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First 8 Day Bike Tour: Hydration Pack or Water Bottles.

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First 8 Day Bike Tour: Hydration Pack or Water Bottles.

Old 07-17-15, 11:35 PM
  #1  
Thadcorn
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First 8 Day Bike Tour: Hydration Pack or Water Bottles.

In the last month, I had bought a Surly Straggler at my local bike shop in aspirations of doing some bike camping on the weekends and week long trips when I have the time. I am doing a 8 day short tour in August for my vacation approx 300 miles. Right now, its in the high 90s with about 70% humidity. I have 2 water bottle cages on my bike, but I'm not sure if that will do the trick. My question is should I go and invest my money into a medium hydration system and ditch the bottles, keep the bottles, or keep the bottles and get a small hydration pack.
Thanks for looking at my post
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Old 07-17-15, 11:37 PM
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Here are the two hydration packs I was looking at:

Medium:Evoc CC 6L Bike Hydration Pack - 336 cu in | Backcountry.com

Small:Evoc CC 3L Plus 2L Bladder Hydration Pack | Competitive Cyclist
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Old 07-18-15, 05:16 AM
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I like bottles because I know how many bottles I have drank during the day. Thus I know how much water I still have remaining. I usually start with three bottles of water each morning and two empties. But on hot days (to me if dewpoint is upper 60s and temps in mid to upper 80s, that is a hot day) I would start each day with all five bottles full. My five bottles add up to almost one gallon. You will be riding in more heat than I would care to ride in.

I have three cages, the other bottles are in the luggage.

You can carry bottles that do not fit in the cage, put those extra bottles in a pannier and transfer from those bottles later. Soda pop bottles are usually built a little better than bottled water bottles since they are designed to hold more pressure. Both soda and bottled water bottles have a very good sealing lid that is unlikely to leak in your pannier.

For 90s with dewpoints in the 70s, you will enjoy it better if you start really early each morning, try to be done riding before noon or soon after noon. A friend of mine said that the group he was in started riding at 5am each morning on a really hot trip.
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Old 07-18-15, 06:09 AM
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How often is water available where you will be touring? I have toured a good bit including a couple coast to coast trips and have tried a number of options.

I only use two bottle cages, but supplement them. Most often that supplementing is in the form of either a water bladder or some scavenged used bottled water or sport drink bottles. I like the scavenged bottles the best because it is easy to add capacity when needed and discard the bottles when not needed. I have carried the extra bottles in jersey pockets, in a small backpack, and in panniers. All worked fine.

I have not felt the need to have more water in cages on the frame since by the time I have drunk 2 bottles a stop to fill the bottles is nice.

I have also tried a camelbak and it was OK, but it is hard to tell how much water is left. It was actually nice in the heat if filled chock full of ice to start the day. Even in 100 F heat the ice lasted pretty much all day. I don't usually use one though mostly because I don't like drinking from one and most often don't need that much capacity and don't want to have to carry it on the portions of the trip where it isn't needed.

The gals I rode with on the TA put a camelbak type bladder in a front pannier. They filled it with ice and it stayed nice and cold. They tended to have no idea how much water they had left and found that to be an issue unless they also had bottles that they saved for when the bladder was empty.

In the Sierras I carried and used a filter. I also used one in Colorado on one trip. On the TA I started with one but mailed it home. It was nice to drink cold water from mountain streams. The Sawyer Squeeze filter I used weighed only a few ounces and my new one (Sawyer Mini) is even lighter. On a lot of other trips I didn't find a filter to be that useful either because there was no surface water to filter or because there were faucets often enough.
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Old 07-18-15, 06:17 AM
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I went with 6 bottles.

Had 3 on the bike and three in the panniers.

One afternoon we rode to the Rio Grande river.

Temp was 109*F.

Used one bottle for every 6 miles.

You don't need to have all of them filled, but they will be there when you do need them.
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Old 07-18-15, 06:22 AM
  #6  
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Why not try both? A hybrid approach works for me.

I replaced my standard bike bottles with 1 liter soda bottles--more capacity and less bottle weight. 1.5 liter bottles also fit in the cages on some frames if you like bigger. On some trips, I pack a usually empty 2+ liter Platypus bladder for the rare times the water on the frame isn't enough. I rarely use the bladder but it has come in handy for some dry camps. It only weighs about an ounce empty. On some trips in more remote areas, I also carry Aquamira drops, about three ounces, to treat suspect surface water.
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Old 07-18-15, 08:13 AM
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I also use both. 2 pint size plastic water bottles lasts 20 miles. If I know there isn't water further than that I fill the bladder with 1 pint per 10 miles.
In Wyoming this week there was an 84 mile stretch of no services. I had about a gallon of water but didn't use it all. No problem.
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Old 07-18-15, 12:19 PM
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I love my camelbak, I put it on top of my front rack and attach the drinking hose on the handlebar(I just have to lean over a bit to drink). And the isolation keeps the water cooler.
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Old 07-18-15, 12:22 PM
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For hot weather, there is a lot to be said for camelbacks. Buy some ice at a convenience store and fill that sucker up with ice. You will be drinking cold water for quite a few hours. There is nothing better than cold water on a hot day except maybe a cold beer, lol.
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Old 07-18-15, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
For hot weather, there is a lot to be said for camelbacks. Buy some ice at a convenience store and fill that sucker up with ice. You will be drinking cold water for quite a few hours. There is nothing better than cold water on a hot day except maybe a cold beer, lol.
I only use a Camelback when I tour, no bottles. I wear it on my back. When it is hot, I fill it about halfway with ice. Often, the water is so cold that I have to take small sips. As bikemig says, there is nothing quite as refreshing as sucking down cold water on hot day of bike riding.

Water is heavy, but nothing I can't handle. It gets lighter as the day goes on. If you are going to use a "hydration pack," get it before you leave and either figure out where you are going to carry it or if you will wear it. Be sure you take a long, flexible brush to clean the tube as it will get gungy after several days of continuous use.

My Camelback also has a small backpack pocket where I put all my valuables so they are always with me.
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Old 07-18-15, 09:02 PM
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All a matter of knowing where available water will likely be on your route. Figure a liter/hour minimum in 90+ temps. Always tote more water then you think you'll need to reduce the stress factor. Top off at each opportunity. Monitor urine color. If you decide to use the hydration pack, hold a liter bottle or more in reserve.

Even slight dehydration will reduce performance.
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Old 07-18-15, 09:28 PM
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I tend to drink more (and keep better hydrated) with Camelbak. Also don't mind extra weight on my back, so I tend to use that in addition to bottles. As others have pointed out, it is going to depend some on your route and available water, and it is always possible to put an extra bottle or two in your pack.
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Old 07-19-15, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I like bottles because I know how many bottles I have drank during the day. Thus I know how much water I still have remaining. I usually start with three bottles of water each morning and two empties. But on hot days (to me if dewpoint is upper 60s and temps in mid to upper 80s, that is a hot day) I would start each day with all five bottles full. My five bottles add up to almost one gallon. You will be riding in more heat than I would care to ride in.

I have three cages, the other bottles are in the luggage.

You can carry bottles that do not fit in the cage, put those extra bottles in a pannier and transfer from those bottles later. Soda pop bottles are usually built a little better than bottled water bottles since they are designed to hold more pressure. Both soda and bottled water bottles have a very good sealing lid that is unlikely to leak in your pannier.
Yes, bottles can be simpler & easier. One can add a seatpost 2-bottle carrier to supplement frame-mounted bottles. Plus w/more bottle cages one can easily tote sports drink & coffee--both things that would be unpleasant to spill in panniers. But it's good to try out the various water bottles on frame mounts--some cycling water bottle caps have rough edges that can scrape legs.

CamelBak-type systems AFAIK don't allow for physical scrubbing of inside; even their website admits that mold stains can develop. Requires regular bleach application which can be time consuming to rinse off. Most of the folks I see toting CamelBak-type deals are endurance runners/hikers.
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Old 07-19-15, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
CamelBak-type systems AFAIK don't allow for physical scrubbing of inside; even their website admits that mold stains can develop. Requires regular bleach application which can be time consuming to rinse off. Most of the folks I see toting CamelBak-type deals are endurance runners/hikers.
All this is way less of an issue if you don't put anything in it but water and ice and are using it every day (as opposed to leaving it wet but unused for long enough periods for mold to be a problem). I am not a big fan of a camelbak for touring, but have used them with no problems for trail running. I have never seen anything growing in mine over years of use and very little effort at cleaning beyond rinsing out and being sure it is dry before being put away between uses. It gets an extra thorough rinsing with hot water if it has had a sport drink in it.

BTW, On tour, my bottles also just get rinsed out with no physical scrubbing for the duration of even my longest (multi-month) tours. Unless I put something other than water in them a quick rinse with plain water seems sufficient to me. If they get used for sport drinks they get a more thorough hot water rinsing just like the camelbak.

The main way the camelbak seems worse as far as cleaning and things growing in it than bottles is that it is a bit harder to get it dry before putting it away between uses. Also bottles have the advantage of being able to go in the dishwasher. Neither is really applicable if using it every day on tour.
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Old 07-19-15, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
CamelBak-type systems AFAIK don't allow for physical scrubbing of inside; even their website admits that mold stains can develop. Requires regular bleach application which can be time consuming to rinse off. Most of the folks I see toting CamelBak-type deals are endurance runners/hikers.
This is simply not true. I can put my hand in my Camelback bladder to wipe/scrub it. I have a special cleaning soap recommended by Camelback. I also have a bristle brush set, one for the bladder and one for the tube. I take the one for my water tube with me when I tour. The bite valve gets clean with a Q-tip every few days.
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Old 07-19-15, 09:09 AM
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bladder bags in your panniers can refill your bottles ..
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Old 07-19-15, 10:50 AM
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Take both. I use two standard water bottles plus a CamelBack which I think is 40 oz. In addition what others have mentioned, if you want to tote along a drink other than water it's better to put it in a bottle for ease of cleaning. Also, a Camelback can come in handy in camp if you cook using a lot of water and the nearest tap is a walk.
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Old 07-19-15, 11:51 AM
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Carry extra water to douse yourself when it's really hot. Works great to cool you when you are moving. Pour it in your helmet and on your jersey.
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Old 07-19-15, 01:11 PM
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I always overload on water. That's definitely one thing I don't mind carrying and not needing, so I run a hydration pack and a few bottles. If it's hot, sometimes I'll stop into a store and ask if I can fill the pack with ice/water, which feels nice for maybe an hour or so.
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Old 07-20-15, 08:28 AM
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Mostly, I just use bottles while riding. I make multiple stops a day to refill them (usually one bottle of water for each bottle of Gatorade, depending on the heat). I pack a Camelbak bladder, without the bag as a backup. If I end up camping somewhere without convenient water, I can fill the bladder and keep it nearby.
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Old 07-20-15, 02:13 PM
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Get a Revelate Tangle and use a hydration bladder on the bike... I bought an ID badge type retractor to keep the hose in place... and I use a single bottle for gatorade, etc. or more water.

IMG_4639 by Mike, on Flickr
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