Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Hydration Bladder Insight
Display Avatars Sort By:
Andrew Green
(swampfever) - F
Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/20/2005 19:14:51 MDT Print View

Water has to be about the most inconvienient hard to carry piece of gear I have. I have run the gamut from canteens to Nalgenes and have been at peace with a bladder for almost 2 years. A few things keep it from being perfect and I was wondering if anyone has gone through what I am going through:
Great in the pack but when I take the pack off drinking is not fun.
Cooking water from the bladder, that's not fun.
Cleaning the bladder, that's not fun.
Condensation soaking the outside of the bladder, not fun.
Filling from a water fountain, carrying back from a stream, and trying to get the plastic taste out of cheap bladders....not fun. I carry about 3 liters with me and when I fill a 100 Oz. bladder it's more difficult to carry than 3 seperate liters.
They do make great showers and I wouldn't think of drinking any other way on the trail as the tube in my face reminds me to drink.
I have tried them all and still use the Platypus the most. I believe what I am asking is , Has anyone else felt a trade off using a bladder or am I the only one suffering from off trail bladder disfunction.

Andrew Green
(swampfever) - F
OR on 10/20/2005 23:45:35 MDT Print View

OR can someone please point me to a forum that deals with this type of gear issue.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/20/2005 23:54:56 MDT Print View

I just converted from cheap plastic bottles (the ones that come with supermarket bottled water) to Platypus bladders.

Bottles are easy to use and easy to fill. My one big complaint, however, is that stopping to drink disrupts my walking rhythm -- and sometimes I delay drinking until I am really thirsty -- not good.

I experimented with the hose/bladder arrangement last month and instantly converted. However, nothing's perfect, and my two complaints are:

1. Bladders are a royal pain to dry! I'm the type that prefers putting things back in their place when done -- and yet, the bladders, and esp. the #%&$ drinking tube take forever to dry!

2. Bladders are harder to fill -- esp. in a shallow pool of water.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/21/2005 02:15:01 MDT Print View


i haven't tried this, but more than one person has as some many months ago i've seen it pictured elsewhere.

you might need to change your bottle type, but basically

1) they make a hole in the cap of the bottle

2) insert some drinking tube through it (having previously cut the end to be inserted at an angle allow air flow and avoid "suction" with the bottom when drawing water out through the tube.)

3) replace the top

4) push the the tube to the bottom

5) seal the tube in some fashion to the top (or leave unsealed, perhaps??? if so, leave out step 6)

6) make a smaller hole for air to enter the water bottle as water leaves the bottle

7) afix the bottles Adv. Racing Style to the pack straps using bungee or bungee/velcro combination.

8) drink while walking

like i said, i haven't tried it yet, but mean to at some point. do you see any pros or cons to this approach to hydration that i might be missing?

Andrew Green
(swampfever) - F
Paul on 10/21/2005 07:36:37 MDT Print View

Do you think you could take a minute and try to help me out. I appreciate (understand)your many direct answers to Bens posts, but others would greatly benefit from your ideas. I feel like I am invading by trying to answer something that was not directed at the forum but to a single person. (sorry I am new).

David Wiesenfeld
(davidwiesenfeld) - F
Hydration Bladders on 10/21/2005 07:55:56 MDT Print View

I've been using platypus bladders for years and have had some of the same issues. I think one approach might be to use multiple bladders instead of one big one - you could carry one that has a drinking hose hooked up for use while hiking and then have another one, easily accessible, with a pop-top that you can pull out to drink from when you have your pack off or need cooking water. And is there any reason not to just use your cook cup to ladle water into the platypus when filling from a shallow stream?

Andrew Green
(swampfever) - F
Bladder on 10/21/2005 08:20:26 MDT Print View

I need 2 hands on the bladder while filling, they seem to get a little squirly. I have 5 half liter bottles that I took along once, that was the hardest fills I ever had. I have a sippy top as Paul described to Ben, it works well except needs an vent to work meaning leaks, where bottom hose bladders have no vent. It's the not having it in hand when I take a break that gets me the most, I hate pulling the bladder out of the sleeve to walk around camp with. I am understanding this is a trade off...

Andrew Green
(swampfever) - F
Bladder on 10/21/2005 08:29:45 MDT Print View

I also wanted to add that I treat water with Iodine tabs and the small bottles make that difficult.

Edited by swampfever on 10/21/2005 08:39:10 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Bladder on 10/21/2005 09:35:45 MDT Print View

I have used a 3L big zip... but I didn't like it so much. Too much water all in one place. I used it in the sleeve inside my Mariposa pack and found that when full, it would really make the back of the pack bulge out. The zippered bladders (and bladders in general) are also heavier. And I found, personally, that I could never really get the satisfying big gulp of water from a hose... not like you can from a bottle.

So I switched to using 2 1L Source soft bottles (much nicer than Platypus soft bottles). I find it nicer to distribute the weight this way accross multiple smaller bottles. I keep them in the side pockets of my Mariposa pack. The right side pocket is very easy to get at without breaking my stride. I fill one or both bottles (depending on how far away the water sources are). If I'm filling both, I put one in each side... drink from the one on the right (low cut pocket)... and when the one on the right is empty, I switch the bottles... empty in the left, full in the right. I use my cook pot (Heniken can)... which I also keep in an outside pocket... to fill the bottles. Works great for me.

Maybe for you, the solution would be to switch to a 2L bladder and a 1L bottle for around camp?

Zeno Martin
(ananda) - F
Re: Bladder on 10/21/2005 09:57:53 MDT Print View

It's nice to have both a hard plastic water vessel and the plastic bladder for on the go trail drinking.

As for drying my plastic bladder, I don't even try. I store mine in my freezer whenever it's not being used.

Neil Johnstone
(nsjohnstone) - MLife
Hydration bladder on 10/21/2005 10:27:02 MDT Print View

I find the top opening type of bladder (such as the Platy Big Zip) the easiest for filling from streams. They are a lot easier to dry as well - use a wooden spoon or something similar to stand them up open. I've also not had any problems with a plastic taste from Platypus bladders, but have with other makes.
For cooking, I prefer a second, easily to fill and easy to dispense from container, for example the Platypus 4 litre water carrier. At 70 grammes it stops multiple trips to fill smaller bottles at night and can also be used to refill the bladder in the morning. It can also be used to carry sufficient water in to a campsite remote from a water source.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Paul on 10/21/2005 11:09:30 MDT Print View

you're not invading. you're always free to jump right in. i don't mean to speak for others here, but i believe that they would say the same thing. look, if it were a private conversation, it would be had via email and not the Forums.

i think other have already adequately addressed your post. i really don't have anything to add to their excellent advice. am i wrong about your question(s) being answered? if so, just post back with a specific question.

just so you know, the other "regulars" here in the Forums are far more experienced and clever/resourceful than i am. i might just have the "biggest mouth" (i.e. longest posts).

Edited by pj on 10/21/2005 11:10:19 MDT.

Andrew Green
(swampfever) - F
bladder on 10/21/2005 12:14:43 MDT Print View

While I rarely post, I sure do read allot, and Paul you are not only longwinded by VERY knowledgable as others here and everyone reaps from your posts. I am always a little lost as to what to post wear. I really have only seen glances into peoples uses of bladders. It's something I want to make work and it's been a struggle to find the best of all worlds as if that even exsisted. I will be switching to Pristine water purification drops soon and know they are easier to measure into different sizes unlike iodine tabs.
I can't sing the praises enough for Platypus's quality and lack of plastic taste.

Christopher May
( - F
Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/21/2005 12:18:32 MDT Print View

I use the 3L Platypus Big Zip and as suggested by Gossamer Gear I fill it with only 2L, squeezing the air out so it is much flatter. It then fits nicely inbetween my sleep pad and the Gossamer G5 Backpack. I tried the Platypus Hoser for this but it has more of a protrusion at the bottom that dug into my back when the pad moved around. The Big Zip works much better for this and is also much easier to fill.
I too use a wooden spoon or a plastic spatula at home to hold the Big Zip open so it drys more quickly. If you want to get more high tech with this REI sells a plastic thing that goes inside the bladder and then expands to let it dry.
The one thing I like better about my old Platypus Hoser and the Platypus bladders other than the Big Zip is that they expand out at the bottom so you can set them down flat and are therefore much easier to handle while using in camp.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: bladder on 10/21/2005 12:25:39 MDT Print View

Hi Andrew:

I didn't mean to hijack your thread. I was hoping to add my "bladder woes" to yours and see what remedies/suggestions people might have. Cheers.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: bladder on 10/21/2005 12:52:18 MDT Print View


many good suggestions have been posted here in the Thread by others. i certainly agree with them. i keep on going back and forth on bottles vs bladders. for some time, been seriously thinking of using bottles with short drinking tubes mounted Adv. Racing Style. would make it easier to drink without stopping and still have smaller bottles to use in camp when not wearing the pack.

as far as spilling in camp/at night/during transport due to the air hole in the cap, nothing a tiny piece of duct tape won't prevent. or, switch to a spare/extra "closure" cap for those times. really only one slightly heavier straw/tube cap is needed, and if a spare closure cap is carried, the "tube" top only needs to be placed on the bottle when actually on the move.

>>"VERY knowledgeable"
thank you. you are kind. i try to remember that (comparatively) knowledge is cheap; experience is invaluable. hence my great admiration of many of the other poster's to these Forums. my advice is to chose their advice/suggestions over my own - i sure would.

Edited by pj on 10/21/2005 13:05:35 MDT.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/21/2005 18:44:31 MDT Print View


I've also felt the trade off, so much so that I don't use hydration systems any more except when mountain biking. Instead, I keep a couple of small Propel bottles (16 to 24 oz.)strapped to the front of my shoulder straps with shock cord. Access is very easy, though I do have to stop for a few seconds to take a drink. I also carry a 2+ liter Platypus for camp use.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/21/2005 19:53:39 MDT Print View

I like hydration bladders, particularly the platypus models.

Usually I carry a 3L big zip or a 2L big zip and a one-liter aquafina bottle, on a long trip I replace the aquafina bottle every now and then.

This seems to be the best compromise for me.

As for cleaning a bladder, usually I run very hot water through it when I get home after a trip, and sometimes I will also run water with a bit of bleach in it if I think the bladder is getting nasty. Usually the place that gets bad is the drinking tube around the bite valve, since that is where water is most likely to stay. So when I store a bladder I take the bite valve off.

The wide-mouth big zip is easier to clean. In cold conditions it is hard to close the zip, though. Either because of numb fingers or because the plastic isn't very pliable.

I'm not a big fan of hydration systems in subfreezing conditions.

You can replace the drinking tube and the bite valve without buying a new bladder, too. Like I said, that seems to be the part that is hardest to clean anyway.

I always carry a spare bite valve and some way to patch the bladder.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/21/2005 21:44:10 MDT Print View


Why do you carry both bladder and bottle (the Aquafina)? In other words, can you elaborate on what you mean by "the best compromise"?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Hydration Bladder Insight on 10/22/2005 01:26:12 MDT Print View

agreed, it's nice to have a small bottle for around camp use when not wearing the pack with the bladder in it.

my wife only lets me store only so much gear in the freezer (a great place to keep hydration gear from growing things as a prev. poster stated), so on one occasion:

successfully recovered a mildewed (is that the right term?) tube by filling with bleach/water solution (sorry didn't measure bleach - but there was a lot). let it sit for several hours and then rinsed...and...rinsed...and... - you get the picture.

in the end no mildew/fungus and no bleach taste. [while i spend a lot of money on gear, i rarely throw anything away (pack rat syndrome), preferring to fix, patch, or repair if at all possible.]

have used compressed air to blow the water out of the tube.

have a neoprene tube cover for below freezing temps. it, combined with drinking every 10minutes, keeps it from freezing. also, if one is so inclined, i would guess that electrolyte sol'ns might have a lower freezing pt than water??? can anyone out there tell us if this is true, or am i guessing totally wrong here? really, have no clue as to the freezing point of "Gatorade" or equivalent electrolyte sol'ns.

i, however, no longer like to use electrolyte sol'n in my bladder; now only throw-away Poland Spring Water bottles - more possibility for fungus growth in the tube. too much trouble to clean as i once found out.

of course, all water sleeps with me inside the bag in cold weather. sometimes it begins the night as a warm or hot water bottle/bladder. yes, it uses some fuel to do this, but it's so nice to "tuck in" at night. just make sure all water containers don't leak. not all the time, but if i find a leaking bottle cap, have used a sandwich bag over the top with a rubber band securing the bag to the neck of the bottle. never had a BigZip open up, but it's possible.

after cleaning a BigZip, and drying with an absorbent cloth (even a paper towel - these work real well), loop the tube and insert into the mouth of the BigZip to hold it open for air drying. under most conditions it will dry faster than fungus can grow.

store the tube with the bite valve off.