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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 05-21-10, 10:33 PM   #1
FolsomRoadBike
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Water bottles vrs Camelbacks

OK, your last advice was to sign up for the Eastern Sierra Double… So, I did..

Reading through the documentation they strongly suggest using a 70oz Camelback. I went out tonight and looked them over and started thinking that 70oz is the same as ~3 extra bottles.. That’s a huge amount of fluids..

I was thinking on a Sacramento 100+ degree day I can ride about 20 miles on two bottles. So I could see their point about carrying extra water.

But what caught my eye was a dual bottle holder for behind the seat. Which would be 48oz.

So, what are the pro’s and con’s of two extra water bottles or a Camelback?
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Old 05-21-10, 11:23 PM   #2
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Always let the bike carry the load.
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Old 05-22-10, 12:42 AM   #3
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water bottle or sweaty back. that's what i think. i'm 100% with znomit. the only exception being LDR in sub-freezing temps, where heat from your back could help keep your water thawed.
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Old 05-22-10, 12:45 AM   #4
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It a wonder someone hasn't designed a camel back that is fastened to the bike.
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Old 05-22-10, 12:51 AM   #5
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Contrary opinion: From a behavioral standpoint, with a properly setup Camelback, you are likely to drink more and stay better hydrated, particularly in hot dry climates.
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Old 05-22-10, 01:13 AM   #6
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Contrary opinion: From a behavioral standpoint, with a properly setup Camelback, you are likely to drink more and stay better hydrated, particularly in hot dry climates.
It is very very hard to gauge how much you are drinking from a camelbak.
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Old 05-22-10, 09:16 AM   #7
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I use a Camelbak all the time on rides of more than 4 hours or so--I wore one on a 300k two weeks ago; no bother at all. It keeps me from worrying about when I can fill up and the weight does not bother me. Obviously others disagree. As far as knowing how much you've had to drink: I don't think it matters too much in the sense that generally speaking you always have plenty with the Camelbak.
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Old 05-22-10, 10:55 AM   #8
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It a wonder someone hasn't designed a camel back that is fastened to the bike.
You can always do this:

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Old 05-22-10, 10:59 AM   #9
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It is very very hard to gauge how much you are drinking from a camelbak.
Camel Back Flow Meter:

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Old 05-22-10, 01:44 PM   #10
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have you ever gotten chaffing from the CamelBack straps? Do you use butt-butter?

I also saw on with just a little padding, hence it would have less air flow
Or one with more padding, I would think this gives a bit better air flow.l
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Old 05-22-10, 03:50 PM   #11
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It isn't my bike.
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Old 05-22-10, 04:14 PM   #12
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Contrary opinion: From a behavioral standpoint, with a properly setup Camelback, you are likely to drink more and stay better hydrated, particularly in hot dry climates.

Case on point. Look at what the armed services do. The Army and Marines are using camelbacks. They used to use waist mounted canteens exclusively.
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Old 05-22-10, 06:12 PM   #13
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I am not sure what the armed services have to do with long-distance cycling, but still...

The answer might be to get one and see how it works. I know that on a 1200 randonnee, Machka ended up in desperate trouble because of chafing and other pain issues and has never used one again. Others have used thejm with few issues that they have revealed.

Personally, I would rather not have the extra weight on my back and shoulders for any long ride. I have had similar weights with backpacks, so can extrapolate from there.

About the only single advantage of a Camelbak for such a ride is the insulation it provides.

The issue of capacity is always going to be present in LD rides, but Zefal make the nice big wide-mouthed bottles that make insertion of ice and energy drinks easier, and they fill to 900ml.

Topeak also makes (made?) an extendable bottle cage that can take 1.5-litre bottles. I have one, and it works quite well, although I would only use it for MTB trekking, for example.

The issue of how you use energy powders if at all needs to be thought about, too. Do you intend using them and if so, how? By bottle on the bike, or mixed in the Camelback?

Personally, out of the options you provide, I would opt for the seat-mounted bottle cages, but then on a ride like this one, I have a rear-mounted bag that would have a bladder of water in addition to the two Zefal bottles on the bike.
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Old 05-22-10, 08:54 PM   #14
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I carry three bottles. Not only do I hate stuff on my back when I ride, but I like having different stuff in each bottle. Today on a 90-mile training ride, I had water in one, iced tea in another, and orange juice in the third.
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Old 05-22-10, 10:12 PM   #15
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check out the wingnut gear packs. drops the weight lower on your back, so your hips are effectively carrying the water. i picked up a used one this winter and love it... so far so good for short days, it will get a long ride test later this summer.

i have used the behind the seat mount from profile. not a bad thing - but it precludes you from using a larger seatpack or saddlebag.

and then there is ken bonner...


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Old 05-23-10, 01:42 PM   #16
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check out the wingnut gear packs. drops the weight lower on your back, so your hips are effectively carrying the water. i picked up a used one this winter and love it... so far so good for short days, it will get a long ride test later this summer.

i have used the behind the seat mount from profile. not a bad thing - but it precludes you from using a larger seatpack or saddlebag.
That Wingnut thing looks like a pretty good idea. I actually prefer water bottles in my jersey pockets to CamelBaks because the weight is lower and it feels more comfortable. Seems like a good compromise. The weight distribution issue always annoyed me more when I was doing more climbing.

I've also tried the seat-mounted cages, but I had problems with bottles falling out on bumpy roads.

I always go back to water bottles in the pockets. It's simple and convenient. CamelBaks are a pain to clean if you put energy drinks in them. Water bottles are also nice because you can keep one with water and alternate flavors in others. It's also nice to be able to dump water on your head on a really hot day. Not so easy with a CamelBak.
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Old 05-23-10, 02:02 PM   #17
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Contrary opinion: From a behavioral standpoint, with a properly setup Camelback, you are likely to drink more and stay better hydrated, particularly in hot dry climates.
+1 And, since a water pack is usually insulated, you can fill it with water AND ICE, giving you cold water to drink for hours at a time, as well as keeping your back cool. Water bottles, having less volume per, and usually not being insulated will not keep your water cool for as long. I often wonder if those who disparage water pack usage (or wide, fast tires or bar bags a la francaise, etc) have ever actually TRIED the things they dismiss so easily...

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Old 05-23-10, 02:52 PM   #18
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Case on point. Look at what the armed services do. The Army and Marines are using camelbacks. They used to use waist mounted canteens exclusively.
For that purpose, the Camelbacks might be better. It says nothing about whether a Camelback is better than carrying water on the bike.

The Camelback might make it easier (the behavioral argument) to drink regularly (than pulling out a bottle might be).

Camelbacks aren't used in road racing.

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Old 05-23-10, 03:53 PM   #19
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I often wonder if those who disparage water pack usage...have ever actually TRIED the things they dismiss so easily...
Nope. I know I hate stuff on my back, so why would I try it?
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Old 05-23-10, 04:55 PM   #20
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If you can fit enough water on your bike, use bottles. I only have two mounts on my bike, so I use a camelback fairly often. Yeah, you end up with a giant wet spot on your back, but you also don't die as you could if you don't bring enough water. Almost happened once. I drank the last of my water with 5 miles to go up hill. That was not a fun experience.
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Old 05-23-10, 05:15 PM   #21
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My mountain bike has three water bottle cage mounts and I've never used any of them because you just can't expect a bottle to stay in its cage on a mountain bike, and you want your bike as light as possible to negotiate technical trails. I switched to road biking only recently, and I thought it was really strange that almost every road biker uses bottles--some on the frame, some behind the saddle, some on the bars--making you have to reach for it and take one hand away from steering, braking and shifting. I guess the weight isn't a factor because your tires are always on the ground and the ground is almost always flat--but balance might be an issue. Anyway, I bought a streamlined Camelbak (the Fairfax, with sternum strap) and on my first 20-mile ride with it I didn't even notice it was there. We'll see how it feels after longer rides but I personally hate reaching for water bottles and I hate strapping/hanging/mounting anything to my bike like under-seat packs too.
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Old 05-23-10, 07:44 PM   #22
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I've also tried the seat-mounted cages, but I had problems with bottles falling out on bumpy roads.
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My mountain bike has three water bottle cage mounts and I've never used any of them because you just can't expect a bottle to stay in its cage on a mountain bike.
This Blackburn MTB cage would fix that. I had two on my 'cross bike and never lost a bottle off road.

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Old 05-23-10, 08:04 PM   #23
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I tried the extra 2 bottle setup behind the seat, didn't like it. When I stood up to pedal the extra weight from the bottles made the bike feel funny. I usually carry 2 bottles while doing doubles. Most of the rest stops are 2-2.5 hrs apart and I drink a bottle an hour. At the rest stops I will drink a bottle of water and refill before I leave if it is hot. When I did the Davis Double I carried my Camelbak, along with my 2 bottles, but only filled it half full so I would have extra water if I needed it. I don't find them hot on my back in fact they block the sun from beating on my back and the one I have has channels for air flow to keep my back cool.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:48 PM   #24
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My preferred way of carrying fluids on LD rides is 2 on the frame, 2 behind the seat (frozen from the night before), and 2 Gatorades in my jersey pockets. 160 oz total and no discomfort.
I drink the 2 Gatorade bottles first and toss the empties before using the frame mount bottles. When they're gone, the previously frozen seat mount bottles have defrosted and are still ice cold.

When I'm set up in this way I can go 5-7 hours (dependent on conditions) without stopping.
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Old 05-23-10, 09:24 PM   #25
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So, what are the pro’s and con’s of two extra water bottles or a Camelback?
There are no "pros or cons." Bottles and hydration packs are designed for differing needs.

The more important aspect of choosing equipment for a given "unknown ride" is simple. Ask other cyclists who have actually ridden the Eastern Sierra Double what they use - and why they chose their particular fluid systems.

Of course this assumes - you ask successful Sierra Double Finishers - not the people on an Internet board offering advice about rides they've never been on.

This is pathetic - what part of "they strongly suggest" - don't you understand?
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