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Hydration Packs for long hot rides

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Hydration Packs for long hot rides

Old 11-03-19, 06:31 PM
  #1  
srode1
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Hydration Packs for long hot rides

I'm thinking about trying a Hydration pack this year, curious what others have to say about them for all day gravel rides where temperatures are in the mid 90's. I've been hesitant to try them because of the heat. What do people use and how do you like them?
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Old 11-03-19, 07:11 PM
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I have used a camelback/hydration pack on many rides and liked it. The one I have is a small backpack really so there is space for wallet, tools, etc so I can get ride of the saddlebag.

Upsides: lots of water capacity. Less time with your hands off the bars for a drink. More aero.

Downsides: weight on your back might not always be agreeable, I solved this by favoring to drink from the camelback first over water bottles. The water flow isn't quite the same as a water bottle. Favor more small sips with a hydration pack but if you want more water at once, grab the water bottle. Can't/shouldn't be used with anything but straight water according to the labeling on mine. It's very difficult to get the bladder fully dry and anything that can cause something to grow in there is iffy.
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Old 11-03-19, 07:25 PM
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I really like the LR models of Camelbak. The water resevoir sits low on the back not high.

From camelbaks site
"Newly redesigned, our Skyline low rider pack is the ultimate choice for downhill riders. By shifting even more weight and support to the lumbar region, maximum stability is achieved. Itís a small change, but it makes a huge difference: a lower center of gravity gives you more stability on bumpy trails and lets your upper body move more freely."

Last edited by Gconan; 11-03-19 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 11-03-19, 07:40 PM
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I like using my Camelbak. I find it easier to stay hydrated because the hose is right there and easy to access. I also like how the mouthpiece stays clean so I donít get a bunch of dirt or mud in my mouth like sometimes happens with water bottles.
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Old 11-03-19, 07:46 PM
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CamelBak packs are the bomb. They may weigh a little on the back but it's not nearly as noticeable as you might think. Bonus for hot days is that they keep the water wayyyy colder than bottles. There's nothing like having ice cold water for an entire 2-3 hour ride in 90+ weather.
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Old 11-03-19, 10:28 PM
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I have a camelBak Rouge and love it. Well Until I am getting wild and it starts floating on my back then its a bit annoying. Lucky I don't t get that kind of wild on a drop bar gravel bike.
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Old 11-04-19, 02:07 AM
  #7  
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It's all about the hydration fanny pack.
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Old 11-04-19, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
CamelBak packs are the bomb. They may weigh a little on the back but it's not nearly as noticeable as you might think. Bonus for hot days is that they keep the water wayyyy colder than bottles. There's nothing like having ice cold water for an entire 2-3 hour ride in 90+ weather.
Originally Posted by D-Fuzz View Post
I like using my Camelbak. I find it easier to stay hydrated because the hose is right there and easy to access. I also like how the mouthpiece stays clean so I don’t get a bunch of dirt or mud in my mouth like sometimes happens with water bottles.
Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
I have used a camelback/hydration pack on many rides and liked it. The one I have is a small backpack really so there is space for wallet, tools, etc so I can get ride of the saddlebag.

Upsides: lots of water capacity. Less time with your hands off the bars for a drink. More aero.

Downsides: weight on your back might not always be agreeable, I solved this by favoring to drink from the camelback first over water bottles. The water flow isn't quite the same as a water bottle. Favor more small sips with a hydration pack but if you want more water at once, grab the water bottle. Can't/shouldn't be used with anything but straight water according to the labeling on mine. It's very difficult to get the bladder fully dry and anything that can cause something to grow in there is iffy.

Can you let me know which models you have?

Last edited by srode1; 11-04-19 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 11-04-19, 05:26 AM
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I have one and use it for almost every race over 50 miles, at least if itís hot and water isnít plentiful on the course. Itís a Nathan HPL 020, which is marketed towards runners (also why I bought it) but it does double duty on the bike just fine. I really like the shoulder strap pockets up front, which can hold my phone or some snacks. Capacity is 2L which is roughly the size of 3 of my water bottles. There have been 50 mile segments at DK that Iíve essentially drank all 2L of water plus the 2 water bottles of electrolyte mix I carry on the bike, so itís definitely needed.

My only complaints are that Hydration packs are a bit of a pain to clean and dry for storage, and typically you donít want to put anything other than water in them. Some people are annoyed by having the weight on their back, especially when itís hot...I donít find this to be much of any issue for me personally.
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Old 11-04-19, 08:49 AM
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I use a USWE pack all year. I carry water, tube, tools and phone. No seat bags or water bottles hanging off of the bike - any extra weight is on my back and close to me so i don't feel it (just like when I mountain bike). Also no dirt or bad water on water bottles to deal with.
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Old 11-04-19, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
Can you let me know which models you have?
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Old 11-05-19, 08:25 AM
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I use the camelback mule hydration pack. I have a love hate relationship with it. Mostly hate it because having a backpack on makes me sweat, like a lot more than normal. So the extra water supply is nice, and somewhat mandatory.

I prefer to just risk it and use 2 large bottles the majority of time. Only in extremely hot weather, while exploring a new area, or on 4+ hour rides will I actually use it while on my gravel bike.

A few things I learned along the way to keep it all clean is to store your hydration bladder in the freezer. While empty of course and after being rinsed out too. It works best when you use the pack often as drying and cleaning the inside of the bladder can be annoying. As others have said use only water or a light electrolyte mix, I hate sweet drinks while riding so I never use the mix.
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Old 11-05-19, 08:57 AM
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Orange Mud.
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Old 11-10-19, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
I'm thinking about trying a Hydration pack this year, curious what others have to say about them for all day gravel rides where temperatures are in the mid 90's. I've been hesitant to try them because of the heat. What do people use and how do you like them?


While not as aero as others it has the wow factor
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Old 11-10-19, 03:46 PM
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Ended up ordering an Orange Mud Endurance Pack - hopefully it's here next week.
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Old 11-10-19, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
Ended up ordering an Orange Mud Endurance Pack - hopefully it's here next week.
I think you'll be pleased. I have both the OM and the CamelBak Chase and the OM is superior. Just really intelligently designed and lots of little details that you don't notice at first and then when you do you're like "oh hey that's pretty slick."

I like the 2-liter vs the CamelBak Chase's 1.5, you don't notice the weight, especially the way it sits, and for me the 2 liters plus 2 26-oz bottles is good for about 70-80 miles in the Kansas summer.

Only complaint I have is that there's a little emergency whistle integrated into the buckle on the chest strap and if you're riding into a headwind it blows the whistle the whole time. I wrapped some electrical tape to stop that.

Also don't trim the hose too short.

I've met the founder of Orange Mud, he's originally from Kansas and I see him at gravel races in the area so he's an actual gravel rider and also a pretty stand up guy.
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Old 12-06-19, 12:29 PM
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I have an Osprey Syncro 5. I use my hydration pack for mainly MTB but I have been happy with it. In Texas, our summers are quite warm and this pack has a wire mesh frame that keeps the bulk of the pack (and the warmth) off of your back. It is really comfortable as well. If you do riding in hot humid areas, I highly recommend!
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Old 12-06-19, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
I'm thinking about trying a Hydration pack this year, curious what others have to say about them for all day gravel rides where temperatures are in the mid 90's. I've been hesitant to try them because of the heat. What do people use and how do you like them?
I have a CamelBak Lobo - I got it after my first (& only) DNF because of hot weather combined with strong head winds slow me down and I ran out of water before the first place to stop for refill. I now use it on any long and hot gravel grinder. I've completed The DAMn twice with this CamelBak, pic below from 2019 DAMn finish - temps into the low 90s (F) with high humidity, the pack never caused me issues with heat or discomfort.

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Old 12-06-19, 02:00 PM
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I use an Ultimate Direction hydration pack, it's actually a running pack (ultra runner prior to getting on the bike), so it has pockets up front that are great for carrying food on long rides. Much easier to drink from the bladder on rough terrain. Most rides I don't even touch my bottles, but I bring them as backup.
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Old 12-06-19, 07:03 PM
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I ended up getting an Orange Mud - seems like a nice pack, i've only tried it out on the trainer so far because of the weather here. Hopefully i get to use it on a long ride soon, but it will obviously be a while before i get to use it in the heat.
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Old 12-08-19, 09:06 PM
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I used to use a Camelback Mule, but the pack was too short and the bladder is shaped like a hot dog.
I switched to an Osprey Synchro 10 in a m/l, it fits so much better than the Mule, the bladder is flat on the body side, and it's ventilated by being suspended away from your back. If you need to carry lots of water, it's a great way to go. Just keep it clean. That's my experience.
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