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Carrying water

Old 12-01-06, 07:30 PM
  #1  
jharte
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Carrying water

Just curious about how you carry water on a multi-day tour. After reading some of the last few posts (trailer vs panniers, how much stuff to take, etc), I'm interested in what you have done.

I've been on several multi-day, multi- tours and one thing that frustrates me is the challenge of finding and carring water.

I have front and rear panniers, two bottle bosses + one clamp-on on the down tube (bottom side). I usually start off by buying water in bottles to get the bottle. After that I'll find a grocery store and hit the cheap gallon and refill the bottles.

Sounds easy enough. Right? Man! Water weighs a LOT! Plus, even though I really don't carry that much stuff, the bottles do take up some room.

Next year I have a ride from Salt Lake City, UT to Tempe, AZ through the Grand Canyon. The water thing has been bugging me a little. Just curious on what you do. Thanks for your input!
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Old 12-01-06, 07:36 PM
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Hmmm... are you talking off road touring? On all my road tours, 3 regular bike water bottles on my bike has been plenty, with a very occasional supplement a bottle strapped on top of the rear rack or in a pannier.
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Old 12-01-06, 07:41 PM
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When I know it's gonna be a long time before I hit another store to resupply, I carry as much as 2 1/2 gallons. I can carry 2 one gallon jugs and a gatorade in the bag that fits on top of my rack, 1 bottle on the frame, and sometimes a few small bottles in the panniers. It throws the weight out of balance a little going up hills and stuff, but it's easy to get used to.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by creepingdeath
When I know it's gonna be a long time before I hit another store to resupply, I carry as much as 2 1/2 gallons. I can carry 2 one gallon jugs and a gatorade in the bag that fits on top of my rack, 1 bottle on the frame, and sometimes a few small bottles in the panniers. It throws the weight out of balance a little going up hills and stuff, but it's easy to get used to.
Yeah, that sounds familiar. I know I need to look into what is available around the Grand Canyon. I've actually thought of bringing a filter or iodine, but I haven't decided.

It's kind of funny how much water one can go through. This summer I rode with a friend and camped only two days. One bottle per person for cooking (each meal), a little for clean-up, some for drinking. It doesn't take long to use up a nice water supply quickly!

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:50 PM
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On my two tours, water wasn't that big of a problem. I have three bicycle water bottles on the bike (don't know how many ounces they carry) and a 72 ounce Camelbak on my back. By the time by Camelbak was drained, I usually found a place to refill. I never touched the water on my bike, except in camp grounds when I was too lazy to walk to refill any empties.

Most people thought I was crazy to carry that much water on a group tour across Kansas. However, there was this one female who was glad I came along because she was suffering from dehydration and the next sag was still a good distance away. I gave her the spare water.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:47 PM
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Rarely have I had to carry more than 3 liters of water at a time but the few times I have needed more I found the 1 gallon jugs to be easiest to deal with since they can lashed down to a rack by their handle. Part of your touring kit should include a few feet of heavy cord or web strapping for those times you may need extra water.
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Old 12-01-06, 10:59 PM
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What about this: https://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/,...cation_System_

I have not done any touring, but would like to. I'm also an avid mountain biker, so I thought this would be a nice thing to have in case I ever do run out of water. It fits perfectly in a standard water bottle cage.
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Old 12-01-06, 11:45 PM
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I taken to touring with 5 water bottle cages and Zefal 1 liter bottles. Three cages on the frame and two mounted on the front rack, behind the panniers. I add a MSR Dromedary bag (usually on top of the back rack when full) I've been using a 3 or 4 liter dromedary bag for solo trips. I'm a water pig, and tend to use a lot making tea and just drinking it. They make a 10 liter bag, which is nice for two people but weighs 20 pounds when full!

For a Grand Canyon ride, across highway 50 and around the Great Basin type of desert touring, I'll have at least 2 1/2 gallons on the bike, if you are unsure as to the next water stop.

Usually, on most tours, around midafternoon I look for a good water source, fill up all my bottles and the drom bag for the nights cooking and making breakie. It's nice to start off the day with full bottles.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-02-06 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 12-02-06, 12:22 AM
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I've toured with as much as 20 litres. I have the three standard cage mounts on the bike which hold 1 litre bottles. I used radiator hose clamps to clamp 2 more cages on pointing sideways on the frame up near the steering part of the frame.

I have another 2 clamped on a bracket behind the seat, and modified my water back pack to hold two 2 litre bladders. The rear of my BOB trailer has two oversized cage mounts which each hold a 1.5 litre bottle.

The rest gets carried in 5 litre containers in the BOB trailer. The reason for so much water is that it's hot and a long way between water stops. Carrying this much water, I have come close to running out once.
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Old 12-02-06, 12:33 AM
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Water is a sliding scale with heat, you can require 4-5 gallons a day if it's really hot, and I have no idea how much that would translate to if you were exercising at cycling rates. I think one of those large folding 5 gallon jugs in a trailer or on the racks would be a good idea.

The hottest it has ever been when I was cycling on a tour was about 95, and I couldn't keep in the water with 3 oversized bottles on my frame, not surprisingly. I have even been dreaming about making special cages to allow me to carry huge bottles, maybe 2 litter pop bottles somewhere, or the option of carrying a gallon bottle on the rack in some purpose built fitting.
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Old 12-02-06, 04:38 AM
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We've been lugging around a whole lot of water here in Southeast Asia. The MSR Dromedary bags have been really quite good. They collapse down nearly flat when empty then expand when full. They can take boiling water and can freeze with no problem. They have a strap around the outside and are easily secured to the back rack.

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Old 12-02-06, 06:28 AM
  #12  
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I have two cages on the bike, 4 cages ( one is used for MSR fuel bottle) on the trailer, a 3 ltr Camelback MULE, and carry bottles under the cargo net on the trailer

The most I have carried is about 15 Ltrs ( 15 kilos)

I also have a filtration system

And I have still ran out of water. It all depends where you are. And the weather conditions, I did a one route when I used only about 8 ltrs, but the second time I did the same trip it was baking hot and got through all 15ltrs.

There is no sure fast method of working it out, just carry as much as you think you need, and don't be shy about flagging down passsing traffic, and asking for water, holding up an empty bottle lets them know why you are flagging them down. One woman gave me a 5ltr bottle once in Chile.

george
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Old 12-02-06, 05:34 PM
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Awesome ideas, all of them! Thank you! I need to look at the MSR Dromedary bags. That sounds like it might be worth checking into. I also like the idea of adding a couple of bottle cages to the front rack. Tomorrow's project.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions! Happy Riding!!
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Old 12-02-06, 09:29 PM
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I haven't toured either, but like Beko, I'm also water-pig. On a summer century, I'll take a gallon or more along in various spots, and have to get more before I get home.
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Old 12-02-06, 11:20 PM
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Carrying a couple of gallons of water is a lot of weight you don't need to haul, plus it takes up a huge amount of space in panners. Your best bet is to get a small camping water filter pump if you run into a situation where you can't find drinking water such as these: https://www.purwaterfilter.com/hikguidpor.html These types of filters are so good you can take water from any stream, river, or lake and be drinking fresh wholesome water in minutes.

Then all you need is to carry 3 or 4 24 ounce bottles mounted on the frame so again not to take up panner space, and a 72 ounce Camelback.
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Old 12-03-06, 12:31 AM
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I think the pumps kinda make a lot of sense assuming there is water lying around. On the other hand one has to be careful. There is some evidence people using pumps are sick more often. This seems to be because the water going into the bottle isn't the only source of nasty bugs, you may otherwise contaminate yourself handling the source, and because; people take advantage of the fact they can now render potable water they would otherwise not consider, thereby getting close to bad source; and the filters are only so good. So while the pumps are good, particularly if all your sources are natural, they are not a good thing to rely on in areas where you have access to perfectly good treated water. Also cycling is thirsty work, and you may burn up a ton of water and it amounts to a lot of pumping, maybe we need a pumping system that drags one's wheel like a dyno.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:16 AM
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Oh yeah, we are also carrying a Katadyn Pocket Microfilter filter.

-It is field cleanable
-The filter element lasts for 50,000 liters
-The aluminum construction is a bit heavier than others but it is far more durable.
-It filters almost everything from water

While we can purchase bottled water just about everywhere in Thailand, it kills me to throw 20 liter plastic bottles a day into the waste stream. So we pump whenever possible.

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Old 12-03-06, 06:48 AM
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If you're riding on roads, then before you go mounting bottle cages everywhere, use google maps or yahoo maps to check for the location of services along your route. Try to find out how far you will have to go between restaurants, convenience stores, etc. If you have a stretch or two where you do need extra water, an expandable water storage like the Dromedary is a good way to go.

A filter is good if you are planning a long trip with very few available services, or an off road trip. But be sure that there are ground sources of water. A filter won't be very useful riding across the desert unless you know where to find a spring. For emergency use, a bottle of iodine tablets should suffice and is cheaper, lighter, and less volume than a filter.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:55 AM
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camel backs annoy me at times. .. i used some tri tech.. ... profile design aqua rack

I did 6 gap in the north ga mountains planned as if it was unsuported (but it was) 3 bottles of water 1 bottle with cell phone and food.

put one on the back of the cannondale tandem b/c of the size I only have one up front and with wife has two in the back. we like water on out long rides. so now we carrier 5 bottles.

wife's new lemond was so small and cute but only had one (which had to be side entry) bottle due to the slopeing down tube. added on to her bike. that is all she uses is the rear rack.
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Old 12-03-06, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Losligato
While we can purchase bottled water just about everywhere in Thailand, it kills me to throw 20 liter plastic bottles a day into the waste stream. So we pump whenever possible.
I also hate the idea of throwing away plastic bottles. I take as much filtered water with me as I can manage to avoid this. I think a portable filter is a great idea.
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Old 12-03-06, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Losligato
We've been lugging around a whole lot of water here in Southeast Asia. The MSR Dromedary bags have been really quite good. They collapse down nearly flat when empty then expand when full. They can take boiling water and can freeze with no problem. They have a strap around the outside and are easily secured to the back rack.

+1 I have used these for many years. I also have a Shower Kit for mine. A black MSR bag left in the sun will get you a nice warm rinse off shower. I have several different sizes and use the one that fits the need. Typically I use the 4l one the most. Nothing says you have to fill it all the way up

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Old 12-03-06, 01:31 PM
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here's my Trek 520 with over a gallon strapped to it. The two bottle cages up front are mounted using the midfork thrubolts and some radiator hose clamps. the half liter bottle at the bottom was used as a cup and a mini sun-tea maker. I still had a MSR Dromedary bag for cooking and camping water.
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Old 12-03-06, 01:52 PM
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Iodine is also more reliable, though I don't greatly like the idea of eating it myself.

The thing I don't like about the various camel backs is that they are hard to keep clean. That's ok to some extent if the water entering is imaculate, but if it's at all doubtful.

"I also hate the idea of throwing away plastic bottles."

What's the problem? There are lots of them, they aren't valuable or anything. What bugs me is spending huge bucks on water when one needs gallons a day, just another thing that ends up costing a fortune and makes zipping aorund in a car seems economically preferable.
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Old 12-03-06, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
"I also hate the idea of throwing away plastic bottles."

What's the problem? There are lots of them, they aren't valuable or anything. What bugs me is spending huge bucks on water when one needs gallons a day, just another thing that ends up costing a fortune and makes zipping aorund in a car seems economically preferable.
Plastic bottles, unless they are recycled, become litter -- landfill, waste, whatever you want to call it. They take hundreds of years to break down, and were only used once before being thrown away. That is the problem with them.
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Old 12-03-06, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I think the pumps kinda make a lot of sense assuming there is water lying around. On the other hand one has to be careful. There is some evidence people using pumps are sick more often. This seems to be because the water going into the bottle isn't the only source of nasty bugs, you may otherwise contaminate yourself handling the source, and because; people take advantage of the fact they can now render potable water they would otherwise not consider, thereby getting close to bad source; and the filters are only so good. So while the pumps are good, particularly if all your sources are natural, they are not a good thing to rely on in areas where you have access to perfectly good treated water. Also cycling is thirsty work, and you may burn up a ton of water and it amounts to a lot of pumping, maybe we need a pumping system that drags one's wheel like a dyno.
There are good camping pumps like the Pur that are not just filters but rather purifiers which goes beyond what a filter can do. A purifier can literally take water that has been contaminated by sewage and make it completely safe to drink...I know because I've been able to to this with mine and mine was the same that special forces use a few years back. The PUR Katydyn Hiker is very similar in design that mine is, except I can't tell by the discription if it qualifies as a purifier since they seem to be using the filter description rather loosely. A purifier has to be able to meet the EPA microbial water purification protocol which is far stricter then a filter has to meet. Mine is an older model made in the 80's that is no longer in production. Mine has the prefilter in a ball that you placed in the water that I covered with a coffee filter (an old trick someone taught me), micropleated main filter that removed almost everything including living organisms, with an Iodine resin to kill anything that may have made it past the filter, then a carbon filter to remove the taste of the Iodine and any other tastes; all this was about 10 inches long and 3 inches across.

Other brands of water purifiers are made by: Pur Katadyn Exstream; MSR called the Miox Water Purifier; and First Need Deluxe. Of these the MSR one is now the one that the US Military uses. First Need probably (note I said probably) does the better job but is not as portable as the MSR (7"x1") which can fit into your pocket, whereas the First Need can fit in a pannier since it's only 6"x5". But the MSR runs on batteries and has wait times of up to 4 hours to destroy the worst bugs, whereas the First Need uses no batteries and has no wait time. The reason the military liked the MSR is because it's so small, and military people in the field are always looking for the smallest lightest thing to carry because the carry so much stuff now; but for a bike tourist the First Need would be more practicable and less expensive.
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