How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder?
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 13:35:16 MDT Print View

I'm having Joe add a hydration sleeve to my Arc Blast. I like to keep my water in a 2L inverted Platypus bladder so I can hydrate while I'm hiking and keep the center of gravity near my back. Is it better to have it higher, centered between my shoulder blades? Or lower? I thought higher would be better for two reasons: (i) weight is taken off my low back, reducing pain/stress in that area, (ii) it's easier to get my hydration bladder in/out with my sleeping bag and other items filling the bottom of my pack.

For Arc Blast users, I was thinking of having the bottom of the hydration sleeve be placed right at or slightly below the bottom horizontal cross piece. Since I have a short torso, this places the water at the level of my shoulders. Thoughts?

Joe Annese
(dirtbaghiker) - M
No bladder on 06/23/2014 14:12:01 MDT Print View

I would think center. I actually remove the bladder bag thingy because over the last year or 2 I have stopped using the bladder. Just use my water bottle and bring 2 soft sided platy bottles. Much easier. I found the water bladder to be a hassel..I can shoot a number of reasons. .but for one..The problem you are already inquiring about for starters. .hmmmmm..

Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 15:05:20 MDT Print View

I just stick mine flat and on the top of everything in the pack. Easy access and works well. I also only carry about 1.5 liters at most in the 1.8l Hoser/inline sawyer setup that I use, so wherever I shift the weight in the pack it's not real noticeable, if at all.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 17:02:26 MDT Print View

IMHO:
Hydration sleeves are uterly pointless and even stupid. The idea of putting a bladder in one is just farcical as all the other gear will squash it flat and possibly burst it as well. FAR, far better is to simply put a bladder on TOP of all other gear under the hood. Mind you, I prefer rocket-base bottles because they NEVER leak, and are free and very light.
On the other hand, the sleeve makes an excellent place to store flat maps on a long trip. High security stuff like passports and money can go right down the bottom as well.

OK, I am biased. We know that! :-)

Cheers

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 17:21:27 MDT Print View

The thing that I don't like about a hydration bladder is that if it gets one tiny leak, then it is worthless. Nevermind the replacement expense. Assuming that the leak is on the bottom, you have to invert it to get the leak on the top in order to minimize the leakage damage.

The venerable Gatorade bottle works fine for me. On a long, hot day, I will carry two, one liter each, and those always fit into the side pockets on my pack. The plastic is a little heavier than a disposable water bottle, but they are more durable. I'm currently using bottles that are about ten years old, and I don't know if I will get more than 15 or 20 years out of them.

I led a trip one time with a guy who started with a hydration bladder in his pack. Then on Day One, it got a leak. From then on, half of our effort revolved around accommodating him with the bladder.

--B.G.--

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Weight distribution in a pack on 06/23/2014 17:32:38 MDT Print View

Well...I know many aren't a fan of hydration bladders, but all things considered, nary a one of my Platypus bladders has burst or leaked on me over the last 7 years of backpacking. If it does, my sleeping bag is in a pack liner and has a good chance of staying dry. Additionally, I've never been able to reach back and extract a water bottle/bladder out of a side pocket while hiking. Hydration bladders just work best for me, and I accept the 1-2 oz penalty of the hose.

Back to my original question: Is it best to load the heaviest/densest items at the top of one's pack or more towards the middle? Again, I'm leaning towards placing my bladder up high behind my shoulders (vertically, not horizontally), but just wanted to get input regarding load balance, etc.

Alex Herron
(AlexHerron) - F

Locale: Front Range
Bladder attack on 06/23/2014 17:33:36 MDT Print View

Currently I am pretty smitten with my bladder and how well it distributes the weight. I have not had a leak but carry a good deal of duct tape now as well as two 1 liter bottles. Not always filled mind you, one can be simply for other fluid management ;).

Bladder defense complete.

But to the question I would say that when I didn't have a sleeve and carried it very low it worked quite well to distribute weight to the top of by butt, which is where I was trying to carry weight at the time due to a lack of hip belt. But now that I am using a burlier gg crown the sleeve in the middle has me quite satisfied as well. I don't know the feel of the blasts frame very well but I would try to test it out with something temporary before committing to you bladder placement.

Edited by AlexHerron on 06/23/2014 17:35:12 MDT.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Bladder attack on 06/23/2014 17:45:50 MDT Print View

center high and near your back

billy

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 17:52:32 MDT Print View

On top. Easiest to live with there all around. Skip the sleeve. Dead weight.

Edited by kthompson on 06/23/2014 17:53:03 MDT.

Yak Attack
(Yak) - M

Locale: IN, USA
Re: Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 18:45:14 MDT Print View

"I prefer rocket-base bottles because they NEVER leak, and are free and very light."

Roger, may I ask what a "rocket-base" bottle is?

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Rocket based bottles on 06/23/2014 20:24:10 MDT Print View

Are the bottles that come with carbonated drinks. The bottom is dented inwards to allow for expansion. Bottles for carbonated drinks are also made from stronger plastic than water bottles.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rocket based bottles on 06/23/2014 20:36:33 MDT Print View

Gatorade bottles have that shape, and Gatorade is not carbonated.

--B.G.--

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Hydration bladders on 06/23/2014 20:40:12 MDT Print View

I just shove mine into the pack horizontally, and along the back panel. This puts the weight behind my shoulder blades.

Why ? Because putting it in vertically requires some unpacking of the pack, and is too much trouble to fill at water sources.

No pocket is needed, because the packs contents hold it in place. In fact, it's hard to cram into place...

However, my favorite method is to use a canteen instead of a bladder. I put a pop-top spout on a water bottle, and tie a cord to a water bottle's neck and sling it over my shoulder. It's easier to drink from than a bladder, and I can't reach the side pockets on my pack easily enough to do it every 5 minutes when it's hot and humid :)

An insulated open topped water bottle pouch that fit on a hip belt near where it connected to the pack would be even better - but I haven't found one yet.

David Moreno
(nerrek2000) - F

Locale: North East Ohio
Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/23/2014 22:01:09 MDT Print View

When I was in the Infantry in Hawaii, I usually had a hell of a time drinking from the 1 qt canteens we were made to carry even though they were on our hip belts. We were regularly climbing from gultches at or below sea level to the peaks of the mountains. The travel route was always muddy and steep. We regularly had to hold our weapon in one hand and pull ourselves up the hill grabbing onto small trees with the other. You couldn't let go of the trees for any length of time or you might slide hundreds of feet down the mountain side.

I, as well as a lot of the other guys bought Camelback bladders that were made specially for the military. The problem was that they had to be strapped to the outside back of the ruck sacs we carried. It pulled badly against your shoulders, especially when carrying the 1 gal versions, and sometimes would even make your arms go numb. You could drink easily on the move in any environment though. Just pop the bite valve in your mouth and you're set.

My first civilian backpack (Osprey) came with a bladder. It slid into a compartment in the bottom of the lid of the pack. It was comfortable and worked well until the bladder was about half empty. At that point, it slid and sloshed around which shifted the weight. I would have to take the pack off at least twice while the water level diminished to tighten the straps for the lid.

All three of my lightweight packs (Deuter Speedlite) have the internal sleeve that centers on your back. It's kind of a pain to get them in and out of my loaded packs when refilling (need to remove a few items) but they're very comfortable. Also, they don't shift and slosh around as they empty. As they empty, I just pull on the side compression straps and it tightens the load right up. In my experience it hasn't mattered if they were higher or lower in the sleeve, just that they were in them so that they were kept centered and against my back.

An other 2 reasons I chose that setup is that I have slightly limited range of motion in my right arm which made it harder to get to the pocket on my right side while wearing the pack, and because of the thorny overgrown trails around NE Ohio and Pennsylvania that I frequent that would poke holes in the bladders if they were in the mesh side pockets.

One final thing. I've never had a Camelback bladder or a Platypus bladder spring a leak or burst because of the pressure of gear on it. I've even sat back against rocks and trees with the pack on when resting without a problem. In the case of the Camelback bladders, remember that they were strapped to the outside back of military ruck sacks that weighed up to 100 pounds + my weight lying back against trees and rocks.

Everyone's different so I'd also suggest that OP borrow a pack with an internal sleeve and try different heights in the sleeve and also horizontally under the lid to get a better idea of what will be best for them.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: How to pack a pack? Where to put hydration bladder? on 06/24/2014 02:41:54 MDT Print View

> what a "rocket-base" bottle is?
As John said, they are used for carbonated drinks, ie fizzy water etc. They are NOT used for 'still water'.

Typically they have 5 bulges at the base, are indestructable, and don't leak. I tested some with drops onto rock of 6 m - zero failures. I tend to use a bottle for several years for many trips before discarding it.

They are made of PET, and if they can safely store Coca Cola for months on end, they can store drinking water for a few days! Washing the threads after a trip is always a good idea, to remove contaminants left by your mouth.

The labels on some may forbid you to reuse them - hohoho. Much mirth.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 06/24/2014 02:42:59 MDT.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
"what a "rocket-base" bottle is? on 06/24/2014 06:53:17 MDT Print View

Roger.....Could you provide a picture of the what a "rocket-base" bottle is you use for the group to compare our bottles here in the US to?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: "what a "rocket-base" bottle is? on 06/24/2014 07:03:36 MDT Print View

Google is your friend here


pet

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
weight distribution on 06/24/2014 07:20:05 MDT Print View

You have two competing factors here - one, the best place for the heaviest item is in the middle of the pack, towards your back. You want the heaviest things to be closest to your center of mass, which in a man is basically your belly button.

However, putting a water bladder that low tends to make it difficult to access...so pick which is most important to you.



And I really like bladders by the way - the only way I drink enough is if I have the hose.......

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
"what a "rocket-base" bottle is? on 06/24/2014 09:02:06 MDT Print View

Ken.....Totally agree with Rogers & Bob's comments on the subject of hydration bladders. This ""rocket-base" bottle ' terminology is new for me in this arena of backpacking light. My wife, granddaughters and I have used the Gatorade bottles below for many years AND yes there are many types of these "rocket-base" bottles out their but have found these to be the most "bomb proof".
Thanks for the clarification.

ga3

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: "what a "rocket-base" bottle is? on 06/24/2014 17:06:48 MDT Print View

The really good bit about rocket-base bottles is the cap. It is designed to take the pressure of fizzy water really reliably. I have NEVER had one of those caps leak, either against water or against kerosene - and the latter really does get out of some (other) threads. Larger diameter necks may be useful, but I suspect they might be a bit less secure.

Cheers