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  1. #1
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Biking with a hydration pack

    I did a search of this sub-forum and was surprised not to see a thread with this topic so here it is.
    I got back from vacation last night to find my new Hydration pack had arrived. I was always leery of wearing one of these contraptions but since I also always struggle when I do a club ride to get a sip in I thought I would give it a try. They had an awesome sale on these so how could I loose for $20 and no shipping? I started off my ride in the AM today - since it was chilly I wore my gortex shell. After about 6 miles I took the shell off as both the day and I were warming up. I now had a place to store it - did not have to tie it around my waist. +1 for the pack. As I rode all I had to do was pull the tube off its magnetic latch and I had water, no head tilting back, no struggling to put the bottle away - it was easy and I could keep my mind on peddling and I had both hands on the bars and no sense of getting off balance. I thought it would make my back sweaty, it did not, but it was a cool day. I thought the straps would bother me and restrict my breathing, there was a little bit of that but the benefits out weighed this. I did sound like a washing machine when I got out of the saddle and climbed the hills. Since I don't drink power drinks when I ride - just water, I do not anticipate a cleaning problem. I bought a 2L version and on my 30-mile ride today I only consumed about 1/2. Over the years I have bounced about 4 bottles out of the cages, one I cut in half as it landed in my spokes (those Mavic wheels are tough). I can't believe I waited this long.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  2. #2
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Almost all the trail riders use a pac when it's warm or hot out. I'm seeing more and more of them on road bikers for the reasons you listed. We've all seen water bottles getting dropped during club rides and if you don't have a second bottle, it's either bail out to get the bottle or ride on and dehydrate.
    It's pretty hard to lose a pak.
    I only put water in my pak and put sports drink in a small bottle for longer rides.
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  3. #3
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    I have a 2L camelback I used for commutes w/panniers and a hydration bladder ready (and installed) backpack for use wo/panniers when I have lunch and other things to carry. I'm too uncoordinated to use a water bottle while pedaling. I also sweat a lot and consume a lot of liquid.
    The packs also carry my spare tube, pump, and tools. I rinse the packs out between uses and my motto is if you can't taste a difference it's best not to look for one.
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  4. #4
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    I always ride with mine. Water stays pretty cool, too. I got the small Camelback Slipstream and haven't noticed any extra sweating caused by the pack. A big plus for me is the high vis green when on my road bike.

  5. #5
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    I have a couple of Camelbacks (one was a gift) and almost never use them, even though it's 95-105 around here most of the summer. I'll take one on a long ride when I'm not sure of a water source, but for ordinary riding, commuting and suburban stuff, I'd rather carry bottles and look for parks and 7-Elevens. I just never have gotten used to riding with a backpack. Besides, it's an excuse to stop for a minute...

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I have a couple of Camelbacks (one was a gift) and almost never use them, even though it's 95-105 around here most of the summer. I'll take one on a long ride when I'm not sure of a water source, but for ordinary riding, commuting and suburban stuff, I'd rather carry bottles and look for parks and 7-Elevens. I just never have gotten used to riding with a backpack. Besides, it's an excuse to stop for a minute...
    Even on ordinary riding- I find a Camelback far easier and safer to use. None of that slowing down for a drink and when the hill just goes on and on and up- I do not have to slow down or lose momentum. Only problem I find with it is that it does take a bit of getting used to. The back pack breathes so no sweating- After a while you do not notice the weight at all and after a while you get the tube in the right place so that it is a quick fummble to find and suck.

    Nearly forgot- For cleaning it out and sterilising- I use the Baby Bottle Sterilizer tablets. Far cheaper that the proper tablets and easier to get.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    I have a 3 liter Camelbak Mule that I use for mtn.bike riding. Hadn't been using it on the road bike, but now that our temps are getting cooler, will most likely start using it. Sure is easier than water bottles. Seems to be a big no-no around here to ride a road bike with a Camelbak, but then again, I'm using mtn.bike platform pedals, so it can only enhance my Fred status!

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I use a 70 oz. camelback on most of my offroad rides because it is difficult or impossible to safely grab a bottle and drink while negotiating singletrack with rocks, roots, turns, trees, drops and climbs coming at me so often. It also allows me to carry enough water to get me through a ride.
    I almost never use it on the road. I have no problem reaching down for a bottle, drinking and returning it while pedaling on the road. Might be different on a fast group ride with a tight pack, but I almost never do that kind of ride. On the rare ride where I go 20 miles or more without passing a store where I can get water or energy drink, I would consider wearing it. Otherwise, when 2 bottles will get me to the next stop, I would rather let the horse carry the load than to wear a backpack.
    Nothing wrong with it if that is what you want to do, though. The only time I am ever bothered by people using camelbacks on road rides is on organized centuries when they delay the line at the rest stop filling that enormous bladder just to get them 12 miles down the road to the next stop.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    In the club rides I have been on there are always 1 or 2 folks with a hydration pack, maybe 5%. The one I bought was a nalgene 2L, red to match the bike.
    This may open a can of worms but ... One thing I learned from sailing though is that active weight is better than dead weight. Water bottles on the bike are dead weight, weight on me (the pack) is active. Biking is not sailing but I can swing my weight into action standing up out of the saddle or I can let it sit. Yes - I have to pull it up a hill no matter what but I suspect that a pound on my back is better than a pound sitting on the bike.
    My plan is to use the pack this fall if I start out with a jacket or ride any significant distance. I will use it in the century next weekend but make sure I don't tie up the line filling it (good advice on that point). A 2L load should last me 45 miles.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  10. #10
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I'm not as concerned about active vs. passive weight as with weight my back is supporting or not. Not a big thing on a 1 or 2 hour MTB ride, but on a 7 hour century it might be.
    But the thing that really struck me about the OP was that you needed to wear a jacket today . That is a hard concept to grasp. Must be nice.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    In the recumbent world, hydration packs must be more common than in the roadie world. I have a Carbon Fastback, which is a hydration pack meant to mount on the non-drive side of a carbon shell seat. It holds 100 ounces, or more often fewer ounces but with tools, pump, etc. Many recumbent manufacturers sell custom seat bags, and almost all of them contain a pocket for a hydration bladder. I wouldn't do a century without one!

  12. #12
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    A Camelbak plus a bottle or two is all you need for a whole century ride. It's worth the weight. You might not want the Camelbak on every ride but for the long ones it pays for itself. I can't do it now yet because I've only been riding for 2 months after not doing anything athletic for 12 years but when I did, I had a string of 4- to 4.5-hour centuries with a Camelbak. I don't know what the capacity was in those days. It might have been something like 2L or maybe less, but having it there was so important. I bought one when I started up again this year.

    -soma5

  13. #13
    der Rabe
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    I started using a CamelBak about three months ago and it quickly achieved 'gotta-take-on-every-ride' status. I dreaded the idea of keeping it clean but quickly slipped into the discipline. There's just enough pack space to handle a jacket and valuables. Good gear.

  14. #14
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    In the recumbent world, hydration packs must be more common than in the roadie world. I have a Carbon Fastback, which is a hydration pack meant to mount on the non-drive side of a carbon shell seat. It holds 100 ounces, or more often fewer ounces but with tools, pump, etc. Many recumbent manufacturers sell custom seat bags, and almost all of them contain a pocket for a hydration bladder. I wouldn't do a century without one!
    Good to hear. As I go on longer trips on my Bacchetta, I'm coming to find times when I don't want to stop but I am thirsty. I haven't found a good location for a water bottle holder and am beginning to think about a hydration pack.

  15. #15
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    One thing I noticed is I'm more likely to drink more when I have my pack on. It's just much easier to grab the tube and sip. If other roadies don't like me because of the hydration pack...........I'll get another. Besides, I usually ride alone. Maybe that's why.

  16. #16
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    But the thing that really struck me about the OP was that you needed to wear a jacket today That is a hard concept to grasp. Must be nice.
    The down side is that the sun was not quite up today when I went out for my morning ride at 6AM.
    I must report - no pack this AM, just 1/2 a bottle which I did not drink from. It was a fast 15 miles. Tomorrow morning may be as low as 40F - burr.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  17. #17
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdq 5oh View Post
    If other roadies don't like me because of the hydration pack...........I'll get another. Besides, I usually ride alone. Maybe that's why.
    This is by no means a scientific sampling, but I would estimate that I have seen 20 paranoid posts by people who use hydration packs on the road for every one post by a roadie criticizing them for doing it.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  18. #18
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    I use mine on any ride more than 40 miles long.

  19. #19
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    I used a Blue Wave by Camelback (cheap & simple) for the first time during our recent godawful hot/humid almost-record-setting Hoosier August. Hung it on the back of my 'bent seat, filled with ice and water. Very nice.
    Likely will only use it for nasty hot weather and long rides without certain water stops.

  20. #20
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    I have several CamelBacks that I use for mountain biking and hiking. But, for road riding, I've found that I really don't like having the weight on my back. Plus, they make it far too easy to carry too much cr*p.

    Two smallish water bottles (24 oz) are enough for most any rides I do...even all day rides. It's not hard to find stores, campgrounds, etc. for a quick refill.

    And, if you like to drink sports drink (I do), water bottles are a whole lot easier to keep clean and germ free.
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  21. #21
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    "I did sound like a washing machine when I got out of the saddle and climbed the hills"

    Remove all the air through the drinking tube and there is no washing machine sounds. Just silence.

    Also add ice for several hours of cold water.

  22. #22
    der Rabe
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    Oh, and there's another hydration pack advantage for those of us who do hiking and backpacking. I notice that almost all the newer daypacks and backpacks have a self-healing aperture out the top to accomodate the sip-tube. I recently used the bladder in a backpack on an end-to-end Assateague Island walk.

    BTW, anyone else get "Dune" stillsuit flashbacks when they take a hit off the catch-tube? I seem to channel Gurney Halleck's spirit every time and look over my shoulder for Wormsign [SUVs] and Harkonnens [ridiculously lifted pickups]. Gurney was truly bad news for bad guys. Still in love with Lady Jessica after all these years, tho' I believe my wife has mastered "the voice".

  23. #23
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    I use my Camelback while road riding quite a lot and find it very useful. During this recent super-hot week here in SoCal I've been packing in as much ice as I can, then filling the spaces between the cubes with cold water.

    So, the iced-Camelback plus a frozen Polar bottle, plus a frozen normal bottle keeps me on the road for four or five hours without having to stop. I also use the Camelback on CA Double Centuries, where checkpoints can be 35 - 40 miles apart (about the same distance as controls on brevets), and even two large bottles aren't quite enough on a really hot day.

    Of course (as noted above), I always use it when I ride my mountain bike!

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  24. #24
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    I tend to use my Camelback in the winter months when my water bottles would freeze up on longer rides. With the camelback under several other layers, I can without fear of water turning to ice. This reminds me - I hate winter.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  25. #25
    Hwy 40 Blue Hwy 40 Blue's Avatar
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    I got one last year and really only use it for longer rides. It's too much to fuss with if I'm doing 10-12 miles. Example: One time I was filling it at the sink and hadn't quite properly attached the tube where it connects to the bottom of the water bag, and whoa! All of a sudden I look down and there's about a quart and a half of water spreading over the countertop and off on the floor....

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