New from Source, a cunning device that allows you to refill your reservoir without removing it.
New in for review is the Source UTA - we're not quite sure what 'UTA' stands for, erm, 'Universal Tap Adaptor' apparently - but all you really need to know is that it's a cunning Source gizmo, which allows you to add water to your hydration reservoir without even taking it off your back. Or at least that's the theory...
The UTA comes complete with a replacement quick release tube which clicks into a compatible Source reservoir, or you could trim the tube and fit it to other brands where the tube bore is compatible. The bite valve is removable using another quick release fitting, and replaced with the UTA device which just clicks into place.
First though you place the UTA snugly over a tap. Once it's all connected, you turn on the tap and the water flows into the reservoir down the drinking tube - there's a neat valve inside the device to keep water flowing freely and in a couple of scientific kitchen lab tests, water flowed easily into the reservoir.
We were a bit cynical about the 'universal' bit of the thing's name, but actually, despite it being nominally round, we also found it fitted over a square profile kitchen tap just fine. In fact it gave a better, snugger seal than when a round tap outside.
All of which seems great, but what about when the reservoir is in a pack and possibly under pressure? We were a but dubious, but even in a maxed out Osprey hydration pack, with a good seal to the tap, we found the UTA simply worked and filled the reservoir right up - with a less good seal or really strong pressure on the reservoir, it might be less straightforward, but initially, it seems to work pretty well.
... Or Use A Bottle
If you don't have a tap to hand, your other option is to fill the reservoir from a plastic pop bottle. We found the UTA slipped over it easily and, as long as we kept the bottle elevated so the feed was gravity powered, it worked just fine.
Source says the UTA will flow around 1.5L per minute from a bottle or 2L per minute from a tap, though that will depend a bit on water pressure. You can also only turn the tap up so high before the seal between tap and UTA leaks, though with a snug seal, you can inject water pretty rapidly. With a loose seal, the UTA leaks then eventually blows off.
Genius or just novelty? We're honestly not quite sure yet, but if the whole infernal faff of pulling reservoirs out of packs to fill them does your head in, the UTA could turn out to be a useful aid to maintaining sanity.
Could you use it with a hydration reservoir from a different brand? Well, yes as long as the tube will fit onto the reservoir outlet, however you'd have to use the Source QMT Helix bite valve as no-one else's would fit into the Quick Mate Technology tube. That may or may not be a problem for you. The Source valve is generally pretty decent, but doesn't, we think, flow as well as a Camelbak equivalent.
More testing needed. Will report back. Further info at www.sourcehydration.co.uk.