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Does your Kokatat hydration system dribble or leak?

Dan Foster

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For those of you with a Kokatat hydration system:

Does water dribble or leak out of the bite valve if you apply pressure to the water bladder?

The reason I ask is that I just bought the new Kokatat Poseidon PDF, which has a built-in hydration sleeve in the back to hold their 1.5 liter hydration reservoir. My initial test with a 1.5 L cycling hydration reservoir installed back there shows that tightening the PFD's side straps applies pressure to the back of the reservoir, forcing water up the tube and out the bite valve. This seems like a huge design flaw to me - the hydration pack should be in a stretchy compartment so you can tighten down the vest as much as needed without squeezing the water bag.

I have a second 3L hydration system from Osprey that's much more resistant to dribbling, and has a shutoff valve at the bite end to completely stop leakage.

How well does the Kokatat bite valve resist dribbling?

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As far as I can tell, Kokatat uses a Hydrapak Elite 1.5L reservoir with custom printing on it.



Hydrapak claims the Elite has a twist-on/twist-off shutoff valve on the bite valve.

The other issue with the Poseidon PDF is that the hydration bladder is inserted from the bottom, and it relies on a 1/2" velcro strap at the top to hold the water bag in place. The water bag I tested with didn't have a hanger loop at the top, and decided to do a wet exit of its own halfway through my paddle after I loosened the PFD straps to release some of the pressure.

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Where did you find yours locally to try? Did they have all of the add-ons, like the belly pocket?

I couldn't find one locally, so I ended up ordering a Poseidon sight-unseen from REI. I was looking to replace my PFD and to add a hydration pack, so the Poseidon's internal hydration sleeve seemed to kill both of those with one stone. And the modular, attachment points everywhere, approach resonated with me.

Like you, however, I'm not thrilled with the execution. When I first saw the design, I thought of the military MOLLE system, which uses 1" webbing sewn at regular intervals across the pack or vest so that you can slap on any number of compatible pockets or gear with 1" connectors or velcro strips. The Poseidon looks really modular, but the webbing is sewn at 1/2" intervals, so that only their slick-clip accessory pockets (or a mini carabiner) will attach. I couldn't strap my watch band onto the PDF in most locations, for example.

The chest pocket that comes with the Poseidon has three zippered compartments. After finally getting one to play with, it's really just one main compartment with a zipper at the top, and two zippered flaps on the back and inside the main compartment that sub-divide the main space without expanding. I was able to put a pair of heavy neoprene gloves and a light fleece hat into the chest pocket, and not much else.

The belly pocket, which I haven't seen, claims to have a "radio sleeve", with no indication what that means. My new VHF is 11.5" to the tip of the antenna. I suspect the belly pocket will fit "a radio", but not necessarily "my radio". It clips on the shoulder loop OK, however.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a follow up on this topic. I have Kokatat's newer version of the hydration system, and I decided to give it a little squeeze when I filled it for a trip yesterday. I did not put my full body weight on it, but gave it enough to simulate what I might expect it would get in the Poseidon PDF. I found that the bite valve did not dribble nor show any signs of leaking. I actually felt that some other part of the system would fail before the valve leaked, but I was not about to find out!

Also, the bite valve does twist to lock closed, which is very helpful when transporting the hydration-ladden PFD with the rest of your gear to the put-in. No worries of lost hydro and no fears of wet gear.

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