One of the cornerstones of outdoor gear maintenance is the appropriate cleaning of your hydration pack. To maintain the longevity of your High Sierra hydration pack, you need to understand the right way to clean it.

A well-kept hydration pack not only ensures efficiency but also safeguards your health. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to properly clean and maintain your High Sierra hydration pack to ensure it’s always in optimal condition.

How to clean High Sierra Hydration packs

Cleaning your hydration pack involves two critical areas: the hydration bladder (water reservoir) and the pack itself. Let’s dive into each in more detail.

Maintaining a Spotless Hydration Bladder

The hydration bladder forms the heart of your pack. It’s essential to keep it clean to ensure your drinking water is always safe. High Sierra provides straightforward instructions for cleaning its hydration packs:

  1. Begin by filling the bladder with soapy water and letting it soak for a few minutes.
  2. Rinse the bladder thoroughly until all soap residue is gone.
  3. Squeeze the bite valve to expel as much water as possible before storing the bladder.

Here are some additional expert recommendations to enhance the cleanliness of your hydration bladder:

  • Backpacker Magazine suggests filling the bladder with water and dropping in an Efferdent tablet. Let it soak overnight and then rinse thoroughly. This method is highly effective at removing any potential build-up beyond what basic soap can achieve.
  • It’s also recommended to clean your mouthpiece and hose when possible.
  • Crucially, always ensure your bladder is completely dry before storing it to avoid health issues associated with mold and mildew growth.

Why Is Cleaning Your Hydration Bladder So Important?

The internal environment of a hydration bladder can be a breeding ground for microbes, mildew, and mold. If a hydration bladder is stored while still damp, you run the risk of these organisms developing inside.

Consistently cleaning and thoroughly drying your hydration bladder will mitigate this risk, ensuring a contamination-free drinking experience.

Bonus Tip: If you live in a humid or warm environment where drying your pouch thoroughly is challenging, consider storing it in the freezer to prevent mildew.

Preserving the Rest of Your Pack

With the bladder taken care of, the next step is to maintain the rest of the pack. Understanding the material of your bag is vital as different materials require unique cleaning methods:

  • Nylon: The protective backing of nylon can be damaged in a washer. Instead, clean nylon packs with a damp cloth.
  • Tarmac Cross-weave and Uralite Polyester: These materials have unique coatings that can be damaged in a washer or dryer. To clean, gently wipe away any dirt or stains with a damp cloth.
  • Leather: Use only leather-specific cleaning products or a damp cloth to clean leather bags.
  • Cotton Canvas: Cotton canvas packs can be washed in a machine in a cold setting. Fill the bag with towels to maintain its shape and always air dry.


Maintaining your hydration pack’s cleanliness is a simple yet effective way to extend its lifespan and ensure your comfort during your outdoor adventures. A clean and dry High Sierra hydration pack will provide you with hassle-free and health-conscious hydration for all your treks and trails.