Anyone who loves the outdoors needs to have a go-to hydration pack. Whether it be for hiking, biking, trail running, hunting, or just plain adventure the right hydration pack will help get you further and keep going. I have had my fair share of hydration packs over the year varying from Camelback to Osprey however, it always felt like something was missing. I loved having access to water straight from the hose without having to take the pack off, especially for mountain biking. That was never the problem, it was always the actual pack that felt off. Both previous hydration packs I had did not have enough organization to grant using it even with the water bladder.
Enter the Geigerrig Rig 1600
When it comes to a complete package for a quick day-trip adventure pack, the Rig cannot be beaten. We will start with the specs of the Rig first. The whole pack is built from 500D Multicam Cordura, which if you have followed RMK at all you know this is hands down my favorite fabric - mixing in all the best attributes, weight, abrasion resistance, tear strength, and feel. Truthfully if you are making packs without Cordura right now you are doing something wrong.
The Rig comes in at 1600 Cubic inches, hence the name which equals a 26L volume. I did notice during my testing this pack did not feel like a 26L pack when I had it on riding or hiking. The Goruck GR1 26L also comes in at the same size and feels much more bulky than the Rig.
To start off, on the very front of the pack you have your typical Military style Mollee webbing to give multiple attachment points as well as connect to any mollee backed pouches you may have. Above the mollee webbing sits the front admin pocket. Upon opening this pocket, you are greeted with a decent sized pocket with plenty of organization up top to keep all of your smaller items secure and ready when you need them. On the very top, there is a section separate from the pocket that lays down. This flap has two small zippered compartments and a place for cards, pens, and pencils. In the top most zipper I kept my keys on the key strap and right below is where I would store my wallet and whatever other small items like chapstick or gum.
Underneath the top zippered organization pockets you have two larger mesh pockets for any other items you want to keep in the front pocket.
On either side of the Rig, there are two heavy duty compression straps the help keep the load close to your back or make the pack very slim when not holding a ton of gear. At first I did not think I needed compression straps on a smaller hydration pack however when I took the Rig on my mountain bike ride packed with a full bladder, my DSLR, GoPro, gorilla pod, med kit, and a few other items I was loving the straps. They do a great job at staying out of the way and not flapping all over the place but are right where they need to be when you have to strap up. When strapped they also can act as a second closer system if you need to have the zipper open to carry taller items. At one point I was able to carry my DSLR on the Gorilla pod and have it held in by the buckles for quick access while the pack stayed on my back.
Below the compression straps on either side of the pack sits a small but great side pocket. The side pocket can not hold a ton but does a great job at storing small quick grab items like spare camera batteries, a fire kit, gloves, etc. On my bike ride and hikes I loaded one pocket out with my spare camera batteries and the other with my work gloves. This is a great feature of the Rig.
The main compartment of the Rig is exactly how it should be. Large and simple. The main pocket is just one large empty pocket perfect for the larger items in your loadout. While testing this pack I was able to fit my DSLR, Gorilla pod, GoPro and its Gorilla pod, my Med kit EDC pouch, an extra layer, and still had some room. When the water bladder is loaded fully it can push into the main compartment somewhat but that is to be expected. I love the emptiness of the pocket so I can easily slide in and out my camera without catching them on pockets, hooks and whatever else doesn't need to be there. One thing I would like to see added to the main comparment is some light padding on the bottom for some extra peace of mind when carrying Camera or other expensive eletronics.
Another feature that separates the Rig from other hydration packs is the included, removable, padded hip belt. Not many packs this size offer a fully featured hip belt and I am not sure why because after using the Rig's I am in love. The hip belt is perfectly padded, not too much that it is uncomfortable while riding my bike but enough to support a 30lb Goruck Ruck weight. The hip belt also has a small pocket on either side that was large enough to store my iPhone 6s and would work great for keys and other small items. The belt can be removed effortlessly as it is attached with some heavy duty velcro at the base of the pack. This is one of my favorite features of the Rig.
The back panel on the Rig is also more than expected from a typical hydration pack. The panel is home to three large separate padded mesh islands to help with not only padding but ventilation. When riding my bike with the pack my back did get sweaty but that is fairly hard to avoid while mountain biking. When just hiking the pack did a great job at venting. At the bottom of the back panel, there is a large lumbar mesh pad which houses the velcro for the hip belt.
Right behind the padded back panel runs a zipper which reveals the water bladder compartment. The Rig comes with an included 3L bladder which is not your average bladder. The Geigerrig bladder does not only hold water and give you a hydration hose but has a separate "pressure hose" which the user can pump full and give the water hose pressure. At first, I really thought this was just a marketing technique however upon using I doubt I will ever be happy with another bladder. Pumping air into the bladder allowed me to pinch the outlet and use the hydration hose as more than a hydration outlet, I was able to spray my face to cool down with water, fill up my pup's water bowl and spray off my boots at the end of the hike. On the right shoulder strap, the Insulated water bladder hose runs down and connects to the plastic hold. The left strap houses the pump hose in a small pocket which can be pumped while zipped shut. The addition of the Insulated hydration hose really helped to not blasted with a stream of warm water on the first gulp after a while.
The shoulder straps on the Rig are lightly padded and backed with the same mesh material used on the hip belt and back panel of the pack. The Rig comes with an included sternum strap and plenty of attachment points. Each hose runs down the straps and stays low profile due to the loops and clips holding the hoses down.
The Rig 1600 Tactical Hydration Pack by Geigerrig is not only my favorite hydration packs I've used but one of my favorite day hiking/adventure packs. The attention to detail is very apparent from the stitching to the small mesh parts in high contact areas. The pressurized water bladder is an awesome feature and the removable padded hip belt brings it all together to make a monster day pack. The pack comes in at $210 which is not cheap but completely justifiable with the Cordura construction and top-tier features. The Rig also comes in the Mulitcam verison I have, Black, and Coyote Tan. I look forward to seeing what other great packs come from the guys over at Geigerrig.
- 500D Cordura
- Padded Removable Hip-Belt
- Compression Straps
- Padded Back Panel
- Great attention to detail
- Pressurized Water Bladder
- Great Organization for a Hydration Pack
- Mollee Webbing
- No padding on bottom
- No Velcro patch on Front for Morale Patches