Hydration Reservoirs(Bladders): Plastic taste

Evening all.

I’ve tried an Osprey Hydraulics in the last year, stopped using it as it’s too foul tasting - my precious mountain water tasting fong kong is not on, at all. So yes before you ask I’ve done the washing, the lemon wash, the lemon and bicarb wash, the lemon and bicarb soak wash, the lemon and bicarb soak freeze wash, the lemon and lemon…
Gave up. Returned it. Received new one and now eyeing at it with suspicion, still packaged.

So, do all reservoirs taste like plastic. Online is divided, it seems. And when I ask shop staff they either shrug or tell me to use Game or some such sports drink, effectively masking the nasty taste. Now I’m no molecular scientist but I reckon tasting plastic means swallowing plastic, how do these companies have the gall to sell us this trash at these prices? I’m loathe to now buy several questing to find the sweet one.

Anyway, thoughts, experiences?
My guess is, I dread…"It’s subjective"

(meantime i’ll sip from my metal jug)

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Hey Carl
That plasticy taste is always there, but at various degrees - I’ve used MSR (dromedaries), Osprey, Camelback, Nathan, First Ascent… Some better than others and with some it got worse over time. The “plastic” being used is normally food-grade polyurethane so I wont be too concerned about the health effects; we are exposed to far higher quantities of real nasty in our suburban lives (not to mention that we habitually indulge in ethanol, which is a known carcinogen and destrys brain cells).
Back to the taste: I eventually bought myself a 1.8l stainless steel bottle (wide mouth) and haven’t looked back - doesn’t puncture and after 10 years of abuse its still going strong. Far better taste, looks more “mountain” and will last forever.
I do still use my 10l Drom for when we set up camp some distance from a water source - still a very useful piece of equipment that…

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Hi Carl,

I’ve been using Source products for years, and they’re excellent.
You can also try the K-Way bladders, made for them by Source.
Easy to keep clean, even using Game, or other mixes.
See the links:


Thanks gents.

I’ve heard/read they’re the cleanest tasting. Perhaps, in time, I’ll give them a try. Good price on the K-way by Source too.

@WillemB I’d have to agree, being water bottle man myself- like to see my water level and love tipping bottle to the sky for a clean glug…all this trouble came from a brief fling I had with a bladder, or was she just a concept?

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I had a good giggle while reading your post.
I’ll be eying that bladder with suspicion too! :joy:

I have 2.
One bought at Mr Price Sport which I used whilst hiking the Karoo.
The other a K-Way bladder.
None gave me any hassle.

Then again… at the rate I gulp the water down all bladders sigh in happy relief and forgot to thank me with a plastic taste.

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I’ll second the Source bladder suggestion.
I’m on my second one, and never had a weird taste.
There is a bladder in a cupboard somewhere that I retired due to the plastic taste, so you are not the only one who despises it.

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Carl Kind of yes but it goes away eventually.

Leave the Bladder full of water and lid open hanging somewhere for a few days then replace water and do it again (drain water through the hose) do this three times and use fresh water before you go off, you should be good to go. Please remember that water through the taps have chemicals in them which do manifest themselves once the water has been left for a while these congregate at the bottom near the hose outlet…

Ive got an 1.5 Osprey in my motorbike jacket, a chinese 3l and a Source 3l in my long hikes backpack and a 2l KWay in my day pack.
I don’t notice any differences now between them.
I trust the Chinese and Source 3l one the least and only use one of the two at a time. If it breaks then I have a replacement in place rather than be stranded without the ability to store water. And yes taking a Condom means that you can make any container waterproof (eg a long sleeve torn off of a shirt) try to find one with a water based or no lubricant Ive had to learn this the hard way.

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Hey Carl, seems like different strokes for different folks. I’ve had my top fill First Ascent hydration bladder (2L) for a couple of months now, but found that the ‘plastic’ taste vanished after my first use. Haven’t experienced any issues since. Very satisfied with my purchase. Hope you come right!