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Hydration Hoses & Cold Weather
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hydration Hoses & Cold Weather on 03/05/2010 21:02:51 MST Print View

My winter Camelbak hydration bladder hoses have black neoprene sleeves and a heavy duty black rubber sleeve/cap over the mouthpiece. Still I get ice in the hose after a half day in even 10 F. weather, even with blowing water back up the hose after every drink.

On my best B/C touring day-and-a-half pack the insulated hose runs inside my right shoulder strap but I still need to insulate the end 6" and the mouthpiece more. So I'm covering it W/ a double layer polyester fleece tube. Hopefully that will help.

Also I'll start using chemical hand warmers in the bladder pocket and the warmer water will maybe keep the hose from freezing.

Any other suggestions?


Edited by Danepacker on 03/05/2010 21:03:29 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
hoser! on 03/05/2010 21:11:13 MST Print View

Somehow you need to get the waste heat from your armpit channeled toward the end of the hydration hose. I don't know how you'll do that. Anything like a heat exchanger will be too complicated and awkward.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Hydration Hoses & Cold Weather on 03/05/2010 22:08:02 MST Print View

drink out of a bottle

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Hydration Hoses & Cold Weather on 03/05/2010 22:12:08 MST Print View

For me the benefit of a hydration bladder in the winter outweighs the effort required to keep the system functional: Especially for multi-day trips.

I just use Nalgene bottles with insulators, and for really cold days sometimes a thermos filled with hot jello or tea. Except on technical climbing terrain, I keep one of the insulators clipped with a biner to a shoulder strap so it hangs down near my hip. It doesn't get in the way when I'm moving, and I can slide it up and access the liquids quickly, although obviously not as quickly as a drinking tube.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Hydration Hoses & Cold Weather on 03/05/2010 23:51:49 MST Print View

I've run my hose thru some of my clothing before. It's been too long for me to remember how I did it though. Probably down my neck and out my sleeve.

Other suggestion would be to add salt to your water. Maybe a sport drink solution? Of course taking deep gulps of 10F water may not be the best idea.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
limits of hoses on 03/06/2010 09:05:54 MST Print View

10F is right around the limit where I go to bottles. Pulling the bladder out of the pack once the hose freezes up is a pain.

Using body heat is the key. Keeping wind off is another.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Back in the Day" on 03/06/2010 11:38:55 MST Print View

I used to solve my cold weather hydration problem by carrying a high quality wine bota under my GTX parka.

I took off the leather shoulder strap & replaced it W/a 1/2" webbing strap and a QR buckle so I could take it off to refill & put it on W/O removing my parka. Worked great. Maybe I'll have to go back to that system. The parka & pack straps kept it in place so it didn't move around while skiing.

That bota is made of full thickness, top grain smooth leather & a good quality 5 mil plastic bladder. The cheapo botas are made of split grain "suede" leather & lousy latex bladders (that always fail).

I keep it stored full of water to help prevent the liner from oxidizing, at least from the inside. Can't find these great botas anymore. The best quality botas now have hard plastic liners, which I don't like. Too bulky beneath clothing.


Edited by Danepacker on 03/06/2010 11:40:52 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Heat Exchanger" on 03/06/2010 11:42:44 MST Print View

Bob, I've actually read of such a hose heat exchange! I'll have to GOOGLE to find it.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: "Heat Exchanger" on 03/06/2010 12:02:50 MST Print View

Someone with much more knowledge will have to comment, but I wonder if you could do something like wrap heat tape around the tube and LIGHTLY power it with a 9 volt battery. Don't want to go melting your tube or burning yourself!

Edit: maybe a more possible approach would be to us 12-volt heat tape and a solar charger.

Edited by T.L. on 03/06/2010 12:13:12 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Heat Exchanger on 03/06/2010 12:31:27 MST Print View

Totally impractical!

It might work if you had some 115VAC power receptacle to plug into, but that would require a very long extension cord. The best bet is to utilize waste heat that has already been generated.

Some body will have to invent the Thermos-hydration pack. If you pour enough hot water into one spot, and if you insulate it enough, it will stay unfrozen for a long time, even in cold weather. However, the user might prefer to be drinking cool liquid instead of hot.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Heat Exchanger on 03/06/2010 12:50:23 MST Print View

"Totally impractical!"

I figured as much. I'm surprised theres not a more effective product for this yet.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Heat Exchanger on 03/06/2010 12:55:07 MST Print View

My uncle has battery heated socks. They run off a 9 volt that attaches to the top of each sock. I find it hilarious but apparently it works very well. Maybe you cold apply the same principal to your bladder...however, the easiest solution is a wide mouth bottle, especially when it's really cold.

Jay C
(spruceboy) - F
Stuff the hose into your shirt on 03/06/2010 17:03:25 MST Print View

Try stuffing the hose into your shirt to thaw out when it freezes. The ones with the uninsulated hoses work best, as they thaw out the quickest.

I use hydration bladders on long day ski trips, and don't have much in the way of problems, so long as I am careful to "blow" the water out of the tubes. What sort of temps are you using it it? Perhaps your bite valve is leaking, which is letting water back into the tube, which then freezes up.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Toe" Warmers on 03/07/2010 14:47:43 MST Print View

The smallest chemical warmers are the "toe" warmers. I could make my fleece wrapper with a Velcro closing slit to hold the warmers against the hose. That seems the most practical way to add heat If I can't locate the "body heat exchanger" thingy.

And, again, my old method of using a bota worn under my mountain parka seems a good alternative.

I used to Nordic Patrol with warm water in a Nalgene bottle in an insulated belt carrier. Worked on most days. Sometines I had to take a ski tip to break the ice at the top of the bottle on very cold afternoons. We did LONG patrols at Wilderness Lodge, near Erie, PA.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
bottles on 03/18/2010 09:32:21 MDT Print View

i just use bottles year round, i hate cleaning the hydration bladders and tubes, seems like alot of work. I am the epitomy of lazy in this department. I try to simply my gear as much as possible so i don't end up cleaning more than i have to. one of hte reasons i like FBC cooking and continuous ridgelines on my hammock tarp.

stephen jennings
(obi96) - F

Locale: Deep in the Green Mountains
drinking (water) in the cold on 07/04/2010 00:27:39 MDT Print View

Cut the hose to about 6 inches long, wear it backwards (in front), stick a couple of hand warmers between the bladder and neoprene, blow the water back into the bladder after drinking and most important, TUCK THE HOSE BACK UNDER YOUR JACKET!! Good luck

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
bottles on 07/04/2010 08:09:01 MDT Print View

+1 Ike's suggestion to use bottles. If the bladder doesn't work well, don't use it.

I think the use of bladders is a product of clever marketing plus widespread belief in various urban folktales about hydration:

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
bottles and bladders on 07/20/2010 14:30:52 MDT Print View

Benjamin, not a bad article, but it doesn't really address the merits of bladders v. bottles (or even spend much time discussing dehydration).

If my understanding of the literature is correct, under ideal conditions (not too much food, not too much exertion) your stomach and small intestine can take around a liter an hour into your system. Drink any more and you'll just pee a lot. It doesn't take much heat and exertion to respirate and sweat far more than a liter of moisture out over an hour.

I say because I think that the vast majority of backpackers spend much of their trips hydrated beneath the level of optimum efficiency, but are working at a level sufficiently moderate that it doesn't matter.

Bladders and hydration hoses make it easier to sip water and thus hydrate ideally. They also place the heavy water close in and centered in the pack.

In summary, horses for courses. In the mountains in the summer I carry bottles, because it's cool, I don't need to carry much water, and I can fill up often and quickly. In the desert, where carrying a gallon of water is routine, a hydro system is the only reasonable option. In winter, where surface water is often non-existent and water has to be either melted or gathered from isolated sources, I'd like to be able to use a hydro system, but unless you can wear the bladder under your layers near the skin (which a backpacking pack precludes) I find bottles the only practical option.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: bottles on 07/20/2010 19:44:22 MDT Print View

> I think the use of bladders is a product of clever marketing plus widespread
> belief in various urban folktales about hydration:



Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Heat Exchanger on 10/19/2010 16:57:52 MDT Print View

North Face (who else?) made a heated hydration pack a couple years ago, ran off a few smallish batteries. It was relatively small & light. Not sure they sold many.


Edited by 4quietwoods on 10/19/2010 16:59:32 MDT.