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  1. #1
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    Hydration Backpacks?

    What do people think of them? I'm tempted to buy one, just the other day my bottle jumped out of its holder over a pothole in the road and it got run over about 7 miles into my 35 miler! Which means I had no water!!

    So how do people rate Hydration Packs?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    I have one. It might someday be handy with my recently acquired mountain bike. As I understand it... those bottles can easily bounce out of the cages during aggressive mountain biking. I am really a road bike kind of guy. But trying to expand my season a little bit with the mountain bike.

    When riding my road bike I know I am never more than a handful of minutes from a pop machine (they also sell water now), or a park with a water fountain, or a gas station (they too sell water), or neighborhood or grocery store, or coffee shop, or fast food place.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    When riding my road bike I know I am never more than a handful of minutes from a pop machine (they also sell water now), or a park with a water fountain, or a gas station (they too sell water), or neighborhood or grocery store, or coffee shop, or fast food place.......
    For me I live quite rurally so this is not something I can rely on, I also am a road biker and I can be up to 10 miles from any form of shop at one time. Seeing as I go through my 1L of water by the time I get to a stop and now that my bottle is split in half, I was considering the possibility of a hydration pack.

    I have found one on amazon for a very cheap price of 10/$16, anyone that uses one regularly? Are they just a gimmick?

  4. #4
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    The people that I know who have one use them mostly so that they can hydrate without having to stop to pull a bottle out of a cage.

    I have one but do not use it -- partly out of fear of disease. I have found that when I used sports drinks (like G2) in my water bottles that they tended to get an accumulation of fungus in them (even though I rinsed them after each ride). When I switched to strictly water in them the problem stopped.

    Also, when I bought the back pack, the manager of my bike shop (who has a lot of experience) said that he keeps his bladder in the refrigerator -- not keep the liquid cool -- but to reduce bacterial and fungus build ups in the bladder.

    With water bottles, you can scrub them pretty well with a brush. I don't know how you would do that with a bladder.
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    Senior Member Tall Cool One's Avatar
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    I bought my hydration backpack several years ago when i was training for half marathons. I really like using it on my road bike on rides longer than a couple of hours. It's just a lot easier to use and keeps the liquid cooler for a long period of time.

    A few years ago I did the Ride Across Indiana which is a 160 mile 1 day ride. During all of my training and on event day, I put electrolytes and Perpetuem in my water bottles and put water in the CamelBack. It worked great for me.

    Some roadies will argue that "REAL" roadies don't use CamelBacks, so I guess I'm not a "REAL" roadie. Sorry, I don't have a support vehicle to do hand ups when I'm out on the backroads doing my training. It would be cool if I did though.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGoodleyUK View Post
    For me I live quite rurally........ I also am a road biker and I can be up to 10 miles from any form of shop at one time.
    During the hot part of the season... I practice "a swallow every 4 miles" (sometimes I take 2 swallows). Thirsty or not... I know if I continue to hydrate like that I should be OK. I do carry an extra bottle on the extra hot days... so even if I lost a bottle or used it to wash out a cut or scrape from an accident... I'd be OK.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Fix the problem. Get better bottle cages. Arundle Sport or Elite Custom Race are cheap ($10-15), lightweight, and have excellent bottle retention. The Arundle sport have particularly good retention, but are still easy to get the bottle in and out of while riding.
    Ride more. Fret less.

  8. #8
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Fix the problem. Get better bottle cages. Arundle Sport or Elite Custom Race are cheap ($10-15), lightweight, and have excellent bottle retention. The Arundle sport have particularly good retention, but are still easy to get the bottle in and out of while riding.
    Now that's kind of obvious!
    ... Why didn't I think of that!
    --------------------------------------
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Fix the problem. Get better bottle cages. Arundle Sport or Elite Custom Race are cheap ($10-15), lightweight, and have excellent bottle retention. The Arundle sport have particularly good retention, but are still easy to get the bottle in and out of while riding.
    I'm trying to figure out if a hydration pack is worth getting from peoples experiences with them, new cage or Hydro pack are the same price as each other. We all know what a bottle and cage is going to be like

  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I love my hydropacks... my main backpack is a small rock climbing bag with a 1.5 litre reservoir, I have a Camelback (1.5 litre) which is more compact and my hiking bag and backpack have a 3 litre tank.

    Bottles have their place but a hydropack can be very useful on and off the bike.

    I don't care what the real roadies think and wear socks and sandals too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    The people that I know who have one use them mostly so that they can hydrate without having to stop to pull a bottle out of a cage.

    I have one but do not use it -- partly out of fear of disease. I have found that when I used sports drinks (like G2) in my water bottles that they tended to get an accumulation of fungus in them (even though I rinsed them after each ride). When I switched to strictly water in them the problem stopped.
    ...
    You don't need to stop to get your bottle out, but it can slow you down a bit, where using the camelbak won't, if you keep the tube near your head.

    For your problem just use water in the camelbak and drinks in the bottles
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  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGoodleyUK View Post
    I'm trying to figure out if a hydration pack is worth getting from peoples experiences with them, new cage or Hydro pack are the same price as each other. We all know what a bottle and cage is going to be like
    I used to use a Camelbak 70 oz. classic on my road bike. It was, in many ways, more convenient than bottles. If you only put water in them, they stay clean enough. Do not put sports drink in, tried that, they get yucky. I quit using it when I got into longer rides. They do put more stress on your body. It's like you have another 4 lbs. belly fat. It's a small stress, but over the miles less stress is better. I still use it plus bottles if it's a long way between water stops. I also use liter water bottles for long rides.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I used to use a Camelbak 70 oz. classic on my road bike. It was, in many ways, more convenient than bottles. If you only put water in them, they stay clean enough. Do not put sports drink in, tried that, they get yucky. I quit using it when I got into longer rides. They do put more stress on your body. It's like you have another 4 lbs. belly fat. It's a small stress, but over the miles less stress is better. I still use it plus bottles if it's a long way between water stops. I also use liter water bottles for long rides.
    Putting stress on my body did cross my mind, I don't know how heavy 2 litres of water is going to feel on my back. That said yesterday while I was on a ride I attempted to grab my bottle while on the move, it was anything but smooth.
    I think I will go for it, seeming as I get paid today and its only a tenner why not.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGoodleyUK View Post
    Putting stress on my body did cross my mind, I don't know how heavy 2 litres of water is going to feel on my back. That said yesterday while I was on a ride I attempted to grab my bottle while on the move, it was anything but smooth.
    I think I will go for it, seeming as I get paid today and its only a tenner why not.
    Ten dollars?

    I think my Camelback went for over a hundred. I wonder what the difference is?
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  15. #15
    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    About 7 or 8 years ago when I started to get more serious about road riding I used a camelbak for about a year. At the time, it seemed like a great solution. But finally getting rid of it and going to water bottles putting those three jersey pockets to good use was very liberating. Looking back, the hydration pack was more of a hassle to use than bottles. Between cleaning, filling, the weight on my back, the smell of it after several hot summer rides it just became a PIA to use.

    With five or six water bottles in rotation, I always have clean ones available. On a real hot day I can stuff a third bottle in a back pocket.

    If a hydration pack works for you, go for it. Ain't nothing wrong with it and what works for you works for you. But there are practical reasons that if you show up at a group ride at anything beyond a beginner's level that you'll see a lot more bottles than hydration packs.

    As for a $10-$15 hydration pack, I think the You-get-what-you-pay-for rule might come into play. Better packs & bladders won't leak, are easier to clean and easier to fill, likely have valves that are easier to drink out of and you can even get replacement parts. The packs themselves will likely last longer and be easier to put the bladder in and out of. My first camelbak Lobo is probably going on 12 or 13 years and still works fine (even if it looks beat to hell). That said, $15 might be worth the experiment for you.

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    I think it's a great idea if: a) you are too lazy to reach for your water bottle, b) you train 12 hours a day and just reaching for your water bottle causes you to become over trained.

  17. #17
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    I have a medical condition where I cannot just tilt my head back to swallow. Using a water bottle is problemmatic unless I stop the bike, lean my body backward. I can suck water from a hydration pack while riding.
    I also have difficulty getting a water bottle from the cage and replacing it due to frequent hand numbness. When I had looser cages, I had too many problems with the bottles launching themselves.

    I have a couple of hydration packs for long summer rides or for rides when I do not want to slow down or stop to drink.
    I use the extra-large one for riding rural areas. There are no opportunities for refilling water within a couple of hours. Frozen water in insulated bottles on the bike frame will be hot and unpalatable in 2 hours.
    I use the smaller hydration pack for supported event rides where I can get refills.

    A hydration pack filled with ice water is also cooler than having the sun beat down on my jersey-covered back.

    When riding with a hydration pack, I only put plain water and ice in it to avoid cleaning issues. I carry a small bottle of extra-strength electrolyte solution and a flask of gel for fuel. I also carry a small bottle for plain water to help refill the hydration pack, pour water over my head or for cleaning. The bottle rides empty at other times.

    I tried keeping the hydration bladder in the freezer between rides, but the gasket tends to freeze shut and the bladder will be a little disformed. It worked out better for me to completely empty and air out between rides and refill before riding.

    The hydration pack can be a nuisance for me to fill at my office for after-work rides and sometimes from motels. So I rely on bottles when I am not riding shortly after leaving my house.

  18. #18
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    ...
    I tried keeping the hydration bladder in the freezer between rides, but the gasket tends to freeze shut and the bladder will be a little disformed. It worked out better for me to completely empty and air out between rides and refill before riding.
    ....
    .
    When I bought my Camelback,the manager at the LBS told me that he keeps his in the fridge between rides to reduce mould problems...

    I use the Camelback to carry things -- but I have not yet used the bladder, so I can't really comment.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member ctpres's Avatar
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    Won't go longer rides without it. 2.5 to 3 hours or more and 80+ degrees. Very handy drinking and less movement to get drink. Also handy for extra stuff - in my case - emergency shoes, rain cover, phone, bills and change. I even carry full of water on shorter rides for training, so on important rides I can loose a couple pounds instantly. Well worth the money IMO.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I have two bottle holders and both do great in locking in standard bike water bottles. Nothing bounces out. I've even wrecked and the bottles stayed in. I used to have some basic bottle cages and things would slip out of them easily so maybe your solution can be better bottle holders.

  21. #21
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
    Won't go longer rides without it. 2.5 to 3 hours or more and 80+ degrees. Very handy drinking and less movement to get drink. Also handy for extra stuff - in my case - emergency shoes, rain cover, phone, bills and change. I even carry full of water on shorter rides for training, so on important rides I can loose a couple pounds instantly. Well worth the money IMO.
    Actually I do the same: the Camelback carries everything BUT fluids. For that I carry one or two water bottles...

    Actually, I may be retiring it soon as I plan on mounting a rack on my other main bike (so the two bikes that account for 90-95% of my miles will both have racks) and using a rear bag to carry 'the stuff'...
    --------------------------------------
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I'm waiting for research on the materials used in those bladders. Which is worse? The materials used in water bottles or the soft material used in bladders? One thing certain, the bladders cost more and more likely to stick with it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    I been using a camelbak brand for many years just for mt biking. I need to get a new one. As zippers broke on back of my camebak.
    What is better though THE camelbak brands or the Hyrdrabaks, as well any other brands to consider

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