View Full Version : Good Ole Water Bottles or Hydration Systems?

09-04-2003, 21:26
What do carry to keep hydrated:
several water bottles, a Hydration System (Platypus, Camelbak, etc.) or a combination of both?
What works best for you?

09-04-2003, 21:37
Camelbak (2 liter) for hiking, 2 Liter Platypus for in camp and extra storage (2 liters). I dont trust the platypus in my pack, and i find the twise as expensive camelbak to be a trusty source of water.


09-04-2003, 22:36
I find water bottles to be more convenient and less prone to spillage (especially the Platypus Big Zips). I carry one or two flexible Nalgene liter bottles in my pack pockets plus a 20-ounce squirt bottle in my Dana Designs Wet Rib that is within easy reach. I'll also bring a 4-liter water sack during dry seasons. I use a Camelbak hydration system (with a screw-top) on day hikes only.

09-05-2003, 07:30
I've got a two liter platypus that seals like a ziploc baggie. I filled it with water, put it on the floor and put my full weight on it. Didn't split open. I'll be using it for my hydration system.

09-05-2003, 07:33
I use a MSR domlite bag with a drinking hose and MSR's bullet bite valve. Its never leaked on me and I feel confident keeping it inside my backpack lid. I carry a 16oz Nalgene water bottle for mixed drinks (not the alcoholic kind) and for measuring.

09-05-2003, 07:42
I carry both... one gatorade bottle, which I use to mix gatorade crystals with my water in the morning and a 3-liter Camelbak for carrying the rest of the day's water. I find I really prefer to drink out of the Gatorade bottle... perhaps because I have a chance to stop and catch my breath.

- Ivy

Saluki Dave
09-05-2003, 07:44
Two Platypii 2 liters (one with a bite valve; one rolled for camp storage) and a 1 liter commercial bottle in the pack pocket. Anybody notice bite valves ALWAYS find the most disgusting place to come in contact with when you put your pack down??

09-05-2003, 09:20
i have a camelbak omega resevoir bag (ok i took the bladder out of my MTB camelbak!). its a 3Litre.

09-05-2003, 09:24
I've gotten in the habbit of putting the bit valve back into the pack before I place it on the ground.

09-05-2003, 09:32
I used (2) nalgene bottles on my thru-hike. By the time I got to Maine, I was one of the few folks who did not have a hydration "system". Back home I purchased a Platypus hydration system that came with my day pack. I don't particularly care for the Platypus, because I like to be able to see exactly how much water I have at all times. With a bag in your pack, you really can't tell. I imagine over the course of a long distance hike, that you might get pretty good at estimating how much water you've consumed. Sort of similar to how you can judge time, speed and distance after a while. WHen I thru-hiked the Benton MacKaye Trail this past April, I did not bring the Platypus. Probably won't for any other backpacking trip either.

Little Bear

09-05-2003, 09:37
I use two 24 oz PowerAide bottle that are attached with shock cord to the two shoulder straps of my GoLite Breeze backpack. Very easy to get to, don't particularly get in the way and counterbalances some of the weight on my back. I also carry a 2 litre platypus bottle for those times when I need more water.


09-05-2003, 09:39
I second the motion for the dromlite bag. I had a platypus w/ the ziplock like closure but I wore it out and converted to MSR. I think it's lighter and also stronger. My girlfriend has not yet switched to a drinking tube w/ bag system, and religiously uses Nalgene bottles. They are pretty indestructible, but not as versatile. I like 'em both.

09-05-2003, 09:43
The problem I have with hard-sided containers is noise. The water sloshes around in them an makes too much noise. You don't really have that problem with a bladder.

But I guess you could buy the 1L platty or nalgene (for a wide mouth) canteenes and squeeze the air out before placing it back into your pack.

Some folks complain that trekking poles make too much noise, but water, and fuel, containers seem to make just as much, if not more.

09-05-2003, 09:50
For the first 700 miles of the PCT, I used 3 2.4 L platypus water bags (not bladder set ups), and dropped 2 of them once I hit the Sierra (and plentiful water). One of the bags grew a hole where the spout (i.e, the thing you cap) connects to the body proper. I took a dramatic fall off a rock (okay, I slipped and fell on my arse) and punctured another. The third lasted me all the way to Canada, but it had a very slow leak on the bottom during the last two days. I just stored it upside down and that was that.
By slow, I mean it might lose a pint of water if left to sit for a month or so.

I like the way the Platypus lies flat in the super pocket of my pack and the fact that it takes up little volume when not completely full. Until next summer, I'll be using my old system of a gatorade bottle (hiking water) and a 6 L big zip (hauling water in camp).

09-05-2003, 10:02
the bottles they are loud. almost like a belly of jelly.

09-05-2003, 13:07
Originally posted by tlbj6142
I've gotten in the habbit of putting the bit valve back into the pack before I place it on the ground.

Using a bladder type hydration system, one problem is when you remove your pack if you don't watch where the bite is it usually ends up in the dirt.
One remedy I've found is to drill a hole in the lid of a 35mm film canister Remove the bite valve from it's tube, then slide the lid onto the tubing, replace the bite valve and put the bottom over the bite valve and plug it into the top. To drink, simply pull the bottom exposing the bite valve. To keep from losing the bottom drill a hole in the bottom to thread a piece of cord with a overhand knot through from the inside out, now tie the cord to the hose above the lid with a slip knot
:-? :-? :-?

09-05-2003, 13:36
I use both. A bladder/hose w/ drinking tube set up that I got from Target and 2-1 liter water bottles that I got at Walgreens as part of an athletic carrier set (I just carry the bottles backpacking). I reserve 1 of the liter bottles for mixing drinks and the other for spare water. The only complaints I have about the set up is that it is hard to judge the amount of water I have left in the bladder and the hose flops around. I drink a lot of water every day and a WHOLE lot of water while hiking. I found that the tube helped me stay more hydrated.

Great suggestion about the film can asmtroop3. Thanks. Does anyone have a suggestion about securing the hose while hiking?

09-05-2003, 13:55
Originally posted by asmtroop3
[B]Using a bladder type hydration system, one problem is when you remove your pack if you don't watch where the bite is it usually ends up in the dirt.
One remedy I've found is to drill a hole in the lid of a 35mm film canister [...]/B] For the less mechanically adept (or just lazy), Platypus makes a bite-valve cover that I've been happy with. I suspect it'd work with about any brand bitevalve, but YMMV.


09-05-2003, 18:28
camelbak make a clip for the hose that you can clip on to anything (like your shoulder strap).

Available at most bike stores, REI, outdoor stores, just about anywhere...

Gravity Man

Rhody Bill
09-05-2003, 20:33
I use two platapus bladders with tubes, putting half of what I think I'll need before the next water hole in each.( When the first runs out, you should have about as long on the second, cuts back on the worry) Some bottled water caps (the kind you see all over the trail)-the clear covers- fit perfectly over the bite valves and also keep them closed so they don't leak. I attach them with a piece if small nylon twine, (make a small hole in the cap and tie it to the tube.)The Platy bags will leak after a time around the caps where they get bent all the time. Most outfitters will replace them for free (they're warranteed) I replaced 4 or 5 on my thru.RB

Saluki Dave
09-05-2003, 21:55
I finally figured out that the "synthetic" taste in the water from my Platypus was the Platy, not the chlorine. They claim it's food-grade, but still...

Any similar observations with Dromos or other bladder systems?

09-06-2003, 09:56
3l omega here - next bag (once this one shows any sign of a problem) will likely be an msr one.

re: water usage - I figure out how much I SHOULD use and if I run out I dont sweat it - 2l is enough for most days, 3l if it is very hot or dry - I also consider how wet the trail is.

tip for filter users - pull off the bite valve and hook the hose up directly to the filter.

09-06-2003, 15:26
saluki dave, my camelbak, no synth taste here.

rhody bill, camelbaks with the big-bite valve have a small locking mechanism on the bite vale, so leaks are not a problem.

09-06-2003, 19:57
I must sweat more than Dirtyoldman, since I've found that I should drink at least a liter for every 6 miles over moderate terrain on a cool day under the forest canopy (I say "should" because I don't always follow my own advice!). That's before any liquids I consume with breakfast or dinner.

The amount of water I need increases dramatically as the temperature rises above 60 degrees or in direct sunlight, by about 50%.

09-07-2003, 03:21
It varies alot kerosene, under some conditions you can lose over a quart an hour. Ive had days where I have sucked down 6L of water while hiking and anouther 2L in camp as well.

Perhaps I should clarify - I try only to carry enough to reach the next known reliable source

09-08-2003, 10:30
We have the MSR dromolites. We find the taste funny too. The absorb the odor very quickly. One we bleached out a few years ago. Still tastes like bleach :P The other we replaced after it got a small hole in it. This one we have only had water in, but it also tastes odd. I never noticed it until we got some camelbaks for dayhiking. Those have NO flavors. We have skankified them many times (like left in the trunk for 2 weeks with Tang in them in the middle of summer. Very stinky!) but just soap and water (with a special dental floss and cotton swab cleaning of the tube) made it taste like new.

I'm impressed with the camelbaks I have to say...

Gravity Man

09-08-2003, 10:45
i havnt tried the cotton swab cleaning tub bit.. ive always just used denture cleaning tablets.. since they are designed to remove the 'cruft' on false teeth, they superbly remove the 'cruft' from my camelbak :) and leave it smelling minty (if you use the minty tablets....:))

09-08-2003, 12:31
I haven't used the cleaning tablets, but I have some concern about how well they can clean the inside of the tube that can have such a thick layer of growth on it.

The way that I clean my tube on trail and at home is to pull some cotton thru it. Here's how I do it : First I take my dental floss and cut off a piece plently long enough to go thru the tube and then plus a good amount more. Then I remove the tube from the blatter, and remove the bite valve. Then I "suck" the dental floss through the tube, basically feeding the dental floss in through one end as I suck hard on the other. This works best when the tube is dry(er). Once I have the floss threaded through the tube, I tie the floss around part of a cotton ball (we don't actually carry these hiking. I won't tell you want I do use, but it belongs to my wife's toiletry kit . Tie it at the center of the blob of cotton. Then pull the floss back through the tube, dragging the cotton behind. This will pull all the nasty black stuff out. You will be amazed at how NASTY it is. Even a tube that looks clean. This is the "biofilm" that people talk about that resists treatment. Do this until you don't get any nasty black stuff on the cotton after pulling it through.
I use q-tips to clean out the inside of the bite valve.

09-08-2003, 13:26
I never did get the hang of the hydration systems with tube, bite valve, etc. Bought one, tried it once didnt like it.

I much prefer two each 1 liter Platypus containers, small, screw-on tops-but with the push-pull tops instead of the screw-on ones. That way I can use them without stopping and take out air from the bladders as well as water and so have no noisy sloshing. Plus I like to know exactly how much water I have left so I need to see it, each time I take a drink

I have never had one of this type break as others have reported but they sure do weigh little. A 1 Liter nalgene lexan container weighs 6.08 ounces. In comparison, the 1 Liter platypus weighs .96 ounces-a 5 ounce savings which is substantial. The next larger one which holds 1.8 liters just weighs slightly more- a little over an ounce (1.12).

When empty I just roll them up and stuff them out of the way in the same pockets which hold the full water bottles, on the sides of my pack.

My second choice would be an empty soda bottle. It's only drawback is it is not as easily stored empty. But it is much cheaper:D

09-08-2003, 13:57
I used to use the platypus bladders as resevoirs while I hiked, until it began leaking and made my entire back and bag bottom soaked. Very uncomfy...was sweating so much, didn't notice it until it was too late. Now I use a camelback unbottle, and carry the empty platypuses for water at camp...they are easy to store when not filled up, and practically weightless.

09-09-2003, 03:22
gravity man, i'll try your method and see what happens, if my tube is dirty or not. i think i will give the bitevalvue a boil up as well.