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  1. #1
    Senior Member jim10040's Avatar
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    Nit-Picking??? Water Bottles v Camelback

    As a Mountain biker and sometime (only for endurance purposes) roadie, I LOVE my Camelback for carrying water and other things. I notice on many of the pictures of people riding tours and also the !NEW! bike ads that water bottles seem to be the norm. If I were to go on a few-day tour, would I discover that water bottles really are that great, or would I really miss my camelback? This is considering I'm still carrying a light load on the bike, not a full camping gear load.

    So who likes what? Water bottles? Camelback? Something Else?

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    Think of it this way; when drive in your car, do you use a cup holder or a camel back for the beverages you enjoy there? Do you use a CB when you are on the computer, or watching TV?

    Some people seem to feel they can't control a bike when reaching for bottles. OK they have to do whatthey have to do, but for the rest of us, why should we be the beast of burden when the bike is begging to do the work?

    Water bottles are great for carrying a lot of water, drinking it fast, collecting from sources, cleaning up/maintenance. There just isn't any disadvantage. You can use both systems if you want to, but out from under the foliage, I sometimes need to cycle a lot more water than is practical in a CB.

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Think of it this way; when drive in your car, do you use a cup holder or a camel back for the beverages you enjoy there? Do you use a CB when you are on the computer, or watching TV?

    Some people seem to feel they can't control a bike when reaching for bottles. OK they have to do whatthey have to do, but for the rest of us, why should we be the beast of burden when the bike is begging to do the work?

    Water bottles are great for carrying a lot of water, drinking it fast, collecting from sources, cleaning up/maintenance. There just isn't any disadvantage. You can use both systems if you want to, but out from under the foliage, I sometimes need to cycle a lot more water than is practical in a CB.
    From the other side of the fence, do you enjoy tepid water that has been baking in a plastic bottle all day? No matter what you do, you can't keep a water bottle in a cage cold for more than an hour or so. I don't mean cool ...socks and evaporative cooling are okay at keeping the bottle at slightly less than bath water temperature ... I mean cold, as in the temperature of ice - 32 F! A 100 oz Camelbak will hold around 7 lbs of ice and some water. It will keep the ice solid for hours. When riding in 100+F heat, ice cold water is way better than tepid bath water

    Additionally, that cold water does seep some coolness to you so you gain a little benefit there also. Also, as with mountain biking, the tube is easy to use so I end up drinking more water than with bottles which is always better.
    Stuart Black
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  4. #4
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    Wthout wading into the camelback/bottle religious battle, I find that I drink far more water when I am wearing a camelback then when I rely on bottles. With the camelback, everytime I think about water, I take a sip. When I only use bottles, I find that I have to be more deliberate about when I drink. The end result is more water in me when using a camelback.

    That is good enough for me.

    Ray
    Last edited by raybo; 05-08-07 at 08:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim10040
    As a Mountain biker and sometime (only for endurance purposes) roadie, I LOVE my Camelback for carrying water and other things. I notice on many of the pictures of people riding tours and also the !NEW! bike ads that water bottles seem to be the norm. If I were to go on a few-day tour, would I discover that water bottles really are that great, or would I really miss my camelback? This is considering I'm still carrying a light load on the bike, not a full camping gear load.

    So who likes what? Water bottles? Camelback? Something Else?

    I started with a CB, then switched to bottles. What I've found is that for longer distances, the extra weight of the CB causes me to have a sore back. If I use water bottles, I don't have that problem.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    back sweat!

  7. #7
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    I carry both. I have my three waterbottles on the frame and a camelback strapped to the back. I only ever fill it when I know I wont see more water for a while and just use it to refill my bottles. So I guess I do just as well with a bladder. So yeah, I think waterbottles are much nicer, I hate wearing a camelback for hours on end. It ends up hurting my back far too much.

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    I think the back sweat bothers me less than most, but I rarely wear a camelbak unless I'm mountain biking. I do like to bring a camelback if I can afford the weight and space. They are great day packs and hold small articles well. They are an additional 3L of water storage, which may be handy if you are in remote areas where water services are limited. And they are fairly insulated and keep ice water cold on those hot days, if you can get ice.

    If you normally ride with one, bring it. You can always mail it home if it doesn't work out.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    I actually use both when touring.

    I like to carry reserve water in the three water bottles that I carry on the bike while drinking from the water bladder that I have around my waist.

    Up until this year my water bladder has been a waist pack. I am seriously considering switching to a standard back mounted water bladder. I need to play around a bit to find out what works best for me on a road bike.

    The nice thing is that my waist pack holds two water bottles of water so once I empty it I refill it using two bottles on the bike leaving me with a very clear reserve of one bottle of water.

    I find that I drink far more when using the waist pack then I do on tours where I just bring water bottles. Convenience probably plays a major role. I also only put water and ice in the bladder so cleaning issues are much less of a problem for me.

    ~Jamie N
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    I come from a triathlon background, so I'm pretty much hard wired now to drink every 10 to 15 minutes or so while on the bike, from a water bottle. It's second nature now. Carry extra water in my panniers, find that it forces me to stop every couple of hours to refill bottles. Makes for a nice break in the riding. I find that a pack on my back tends to aggravate a shoulder problem, so I avoid it. Must admit, the idea of ice cold water throughout the day is very tempting though.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiznaz
    back sweat!
    With an ice packed Camelbak it's less of a problem then you might think. The insulation on the pack is good but not perfect so it cools your back at the same time. Kind of an additional benefit.

    In a dry area like where I live, back sweat can be kind of refreshing. In fact putting the pack back on after having it off for a while is like having someone drop ice down your back Further east...not so much. But it's still worth a little experimentation before rejection.

    Just sayin'
    Stuart Black
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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Obviously, CB vs bottle is a personal preference. But....

    My primary concern with a CB for touring is in keeping it clean. If you're doing a short tour (1 week or less), it's a non-issue. If you're going for several weeks it could be a minor issue, especially if you use energy drinks rather than water.

    In moderate temperatures, using the CB probably isn't worth the trouble. In hotter climates, if the back sweat doesn't bother you then it is worth the extra effort.

    I plant a water bottle right next to the handlebar, which makes it very easy to drink. I also find that seeing how much liquid is left in the bottle lets me know whether or not I'm drinking enough, and that's a little bit harder to tell with a CB.

  13. #13
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    I actually have one of those MSR dromlite bags and I'm thinking about shoving it in a front pannier or strapping it to a rack and then rigging up a camelback style hose to it. They sell kits for them, but the hose won't be long enough out of the box. That way I can have water whenever from a straw, without any extra weight on my back. Then again, I'll probably just go with bottles and refill them from the dromedary bag...

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    Im looking at doing some touring this summer, and I was thinking of taking my camel back and just sticking it on the rear rack so I could carry more water with me. It might not be nesasary, but I figured if I could just stick it on top of the rack, that would eliminate the problem of having it on my back (I really dont like being on a road bike with a back pack). I could probably just secure it on there with the chest strap and if I decide that water bottles are fine, I can use it to fill up the water bottles once they empty. If I decide I prefer the camel back, Im prety sure the hose is long enough to stretch so that I could still use it as if it were on my back. Im not sure if this is much of an idea, but it seems to solve both the problems of not drinking enough and having a sweaty back.

  15. #15
    Golden Member JR97's Avatar
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    I use both. My camel back is 1 liter and the pack is pretty small. I really don't notice it at all. Like cyco said, they're great to put ice in. I also put ice in the bottle, but it doesn't last as long. The easy access to liquid refreshment compared to bottle is a pretty signicant factor. On my bike, trying to get to the bottle is a pretty dangerous endeavor when moving. Another thing I use my water bottle for is spraying down the legs and face, washing fruit, etc. I even read somewhere where they work as a great beday, but I have yet to try that.

  16. #16
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiznaz
    I actually have one of those MSR dromlite bags and I'm thinking about shoving it in a front pannier or strapping it to a rack and then rigging up a camelback style hose to it. They sell kits for them, but the hose won't be long enough out of the box. That way I can have water whenever from a straw, without any extra weight on my back. Then again, I'll probably just go with bottles and refill them from the dromedary bag...
    If i get you right here.. the gravity involved here might make it a little difficult for you to suck the water all the way from your panniers to you, unless of course your front panniers are heavily loaded so that the water is pushed up the hose... so when you bite no effort is needed

    I get a very hot back due to some muscular problems i have, so i cannot wear a CB while riding, it would sweat me so much more, and not allow as much air to circulate to my back. Also on a long tour, rubbing might become an issue, as comfortable as they are, any pack will eventually rub, espcecially if you go over 1lt in size.

    About the Ice, its a god send sometimes on hot hikes, or when im out running... but ice isnt always available...

  17. #17
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiznaz
    I actually have one of those MSR dromlite bags and I'm thinking about shoving it in a front pannier or strapping it to a rack and then rigging up a camelback style hose to it. They sell kits for them, but the hose won't be long enough out of the box. That way I can have water whenever from a straw, without any extra weight on my back. Then again, I'll probably just go with bottles and refill them from the dromedary bag...
    I'd be worried about what's going to happen when the hose gets caught in your spokes!

  18. #18
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I'd be worried about what's going to happen when the hose gets caught in your spokes!
    It would obviously need some creative rigging! I could circle it around the front brake line once to keep it out of the way. My panniers and rack have compression straps so creating watert pressure wouldn't be all that hard (I may need to cinch down the straps as I drink over the day, but thats a cinch *ducks to avoid rotten fruit*)

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Obviously, CB vs bottle is a personal preference. But....

    My primary concern with a CB for touring is in keeping it clean. If you're doing a short tour (1 week or less), it's a non-issue. If you're going for several weeks it could be a minor issue, especially if you use energy drinks rather than water.

    In moderate temperatures, using the CB probably isn't worth the trouble. In hotter climates, if the back sweat doesn't bother you then it is worth the extra effort.

    I plant a water bottle right next to the handlebar, which makes it very easy to drink. I also find that seeing how much liquid is left in the bottle lets me know whether or not I'm drinking enough, and that's a little bit harder to tell with a CB.
    I never use energy drinks in a Camelbak. It'd just be asking for trouble. I keep my energy drinks in the water bottles. If they get scooggy, I replace them. If you just use water, keeping the CB clean isn't a problem.
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR97
    I even read somewhere where they work as a great beday, but I have yet to try that.
    Too much information! Too much information!
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR97
    I use both. .....
    I even read somewhere where they work as a great beday, but I have yet to try that.
    I also use both. For serious hot weather I carry water bottles AND the camel back.

    I used to have a mini van with a hatch back. On hot days, at the end of the ride I would put the CB on the hatch with the hose hanging down and use it as a shower.

    Speedo

  22. #22
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    I use both, but the water bottles only serve as refills for the hydration bladder. I like the idea of rigging it up on the front rack, too, btw Shinaz.

    I am surprised to see a number of people post that the camelback hurts their back.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Think of it this way; when drive in your car, do you use a cup holder or a camel back for the beverages you enjoy there? Do you use a CB when you are on the computer, or watching TV?
    Oh, please. What a miserable analogy. I take it then that you wear your cycling shoes while watching TV?
    - Mark

  24. #24
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    I use whatever suits my particular riding need at the time. For short training rides, I go with bottles only. Once I get up in the 40 mile range, I add a 70 oz Camelbak. For anything beyond about 50, I go with my 100oz Camelbak. Sometimes I'll even use the 100oz on a 40 mile ride if I know that water availability is limited. Point is, it depends on what I know about the weather, the route, my pre-ride hydration level, and so on. I have no qualms whatsoever about carrying both if that's what I need.

    I also seem to have a need for more liquid than most folks. I operate on only one kidney, which I think may have something to do with it. Two 24oz bottles just isn't enough for me most of the time.

    Also, on 50+ mile rides, I like to carry water in the CB and some sort of electrolyte drink (Gatorade, Accelerade, etc...) in my bottles. I can't take that strategy if I go bottles-only.
    - Mark

  25. #25
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    I started out this tour with every type of water carrier
    • MSR Dromedary Bags
    • Stainless Steel Waterbottles
    • Camelback


    The first few days I pedaled (95 degree heat) with the camelback on my back but quickly gave that up. I tossed away the pack but kept the bladder, storing it in one of the front panniers.

    Running the tube up through my handlebars I was able to drink from it with a bit of effort and found myself drinking more than just the water bottles alone. A good quality spout is important, one that allows water and air to flow out only.

    Then I accidently spilled some DEET on the camelback bladder. The DEET ate right though the plastic.

    We've used the Dromedary bags every day for the past year (yes, I pump water every day) and have had no problems with them.

    www.VWVagabonds.com
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    By bicycle West Coast of the U.S., Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia

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