Hydration Bladder -- How long will freshwater stay drinkable?

2:33 a.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
4 forum posts

Hello forum!

New here, but I've yet to find the answer I seek.

 

My question is; how long will freshwater stay drinkable inside of a Hydration Bladder? I have an Osprey Raptor 6, if that matters (I don't think it should). I assume no more than a few days, but I want to make sure that I'm not getting sick from letting mold/growth develop.

 

I tried Google first, came across a few threads, none of them had the particular answer I'm looking for. For proof:

 

Hydration Bladder cleaning: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-repair/topics/46351.html

 

Thanks guys!

-s

 

 

2:35 a.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
4 forum posts

I guess it won't let me link as a new member but that thread is valid. Just copy/paste in the browser if you have to. Sorry about that.

6:47 a.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,699 reviewer rep
1,296 forum posts

Into the Storm, it depends on several factors. One being the cleanliness of the inside of the bladder, and if you have had anything besides water in the bladder.

If the inside of the bladder is clean and you havn't touched the inside of the bladder while filling it and you havn't blown water from the tube back into the bladder then the water will be good for quite some time, in theory up to 6 months, but more realistic would be 2-3 weeks.

You will probally see mold growth in the drinking tube/bite valve within a week. I have forgotten to empty my 3L bladder a few times after a trip and when I see around a week later the drink tube is usually just beginning to grow things but the main bladder is fine. It can be hard to notice growth when it is just starting, you have to look carefully.

Bottom line is, KEEP YOUR BLADDER CLEAN!. Do a bleach and water rinse of it every so often if you use it on a regular basis. And I wouldn't store water in it any longer than you have to. But I leave water in mine for 2-4 days all the time and it has always been fine.

7:24 a.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
4 forum posts

Cool Rambler! Thanks for the tips! :)

 

I guess I was concerned with how long the system would be usable off a single fill, say if I was going on a trip and couldn't refill or clean it for a day (or a few). So you're saying the tube/valve should probably be cleaned every 3-5 days and the Bladder every 2-3 weeks?

 

Or am I misinterpreting the information?

 

-s

9:56 a.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,699 reviewer rep
1,296 forum posts

Let me put it this way.

On an actual trip, no matter the duration (i have only done up to two weeks), I have never had the bladder grow any nasties that I am aware of. Keep in mind that I am refilling the bladder with fresh water everyday after it is all used up.

You should be fine for a few day trip. UNLESS you are contaminating the inside of the bladder by touching the inside, or putting something like gatoraide etc in it.

The only times I have ever had anything grow in my bladder is when I forget to dump the water out of my bladder when I get home from a trip and don't get to it til a week or more later. (Hence it has been used during the trip and has bacteria introduced to the bladder via the drinking tube and from refilling)

I have left clean water in a clean bladder for weeks and it has been fine.

I clean my bladder and drinking tube after every trip usually. Just put about 1 liter of water and a capful of bleach and and shake it all around good for a few minutes and drain it through the bite valve/drinking tube and let the bleach water sit in the drink tube for about half an hour and then drain it the rest of the way, and rinse thoroughly.

Realisticly, unless your blowing back through your drink tube into the bladder(common advice for winter hiking to prevent tube freezing) then your bladder will remain clean unless you just leave the water in it for a really long time.

I wouldn't worry about your bladder on a trip, only during storage at home. Store it empty, with the bladder open so it can dry completely.

12:20 p.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
200 reviewer rep
4,072 forum posts

I once forgot to empty and clean my Camelbak for about 4 months after a trip. There was black aglae grown inside the edges of the bladder, the screw threads and the whole inside of the drinking tube. The algae in the bladder and screw threads was easy to clean out, but I ended up having to replace the drinking tube as I could not get it clean enough.

I used a water and vinegar soloution (about half and half) to soak the main bladder in beofre rinsing it out to make sure the mold/algae was killed. I then left the bladder propped open for a few days to let it dry out completely before storing it for use again.

If your water gets too warm while slung on you pack it can grow algae fairly fast, notice able as a black look thru the tube and around the bladder areas mentioned before.

2:22 p.m. on December 27, 2010 (EST)
65 reviewer rep
170 forum posts

I never do anything to clean my bladder and I use it a lot. My first one last for about 4-5 years, till it turned too black even for me.

All I do with it is drying it after use and before storage.

Saying that, I used it on a daily base for up to a month at a time.

I think that the metiral also have to do with it. Till now I have being using Nalgene and Platypus and now I'm using the MSR one - and it seems as mold is slow to grow in it :)

As said before, if you just leave it full with clean water it'll be alright for weeks at a time, it's when you have dampness instead of water that mold will grow inside.

When on a trip, and I'm talking also about 6 months trips (been there before) I don't do anything with it - if you are in a camp for a week and don't use it (why won't you use it also in the camp?), dry it and that's it.

And last thing - maybe you don't want to, but I don't know if drinking water from a bladder full of mold is not good for you - I have done it more then one's and nothing went wrong with me... taste a bit funny...

7:38 p.m. on December 28, 2010 (EST)
102 reviewer rep
2,276 forum posts

Even city water has bugs, including giardia. The reason we get sick isn’t due to exposure, per se, but rather our bodies inability pass these organisms fast enough before they multiply and reach a toxic mass.  Since the bugs in city water are at such low counts, they cannot obtain the critical numbers that will make us ill in the time it takes for them to pass through our guts.  Washing your water vessel will help reduce the risk of water borne illness, but the potability of your water source coupled with the length of time and the conditions you store it under will have at least as much impact on the risk you face.  We once took “fresh” Sierra water home in vessels used previously only to store distilled water.  I drank water from this source for a week on my trip with no ill effects, yet when we uncorked that jug a week after returning home my entire household got ill within hours.  The same consequences occurred in my friend’s household too.   Thus even water that was potable when drawn can turn if left to brew over time.  Most bugs will multiply faster in warmer environs, and the temperatures have to be quite high – above 120 F – before the heat reduces the ability for water borne organisms to multiply.  Given my experience and these facts, I try to refresh my water daily, and sterilize my water vessels after each trip, or once a week on longer trips.

Ed

PS: nice avatar, intothestorm

9:26 p.m. on December 28, 2010 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,699 reviewer rep
1,296 forum posts

Are you sure it was Giardia? It is pretty much physically impossible(from my understanding anyway) to get sick within hours of drinking giardia infected water, it takes 1-2 weeks with 7 days being average, for giardia in this case, to incubate and actually make someone ill.

Contrary to popular belief giardia does not multiply in water. It is a parasite afterall, it only truly begins to multiply when inside a host body. The cysts can survive outside of the host body for up to two months in a cool and moist environment. The cysts can survive in water, or in soil. Giardia is typically spread to water sources during periods of heavy rain(rain washes infected animal feces etc into river, streams, and lakes).

Other water born infections though such as from a coliform bateria such as Escherichia coli aka E. Coli can cause illness in a matter of hours(i actually just saw a report that said alot of sierra nevadas water sources contain E.coli, no idea if there is any truth to it or not). Coliform bacteria is one of the main concerns when storing water that is not treated chemically for extended periods of time. Yes, city water supplies contain all of these bacteria, cysts and parasites but the reason you don't get sick is because the chlorine amounts keep these levels in check even in stored water.

Remember to always use fresh water and periodically clean your water containers to prevent the beaver fever!

10:16 p.m. on December 28, 2010 (EST)
102 reviewer rep
2,276 forum posts

Are you sure it was Giardia?...

Actually I have no idea what bug made us sick drinking two week old mountain water.  The illness came and went quickly, and other than really bad diarrhea for a day, we were none the worse for wear.  I only mention Giardia because most people don't realize we are exposed to it on a regular basis in our city water, yet do not get ill because it passes through our system to quickly to proliferate and reach unhealthy levels, starting from the low counts present in city drinking water.  As for Beaver Fever, I suffered that affliction frequently in my youth, but that is another subject:)

Ed

9:35 p.m. on December 29, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
4 forum posts

Haha Ed.

 

Wow thanks for the help guys! I'll take this all into account!

2:49 p.m. on January 16, 2011 (EST)
37 reviewer rep
140 forum posts

If you use the above advise on cleaning the hydration system, the below information might interest you. I did my own experiment due to preparing for longer hikes. I tested water after a week in my camelbak after pouring in bottled water from the factory. There was no contamination of the hydration system. The water inside the bladder tasted the same as a newly opened warm bottled water from the same factory. I know a ranger in the German Alps who uses the Alpine springs as a water source for his hydration system during longer hikes. He said that the water was still fresh after 3 to 4 days. So, it all depends on your water source. The best/purest water I ever tasted was from a waterfall inside a mountain in Switzerland.

5:50 p.m. on March 8, 2011 (EST)
4 reviewer rep
54 forum posts

@ Rambler and Gary,

What is the mix of bleach/water or vineager / water that you use?

Does the taste of either linger?  I've never actually cleaned my bladder. I dry it out, but thats about it...

thanks

6:34 p.m. on March 8, 2011 (EST)
200 reviewer rep
4,072 forum posts

Bleach should be no more than a bleach bottle capfull per gallon of water used. Vinegar (white or red) is about 1 cup per gallon water. After you put either liquid in the bladder let sit for a couple minutes, then rinse out with fresh water and allow to thoroughly dry before re-using.

Cleaning out the drinking tube is a bit easier if you use the vinegar methed so if you have to suck the cleaning fluid thru and accidently get it in your mouth it won't taste as bad.

1:37 p.m. on March 9, 2011 (EST)
102 reviewer rep
2,276 forum posts

..After you put either liquid in the bladder let sit for a couple minutes, then rinse out with fresh water and allow to thoroughly dry before re-using...

Heed Gary's advice, and don't over soak (e.g. hours) as bleach can degrade some plastics, making them brittle.  Using more bleach will not harm your vessel as long as you don’t over soak.  You may use your blivet without drying, however, as long as you rinse it thoroughly.
Ed

3:27 p.m. on March 9, 2011 (EST)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

Camelbak cleaning guide says to use 2 tablespoons of bleach added to a filled resevior, making sure the tube is filled with the solution as well. Then let it sit for 30 minutues, after which drain the solution through the drinking tube. Follow this with a thorough cleaning and rinsing using mild soap and clean water.

4:06 p.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
4 reviewer rep
54 forum posts

thanks Gonzon, Gary and whomeworry

My tube has white mold/mildew growing in it...resevior seems fine though.

9:16 a.m. on March 11, 2011 (EST)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

If there is a lot of solid-ish filum or mycelium in the tube it could be difficult to clean it all out, especially if it isn't suspended in water or has dried out. It probably could be done pretty well with the Camelbak cleaning kit, whith comes with a tube "reaming" tool sort of like a plummer's snake,  only smaller :)

If the bladder and tube is full of water, so the mycelium is susdended in solution, it will be much easier. If, however, it is dryish you will need to to completely fill the whole thing and let it soak for a while to loosen it up.

Regardless of whether you get rid of every bit of the filum, bleach will completely kill the fungus currently present, making it safe to use- it's just kinda problematic going forward since you wont be able to tell what is new growth (and gross psychologically).   

5:13 p.m. on March 11, 2011 (EST)
4 reviewer rep
54 forum posts

thanks gonzan. it's been dry since...geez late october ish.  i might just buy a new tube...i believe they sell them seperate from the bladder...well i hope anyway

6:23 p.m. on March 11, 2011 (EST)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
968 reviewer rep
3,470 forum posts

Hi josh,

Your question has already been answered, but I just wanted to say welcome.

I also noticed your great looking Sheppard in your photo, I love dogs and they always catch my eye.

I lost my dog about a year ago, I had a male Akita that was my 'best friend' for 14.5 years.

Can you tell me about your dog?

12:56 a.m. on March 12, 2011 (EST)
102 reviewer rep
2,276 forum posts

I guess I was concerned with how long the system would be usable off a single fill, say if I was going on a trip and couldn't refill or clean it for a day (or a few). So you're saying the tube/valve should probably be cleaned every 3-5 days and the Bladder every 2-3 weeks?

 

The biggest risk under the use you describe is the water itself, not the bladder.  If the water contains microbes they can proliferate to an unhealthy level in a relatively short period, especially in warm climates.  Tap water, bottled water and properly treated water should be safe for a day or two, but raw pond water may give you trouble if not refreshed.  I always empty out day old water and replacing with fresh stuff will deal with the risk old old water poses.

Ed

10:53 p.m. on April 12, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,236 forum posts

Hi All,  Cleaning the hydration bladder tubing is simple.  Go to your local music store that sells/services instruments such as flutes, trombones, sax's and the such.  Ask for brass mouth piece brushes that are larger than the tubing (there are many different sizes).  Take a line and tie it to the end loop on the brush.  Make a mixture of baking soda and your water/bleach solution and make a paste.  Use the brush and paste to clean the tube by pulling the brush through the tube.  Repeat as necessary.  If you make the paste watery it can sit in the tube for a little while.  Try to not let the paste dry out. Rince out using hot water and a clean brush.  Let air dry.  ( I dry mine above the wood stove).  For ease of purchase these brushes can be had by buying them on ebay.  Type in mouthpiece brush.  There cheap.  Just make sure you get one thats big enough.

This mixture of baking soda water/bleach also works on anything that has mold on it, making sure that the item your using it on will not be harmed by the bleach.

8:57 a.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts

Ask for brass mouth piece brushes that are larger than the tubing

 What a great idea!

9:52 a.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts

...how long will freshwater stay drinkable inside of a Hydration Bladder? 

 

"My" 2 cents:

There are a myriad of products out there, in which to transport water.

Opinion: If I felt the need to ask this question in the first place, and by "I" I mean 'Me personally", the answer would be simple and clear: I'm putting my water in the wrong container. 

"I" don't want to have to worry about plasticized water, leaching chemicals, toxins, mold, or anything else.  "I" would research a better option. Personally, I use 18/8 stainless or glass.  Heavy, I know, but right now I feel that these are the least harmful options available for long-term health. That's more important to me than a short term weight problem.

5:35 p.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

Hey! finally something I do know a little about... Welcome to the site I'm new to but these are some of the friendliest people on the internet.

Being where I am right now I only get bottled water because god knows what is in the well water in Afghanistan, But as long as you continue to flush your camel back bladder with fresh water (drinkin it) I have never had any ill effects. I've been using the same one for going on 4 months daily with problems. Given that I don't have a chance to clean it bleach is hard to come by. Just try not to touch the inside of the resivoir and under no circumstances should you put any thing other than water in it. Another thing with them is that once you fill it turn it upside down and  suck all the water out of the tube and air out of the resivoir you run a lot less of a risk of breaking or poping it in the event of you falling down. along with my camel back I carry 2 Nalgeen bottles each containing a litter of water for when I need to get water down fast. Those "supposedly" you can put mixes in with out them getting moldy for longer but I don't know. And I do know that the will not get a plastic like taste even with the temp being in the 100's. Maybe this helped a little I hope.

5:09 p.m. on April 14, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

I heard somewhere, that drinking nasty water was good for you ... if you were constipated.

 

r2

7:27 a.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
102 reviewer rep
2,276 forum posts

I heard somewhere, that drinking nasty water was good for you ... if you were constipated.

 

r2

I'll have to try that - my buddy’s cooking has me alternating between crapping bricks and the screaming trots.  At least nasty water will bring consistency...

Ed

8:55 a.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

I heard somewhere, that drinking nasty water was good for you ... if you were constipated.

 

r2

I'll have to try that - my buddy’s cooking has me alternating between crapping bricks and the screaming trots.  At least nasty water will bring consistency...

Ed

 

 

Ever hear 'bout what is sometimes called a 'travelog' ??

Occurs upon the end of a journey.

Another whimsical term used by climbers, is 'brown falcons'.

Not so difficult to discern ....

 

 

r2

7:17 p.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

Don't' know and exact answer but the longer you keep it out of direct sunlight the longer it will last.

July 26, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: New to Winter backpacking... Newer: Hello
All forums: Older: Sleeping Bag Construction: Baffles, Layers, and Shingles Newer: Grand Falls of the Little Colorado