Hydrate or die.
It takes three days for the average person to die of dehydration, but the effects of dehydration are felt far sooner.
Running around in load bearing gear with a weapon, hopping through windows and crawling around will deplete your body of H20 in short order, but what are your options to keep a good amount of water at hand?
The tried and tested system of carrying a dedicated water bottle in its own pouch appears to have fallen by the wayside for high speed go-getters, and sometimes a bladder just isn’t practical.
Platatac offers a rather interesting solution, a 1ltr flask that you can fit 2 of within a standard 200 round SAW ammo pouch.
But what about an option that uses a commercial off the shelf bottle with the additional benefit of being proven in the wild? Well, theres a few bottles that spring to mind such as Sigg, Snowpeak and Yeti, but one of the most prevalent has to be Nalgene’s 32oz Widemouth.
Spiritus Systems have been using Nalgene’s 32oz Widemouth bottle as re-branded merch for a few years now, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have one… What can I say? I’m a sucker for branded stuff.
I won’t be reviewing the bottle here, but suffice to say it’s one of the few things I use on a daily basis, and I own three… So take from that what you will.
Despite having branded bottles for some time, It wasn’t until recently that Spiritus Systems decided to make a pouch to hold a Nalgene bottle. When they announced their pouch, most people looked at it and though “why would I need that?”.
The key reason for this being that Spiritus Systems decided to market their pouch by sticking it firmly on the front of their “Thing 2” chest rig expansion chassis, and the world asked the obvious question “how the fuck do you go prone?”.
We shall get onto that a bit later, but let’s first have a look at the pouch and how it’s built.
I purchased this pouch (along with the Spiritus Thing 2 and Micro Fight Chassis) from Tactical Kit, my relationship with them is that they continue to be a valued supporter of this blog, occasionally I’ll be loaned or given a piece of gear to review. But there’s never any expectation of a biased review. As for Spiritus Systems, they probably don’t know I exist, save for the one time they reposted my Multi-Cat Camo in their IG.
The pouch is laser cut from a single piece of laminate, this allows it to remain lightweight and low profile, whilst being incredibly resistant to wear and tear. The shape of the pouch is designed so that it closely follows the lines of a 32oz Nalgene, a cleverly shaped design means that drainage is accomplished via open section on each side.
The pouch doesn’t tend to fold completely flat when empty, which is a bit of a mixed blessing; It makes putting the bottle back in a simple task (even with one hand), but it also means that it isn’t as low profile as it could be.
The upper portion of the pouch takes the form of a Y shaped flap, allowing the bottle to be held securely and even filled whilst still within it’s pouch. There’s also a pair of eyelets should you wish to attach a retention lanyard to your bottle.
The end of this laminate strap is folded over twice and bar-tacked, forming a pull tab of sorts for cinching the strap tight around the top of the bottle.
The hardware is an ITW Nexus male and a corresponding QASM female buckle. This buckle is attached using a quartet of small, purpose made slots within the front of the pouch.
The front face of the pouch also has a folded and bar-tacked pull tab, this enables you to easily fit in your bottle, even if the pouch became limp and unresponsive over time (sound familiar?).
The rear of the pouch has MOLLE compatible slots laser cut into it, with a more traditional webbing strap for threading through the aforementioned slots. A belt loop (as built into their GP pouches) would have been a nice touch, but the inbuilt MOLLE loops can be repurposed for that if so required.
There’s not much more to say about the pouch in regards to it’s construction, overall it’s a rather simple design that’s made to a rather high standard.
But does it work? Well I’ve spent the last few months using it in a variety of situations to find out how well it works.
Mainly, I’ve been using the pouch in conjunction with the Spiritus Systems Thing 2 expansion chassis. Sitting on my non-dominant side, I’ve tried to overcome the relatively large size of the Nalgene by ensuring it’s as far out of the way as possible. It might be a surprise to some, but I’ve actually not found this pouch to be that much of a nuisance.
When attached to “The Thing”, it certainly isn’t the smallest pouch, but the height only comes up level with the top of most 30 round magazines. The depth takes some getting used to, but considering how big it is, it could feel far worse than it actually does. You’re certainly conscious of it being on your rig, but I’ve adapted to it rather easily.
If I was spending a large amount of time in prone (chest rigs in general are shit for going prone) or needing to crawl through rabbit holes I’d probably change my mind, but for the typical tasks a chest rig is expected to do, this pouch doesn’t massively impact what you can and cannot do.
Running around with the Nalgene pouch has shown it to be very stable and also quiet. Even running around with a half empty bottle doesn’t sound that bad, maybe not as quiet as a hydration bladder… But we’ve already talked about why they’re not always the best option.
I’ve also used this pouch strapped to the outside of a couple of back packs, and it worked incredibly well. On the first bag (Wisport Zipperfox 25) it was held to a padded waist strap, offering me somewhere comfortable to hold my water and allowing me to enjoy a cool drink on the go, without having to remove my pack. On the second, I could only mount it to the upper side, and through no fault of the pouch, it just wasn’t that comfortable.
Overall, I really like this pouch. If I had to list negatives, I’d say that cost was undoubtedly its primary drawback. Whilst I’m often a defender of manufacturer pricing, I honestly can’t find a reason to defend the cost of this.
At £40, it’s a bloody expensive water bottle pouch. And adding a branded Spiritus Systems Nalgene will turn it into a £60 set up. It’s above a lot of people’s purchasing threshold, and for something that’s already got people questioning it’s value, I feel Spiritus might struggle to sell this to anyone but die hard fans or hydration fanatics.
So why buy one? Well if you’ve already got a Nalgene 32oz bottle and a 2 x 3 MOLLE section that’s sat there doing nothing, it’s a match made in heaven. There’s nothing quite like being able to chug down water, and sipping it through a bladder doesn’t feel quite the same. I have this attached to my Spiritus Thing 2 Chassis and although I’m anxiously awaiting the release of their JSTA pouch, I’ll be hesitant to remove this from my rig.
The Spiritus Systems Nalgene Pouch and 32oz Widemouth are both available from Tactical Kit, who are also the sole European distributor for all Spiritus Systems products.