At SNEWS® we prefer to test products that don’t suck. And Polarpak has built the virtue of not sucking directly into the design of the Moflow Pressurized Hydration System. Available as an aftermarket reservoir for hydration packs, the Moflow is not only a pretty good product, but it can also be pressurized to deliver a constant stream of liquid with a mere chomp on the bite valve.
Once you fill the reservoir with water, you then use a compression bulb to pressurize the reservoir. A quick-release coupling lets you detach the bulb in a snap and replace it with a high-volume bite valve. Under pressure, the liquid inside the reservoir flows out through the valve directly into your month the second you bite down. No sucking required.
The Moflow is also constructed to prevent leaks while changing out components. The attachment points for the reservoir hose and bit valve are sealed against leaking, and coupling mechanisms lock air and water tight when detached.
We also liked that the reservoir has vertical baffles that keep it flat against your back when filled and prevent fluid from sloshing around.
Made of a durable plastic material, the reservoir, hose and bite valve are treated with anti-microbial Microban. With this protective film, there’s little likelihood you’ll ever find a colony of mold or bacteria growing inside. Nice bonus feature.
At 70 fluid ounces, the Moflow is designed to fit most any large-sized pack or hydration sleeve. The detachable hose makes the reservoir easy to pull out, and the wide-mouth opening allows for a no-hassle refill.
One of our testers used the Moflow on a few major bike rides through the mountains of northern New Mexico. Having come from sea level, hydration on this trip was vitally important. The ride included several long climbs starting at 7,000 feet and topping out above 10,000 feet.
To work properly, the Moflow has to be pressurized, and our tester got a lot of funny looks from his fellow riders as he sat on the tailgate of the sag-wagon pumping away. The bulb looks a lot like the kind your doctor uses on a blood pressure cuff. It takes about 15 to 20 strokes to get it going.
One test ride began with an 1,100-foot ascent over about four miles, where it was hard just to breath, and sucking on a hydration tube would have been extremely difficult. Fortunately, the Moflow allowed our tester to take in water between gasps. According to Polarpak, the Moflow’s ease of use will increase water intake by 30 percent, and it seemed like a legitimate claim.
While the Moflow served us well, the bladder did lose pressure over time while riding. The flow of water reduced from a gusher to a trickle, and we had to suck to extract the last bit of liquid. You’ll have to reattach the bulb and apply more pressure to get it working again. But we discovered that if you bite down on the valve and just blow into the hose we could actually re-pressurize the system on the fly.
Also, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to rinse out the bladder with cold salt water before initial use. Otherwise, liquid will taste bitter during the first three or four uses.
Overall, the MoFlow is a well-made, innovative product. It’s a great alternative to many of the hydration bladders that come with most packs these days. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but if it can encourage users to drink more water, they’ll be much less likely to bonk when the going gets tough. Dehydration could ruin an otherwise great trip. And that would really suck.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $31.95