that keeps it from sloshing around.  As it normally happens I did take a spill during the ride.  I crashed on my side and landed mainly on hip and left shoulder but a lot of weight did land on the pack.  I was a little concerned that the bladder would have busted open but it was fine as well as the rest of the pack.  I also went under a fallen tree and I made it under the tree but forgot about the pack and it took the full impact of the collision.  I knew I had torn the bag or broken a zipper.  I took the pack off and it was in perfect shape other than a little dirt.  Near the end of the ride I noticed that the pressure of the water coming out was not as strong as it had been.  I gave the bulb about ten more pumps and the pressure was back.  When I got back to the truck I was not getting anymore water so I released the pressure out of the bag by simply pulling the pressure tube off the bulb.  I opened the bladder and noticed there was about ¼ cup (60L) of water left.  I guess I planned my fluids for that ride just right.

 

Output pressure by squeezing bite valve

Very comfortable on ride. No sloshing around.

 

I am very glad I am able to test the Geigerrig 1600 Rig because the guys who developed the pack thought of everything.  The only negative I have found so far is when there is pressure on the bladder the water does not slosh around so you cannot tell how much water you have without looking.  Their website is one of the best I have seen.  It is full of information on every aspect of the pack plus others packs they offer.  There are several videos that are also very informative.  I have not had a chance to test the filter system but will for my next review.  I look forward to using the pack on my upcoming adventures.  More to come in about a month.

Update 09/05/2011

 

I have had an opportunity to use the Geigerrig Rig 1600 several more times since my initial review and continue to be very impressed with its functionality, durability and comfort.   Not only is it great for day hikes and mountain biking, I have found it is great on weekend trips and cheering on friends as they competed in their first Ironman triathlon.  I have also had a chance to test the water filter.

 

I took the Rig on a short one hour hike.  As it has been all summer inSouth Carolina, the temperature was in the mid 90’s and the humidity around 80%.  I did not have very much packed in the pack other than a small first aid kit, couple of power bars, a GPS and my phone.  I had the bladder filled with water just to be sure I had enough on a hot day.   I pumped up the bladder so I would have pressure and would not have to suck to get water.  As before, I initially pumped the bulb about 20 times to get the output pressure where I wanted it.  The initial 20 pumps was enough pressure for the entire hike.  The Rig was comfortable to wear and I did not feel any hot spots while wearing it.

 

Last weekend I had two friends competing in their first Ironman triathlon.  For those who do not know what that is, it is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.  It is an all day event and as a spectator, you are constantly on the move so you can cheer on the athletes as much as possible.  There were seven of us cheering on our friends and the Geigerrig Rig 1600 came along.  I got to carry all the snacks and water for the day.  I also carried extra t-shirts for everyone because we changed half way through the race.  I wore the pack for over 16 hours that day and it never became uncomfortable.  The only time it was off my back was at lunch, dinner and the short times we were in the car moving around the course to see our friends.  The temperature was nice, low 80’s and the humidity around 50%.  Like the other times I have carried the pack, I never felt hot wearing it.  I always used the hip belt but rarely used the chest strap.  I thought I may get some spots on my shoulders or hips from the pack rubbing, but that never happened.

 

I finally got the nerve up to test the filter system on the Rig 1600. I went to the lake behind our house and scooped out some water.  The lake has been tested and is safe to swim in but definitely not safe to drink.  It has been a hot, dry summer and the water is not flowing like it normally does.  I thought about driving up to the mountains and getting some cleaner water but I figured if I could drink our lake water without getting sick, the filter is doing its job.  After scooping the water in the bladder, I hooked up the filter tube and the pump tube and placed the bladder in the pack.  I pumped the bulb 20 or so times and squeezed the bite valve.  The first little bit of water was full of charcoal then it began to flow cleaner.  I poured some in a glass cup and compared it to non filtered water.  I found it to be clearer but not tap water clear.  I decided to take the plunge and drink some of the filtered lake water.  I drank about 6 ounces.  I never had any side effects so the filter must have done its job.  I will drink more for my next review and see if I get the same results.

Scooping up the water

 

Does not look too clean

Filtered water on left

Taking a drink

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I am very impressed with the Geigerrig Rig 1600.  I have had one quality issue so far.  There is a small nylon strap that the hydration tube can run behind to keep it secure and it has ripped from the shoulder strap.  There is a heavier duty sleeve underneath the strap that ripped and I can slide the tube under but it is a little more difficult to slide it through.  I look forward to using the Rig on my outdoor adventures.  More to come in about a month.

Torn strap

 

Another view of torn strap

 

Final Review  

The more I use my Geigerrig  Rig 1600 the more I am impressed with its features and durability.  Over the past month I have used it mainly for mountain biking.  As I have mentioned in my previous reviews, there is plenty of room for my extra gear, nutrition and clothing as well as room for gear of others who I am riding with. All the pockets and compartments that are offered allow me to keep all my gear separated so I’m not spending time searching for something that is stuffed in one main compartment.  The Rig 1600 is very comfortable to wear whether it is for a two hour mountain bike ride, half a day hike or an all day Ironman event as a spectator.  I have found I am more comfortable riding without the hip belt unbuckled.  The mesh padded backing on all points that contact my body keeps the heat away so I don’t have issues with hot spots or chaffing.

The Rig 1600 in built very well.  I have had several bike crashes with it on and there has not been any damage as the result of the crashes.  I have also stuffed it full of gear and have put a lot of pressure on the zippers and buckles.  Everything continues to work well and I don’t see any wear or tearing near the zippers or buckles.  I did mention in my previous post about the strap that ripped that holds the hydration tube on the shoulder strap.  I received a note from the VP of Geigerrig who read the blog saying he wanted to take care of the problem.  We spoke on the phone and I asked him what he would do with someone who does not write a blog if they called with the same issue.  He said he would do exactly what he was doing for me and that is replace the bag.  I was very impressed with him as I have been with everything about Geigerrig.

In addition to the quality and durability of the pack, I really like the hydration system.  The idea of a pressurized bladder that allows you to get fluids without having to suck is very impressive.  Geigerrig has figured out how to make it work and work well.  I can share my fluids, clean dirt and blood off me or just cool off with a steady stream from the bladder.  The optional inline water filter is another feature that separates the Geigerrig packs from the others currently on the market today.   It eases my mind that if I run out of fluids on a ride or hike, I can fill the bladder from any water source and have safe drinking water at anytime.

Sharing water with my sons friend

The Geigerrig Rig 1600 has been the best hydration pack I have ever used.  Geigerrig has proven to me to be a first class company.  They have an incredibly informative website, quality products and an excellent customer service.  I look forward to using the Rig 1600 on all my upcoming mountain bike rides and day hikes. I want to thank Geigerrig for providing the Rig 1600 for me to test and 4AllOutdoors for the opportunity.

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