Examining the new Hipster Wave from Source Outdoor

Water is essential to a good paddling session. I almost never go paddling without taking a drink with me, even if it’s just a bottle attached to my board. Of course if you’re doing a workout, a bottle like that won’t do. You want to carry water in a way that won’t break your stride. For this, there are two types of packs that are most popular. One is a backpack and goes over the shoulders. This type pairs well with an inflatable waist pack PFD. I’ve been using this style for years, starting with a traditional CamelBak. This year I’ve been experimenting with a waist pack, and I’m starting to get converted thanks to the features of the Source Outdoor Hipster Wave.

Waist packs are great because they pair well with traditional PFDs. While it is possible to wear a backpack style waterpack over a PFD, I recommend you don’t for two reasons. The first is that having two items over your shoulders increases the abrasion. Needless to say, this will really decrease the fun factor. The second reason is that you will look like a hunchbacked creature standing on the water, like some monster from a ‘50s SciFi movie. (So don’t do that. You will scare the children.) With safety becoming more and more an issue in the growing SUP community, it’s nice to have a waterpack that works with a traditional PFD, and that’s exactly what a waist pack does.

hipster wave, source outdoor, sup examiner, hydration packs

Magnet clip on the Hipster Waver.

The Hipster Wave has a few really nice features. One that took getting used to was the magnetic attachment for the drinking tube. This seemed strange at first, but it’s an elegant solution. My other waist pack uses a neck strap to keep the tube available, but I dislike that. The magnet seemed gimmicky at first, but after using it a couple of times I think it’s a great solution for keeping the tube out-of-the-way but still available. Unfortunately the magnet on the pack is only attached by a clip, and that fell off at some point while using it. I found it eventually, but if this magnet is a feature on the pack, shouldn’t it be permanently attached?

The Hipster Wave also has a built-in dry bag. It’s not designed for a phone, but it’s perfect for a key or a $20. In general the bag has lots of other storage. Besides the main compartment, there are four other pouches. I wouldn’t store a sandwich in there, but that’s plenty of room for your stuff. There’s also an external bungee in case you want to attach a poncho or jacket.

The one thing which is a bit strange to me is the seal on the 1.5 liter water bladder. Instead of a screw-on lid, the bag folds over itself, and you seal it with a clip. This took a little getting used to, but it works fine. The ability to open the bladder on its end makes it easier to dry out and fill. The helix bite valve also takes some getting used to, but it works as well as any other system.

The Hipster Wave has become my new favorite waterpack, even with the magnet issue. I do like how the design keeps all extra straps inside the bag so there’s nothing flopping about while you paddle. I’ve recently moved away from waist PFD to an inflatable vest PFD, so this waterpack is an excellent pair. On November 1–May 1, when New York State law declares I must wear a “securely fastened life jacket”, this will pair nicely with my traditional PFD. And I won’t scare the kids.

Click on the following link to learn more about Source Outdoor. To read our take on the Source Verve, a backpack style hydration pack designed for paddling, click here!

Ian Berger

Ian Berger grew up in love with the ocean, so discovering stand up paddling was a bit of revelation. Once he bought his first paddleboard, he realized this was the sport for him. Ian Berger lives in Peekskill, NY with his wife Kirsten and three children. He teaches middle school English and drama, and also has a passion for writing, which he shares with his students. Every morning Ian wakes up to write — sometimes science fiction or comic Young Adult novels, sometimes plays, but very often about stand up paddling. The Hudson River is his home turf, and you can usually find him there when the weather is good.