How To Clean a Nathan Hydration Bladder

Portait of a competitive, athletic millennial man drinking water from a hydration pack before running off road outdoors through the woods on a trail in the afternoon wearing sportswear.

Key Points

  • Hydration Bladders have become popular among outdoor enthusiasts and athletes among the top brands.

  • There are specific steps you can take to clean and care for your hydration pack that ensure an optimal hydration experience and allow your reservoir to last longer.

  • There are a few additional tips and precautions to keep in mind that help you create a regular cleaning routine for your Nathan Hydration Bladder.

A reliable means of hydrating is one of the vital pieces of gear for any outdoor enthusiast. For many, the preferred means of hydrating is a hydration bladder because it provides quick, convenient access to water. Among the most popular hydration pack brands is Nathan.

Of course, like any hydration reservoir, a Nathan pack offers the best experience and lasts the longest when properly cared for. The essential steps to caring for the reservoir include researching or reading the care instructions before your first use, using it properly, and then cleaning it. Cleaning is perhaps the most important thing to consider because it affects both the health of your reservoir and your health.

Nothing but Nathan

Every hydration bladder has its own set of care and use instructions based on the size, material, and intended use of the bladder. Usually, care instructions come with your reservoir, but if you find yourself without them or require more in-depth information, additional research is wise.

With the 2023 inflation of prices, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, it's more important than ever to know you're getting the most for what you pay. Nathan brand hydration bladders boast incredible quality and durability and offer a reliable means of hydrating during outdoor activities. These hydration packs provide convenient access to water, allowing users to stay hydrated without carrying bulky water bottles, all for a reasonable price.

With proper care and maintenance, Nathan hydration bladders can last for a long time, providing optimal performance. Whether hiking, cycling, or running, Nathan brand hydration bladders are a trusted companion that ensures you stay hydrated and perform at your best.

OutdoorGearLab writer Jeff Colt agrees: "If you're looking for a high-performing alternative to chest-mounted soft flasks, the Nathan VaporAir 2.0 7L is a good option. While it doesn't offer the ultimate comfort you get with our top-scorers, it gets the job done and has a great set of features. The easily accessible pockets, adjustable fit, and large hydration capacity make this a truly effective and functional hydration pack for running."

This article includes a step-by-step explanation, precautions, and tips for cleaning and caring for your Nathan hydration pack.

Eight Steps To Clean

Cleaning your hydration bladder lengthens the lifespan of your hydration bladder by eliminating bacteria, mold, and residues that can corrode the material of your reservoir. To maximize the likelihood of helping your pack last, you should create a routine to clean it.

Follow these steps to clean your Nathan brand hydration bladder properly:

1. Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Mix a mild soap or specialized cleaning agent with warm water in a sink or basin. Use a cleaning solution compatible with your hydration bladder's material. You can use natural alternatives like vinegar or baking soda, as well. If you use soap, be sure it's unscented so that there isn't a lingering taste when you drink from the reservoir.

2. Disconnect and Empty the Bladder

Remove the bladder from the pack and disconnect the tube. Empty any remaining water from the bladder by opening the valve and gently squeezing the bladder.

3. Rinse the Bladder

Fill the bladder with clean water and swirl it around to rinse away any residue. After a few seconds of swirling the water, empty it again.

4. Clean the Tube and Bite Valve

Use a cleaning brush or a long, flexible brush to clean the tube and bite valve. Pay attention to any hard-to-reach areas where bacteria may accumulate. Some hydration packs come with a cleaning kit, but you can easily use a straw brush to scrub the inside if yours doesn't.

5. Use the Cleaning Solution

Submerge the bladder, tube, and bite valve in the cleaning solution. Gently agitate the components to ensure thorough cleaning. Massage the reservoir to ensure it gets a flow of water that pulls away bacteria from the inside of the bladder.

6. Rinse Again

Empty the cleaning solution and shake the bladder carefully to knock any remaining suds, as they can leave residues. Rinse the bladder, tube, and bite valve with clean water to remove any remaining soap or cleaning agent. A sniff test for a soap smell is often enough to indicate if you need to rinse again or not.

7. Dry the Components

After rinsing, shake off the excess water and let the bladder, tube, and bite valve air dry. Avoid using heat sources to speed up the drying process, as it may damage the materials. Instead, use a drying rack or hanger to hold the reservoir open so that it drains and dries quickly. It's a good idea to inspect the bite valve after it's dried to see if it's still in working order before storing it.

8. Store Properly

Once completely dry, reassemble the hydration bladder and store it in a clean, dry place to prevent bacteria or mold growth. Further, you can store it in the freezer to prevent the growth of bacteria and supply yourself with ice-cold refreshments the next time you use it.

Be sure to clean your reservoir after every use. When not in use, experts recommend cleaning it every one to two weeks. By following these steps, you can maintain a clean and functional Nathan brand hydration bladder, ensuring a hygienic and reliable means of hydration during your outdoor adventures. Creating a routine ensures you get the most out of your reservoir.

A mild detergent works best with hydration bladders.

Problem and Solution: Common Issues with Nathan Brand Hydration Packs

Like any product, issues are bound to arise in some form or another with Nathan brand products, so prepare yourself. Due to their fragility, hydration packs are especially prone to issues if you don't do your research in advance. Knowing your hydration pack thoroughly helps you prevent problems and saves money. Here are some common issues and their solutions:


If you notice leakage from your Nathan hydration bladder, check the connections between the bladder, tube, and bite valve. Ensure that they're securely attached and tightened. If the issue persists, inspect the bladder for any punctures or defects causing the leakage. If found, consider replacing the bladder or purchasing a patch to lengthen its use.

Mold or Mildew Growth

A common concern with any hydration pack is mold growth, which can make you sick if not addressed. If you notice mold or mildew inside your hydration bladder, thoroughly clean it using a mild soap or specialized cleaning agent. Use a cleaning brush to gently scrub the interior and pay attention to hard-to-reach areas. Rinse the bladder thoroughly and allow it to air dry before storing it properly.

Foul Taste or Odor

If your Nathan hydration bladder develops a foul taste or odor, try cleaning it following the steps mentioned earlier. Additionally, using cleaning tablets or adding a mixture of vinegar and water to the bladder can help eliminate the taste or odor. Rinse the bladder thoroughly with clean water after using these cleaning agents.

Blockage or Restricted Flow

If you experience a blockage or restricted flow through the bite valve or tube, disassemble the components and inspect for debris or obstructions. Clean the bite valve thoroughly using a cleaning brush, ensuring it moves freely. Flush the tube with clean water to clear any blockages. Reassemble and test for improved flow.

Wear and Tear

Over time, Nathan hydration bladders may show signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, leaks, or damaged bite valves. Replacing the affected components or the entire bladder may be necessary if you notice any significant damage.

By promptly addressing these common issues and following proper maintenance and cleaning practices, you can keep your Nathan brand hydration bladder in optimal condition, ensuring a reliable and hygienic hydration experience during outdoor activities.

How To Make Healthy Hydration Happen

With the steps, tips, and precautions listed above, you should have a good feel for what to consider when creating a cleaning routine for your reservoir. However, there are a few other things to consider to ensure that your cleaning routine is regular and as hassle-free as possible, such as where to get quality cleaning supplies.

You can purchase Nathan brand hydration packs from various online and offline retailers. Some popular options are Nathan's official website, Outdoor retailers, sports stores, and online marketplaces.

The official Nathan website is a reliable source to purchase hydration packs because it's a direct link to the product and offers the most detailed information about the product. They often have a wide range of products, so you have more options for this route.

Outdoor Stores such as REI, Backcountry, and Moosejaw carry Nathan hydration packs. These retailers specialize in outdoor gear and usually have a good selection of hydration packs. Sporting goods stores like Dick's Sporting Goods, Academy Sports + Outdoors, and Sports Authority also often stock Nathan hydration packs in their inventory.

Online, you can find Nathan products at marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart's website. These platforms provide a wide selection and often have competitive pricing. Consider comparing prices and availability across different retailers to find the best deal and ensure you purchase from a reputable source.

Nothing but the Open Trail

Once you've purchased a quality cleaning kit — or household cleaning supplies — for your pack and have familiarized yourself with the instructions of your particular pack, nothing can get in the way of staying hydrated with your pack. With a reliable cleaning routine, you can feel assured that you're doing the most to maintain your health on all your adventures.

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