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  1. #1
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    The Sock on the Water Bottle Trick

    This came up the other day when my fiancee and I were out on a ride. It was hot and she commented on how nice some cold water would be.

    I'm sure this isn't a secret trick, but it's one I picked up in the Marine Corps. It worked wonders in Iraq when I'd be out on long unsupported ops in the desert. Take a sock (clean if possible. if not, oh well), stretch it over your water bottle and soak it in water. When it's hot outside, the phase change of the water evaporating from the sock will cool the water in the bottle dramatically. I've never used a thermometer to test the result, but I'd say you can easily take water from 90F+ ambient temps down well into the 60s, maybe cooler.

    It works great and very quickly on the bike because of the air flow. I find that little things like a swig of cold water can be a great amelioration of mental stress when you find yourself really wearing down.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SeanBlader's Avatar
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    How does that fit with your bottle cage?

  3. #3
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Very cool tip. Thanks. And thanks for your service.

  4. #4
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    Friends in hot places start rides with bottles filled with ice, topped off with water. You can also buy insulated water bottles but I don't see that helping much beyond 30min or so. Dunno. Canteens "back in the day" when people carried big heavy canteens, were typically covered with cloth for the reason you mention. Spill a little water out occasionally and it really helped cool the canteen.

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanBlader View Post
    How does that fit with your bottle cage?
    White Socks:

    sock.jpg
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  6. #6
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackoDandy View Post
    Very cool tip. Thanks. And thanks for your service.
    +1

    I usually freeze a used soda bottle full of water in the freezer at work for the afternoon commute home when pm temps are hot, but this tip could be useful for other rides. thanks.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Shellyrides's Avatar
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    Great idea! And Thank you!

  8. #8
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    When I was young, they used to sell these canvas bags for water. You would put them on the bumper of your car. They would leak to get the outside wet and when you stopped your car, you had a cool drink of water.

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    Have you tried this when it was 95 degrees outside?

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    Bicycle tourists have been using this trick for a very very long time with success.

    I need to try it myself actually.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
    Have you tried this when it was 95 degrees outside?
    I've used this in 120F temps.

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    Same principle as what the Desert Storm vets taught me -- to keep YOURSELF cool, wet a towel or other cloth (I used a cut-up T-shirt), wear it as a headwrap; by the time it dries, you have dropped your own excess body heat, good old evap cooling. Saved my 'ace' in Orlando, FL.

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    If your water is at 90+ degrees F and it's 120 outside, physics won't allow the water to get cooler.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Back in the day the water bag was canvas , the water that seeped through the cotton evaporated
    to cool the rest of it, inside the bag..

  15. #15
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    My experience is that the insulated water bottles do stay cool a little longer than regular, which means the water is OK after 90 minutes if it started as mostly ice + cold water.
    Some of the guys in my bike club do the white sock thing with good results.
    I put my insulated bottles into neoprene can coozies to help keep them in the cages while insulating them against the hot metal bottle cages and heat reflected from the road.
    The bottle on the downtube stays cooler longer than does the bottle on the seat tube.
    A small frozen bottle in the center pocket of a bike jersey stays cool and feels great on a hot day.
    For longer rides on hot days, I get the best results from a camelbak. I stuff it with ice, then fill with cold water. It will stay cold for many hours and keeps the sun off my back as well as cooling any sweat that forms under it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
    If your water is at 90+ degrees F and it's 120 outside, physics won't allow the water to get cooler.
    Depends on the relative humidity of the surrounding air. At a relative humidity of 0 and an air temperature of 120F you can cool water to about 64F under ideal conditions (high air flow and small volume of water) through evaporative cooling. This is the principle behind a sling hygrometer where you have one thermometer with its bulb covered with a wet cloth and another that's kept dry. You then determine the relative humidity by looking up the two temperatures on a psychrometric chart such as:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychro...ometric_charts

    While 64F water isn't really cold it sure feels much more pleasant than drinking 120F water.

    I started using the wet sock cover on water bottles when living in Arizona. Water coming from taps in the desert was sometimes too hot to drink comfortably but we'd fill our bottles with it and soak the sock so the water would cool and be drinkable after riding a few miles.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    I use the Klean Kanteen Insulated water bottles. I find they keep water plently cool enough for me (I don't like ice-cold drinks).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
    If your water is at 90+ degrees F and it's 120 outside, physics won't allow the water to get cooler.
    In the same way your air conditioner uses the energy absorbed by the coolant changing from liquid to gas to cool the air in your home, energy is pulled from the bottle of water when the water in the sock evaporates. The only difference is that one is a closed system in which the gas is then compressed back into a liquid and reused.

    The effectiveness of the sock trick is dependent on ambient temperature, humidity and elevation. The faster the water evaporates, the greater the effect. There is certainly a point in any circumstance where the the prevailing conditions negate the effect. The temperature difference between the air and the sock-cooled water is dramatic enough to be quite refreshing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by digibud View Post
    Friends in hot places start rides with bottles filled with ice, topped off with water. You can also buy insulated water bottles but I don't see that helping much beyond 30min or so.
    I recently bought an insulated bottle and it makes a big difference. In the summer heat here in FL, all the ice would melt within 30 minutes from my normal bottle and the water would be warm within 45 minutes or an hour. I still have ice in my insulated bottle after an hour.

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