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Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask?
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just Justin Whitson
Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/06/2013 21:09:30 MST Print View

I'm heading out tomorrow for a weekend trip, and the low Sat. night is going to be around 23 F, and some snow starting in the morning turning into "wintery mix" at some point. Sunday's high will be about 25 F.

I'm wondering if it's more pragmatic to bring a 40 oz hydro flask for my main beverage container. Here's factors behind same. I like to go cookless, hence often i don't bring a pot, fuel, etc. It won't be so cold that streams will freeze over, but drinking water that cold, at those temps, kind of sucks. Then you have to keep it warm inside your quilt overnight, etc and that kind of sucks too.

Besides, i like tea a lot. Now if i brought the whole shabang and kit and kaboodle (cook kit), it would be somewhat heavy (i don't have Ti pots, etc, yet).

The hydroflask weighs 17 oz, probably a bit more than the sum of the above, but the convenience factor is high with hydro flask. Granted, that means i'm also carrying all that water for awhile too, which adds a lot more weight. However, i can sleep with the bottle just fine. If i keep it inside my sleep/camp insulation during the hike and at night when sleeping, it probably won't be freezing cold in the morning (though i doubt it will be noticeably warm either). I should mention that i'm also bringing a small evernew flexible bottle with some water for some of the start of the hike, and later i will transfer some of the tea for the start of the return back. I put it in my fanny pack to make it easily accessible. Should also mention it will be a fairly easy and short hike, so i won't be sweating a ton.

WWBPLD? In general, just curious about others thoughts on this. I suppose if one is really attached to having cooked food (i'm not unless it's real cold, lows in or near single digits), it probably would make more sense to bring the whole kit and Kaboodle to begin with, and just use that to heat water as well.

If it was a longer trip (3 days or more), i would definitely bring the cook kit, but for a weekend and easy/quicker hike, i'm really leaning to the convenience of the hydroflask despite the initial weight penalty of hauling 40+ ozs of water in 19 oz of water containers (i'm just guesstimating the added weight of the evernew container).

Do you think having it wrapped up in a hat (or balaclava), down jacket, and down quilt will make a big difference in how long it stays warm?

Geesh, i feel this is sort of a BPL equivelent of a facebook post.... (note to self, get a life for next Friday night)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/06/2013 23:21:18 MST Print View

I take it that this is some sort of insulated bottle, correct? If so, insulating it at night isn't going to do anything to keep the contents warm.

Maybe it is time to invest in a winter hydration system.

32 oz Nalgenes are what I use in sub-freezing weather, with OR insulated cozys. If needed, hot water in an non-insulated Nalgene can help keep you warm at night.

For various reasons I think a stove and pot is a good idea in sub-freezing weather -- especially in the mix of rain/snow you are probably going to get. And the weatherman can be wrong, it might get a lot colder.

A full 40oz Hydro Flask is heavier vs. a light stove, pot and a single Nalgene where water is plentiful.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/06/2013 23:46:03 MST Print View

I'm not quite sure what a hydro flask is, either. For cold weather camping, I always fill my quart water bottle with hot or warm water after dinner in the evening, and then that goes into the foot of my sleeping bag. That warms up the bag prior to me entering it, and it might help keep me warm a tiny bit during the night. In the morning, that will be one quart of body temperature water, and that makes for a quicker boil for that first cup of hot tea for breakfast.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/07/2013 07:55:17 MST Print View

Okay, since I know what a Hydroflask is (and own a couple), here's my take. Don't take it. Heavy, way heavy, and it's not going to keep your tea very warm all day. I've used one of mine to keep a hot meal hot for work, and being inside (instead of outside like you'll be) it still only kept the food warm (not even hot) for probably 4-5 hours. So since it won't do what you want it to do, and is quite heavy compared to 'normal' options, I'd recommend leaving it at home.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/07/2013 08:47:43 MST Print View

If you really want to keep your tea hot for long, you'll need a proper vacuum thermos, and they aren't light. Convenient not to have to mess with heating water, but you won't be saving any weight.

Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
hydro flask? on 12/07/2013 08:58:18 MST Print View

A decent, reasonably light stove kit can be a life saver in cool, wet conditions. It is lighter and more versatile, as well.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/09/2013 19:48:43 MST Print View

Hi folks,

Thank you Everyone for the feedback/advice. I had a little time Saturday morning to check in on the thread, and i went with conventional wisdom and the consensus advice on this one, and think it was the right choice for sure.

Plus, it gave me a chance to try out the new stove kit that i got from David Gardner over at GoldGear. I went with the alcohol stove part of the kit on this trip and thought it worked pretty darn good (but i'm pretty ignorant on stoves overall).

Previously i was using a Whitebox alc stove, but on a plane trip awhile back it got pretty dented--though still technically works (not as well).

Re: the Hydro flask, it is a vacuum thermos, and i think it has potential in some situations, but the weak point is the wide mouth and screw on cap. Obviously most of the heat loss will be through there, so i'm going to design some kind of insulation booty to go over the top to slow down conductive heat loss through the top.

Probably will use a combo of a Kapok filled sleeve, in combo with some reflectix or foam. I think well insulating the top of it, will help to really extend the insulation factor. Kapok would work well because it's extremely hydrophobic and it will resist compression better than down or synthetic. It's also dirt cheap, relatively sustainable (minus the shipping from S. America or Asia) and a pretty good insulation (about equivalent to 500 fp duck down).

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/09/2013 20:00:33 MST Print View

In cold weather backpacking, some things just shouldn't be left to chance or be marginal... especially if you must rely on melting snow for water.

I do a lot of backpacking with some pretty light set-ups. But in winter I always bring a couple of these...


just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Colder weather weekend trips, hydro flask? on 12/09/2013 21:51:49 MST Print View

Yah, i more or less agree. If i was going to do a longer trip, especially if in more extreme cold, i would bring a combo of cook kit with extra insulated hydro flask (or some other vacuum insulated bottle/thermos).

That's what i was alluding to earlier when i said i think a vacuum thermos still has some potential in certain circumstances.

And a vacuum insulated bottle is many times more efficient than the average cozy type cover insulation in combo with regular bottle. It's hard to beat the physics of a contained wall of very little air. Would need lot's of good down to compete, but good down is compressed too easily in storage and in a pack to work well. Lot's of foam would be good, but then volume could start to be a factor.

If money was no consideration, i would get an all titanium vacuum thermos with an extra top insulator for the cap/opening.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 12/09/2013 21:54:11 MST.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Actually... on 12/11/2013 21:28:44 MST Print View

Actually I'm hunting now in below freezing weather. For a week the temps have been -1 to 12 degrees every morning when I reach my stand, with average temps of 20 degrees all day if the wind stays calm. If not it feels like 7 degrees. I have the narrow mouthed hydroflasks and they keep my tea and coffee hot all day in my side pockets of my hunting pack. I tested them against/with my thermos, and the hydroflasks did much better hands down. The lid of the thermos was allowing heat to dissipate. I'll take the weight penalty as this is hunting not BPLing by any means.

Edited by Drusilla on 12/11/2013 21:31:04 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Actually... on 12/16/2013 00:25:09 MST Print View

Thank you for the field report DD, tis good to know. I suspect there is probably a significant difference between the narrow mouthed hydroflask and the wide mouthed one due to the larger, non vacuum surface area of the top on the latter. Got the wide mouthed one, because of food cooking efficiency and cleaning.

It will be interesting to see that if creating and using a well insulated top for the wide mouth hydroflask will significantly increase thermal efficiency.

My next project, i think.

If one is using a pulk, then the "weight" of the large hydroflask won't be much of a factor and could fit into light, if not UL, for winter conditions perhaps.