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  • Writer's pictureJenny Fuller

Mazama Design’s New Hydration Reservoir hits the mark!

The gear we use on the trail is critical to our safety and enjoyment. We’re brand conscious but always reading about new products and the companies behind them and trying them out in the field.

One of the most important aspects of hiking is hydration. Ample, accessible water while hiking is a fundamental need to maintain energy levels, awareness, and bodily health. For years we’ve used Camelback and Osprey hydration reservoirs based on the brand of our backpacks, but when Jenny upgraded to a new Exped backpack, it was a catalyst to look at hydration alternatives. After much research, we decided to buy a couple of Mazama AXE hydration reservoirs.

One of my biggest criticisms of hydration reservoirs is not so much during the hike but cleaning them after a trip. We were impressed with the ease of the Mazama AXE reservoirs, from filling to cleaning and overall use. Also, Jenny’s 3L Mazama AXE fit nicely in her new 15L Exped, which meant plenty of water for a half-day hike.

When I drink water, I prefer to chug or guzzle. That’s usually a challenge with hydration reservoirs. I recently read an overview of the new Mazama hydration reservoir called INTAKE which replaced the AXE reservoirs we bought. “Fluid delivery is fast and efficient with INTAKE’s high flow drink tube and new GYZR™ bite valve.” Wow!! Was there a better experience out there? Should I really believe in Big Foot? I reached out to Mazama and secured a couple of INTAKE reservoirs to review. Jenny would use the INTAKE 3L, and I would evaluate the INTAKE 2L insulated reservoir.

We had a two-week trip planned to Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Hill Country State Natural Area and another trip to hike near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Great opportunities to test the new INTAKE reservoirs in various weather and terrain conditions, and hiking durations.

We immediately noticed the new opening and sealing process on the INTAKE reservoirs. Called “FlexFill,” the unique fold and lock closure made reservoir opening, filling, sealing, and cleaning a whole lot easier - and much easier than any other reservoir we’ve used previously. The same full-length handle and easy connect hose we were familiar with from our AXE Mazama’s made handling and loading our INTAKE reservoirs into our packs a dream.

Then came the delightful surprise – the “GYZR” large bore drink tube provides a robust water flow and makes guzzling a reality. This is not your dad’s hydration reservoir; instead, there is an excellent flow with minimal effort to take a quick gulp or a larger chug.

I’ve never used an insulated reservoir and considering most of our hikes have been along hot Texas trails, it’s probably something we should have considered years ago. The INTAKE 2L insulated reservoir kept the water much cooler, and the insulated hose meant that sips or chugs didn’t start with a shot of warm water. I used water from the refrigerator, and it stayed cold for several hours. I need to try some ice to see whether that extends the cooling time.

After the hike, cleaning was similar to our Mazama AXE reservoirs, which meant a simple, streamlined process, and the wide mouth opening enabled the reservoir to dry quickly.

We are huge fans of the new Mazama INTAKE reservoirs, and they will now be a staple component of our hiking gear.

Check out Mazama Design's Hydration Reservoirs on their website.

Robert Fuller

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