View Full Version : Cleaning Your Bladder

12-04-2014, 08:41
Long distance hikers who use hydration packs with bladders (i.e., Camelback, Platypus, etc.), how do you clean them (if you do) on the trail?

Thrill me with your wise and innovative means!

12-04-2014, 08:56
Cranberry juice

12-04-2014, 09:23
No need for cleaning, but it only ever holds filtered water.

Another Kevin
12-04-2014, 09:23
I'm a clueless weekender, but I find that Polident tablets work pretty well for cleaning a Camelbak.

12-04-2014, 13:30
Haven't been out long enough on the trail to matter. I fill with dilute bleach and drain through hose at home. Hang it up with the bite valve in the opening to keep it open to drain and dry.

12-04-2014, 13:49
Haven't been out long enough on the trail to matter. I fill with dilute bleach and drain through hose at home. Hang it up with the bite valve in the opening to keep it open to drain and dry.A sign of aging that I thought this thread was going to be about emergency catheters.

12-05-2014, 21:14
Well, I have a gravity filter system that has a clean bag and a dirty bag. If I thru-hike the AT next year, will I need to clean either or both? How often and with what?

<not bad! I expected higher than a 40% smartbutt response :)>

12-05-2014, 22:00
I can understand you want to make your bladder gladder. What I normally see up in New England from thru hikers is that they usually give up on that system when the filter clogs. They don't treat spring water they only treat streams and ponds with something like bleach or aqua drops. The only way I could think of how you could make it work is to have two sets and ship one home to be cleaned while you use the other. I think the filter only last about a month anyhow so that would be good way to always have a fresh filter. I did hear about somebody who back flushed some filter but I don't remember what it was how they did it. I don't know anything about those things because I don't have the patience to use them. I use a steriPEN so I can drink right away. There's nothing worse than having to wait around for you water to be thoroughly treated when you're thirsty. One hiking friend convinced me to leave it at home and go with bleach drops and the whole time I was hiking I kept thinking I was drinking city water. The AT has the best drinking water in the world as far as I'm concerned and I wouldn't known it because it tasted like bleach.

12-05-2014, 22:07
A new product, RoguePak clean water cartridge hydration system will be sold at the website the first of the year. http://www.roguepak.com

It is disposable: 50 oz. 70 oz. 100 oz.

Sarcasm the elf
12-05-2014, 22:43
I'm fortunate that I can just barely fit my hand inside the opening on my 3L Camelback. When I need to clean it I use a sponge or paper towel and a tiny bit of soap. Then I hang it to dry. If I'm at home I stick a kitchen whisk inside it to make the bag stays open while drying. For the life of me can't figure out how to clean a platypus bag in the field.

A couple other comments:

If you put nothing but water in your bladder, it will greatly increase time you can let it go between cleanings.

If you use aqua mira, you are cleaning the bladder to a some extent each time you treat your water since it will also attack any baddies living the bladder.

Sarcasm the elf
12-05-2014, 22:43
Cranberry juice

That almost went over my head. Good one!

12-05-2014, 22:47
I used a platypus bladder on my AT thru. Would rinse it out with hot water when I got into town. I used a steripen. Never had any issues. Used a sawyer squeeze on my LT thru and only rinsed my bladder out once or twice. I don't think it is much of an issue if all you put into the bladder is H2O.

12-06-2014, 12:33
Did you put the Steripen in the bladder?

I like müv. I could float the müv in the bladder?

I replace the hose often, I do not use as a drinking tube.

I like the gravity-feed water filtration.

I think Platy has silver ions, now. That helps. But I would use the müv as well.

Wise Old Owl
12-06-2014, 13:35
I use dehydrated water.... no cleaning required. But when I do have to clean it... I have a brush and some chlorine shock powder from a pool supply

12-06-2014, 14:06
Dehydrated water:

Just Bill
12-06-2014, 15:17
It's a decent plan to carry some Aquamira in micro bottles as a backup if you filter- they weigh an ounce filled up.
With that along simply filling the bladder with water and treating it overnight will do it.
So will borrowing some bleach from a friendly hostel owner- one drop per quart with an hour of residence time will do it.

Use only water and likely you'll never have an issue-
If you get the stickie ickies for some reason- the denture tabs, bottle brush, and other means will do it. But this is more of an at home problem as you will use the bladder everyday and not be likely to let it sit around to rot or mold.
On trail, if you can find some sand, rock dust, etc- put a 1/4 cup in and fill the bladder halfway and get your upper body workout in whilst shaking away the greens- takes a bit.

As a super last resort or in an emergency- Bladders also make a great backup treatment system of their own. Fill it, lay it in a sunny spot like a dark rock or even asphalt, and let the UV rays treat your water and sterilize your bladder. Takes six hours, and you'll know it worked when a bunch of small bubbles form. This water and the bladder is safe to drink.


12-08-2014, 13:57
Great tips, Bill, thank you very much

12-08-2014, 22:46
Maybe not for on the trail unless you carry uncooked rice with you - but I've found this extremely helpful. You know when you accidentally forget to empty some water out of your bladder with a teeny-tiny screw-top opening on it? And it sits for a while until it smells horrible? Take about 1/2 a cup of uncooked rice, dump it in the bladder with some soap and water. Swish it around for a good 5 minutes and the grains of rice act as little scrub brushes and clean the bladder perfectly.

Five Tango
12-10-2014, 09:16
Hydrapak makes a reservoir that turns inside out for easy cleaning.Got mine from REI.

12-14-2014, 20:16
Cranberry juice

This is the best reply/comment of the entire thread. :)

Chopper Hoek
12-23-2014, 07:46
Hydrogen Peroxide

01-30-2015, 15:29
We used regular soap and hot water in town and ours were squeaky clean!

01-30-2015, 23:04
Cranberry juice