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  1. #1
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    Camelbak for a touring bike - to carry the water on the bike (not on your back)

    I love my Camelbak, I have a large capacity one (100 oz), which allows me to fill up water/ice twice to last me a whole day. It's so much better than having to carry around several bike-bottles.

    Unfortunately, I have a neck spondolysis, and it is difficult (except with a lot of pain) to carry the water as a backpack the whole day. I have done it several times, but had a lot of neck pain and stiff neck for days later.

    I was wondering and would like to solicit ideas bike tourers here have found or implemented during their tours to carry the water on the bike rather than on your shoulder/back.

    I heard of a water pack called Hydrathon, which seems like an interesting way to carry water on the bike -- it's like a pannier but instead on the bike rack, you hang it on the frame of the bike. Also, it carries also a bit less water than what my camelbak is able to carry (2L vs my camelback which is about 3L), but still better than carrying it on the shoulder.

    Any pictures/ideas people can share?

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    The easiest solution is just to sling a bladder in a frame pack, like bikepackers do. Revelate Designs or, my favorite, Porcelain Rocket can hook you up with little trouble.

    More complicated would be something like this:

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/stor...ion-system.cfm

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    Just use liter water (or other drink) bottles from a convenience store, in your pannier. Refillable, recyclable, weigh nothing when empty, recycle or throw away when not needed or gross, easy to get new ones, cost nothing beyond the first water you buy in them.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Impossipede View Post
    The easiest solution is just to sling a bladder in a frame pack, like bikepackers do. Revelate Designs or, my favorite, Porcelain Rocket can hook you up with little trouble.
    I completely agree. I have a Revelate Designs "Tangle" frame bag (non-custom, fits along the top tube rather than fills the whole triangle) and it fits a 100oz Camelbak perfectly. I don't normally use it for that, but I was experimenting with ways to carry additional water for road rides when my bottles wouldn't be enough.

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    I have used just the bladder from my Camelback carried inside my handlebar bag while touring. The hose is convenient for being able to drink while riding and it also doubles as a refrigerator. I've filled the bladder with ice from a motel or from the fountain at a fast-food or convenience store and then place any perishable food items that I buy in the handlebar bag. Gives me cold water to drink during the day and there's usually still ice left keeping the food cold when I arrive at the night's campsite.

  6. #6
    Senior Lurker, mostly. DW99's Avatar
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    Maybe you can rig up the Camelback "unbottle" in some way. I mostly use bottles, but sometime put the unbottle on top of a pannier for additional water.

    http://www.rei.com/search?query=unbo...x=0&button.y=0

    Impossipedes idea, the under the saddle rig looks like it should work well.
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    That Vel Eau thing looks stupid - barely any carrying capacity, awkward rigging, takes up a spot where you probably have your tool bag, requires lots of fiddling to get it on/off the bike for refills, and heavy. Oh, and it costs $80. Couldn't pay me to carry that thing.
    ...

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    If I need to carry more than 3-4 litres of water I use the MSR Dromedary bags. They range in size from 2L to 10L. They are also all but indestructible, have lash down point on them and can easily be hung to be used as a shower or water supply. I had one fall off the rack on a down hill (my lazy self had not tied it down) it hit the road at 20mph, I walked back up the hill and retrieved it, no damage. I also like the fact it is black, I tie it on top of the rack and on a sunny day I can have a warm shower at the end of the day. If I am using it for drinking water, I will shade it somehow to keep it from getting too warm.

    Nothing wrong with using the camel bak if that is what you have and it works for you. It seems to me you are carrying a bit of extra odds and ends when you could carry a 4L dromedary bag for the same amount of weight.

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about getting one of these to clip to my rack.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  10. #10
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    I guess I'm missing something, but why not just bungee the bladder to your rack top? Or on top of your rack pack? Or rig up a way to let it hang from your top tube?
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Just use liter water (or other drink) bottles from a convenience store, in your pannier. Refillable, recyclable, weigh nothing when empty, recycle or throw away when not needed or gross, easy to get new ones, cost nothing beyond the first water you buy in them.
    +1

    Tried fitting my camelbak in a pannier. Too much trouble getting it in there and fiddling with the hose when thirsty. Too much weight on one side of bike as well. Don't like wearing it on my back. Could bungee it to the rack, but that's still a hassle compared to carrying a Gatorade or similar bottle. IMO fiddling around with that hose is just a pain unless the thing is on your back. Stuffing a Gatorade bottle under the top pannier strap worked best. Least hassle, cheapest option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    That Vel Eau thing looks stupid - barely any carrying capacity, awkward rigging, takes up a spot where you probably have your tool bag, requires lots of fiddling to get it on/off the bike for refills, and heavy.
    42 oz = 2 water bottles, not bad.

    It takes about 10 minutes to do the initial install or to move everything to another bike. Once the clips are on, it's not much harder than putting on a regular saddle bag. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6DRS...layer_embedded)

    It's got a spot for some tools. If you're touring, there's tons of other spots to carry tools as well.

    You don't have to remove it to refill. You just unscrew the top and pour the liquid right in.

    Weight specs aren't published. I would agree it will be heavier than a pair of bottles, but probably no heavier than a hydration backpack.

    $80 may be a lot... for a product you're not interested in. It's not that out of line compared to hydration backpacks. If I was in a hot climate, did TT's, or had an MTB that couldn't really take any water bottles, I'd give it serious consideration.
    Last edited by Bacciagalupe; 09-17-11 at 12:13 PM.

  13. #13
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    We always used regular water bottles in cages on the bikes. If we needed additional water, we strapped empty Coke bottles on somewhere. However - a friend of ours was captaining a triple and couldn't take his hands off the handlebars so found he wasn't drinking enough. He ended up rigging up his water bottles to the Camelbak hose so he could drink without using his hands. I don't know the specifics, but it shouldn't be too hard to rig up.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    However - a friend of ours was captaining a triple and couldn't take his hands off the handlebars so found he wasn't drinking enough. He ended up rigging up his water bottles to the Camelbak hose so he could drink without using his hands. I don't know the specifics, but it shouldn't be too hard to rig up.
    I did the same last year; the lids from Camelbak's "Better Bottles" use the same threading as Camelbak and Polar's insulated bicycle water bottles. Camelbak then sells a "Hands-Free Bottle Adapter" that replaces the bite-valve on the Better Bottle lid with a hose+bite-valve. It worked great for water, though not so great for Hammer-style powder drinks that settle out.

    My bottles were at near eye-level, so I didn't need to suck the water up much height. I imagine if the bottles were on the frame it'd take more effort to drink, but don't know if that'd be too bothersome or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    I guess I'm missing something, but why not just bungee the bladder to your rack top? Or on top of your rack pack? Or rig up a way to let it hang from your top tube?
    I have considered bungee-ing it to the top of the rack, but I have a rack bag that is just about foot long. I have a Camelbak Stoway which you can put into any backpack, but it is almost 1 3/4 ft long, so if I were to bungee this thing on top of the bicycle bag, it would stick out almost 3/4 of a feet; not really practical. Also, if I were to do so, I'd also have to get a longer drinking tube since I"m looking for something that allows me to drink handsfree while I am riding.

    Also, I don't know if people here have noticed -- if you have a longer drinking tube, more of the water sits in that tube, more of that water that is warm. I hate drinking warm water while I'm bicycling, and I tend to spit out that first "warm" water from my camelbak. I noticed the warm water in my short-tube that I currently have, I think the amount must be twice that much if the tube is that much longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I have used just the bladder from my Camelback carried inside my handlebar bag while touring. The hose is convenient for being able to drink while riding and it also doubles as a refrigerator. I've filled the bladder with ice from a motel or from the fountain at a fast-food or convenience store and then place any perishable food items that I buy in the handlebar bag. Gives me cold water to drink during the day and there's usually still ice left keeping the food cold when I arrive at the night's campsite.
    How big is your handlebar bag and what capacity is your Camelbak? It's a neat idea to put it in the handlebar bag, though I am wondering though how big the handlebar bag has to be to host a 100oz Camelbak.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cieous View Post
    Also, I don't know if people here have noticed -- if you have a longer drinking tube, more of the water sits in that tube, more of that water that is warm. I hate drinking warm water while I'm bicycling, and I tend to spit out that first "warm" water from my camelbak. I noticed the warm water in my short-tube that I currently have, I think the amount must be twice that much if the tube is that much longer.
    After taking your drink, blow back in the tube, to force water back into the bladder.

    Every drink is cold

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    Duh. How come I didn't think of that. Great idea. Thanks UeberGeek. Will try it out on my next ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
    I completely agree. I have a Revelate Designs "Tangle" frame bag (non-custom, fits along the top tube rather than fills the whole triangle) and it fits a 100oz Camelbak perfectly. I don't normally use it for that, but I was experimenting with ways to carry additional water for road rides when my bottles wouldn't be enough.
    The Tangle Bag from Relative Design looks very neat. Pricey, but a great idea. I have cables though at the top of the frame bar (top of the triangle) where you'd be hanging this bag from. Doesn't the velcro from the bag interfere with the braking and gear cables?

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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    I've been thinking about getting one of these to clip to my rack.
    It's very similar to the one I have right now -- Camelbak Stoway. The Stoway comes with a drinking tube though. Mine is a 100 oz capacity, I have put it in my favorite backpack, but I'm not sure if this one has one too. Let us know if you come up with an ingenious idea of attaching it to the rack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cieous View Post
    Duh. How come I didn't think of that. Great idea. Thanks UeberGeek. Will try it out on my next ride.
    I only know after spending a year in the desert, and sick of drinking near-boiling water You get imaginative

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
    After taking your drink, blow back in the tube, to force water back into the bladder.

    Every drink is cold
    wow, amazing.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cieous View Post
    How big is your handlebar bag and what capacity is your Camelbak? It's a neat idea to put it in the handlebar bag, though I am wondering though how big the handlebar bag has to be to host a 100oz Camelbak.
    Not sure of the exact answer to either question. I think the handlebar bag has a capacity of around 600 - 700 cu. in. and the Camelback is their original model back when there was only one size - I think it was either 70 or 90 oz. The bladder only takes up a fairly small fraction of the space in the handlebar bag which seems reasonable since 100 fl. oz. is only about 180 cu. in. So there's still plenty of room for the food I'm keeping cold and assorted other items in the bag.

  24. #24
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cieous View Post
    It's very similar to the one I have right now -- Camelbak Stoway. The Stoway comes with a drinking tube though. Mine is a 100 oz capacity, I have put it in my favorite backpack, but I'm not sure if this one has one too. Let us know if you come up with an ingenious idea of attaching it to the rack.
    apparently it has clips right on the insulated holder that I was going to use to put it on my front rack and then run the hose up to the stem area.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  25. #25
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    Simplicity is usually best...

    For a long time I tried over engineering a solution to this problem, but have finally ended up sticking with simplicity. Several people in this thread have suggested some form of simplicity. Just strap bottles onto the packs in back. It works.

    If I have a really long crossing, I do carry one of the Dromodary bags someone else mentioned. I fill it with ice and water, and put it in the bottom of my pack. Stays cold all day that way, though it's a tiny bit of a hassle to dig it out when I finally need it and fill the water bottles with it. But worth it for the ice-cold water!

    I crossed the southern Mojave in June with this system - 90 miles with no water - and it worked dandy. Two bottles on the frame, (insulated), 2 gatorade bottles filled and strapped on the back, and another liter or so in the D-Bag. 150+ oz of water. Granted, the gatorade bottles don't keep stuff cold at 110 degrees, but it's water, and you're gonna have this problem no matter what.

    My experience is that this is the only time you need more water than the standard water bottles on the frame and maybe a gatorade bottle - when you have a long and hot crossing like a desert.

    As for camelbacks, I never wear them because I don't want more heat buildup on my back.

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