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Hydration bladders... out of fashion?
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Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Keeping track on 03/12/2013 13:57:28 MDT Print View

My biggest issue with hydration systems is that it is hard to track your water consumption. Running out of water is then always a bit of a surprise- you suck on the mouthpiece and nothing comes out. (And, dammit, you just passed that spring a mile ago- now you have to backtrack.) I find that if I use bottles in my pack side-pockets I generally keep a much better mental inventory of my water supply. I've never had a problem reaching them without taking my pack off, so I don't find that I drink less, as others have complained.

That said, sometimes I use a Sawyer filter. I have a "dirty" bladder, and gravity filter into the other containers. Then, if I really need to camel up I can still store a few liters of unfiltered water in my pack in that bladder, and filter it into my bottles once they are empty.

Edited by acrosome on 03/12/2013 13:58:20 MDT.

Paul Mason
(dextersp1) - F
Like Bladders on 03/12/2013 15:41:05 MDT Print View

I like bladders - it makes it easier for me to drink and so I drink. I've never mastered the bottles on the side of the pack thing.

I've never had problems with leaking or getting cut.

Cold can be a challenge - I'm hiking some Colorado 14ers now. A couple of suggestions
- insulated bladder compartment
- insulated tube
- blow back water into bladder
- hold tube over head and shake water out
- keep mouth piece in jacket
- start with warmish water
- include hand warmer with bladder

As to filtering water - I would take another bottle. Filter the water into the bottle and dump into the bladder. The bottle is better if you also need to filter out the silt.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Like Bladders on 03/12/2013 15:59:55 MDT Print View

@Paul, who wrote: "I've never mastered the bottles on the side of the pack thing."

Picture your current set up: bladder --> tube --> bite valve. Now picture the exact same set up but with a smaller ( 1L) bladder that can fit into your pack's side pockets. There.

Not saying this set up has to be to everyone's liking, of course, but there is nothing to "master".

Edited by ben2world on 03/12/2013 16:23:19 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hydration bladders... out of fashion? on 03/13/2013 09:08:14 MDT Print View

Out of fashion?

I never tried one. They weigh too much.

J J
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Bladder because I can't reach a bottle on 03/13/2013 09:38:57 MDT Print View

I really wanted to use bottles, but on all the packs I tried in store, I couldn't easily reach the pocket to pull out a 1L smartwater bottle. I ended up with a zimmerbuilt pack, and I can barely reach the bottles, but it isn't comfortable/easy, and getting it back in is worse. So I'm glad I also got a bladder sleeve, and I'll probably be sticking to my 2L bladder. I don't enjoy the feel of a holsters on the shoulder straps, so that's out.

I guess this is just an unfortunate combo of physiology/flexibility for me.

Edited by jraiderguy on 03/13/2013 09:39:43 MDT.

Paul Mason
(dextersp1) - F
Re: Re: Like Bladders on 03/13/2013 09:58:56 MDT Print View

Ben "Picture your current set up: bladder --> tube --> bite valve. Now picture the exact same set up but with a smaller ( 1L) bladder that can fit into your pack's side pockets. There."

That I can do. I should have stated just the bottle, not the tube set up.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Bladders/ Bottles for Sawyer and Steripen on 03/18/2013 19:42:41 MDT Print View

So I'm still looking over hydration options that could work with both a Steripen and Sawyer. I plan to purchase a Steripen for international travel but I could see myself using the Sawyer more often domestically. Based on the comments here, I like the suggestion of using the side pockets on my pack instead of the hydration sleeve inside.

I stopped by REI and saw a lightweight collapsable Nalgene bottle. I searched on the forums here and came across the thread linked below. The Evernew and Platypus bottles are lighter but are too narrow for a Steripen. I do like that I could use the same bottles for either a Steripen or Sawyer and still connect a hydration tube.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=52287

Questions:

(1) Is anyone still using this Nalgene set up and satisfied with the results?
(2) Would the Steripen work with a larger volume container, perhaps the 64 oz / 1.4L Nalgene bottle?
(3) Same as (2) above, could I use the Steripen with an even larger bladder like the Platypus Big Zip SL 1.8?

Or is the search for common bottles/baldders futile, and I'm better off purchasing a set for the Steripen and a set for the Sawyer?

Thanks.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Bladders/ Bottles for Sawyer and Steripen on 03/18/2013 23:23:31 MDT Print View

I use Steripen exclusively for international hosteling -- tap water around the world may be laden with germs, but they are generally clear and good to OK tasting. I prefer using a hard plastic, wide mouth Nalgene bottle. Much easier to use and wash than narrow mouth bottles.

Water out in the wilds varies more in clarity. As mentioned before, for hiking, I use a combination of chlorine and filter and Platypus bottles/bladders. Soft, narrow-mouth bottles are more compact and lighter in weight.

There are all different ways, but if you plan on using different methods for different types of trips, there is no reason to limit yourself to just one type of bottle -- which will likely mean some kind of compromising.

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: Bladders/ Bottles for Sawyer and Steripen on 03/19/2013 01:13:19 MDT Print View

"Questions:

(1) Is anyone still using this Nalgene set up and satisfied with the results?
(2) Would the Steripen work with a larger volume container, perhaps the 64 oz / 1.4L Nalgene bottle?
(3) Same as (2) above, could I use the Steripen with an even larger bladder like the Platypus Big Zip SL 1.8?"


I am using a sawyer filter in line with my bladder (A MSR with the large Nalgene lid). I don't use a Steripen. Instead I use chlorine dioxide tablets. typically I fill the bladder and put in a tablit and then return the bladder to my pack. the tablet will kill viruses in 15 minutes and also help keep the bladder clean. The filter takes care of the rest. I also carry a Nalgene collapsible wide mouth bottle for juices, or as a backup in the event that my main bladder developes a leak. I have used this system on my last few hikes and so fare I have had no problems with it.

I don't have a Steripen but I have talked to those that do and some used wide mouth Nalgene bottles. According to the Steripen instructions you need to use more UV light if your container is larger then 1 L. Follow the Steripen instructions on how to make the necessary adjustment. The instructions say to stir the water with the Steripen while the UV light is on. I assume the stirring motion is used to insure all container surfaces are exposed to UV during the treatment. The steripen should work with the big zip if you have enough room to stir the water with the pen.

UV will overtime damage the plastic the bladder is made from. Chlorine Dioxide will probably also damage the plastic. However in both cases I would expect the damage to take many years to develop. Your bladder will probably develop a leak due to mechanical damage long before UV or Chlorine damage would cause problems.

Edited by Surf on 03/19/2013 01:23:28 MDT.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 10:15:14 MDT Print View

A clerk at REI said that he wasn't sure if a Steripen would work with a clear soft bottle nalgene. That seems wrong to me and according to what I've read here, but then it occurred to me that most people are using a colored Playtpus with their Steripens. The clerk said that the Steripen "needs something to bounce off." Anyway, now I'm reconsidering using a cut down Platy after all. Anybody have insight? (Steripen will be my dividend purchase.)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: "Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 10:23:19 MDT Print View

I use a cut down clear platy for my steripen - been doing it that way for quite some time.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: "Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 10:34:52 MDT Print View

No - doesn't "need something to bounce off" - any container fine.

The UV bounces off the interface between water and air or whatever.

The only problem is having an opening that the Steripen can fit into. Soda bottles, Platypus/Evernew/Sawyer bags don't have a big enough opening.

I cut the top off a 1 liter soda bottle and put a mark at the 1/2 liter level and that worked really good.

ha ha - beat you Ben

Edited by retiredjerry on 03/19/2013 10:37:56 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: "Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 10:35:17 MDT Print View

I think the issue is that soft bottles may have creases and wrinkles that *could* hide some organisms from the UV. I don't believe color has anything to do with the UV light "bouncing" off anything.


Edit: jerry beat me to the "bouncing" thing.

Edited by T.L. on 03/19/2013 10:35:59 MDT.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Hydration bladders... out of fashion? on 03/19/2013 13:26:08 MDT Print View

I use a steripen opti. My zapping container is a 1L wide-mouth soft Nalgene. I can stir easily with that. I didn’t want to use a cut-off platy/Nalgene because I still like the lid on it. When filling with water for a long haul, I use my zapping container to carry ‘dirty’ water. This is the water I use for cooking since I boil it anyways and thus save some battery life.

My brother uses a steripen traveler. Because of the round rubber seal, he uses any small-mouth bottle for zapping since the steripen fits well. He can then ‘shake’ the container. BTW, I’d opt for a Classic over the Traveler because of longer tube life.

And if at all possible, use clear bottles. It’s easier to see if the UV is on. And you can see if you’re dishing up cloudy or clear water much better. Colored containers seem to hide the evidence.

As others have noted, I use several small bottles instead of 1 large bottle for leaking reasons. And I like soft platy and Nalgene because they roll up when empty to take less space.

Good luck with hydration,
-Barry
-The mountains were made for Tevas

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: "Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 13:32:51 MDT Print View

"The only problem is having an opening that the Steripen can fit into. Soda bottles, Platypus/Evernew/Sawyer bags don't have a big enough opening."

You are right about the UV bouncing. You are also right about big enough opening. But, just to be sure, are you using the Classic with your 1L soda bottle? Or one of the smaller models?

I had a conversation with Steripen once where they recommended against using the smaller models on tall bottles. Sure, the opening may be big enough, but there's just not enough penetration. Most of the UV will simply be zapping around the bottle opening -- and not treating the bulk of the water below.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 13:37:14 MDT Print View

Thanks for the responses. I wouldn't have even considered this soft bottle thing except for the clerk. Anyway, yeah my new system for on the trail will be a wide mouth soft Nalgene--I sized up from the 1l; may reconsider--and a Steripen Opti, both carried in my little belly pouch. Wide mouth for the Opti and easy fill; soft bottle for folding. A hard bottle won't fit in my pouch and also would be annoying. I think that this easy system will encourage me to drink more water while hiking.

Then a Sawyer and a larger soft bottle for camp and backup.

Edited by book on 03/19/2013 13:40:00 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: "Hydration bladders... out of fashion?" on 03/19/2013 13:52:41 MDT Print View

"I had a conversation with Steripen once where they recommended against using the smaller models on tall bottles. Sure, the opening may be big enough, but there's just not enough penetration. Most of the UV will simply be zapping around the bottle opening -- and not treating the bulk of the water below."

I used Steripen Opti with 1 liter cut-off soda bottle. Just put 1/2 lier of water in it. Then the Steripen bulb just touched bottom of bottle, stirred it around, good UV penetration through volume of water plus the stirring circulated the water around good.

A cooking pot would also be good, but with 0.9 liter Overnew pot, with 1/2 liter, the pot was too wide so the water wasn't deep enough to completely submerge the Steripen bulb. Pot not big enough to hold 1 liter. I suppose you could just put in as much water as possible (about 0.9 liter)and use the 1 liter setting on the Steripen - you'de use more battery than necesary, but not by much. Or a narrower pot would work better like maybe a 0.7 liter pot with 1/2 liter in it.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Acessing water bottles on 03/19/2013 14:43:26 MDT Print View

"I really wanted to use bottles, but on all the packs I tried in store, I couldn't easily reach the pocket to pull out a 1L smartwater bottle. I ended up with a zimmerbuilt pack, and I can barely reach the bottles, but it isn't comfortable/easy, and getting it back in is worse. So I'm glad I also got a bladder sleeve, and I'll probably be sticking to my 2L bladder. I don't enjoy the feel of a holsters on the shoulder straps, so that's out.

I guess this is just an unfortunate combo of physiology/flexibility for me."

I never had a pack where I could reach water bottles either. When I got a Golite Pinnacle I found, after I bought it, that I could easily reach and return the bottles. Was a nice bonus.

" I sold my Steripen and I have one or two floating around here somewhere.

Dale, why did you sell your Steripen? I use various methods but when I'm going to someplace I'm confident about plenty of water, I don't carry any water and use the Steripen to drink at the source. I would have thought that would work great in the PNW.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Acessing water bottles on 03/19/2013 14:59:28 MDT Print View

NM

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 23:22:04 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Acessing water bottles on 03/19/2013 15:16:51 MDT Print View

"Just a note on accessing water bottles - I too have found it difficult not to reach them but to put them back. Except on my Mchale pack because you can angle the holsters and lower (or raise) them as necessary. The design is very smart.
"


Never could come up with a compelling reason to spending $600 on a McHale to carry my 20lbs total pack weight. Now I have. Thank you, Family Guy!! :)