hydration bladders the basics

1:51 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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im having a hard time finding out about these can anyone explain the basics?canteen?

6:57 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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They are pretty basic.  I'm not positive but I think that Camelbak is the original.  Most pack I've seen have hydration pockets.  They have something to hang the bladder from and a hole to feed the drinking tube through. The Camelbaks I have has got positive off valves and bite valves.  

When you're done with them rinse them out and hang them up to dry out.  For winter use you can get insulated sleeves to put around the drinking tube to help prevent freezing.

My family really likes them.  I think it helps prevent dehydration because it is so easy to get a drink. The biggest problem I have is my son.  He likes to chew on the valve and that causes them to leak.

Anything else you want to know?

10:32 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I’ve been using an MSR Dromedary 6 liter bag as my primary warm-weather water container for a couple of years now. I’ve also got a Camelback 3 liter model. I find that both bags I have give the water a plastic taste. For me, the convenience of access outweighs the taste issue. I tend to go on high exertion hikes and drink a lot; I find I consume about 30% more water using a reservoir than I do with only bottles.

Some pros of hydration bladders (although I hate that word in the context of something I drink from):

  • Allows the water weight to be centered and high in the pack (when used with a pack sleeve)
  • High capacity achieved with low weight when compared with a traditional hard bottle
  • Ease of access (when drinking, not refilling per se) may tend towards better hydration for the user
  • Some models are compatible with filtration systems (regarding the coupling mechanisms)

Some cons

  • More susceptible to puncture (and possible rupture) than hard bottles (this can be very dangerous in cold conditions see this post from The Rambler)
  • May have more coloration of flavor than bottles
  • Some models are inconvenient to refill (for example if you have to take them all the way out of your pack)
  • Tubes can freeze in cold temps requiring the use of / expense of insulation for winter use.

Personally I like having a large capacity water bag of some type for those occasions when I’m trekking somewhere new and not sure when I’ll find more water or when I need to camp dry

Hope this helps….



11:11 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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12:21 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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On thing I forgot.  It's easy to check how much water you have in your nalgene bottle.  You have to take off your pack etc. to check your bladder and it's easier to run out if your not careful.

I haven't noticed a plastic taste with my camelbaks.  They are the hydrotanium models.  My wife even commented because she was expecting it.

12:24 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I haven't had a plastic taste from my Osprey bladder but I have heard feedback that contradicts that.


1:33 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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John and Rick,


Regarding the taste issue: a retailer once told me that some folks taste plastic and some don’t. He said that those that did taste plastic when using a reservoir tasted it with every model they tried. Although I’ve only used two models this is true for me also.


I suppose like other tastes it’s highly subjective….

1:47 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Good point. I have heard some out there that mixing up a bit of baking soda and water to clean out the inside of the bladder and this helps as well in regards to the funky taste you mention.

3:14 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I've used Source and Platypus bladders, and I haven't tasted anything in either one. I've been told that rinsing with Gatorade gets rid of any aftertaste, but I can't personally vouch for that. Occasionally, I'll add a flavouring like Crystal Lite (no sugar to attract bacteria) just to make it more interesting.

The Source has a side fill cap that matches to a water filter, so you can pump directly into it. The Platypus (my personal preference) can be purchased with a wide mouth so it's easier to clean, and in hot weather you can stuff it full of ice cubes as well as water.

However, I'm concerned about punctures, so in any place where water is critical, such as backpacking, I'll use two one-litre bottles for my primary supply and use the bladder for water treatment at the destination.

4:10 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Regarding plastic taste, or any taste for that matter, try this:

Fill with filtered water, let stand for a few hours or overnight, then taste.

Fill with tap water, the more chlorinated the better, let stand again, then taste.

And if you know the source, try the above with spring water or a stream you trust.

I understood that the plastic or bad taste in MSR and Ortlieb water bags was a result of the inner coating reacting with chlorine (even the newer MSRs) and when I did the above, it confirmed it. I don't know what is involved or whether it has to do with the amount of local chlorination but it corresponds to what we experience, especially when we car camp (we used to blame the campsites).

4:35 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Another little thing that I do on deep winter trips is when temps are low take the bite valve from my bladder and run it into my chest pocket. Your body heat will keep it from freezing as quickly.

Typically when my bladders freeze the bite valve is the first to load up with ice.

Also after taking a few slugs while on trail(winter as well) blow back into the valve while biting it so ya force the water from the feedline back into your bladder. Do not blow forcefully hard because it will create a pillow on your back and may stress your bladder causing it to leak.

You will actually feel the bladder filling with air on your back when you are doing this.

It doesn't take much to clear the line. Don't over do it.

This will negate the possibility of the water in the line freezing on ya.

Not saying this info is necessarily applicable to the op and his forays into the bc but someone out there may find these practices useful.

5:06 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Before I invested in my first Camelbak in the 90s, I made one from a 2 liter soda bottle with a surgical tube  it the cap after I cut a hole in the cap just smaller than the tube. Worked fairly well but the bottle imploded on itself making it hard to drink from.

9:31 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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i bought one of the early Camelbacks, a very small pack with a bladder that I used for biking. The pack was pretty useless except for short rides. When I got mine, it was kind of a novelty. I later bought an insulated bladder. Never really got around to using it. I'm not a fan. I find bottles easier to use, but I can see why people like them. In hot weather they seem to be the right idea, but for colder weather, a Nalgene in an insulated bottle holder like OR makes works well. I also carry a small steel insulated bottle for tea or hot chocolate.

9:48 p.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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I use one whenever I go hiking. Depending on the length of hike and the weather I bounce between a 2L and a 3L bladder. I find they make water more accessible, but ymmv. 

11:14 p.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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The good thing about the water bladders is that they provide a very packable option for large amounts of water on the trail. They also make it much more easily accessible when compared to water bottles.

The downside to this is that you are more likely to drink more than you need and over hydrate yourself. Also, since you are sipping through the hose without visually seeing how much you have left in the bladder, you don't always know how much water you have already drank and how much you have left.

5:31 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Raiders99999 said:

Also, since you are sipping through the hose without visually seeing how much you have left in the bladder, you don't always know how much water you have already drank and how much you have left.

There is a remedy for this one:

It can also help in regards to the "over-hydrating" issue you mentioned as well.

8:39 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmm. Some thoughts about that.

1. The flow meter is a really great concept and I like the idea of being able to track everything you need to know about your water supply.

2. This thing almost costs more than my entire hydration system did. $30 really?


3. You have to cut your tube to use the thing. So once you commit to using it, you can't go back without patching the cut.

Although, For $9 more you can buy an insulated tube with the flow meter already installed. This might be a better deal imo. Osprey bladders have a quick-link system for quickly changing out the tubes to the reservoir.


4. With a clear water bottle, you SEE the amount of water you have left any time you take a sip. With the flow meter, you see a number that represents how much water is left.

5. The flow meter is NOT waterproof, so I would assume that It would be a pretty fragile piece.

Overall, this "remedy" is not exactly that. It has some drawbacks, but it also has quite a few benefits. Thanks for pointing this out. I like that someone has a product that addresses this issue.

10:55 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Good point. I am not necessarily saying it is the end all be all for the problem you referred too previously. 

I think it is a good idea in theory(then again I think topping your bladder off when ya have the chance is also a good practice) but it can definitely be approved upon. 

I believe there will be better options in the not so distant future that will hit the retailers.

My biggest question is at what price?

Filling my bladder when I have the opportunity to do so doesn't cost me anything more than time. 

11:06 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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wikipedia,no help

11:16 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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forgot to mention trying to retrofit old pack,universal like pladypus looks like way to go,3L 25dollars,im sure there are plenty of people with experience out there.do they have to be gravity fed,if not how much lower can you install them in your pack?what size hose is it?they seem to be universal(metric 10mm)?the bite valves seem to be universal.i know MSR makes a hi-po model,any experience?

7:17 a.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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They need to be "hung" so that the drinking tube is at the bottom of the bladder allowing you to drain it.  I've only used Camelbak brand but I wouldn't be surprised if everybody used the same size tubing and bite valves.

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