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  1. #1
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    Camelbak or no camelbak?

    I wanted to know if anybody recommends a CamelBak for a cross country bike tour. Are they feasible for such a ride in the summer? Or will plain old water bottles do? I won't need it for storage since I plan on getting either panniers or a trailer so I'm interested only in water storage. Any suggestions?

    --Sina

  2. #2
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    Hola mi amigo! This summer drove this guy to Portland so he could bike to San Francisco. He seemed to do ok with a camelbak. I was looking at water balders and backpacks yesterday

  3. #3
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I have done several two week tours. On the first couple, I used water bottles. Then, I got a Camelback (a bladder-only one without any storage). I found that I drink far more water with the Camelback then I did with the bottles on the bike and this is a very good thing.

    I also found that reaching for the bottles was a bit risky as it was hard to get and drink from the bottle without swerving. Thus, I feel it is much safer to ride with a Camelback.

    Also, the Camelback holds more water than my two bottles and while it is heavy when I lift it, it doesn't seem to be a problem when it is on my back. I also tour with a water bottle, usually filled with a Gatorade-like liquid.

    I never ride my bike without the Camelback now.

    Ray

  4. #4
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    I agree about the drinking more and the fact that it's safer than reaching for water bottles. I quit using them because the heat that it causes on your back and the weight of that invaribly tranfers to your sitbones.

  5. #5
    Florida to Oregon in 2007 lighthorse@eart's Avatar
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    As long as you can carry enough water to see you through those long hot dry stretches when touring it doesn't really matter how you carry it. Just be sure you drink it. I carry a camelback on tour and on most days it is folded up and not in use. I prefer to just stop and drink and take a rest. But when the day's route will not include any way to replenish my supply, then I fill it up and carry it early in the day, useing the camelback first. Then fold it up and put it away while using the bottles. Whatever floats your boat.
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  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with using a CamelBak for touring. Take a water bottle as well for use around camp. For summer tours when you don't have a lot of extra clothes to stuff in sack you can inflate the CamelBak bladder and use it as a pillow.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo
    I found that I drink far more water with the Camelback then I did with the bottles on the bike and this is a very good thing.
    Well actually it only matters if you don't drink enough with bottles. You can drink too much - (probably) it won't do you any harm but you'll be lugging around weight you don't need.

    Personally I find carrying something on my back a bit daft given the fact that if your gonna collect sweat and be uncomfortable anywhere it'll be on your back.

    Oh it's such a hassle picking up a bottle and drinking from it.

    Why not take your fluids it intravenously???????

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo
    I have done several two week tours. On the first couple, I used water bottles. Then, I got a Camelback (a bladder-only one without any storage). I found that I drink far more water with the Camelback then I did with the bottles on the bike and this is a very good thing.

    I also found that reaching for the bottles was a bit risky as it was hard to get and drink from the bottle without swerving. Thus, I feel it is much safer to ride with a Camelback.

    Also, the Camelback holds more water than my two bottles and while it is heavy when I lift it, it doesn't seem to be a problem when it is on my back. I also tour with a water bottle, usually filled with a Gatorade-like liquid.

    I never ride my bike without the Camelback now.

    Ray
    Using the camelback for WATER ONLY keeps it from getting foul from sport drinks too.

    Tim

  9. #9
    Senior Member jcbryan's Avatar
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    The part about the sweat it causes got me to think (!) about my Camelback knockoff, I got it a REI in Houston and the bladder is actually held up away from your back.
    It's made by Deuter,Click here Haven't used in a tour but works well for day rides. My two cents.... John

  10. #10
    this bike is an aqueduct Matthew A Brown's Avatar
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    My .02:


    Never tour your with anything on your back. Better for circulation, posture, saddle pressure. Keep as much weight fixed onto the frame as possible.



    edit:

    I'm also talking about tours > a few days. Weekend trips could a different animal entirely.
    Villin custom touring | Raleigh XXIX | Medici Pro Pista | 1978 Schwinn Stingray

  11. #11
    Macro Geek
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    I have been tempted by Camelbacks for years, but so far I have not succumbed. I like the idea of being able to sip water at any time, but the thought of carrying weight on my back gives me pause.

    I don't think it is necessary to drink constantly during strenuous exercise, just frequently. While touring, I am not racing. I am fine with stopping to drink... although I do grab the bottle and take a swig while riding if it is safe to do so.

  12. #12
    Vegan Cyclist
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    I had never toured with a Camelback until I started touring in the desert SW. This summer I will be going across Nevada, and other remote regions, where there isn't a drop of water for nearly 100 miles in between services. So, I'll be using the Camelback and 3 water bottles, plus an extra liter in each front pannier for cooking, and some for the next morning until I can get to services. I also carry a water filter, but there's usually not a water source out in the Nevada desert. Of course all of these measures are only for extreme circumstances.

    So, to use the Camelback, or not to use it, can depend upon where it is you will be touring.

    All the best,

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    If we don't change our direction
    we will likely end up where we are heading.

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  13. #13
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    As a 'bent rider, I like the camelbaks with out the storage compartments. I usually place a 100 oz one in the bag on the seat back. Works great. I also carry some water bottles along JIC.
    I use some hook and loop (velcrow) fasteners to secure the tube out of the way until I need it. I don't want it to get caught in the spokes of the rear wheel, so I am very careful with it to be sure it doesnt.

    When the temps are 90+ deg or very humid, I don't think you can drink 'to much' that it will do you any harm.
    One thing I have done is weigh myself before and after a short ride when its hot, to see if I am drinking
    enough. "Short" ride is important, not so long so you have to make a "nature call", which will throw off your measurements. Even drinking what I thought was a lot with the bottles, I would loose 2-3 lbs on a 20-25 mile ride when was 95 deg. With the Camelbak, it would be closer to zero loss, but I would still loose some weight. Just not as much. When it is in the 90's, I figure I 'use' about 1 liter every 10-12 miles.

    So in my mind (small as it is), the ease of getting to your water while riding the Camelbak a good idea if you have to concern yourself with hydration on your rides.

  14. #14
    this bike is an aqueduct Matthew A Brown's Avatar
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    There's the thing too. When I toured from Tampa to NYC I *did* bring my TransAlp, lashed to the top of the Bob. Worked great as a bladder, daypack, etc.

    So I'll amend: CamelBak's are great, just not on yr back. = )
    Villin custom touring | Raleigh XXIX | Medici Pro Pista | 1978 Schwinn Stingray

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    I've used Camelbaks for years both on and off-road and I've never had a problem with them. Sure they can be a bit sweaty but you get used to it after a while. When I did the eastern third of the Lewis and Clark in 2003 and the western third in 2005, I packed the bladder with ice each morning and had ice cold water until at least 3 p.m. every day...and that was in 100F heat on the western end. The ice also keeps your back from getting too cold[edit: hot, I always get those confused ]. I never found weight to be a problem.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 02-27-06 at 11:33 AM.
    Stuart Black
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  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I personally do not like using a camelback for riding because it's just too sweaty for me (I sweat a lot). Everywhere that it touches me including the straps over the shoulders just gets totally soaked and I just don't like that when I have such a nice alternative with the bottles. I've never had any trouble reaching down for the bottles and when I'm touring where there is a shortage of water, my touring bike has 3 cages for bottles and then I will just put 1 or 2 or 3 quart size Gatorade bottles in my panniers depending on how much I need. I do have some friends that like riding with a camelback so I think you just have to try both ways and see what you like.

    When I climb 14ers here in Colorado, I have to use a backpack so I use one with a bladder and drinking is very convenient, but I don't like not knowing how much I have left and I do get real sweaty underneath.
    "The wind, it is what it is, you can't curse it and you can't count on it."

  17. #17
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    Ditto the above.

    I have three Camelbacks---50 oz, 70 oz (w/ pack), and 100 oz. This weekend, when the temp got up in the 90's here in the South, I carried four water bottles and the 70 oz pack. I never go without a Camelback except for my morning or noon rides that I know will be under two hours. In the winter I wear it under my HiVisisbility windjacket.

  18. #18
    ChainringTattoo
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    I packed the bladder with ice each morning and had ice cold water until at least 3 p.m. every day... ]. I never found weight to be a problem.
    And if you do the ice thing, you've got a mini cooler to keep something cold for a bit (a red bull for a big climb, a beer for a reward after the big climb, a frozen snickers for 20 miles down the road, or whatever you crave).

  19. #19
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    i did a 160 mile single day ride and at about mile 100 my camelpack started to kill my shoulders. i really like having it because it holds a lot of water and a little extra storage. i think im going to try the fanny pack style one, it may be better on the shoulders(may not look as cool though)

  20. #20
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    One thing I don't like about CBs or bottles is that they are slow to transfer the water. I want a big hole I can drink out of like a glass of water. Nalgeen has a new lexan bottle with just such a top, works for me.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kesroberts's Avatar
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    I hate camelbacks. (Maybe that's too strong, but I don't use mine anymore) BUT, when riding across the US, I finally figured out in Colorado that the reason I was starting to feel bad all the time was that I wasn't used to the the dry air and wasn't drinking enough. So I bought one and that helped. By the time we thorugh Oregon, I abandoned it becuase I was drinking too much and stopping to pee way to often. Bottom line - I think they're good for touring sometimes.

  22. #22
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    Water is heavy. Why carry it on your back when you bike can carry it for you?

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul2
    Water is heavy. Why carry it on your back when you bike can carry it for you?
    My bike does carry water. It has 3 bottles and I fill them every morning. Two are filled with Gatorade (diluted half strength) and one is filled with water. My Camelbak is filled with ice and water (100 oz). By the end of the day, my Camelbak is empty, or nearly so, the Gatorade is gone and the extra bottle has been poured into the Camelbak. Now were else could I put 100 oz of water?
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  24. #24
    this bike is an aqueduct Matthew A Brown's Avatar
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    But, but, but.... = )

    Who bikes a full day, has oppurtunity to fill up with ice and water and Gatorade first thing in the morning, yet plans on hitting *zero* services throughout the day? (edit: Don't get me wrong here, arguably the most bestest perfect day of touring ever would involve exactly those conditions....)

    If you're doing that kind of riding, why would you want to have 6+ pounds of the densest substance possible on your back? If you're planning this far ahead to post and research on the interweb, why not just carry a bladder in a pannier or trailer?
    Villin custom touring | Raleigh XXIX | Medici Pro Pista | 1978 Schwinn Stingray

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew A Brown
    But, but, but.... = )

    Who bikes a full day, has oppurtunity to fill up with ice and water and Gatorade first thing in the morning, yet plans on hitting *zero* services throughout the day? (edit: Don't get me wrong here, arguably the most bestest perfect day of touring ever would involve exactly those conditions....)

    If you're doing that kind of riding, why would you want to have 6+ pounds of the densest substance possible on your back? If you're planning this far ahead to post and research on the interweb, why not just carry a bladder in a pannier or trailer?
    I'm debating whether or not to get a camelbak myself. It's 6+ pounds of a dense substance that you really need. On hot days, 2, maybe 3 water bottles may not be enough. It seems like it boils down to this:

    Pros: convenience, can stay cold most of the day, volume, volume, volume, doesn't take up any of your storage space on your bike

    Cons: sweaty (that would probably be the biggest con for me), heavy (isn't the bike supposed to carry the load?), possibly redundant for a lot of riding

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