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  1. #1
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Hydration bladder without backpack?

    I've been looking at hydration bladders after a friend of mine used one on a 25-mile hike over lots of hills and it worked very well, while I ended up with one of my cycling water bottles in my hand as it turned out to be too big to comfortably put in a pocket and if I put it in my backpack I couldn't take a drink without stopping to faff with the pack.

    Anyway the hydration bladder seemed like a great way to carry 3 litres of water, which would be a definite help on longer rides. It would also mean I could sip at any time rather than taking sips from a water bottle on the move, which I'm not overly comfortable doing when there's much traffic about. As a bonus 3 litres is equivalent to four water bottles and I've got two bottle cages, so at a push I could carry the equivalent of six water bottles.

    The only thing is I don't like riding with a backpack on, so I'd really want some way of mounting it to the bike rather than to me. In theory I suppose I could strap it to the top of my pannier rack but I'm wondering if anyone else has done anything like this and, if so, how they did it and how it worked out.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    water bladders are gravity feed/siphon system and the mouth piece should be located under the top water level of the bladder to work properly. If you tried to mount it to the bike, the water will never make it to the mouth piece unless you get to wheel level to drink.

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    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    water bladders are gravity feed/siphon system and the mouth piece should be located under the top water level of the bladder to work properly. If you tried to mount it to the bike, the water will never make it to the mouth piece unless you get to wheel level to drink.
    Ah.... that rather puts paid to the idea
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    water bladders are gravity feed/siphon system and the mouth piece should be located under the top water level of the bladder to work properly. If you tried to mount it to the bike, the water will never make it to the mouth piece unless you get to wheel level to drink.
    Incorrect. The mouthpiece on most systems works as a stopper to prevent the fluid from running back to the bag. The only problem will be that the lower you have the bag, the harder you will have to suck. What is your problem with the backpack? They fit nice and snug. I haven't used one on a MTB, but I got my 3L Camelbak when I had my trail motorbike. Hammering along trails and over jumps and things, I never had a problem with the backpack moving about. You just adjust the straps so they don't move around.

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    the mouth pc is there to STOP all the water from flowing OUT. Ever try to siphon gas or change the water of the fish tank? Simple physics...no need to re-invent gravity

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    I have a Camelback that I sometimes use for kayaking and bike touring. I really dislike having anything on my back so when kayaking I keep the bladder under the deck and run the tube up under the waistband on the sprayskirt and when bike touring I keep the bladder in my handlebar bag. The bladder is always considerably below the level of my mouth but it's not a problem to drink from it using a little suction - just like drinking through a straw.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    jsi is correct here....your not going to mount that to your bike and run the hose up to your mouth and drink
    There's indecision when you aint got nothin left

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    water bladders are gravity feed/siphon system and the mouth piece should be located under the top water level of the bladder to work properly. If you tried to mount it to the bike, the water will never make it to the mouth piece unless you get to wheel level to drink.
    Sorry, but no. What you seem to be describing is a system where people are required to carry water on their heads. As we all know, most hydration bladders place water on your back and the mouth piece, being in your mouth, is several inches above the top of the pack (and thus the top of the water).

    In truth, the way these systems work is by placing the inlet for the drinking hose at the bottom of the bladder. Gravity presses down on the water, which forces it into the drinking tube, which helps start the siphon that delivers liquid to the mouth piece. This explains why systems such as the Camelbak FlashFlo and Baja LR can carry water around your waist and allow you to drink without having to enter some sort of complex yoga pose that puts the mouthpiece at knee level.

    Of course, there are limits to how high you can place the mouth piece. You can't, for example, place a bladder at sidewalk level and run a drinking tube to the top of the Empire State Building... but if the OP can figure out a way to keep a hydration bladder reasonably well oriented on his rear rack, I don't see why it shouldn't work.

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    you say I'm wrong yet you describe the same system as I did. Just because someone slaps Camelbak on the bag doesn't mean it defies physics.

    Let throw jr high science class out the window here and visually think this out. Yes the bladder is on the bottom, yes there is LESS air in the bladder then the hose forcing the water up through the tube. So picture this, the standard camelbak is on your back, full of 100oz. The hose is route back up through the pack, over your shoulders and bite valve is hanging roughly at belly level. Right? The the valve is lower then the top of the bag pressurizing the entire system and water is in a closed system at the disposal of the bite valve as the only exit. The first time used, you might suck on air for a second or two to get the pressure going in the positive direction. After that the water is right at the valve for the remainder of the 100oz. Now you ask why hasn't the system lost pressure as less water is in the bladder, well there is still no air in the bladder so the system is flowing in the positive direction.

    Hip bags work the same way, but the hose doesn't go up your back, is stays wrapped around the bladder to keep the positive pressure. You will be sucking on air more this way if keeping the valve at shoulder level. Drop the hose/valve down to hip and burp the valve to bring water back to the tip.

    I'm darn sure the cubic volume of air in the empty hose calculated to have less volume of cubic air in your mouth. Reason why one good suck from the bike valve will get you water.

    If you extend the hose to say a pannier pack, you now added cubic volume of air to the hose. And more volume of air that your mouth holds. Meaning it will take a few hard sucks on the valve to even TRY to get water but your fighting gravity and physics here Sure you can drop the bite valve lower to get higher pressure for an instant fix but over few minutes the pressure will fix itself and putting water in half the hose between the bladder and the bite valve.

    Other then simple physics, I would NOT want a dangling hose anywhere near my rims/spokes

  10. #10
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Regardless, wearing a camelbak is far less obtrusive than wearing say, a laptop backpack on your back. They're pretty light, even with 3L of water inside. I wear them frequently if I'm worried about the water supply where I'm riding.

    When I'm on a road bike, the water in the backpack is generally higher (slightly) than my mouth anyway.

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Regardless, wearing a camelbak is far less obtrusive than wearing say, a laptop backpack on your back. They're pretty light, even with 3L of water inside. I wear them frequently if I'm worried about the water supply where I'm riding.

    When I'm on a road bike, the water in the backpack is generally higher (slightly) than my mouth anyway.
    Exactly. Mine is not high enough to get a good siphon going, but it is high enough that I can draw water with minimal suction. I could see a frame mounted reservoir working if it were pressurized. A couple of strokes from a frame pump could give enough "head" (a hydraulics term for you morals police) to make it workable.
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    You are merely wrong in calling the system gravity feed/syphon. Yes, if you drink the water from the hose when the system is charged(water in the hose), and the end of the hose is below the water level in the bag, it is as you described, gravity feed/syphon. But because you bring the hose up to your mouth which is above the water level, it loses this function, and it is up to you to suck the water against gravity. There is no pressure in the system unless you physically squeeze the bag to add pressure. The mouthpiece is there to either stop the water from running out if the end hangs below water level, or if it hangs above, to prevent the water from running back to the bladder so that you have to suck the air out of the hose on your next drink.

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    Back on topic though, the drawback to the system you specify means that you will have at least 3kg strapped to your bike (then add bits and pieces to hold the bladder, hose, etc) which will adversely affect the handling of your bike. The downside to my camelbak and my previous el cheapo version is that it makes me sweat profusely on my back. Despite the air flow channels that they design into the padding, I get hot and sweaty on my back. I regularly use my pack when walking into remote places at work, and I have to take a change of clothes in the car for when I finish as I'm soaked in sweat afterwards anywhere the bag is touching me on my back and under the straps. On the bike would be better and that of course would also depend on how hard you push things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    Let throw jr high science class out the window here and visually think this out. Yes the bladder is on the bottom, yes there is LESS air in the bladder then the hose forcing the water up through the tube. So picture this, the standard camelbak is on your back, full of 100oz. The hose is route back up through the pack, over your shoulders and bite valve is hanging roughly at belly level. Right? The the valve is lower then the top of the bag pressurizing the entire system and water is in a closed system at the disposal of the bite valve as the only exit. The first time used, you might suck on air for a second or two to get the pressure going in the positive direction. After that the water is right at the valve for the remainder of the 100oz. Now you ask why hasn't the system lost pressure as less water is in the bladder, well there is still no air in the bladder so the system is flowing in the positive direction.
    You've never used a hydration system, have you? You seem to be a bit confused about how they operate. In particular, you seem to think that a hydration bladder must be siphoning to work. In fact, that isn't the case: these systems work perfectly well when the bite valve is positioned above bladder. In that case, it operates like a gravity-assisted straw.

    Hip bags work the same way, but the hose doesn't go up your back, is stays wrapped around the bladder to keep the positive pressure.
    Camelbak makes nine models that feature lumbar reservoirs. Only two of those models wrap the drinking tube around the bladder. Why would seven of the nine models position the bite valve significantly higher than the bladder if what you're saying is true?!?





    If you extend the hose to say a pannier pack, you now added cubic volume of air to the hose. And more volume of air that your mouth holds. Meaning it will take a few hard sucks on the valve to even TRY to get water but your fighting gravity and physics here Sure you can drop the bite valve lower to get higher pressure for an instant fix but over few minutes the pressure will fix itself and putting water in half the hose between the bladder and the bite valve.
    I'll grant that you might have to suck once or twice to get water to fill the tube. Luckily, gravity is actually helping you in this case: gravity is pushing down on the water, which forces water into the drinking tube, which means you have to suck much less than you would if you just stuck a tube into the top of the bladder. Once the drinking tube is filled with water, the bite valve serves to keep water in the tube similar to what happens when you put your finger over the end of a straw.

  15. #15
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Thanks for everybody's thoughts.

    Putting 3kg of weight on the rack isn't an issue in terms of handling, the bike handles just fine with a single pannier on it so I reckon I'll be fine with the weight balanced. I don't like backpacks because they have always made my back particularly sweaty and it's hard to see how anything can sit on my back without making it sweat. I'd also want to check access to my jersey pockets if I had anything with much size on my back. On a long ride (i.e. the times I'd want the extra water) I wouldn't necessarily be pushing hard in terms of bursts of speed but the sustained effort usually sees me quite sweaty. Another consideration is whether a waterproof can fit over me plus the backpack because the last thing I want is to be faffing with taking the pack off, putting a waterproof on, then putting the pack over the waterproof, if it starts raining.

    The hose near the spokes is an aspect I hadn't considered, if it did detach from me for any reason that could be a problem.
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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I'll grant that you might have to suck once or twice to get water to fill the tube. Luckily, gravity is actually helping you in this case: gravity is pushing down on the water, which forces water into the drinking tube, which means you have to suck much less than you would if you just stuck a tube into the top of the bladder. Once the drinking tube is filled with water, the bite valve serves to keep water in the tube similar to what happens when you put your finger over the end of a straw.
    You keep saying this but i assure you gravity is not pushing the water level in the tube any higher than the top of the water in the bladder, which will vary depending on your riding position. There's no magic gravity boost to get the water higher than that. The only advantage to sticking the tube in the bottom of the bladder is that you don't have to suck the air out first. The water in the bladder is NOT pushing water through the tube any further than it would be if you stuck the tube in the top of the bladder.

    Regardless - for the OP - there are collapsible water bottles out there (I know Nike makes some) which may be a good way for you to carry spare water without having to deal with a bottle for the whole ride. The collapsible bottles look and act like small camelbak bladders and will fit in your jersey pockets if you so desire.

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    You've never used a hydration system, have you? You seem to be a bit confused about how they operate. In particular, you seem to think that a hydration bladder must be siphoning to work. In fact, that isn't the case: these systems work perfectly well when the bite valve is positioned above bladder. In that case, it operates like a gravity-assisted straw.
    My first post was said "gravity feed system" because I didn't want to explain fluid dynamics on the darn internet.....Even my dumbed down version was too much for you to comprehend how the pressure system works.

    Yes I use a camelbak, I probably use my more in a week then you do. I've been riding MTB and camelbak systems for a LONG time. Lets see, I have a 100oz Blowfish, a 50oz Hydrobak racer bag (sprint style races or 1hr mtb rides), a 100oz bladder in my 3day bug out bag (i've been going 4x4ing allot lately). Hell I only use camelbak water bottles on the roadies and my MTB singlespeed racer. They make great products that last a long time.


    Contango, Camelbak also makes jerseys with a built in pouch area for a 2 liter bladder. But the darn jersey is TIGHT with a full bladder, so order 1 sizes up. I ordered mine from Bonktown for $55 I think. Great in the summer time short hikes w/ my dog, the water bladder w/ some ice is awesome for the 90-105* summers we down here.
    http://shop.camelbak.com/mens-raceba...6_c_112_cl_183

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    Yes I use a camelbak, I probably use my more in a week then you do. I've been riding MTB and camelbak systems for a LONG time. Lets see, I have a 100oz Blowfish, a 50oz Hydrobak racer bag (sprint style races or 1hr mtb rides), a 100oz bladder in my 3day bug out bag (i've been going 4x4ing allot lately).
    So take one of these, fill it with water, and set it on a chair or table so the valve is a foot or so above the bladder. Now take a drink from it and see if you encounter any significant difficulty.

    The first drink will require sucking in some air first since the hose won't be full of water yet. But if the valve is working right then after that first drink of water the hose should remain full so you'll just be sucking in water for subsequent drinks. Works fine with my Camelback which I always position well below the level of my mouth as explained in post #6. No need to elevate the bladder and no laws of physics are violated.

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I won't encounter difficult with the bag in the upright position because the positive pressure & gravity get the water flowing to the valve. I will in-counter problems with the pack on it's side or laying down because the hose is no longer at the bottom of the bag and GRAVITY is no longer a factor in the pressure system and can't push the water to the bite valve, you have to SUCK all the air out and water to get some.

  20. #20
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Sounds like I need to ask my friend to try drinking from his water bladder with it lying flat on the table while he stands over it. That way I can see for myself whether it works and put an end to the arguments and counter arguments.
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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    This is what I had in mind for a collapsible water bottle - http://www.rei.com/search?cat=576074...and%2CPlatypus

    just refill your normal on-bike bottle and the empty will take up little to no room. They're great for when you need 3 bottles and don't want to deal with a camelbak type device.

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    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Looks good if the full version can be easily stored. Part of the issue is that I can easily put one or more two-litre bottles of water in a pannier but if I want to leave the pannier behind I lose the means to carry the extra water. If something can fit in a jersey pocket easily enough it potentially works but even then I'm likely to be limited to two extra bottles. The hydration bladder offering the equivalent of four extra bottles has an obvious advantage to it for longer rides, especially solo rides where I prefer not to have to leave the bike to buy some more water along the way.

    I'll have to check those platypus things for next time I'm in the US, unfortunately most US suppliers won't ship to the UK any more.
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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I'm sure you can find something equivalent in GB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Thanks for everybody's thoughts.

    Putting 3kg of weight on the rack isn't an issue in terms of handling, the bike handles just fine with a single pannier on it so I reckon I'll be fine with the weight balanced. I don't like backpacks because they have always made my back particularly sweaty and it's hard to see how anything can sit on my back without making it sweat. I'd also want to check access to my jersey pockets if I had anything with much size on my back. On a long ride (i.e. the times I'd want the extra water) I wouldn't necessarily be pushing hard in terms of bursts of speed but the sustained effort usually sees me quite sweaty. Another consideration is whether a waterproof can fit over me plus the backpack because the last thing I want is to be faffing with taking the pack off, putting a waterproof on, then putting the pack over the waterproof, if it starts raining.

    The hose near the spokes is an aspect I hadn't considered, if it did detach from me for any reason that could be a problem.
    Camelbak makes a bladder called an Unbottle in both a 70 and 100 oz (2L and 3L) size. Same as the backpack with an insulated pouch but without the straps of a backpack. You can get extension hoses for them as well.
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    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Camelbak makes a bladder called an Unbottle in both a 70 and 100 oz (2L and 3L) size. Same as the backpack with an insulated pouch but without the straps of a backpack. You can get extension hoses for them as well.
    That looks just about perfect, it even comes with a strap that will (hopefully) hold it on the rack. And I can get it in the UK. Thanks for the pointer!
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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