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Rave About Your Rack Please do not post retail SPAM.

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Hydration Packs

10:07:16 AM
I've been looking at hydration packs recently, predominately for mtb'ing but thought it might be a solution for carrying some water on longer climbs when it's hot. I generally can't abide climbing with a pack unless it's truly necessary so am looking for a minimalistic style one, 1.5 to 2 litres water capacity with not too much extra storage space (hopefully this will limit the outrage when I foist it upon my second). Any brands/models people have had success with? Or perhaps its more nuisance than it's worth...
10:14:57 AM
On longer multi-pitch or on warm days I think they're great. I always forget to drink enough and having easy access to water is a big help. I've got a couple of camelbaks but the best for climbing is the 1.5L version. You (or your second) hardly notice you're wearing it.

10:41:11 AM
I've been using a Osprey hydration pack. It's an older model that says the pack holds 4l, but somehow with a 2l reservoir in it you can only fit a few muesli bars, a phone and car key. I imagine the 5l version will be similarly light on space:

That said, it works very well for climbing. The little magnet on the nozzle automatically clips it to the chest strap for you. The profile is very low and narrow and it doesn't tend to get in the way while climbing. I'm tempted to get a larger reservoir though. On warm days I tend to get through 2l fairly quickly and carry additional litre or two in my pack and more in the car.

When I put it in my regular hiking pack, I've found the rigid bits in the reservoir means it doesn't crumple down into a little ball as it empties which used to prevent me from getting the last 500ml or so out of my previous no name reservoir. The supports also work as a handle which makes filling it and closing it easier.

10:41:17 AM
In my experience I've found the quality of the bag itself to be hardly worth any consideration compared to the quality of the hydration bladder. Look for a good quality bladder first and foremost - many of them come with a backpack of varying sizes that will do the job. Consider things like how it opens for refilling - sounds simple but some of them can be a real bitch to get sealed. Others have crappy material that will weaken with flexing and eventually fail. Being able to easily dry it out is also good as that will avoid any build up of gunk.

My current one is a 2L Source bladder from MD's which has an easy sealing system and the bag fully opens up from the top which is great for refills/airing/drying. I would definitely recommend the brand/style.
10:53:19 AM
I have an old Camelbak that holds a 3L bladder. It does the job. The backpack it comes in has a zip arrangement that allows the capacity to be expanded when required. It has minimal external straps to catch on stuff, which I prefer. It has a couple of pockets for keys, phone and food bars and that's about it. Unfortunately I don't believe that model is made any more.

I've also used a very lightweight day pack with bladder insert, made by Lowe I think.

I think the Camelbak bladders are terrible and would avoid buying one for that reason alone. I use third party bladders (ex HK via eBay) in mine.

11:01:10 AM
Interesting comments re bladder quality and design. Gfdonc, what is it about the Camelbak bladders that you don't find so good?

Eduardo Slabofvic
11:41:26 AM
I usually take one on long multi-pitch climbs if it hot. I have found that having as much of your shoulder blade not covered by the pack is good, that way you can still chimney/thrutch/wriggle when required.

I also like having a waist strap and a chest strap to keep it in place, and a top loop for clipping it in when required.

I like a 3 liter one, because you don't have to fill it all the way if you don't want to. I have a couple of different packs for it, as I would take a larger pack skiing than I would take climbing. My climbing one is reasonably slim line, but having good shoulder straps is better that thin bitey ones.

For multi pitch (ie Europe - 10 pitches plus) I have been taking a small butt bag for many years that has food and a light shell etc. Adding the camel back to that is heaps better than a single back pack of the same volume, as you can spin the butt bag out of the way if you feel the need to wedge yourself into a slot.

As for bladder design, I like an opening that can easily be opened by cold gloved hands, and a non-drip nozzle.

dave h.
12:24:27 PM
Another vote for the Ospreys - nice big handle, big opening with a good cap, rigid insert as described by ajfclark.

The Raptor series are quite good - they come in several different sizes, I find the 6 is good. They were actually designed for mountain biking but I think they're great for climbing.
12:28:57 PM
A buddy and I have been using the Blue Ice mono, and rather like it. Possibly a bit bigger than what you want - takes a water bladder, shell, guidebook, helmet or approach shoes, etc, with a couple of extra gear loops. The big bonus for me is the single-shoulder strap, you can unclip the underarm/chest closure and rotate it out of the way if you feel the need for a thrutch (or if you need to get at something inside).

I've been using a Kathmandu 2L water bladder, the cheapish one with the full-width crimp slide closure. Works well.

12:47:28 PM
I use a Petzl Bug, which is a good size pack for climbing, with a Camel Back bladder. I keep coming back to Camel Back bladders as they are the only brand that I have used that I haven't been able to burst yet.
2:29:19 PM
On 28/03/2014 mattwho wrote:
>Interesting comments re bladder quality and design. Gfdonc, what is it
>about the Camelbak bladders that you don't find so good?

1. Freakin' hard to open.
2. See number 1.
3. Nozzles used to come without a tap and leaked badly. Taps cost $15 extra.
4. Nozzles with tap are awkward to use and tend to hook on things (sounds ridiculous but it happens).
5. You can buy an $8 bladder by mail order that has none of these faults. Buy two and have a spare.

2:50:41 PM
Oh, that reminds me of another nice feature of the Osprey bladder: The valve. When you rotate the nozzle perpendicular to the pipe, it's open, when it's in line with the pipe, it's closed. Super easy to fiddle with one handed if need be and I'm yet to have it leak everywhere because it snagged on something on the way into the boot of the car or whatever and then got squished under a pack.
3:14:10 PM
I've owned at least three bladders - I bought a green one from Paddy Pallin (can't remember the brand) got one with backpack from Kathmandu & was given at least one other if not more by friends.

- All eventually leaked in my bag.
- The ones with the "suck" valve leak all down your shirt and backpack, the ones with the nozzle are worse if left open.
- Patching holes is easy, but kinda wonder about having raw glue just sitting in a water bladder...
- They go mouldy and anything you use to clean it will be tasted for months after.
- Only really practical while drinking on the go - who wants to suck hard out of a squished bladder sitting down having lunch?

In short - I hate bladders & opt for a swiss bottle clipped to my harness for a sip while waiting for the seconder who should carry at least 2 or 3 litres in a backpack.

MTB is different - your bag doesn't move / get squashed in chimneys / hung up on belay anchors - and at the same time, you want to be constantly accessing the water. Getting wet wouldn't be much of an issue either.

So my vote is: for climbing purposes, don't bother with a water bladder, just fill up an old softdrink bottle.

3:33:39 PM
Use a slimline 2L camelbak in proprietary pack - love it - only room for keys - muesli bar and a few small extras in pockets, but taking a second look at it now there is an elasticised expansion type pocket thingy that would hold a rainshell. There is no waistbelt, but I'm no Adam Ondra, although I do grunt and scream like him. My only gripe is that the bladders take about twenty years to dry out between uses.

3:38:42 PM
Mould? Drying out between uses? I've never dried out my current bladder or washed it. It's not mouldy. Am I missing something? Is this just a statement about Osprey's anti-bac treatment or my lack of cleanliness?
3:41:11 PM
For multi pitch routes we brought a metolius multi loop big wall gear sling, holds a 2 litre bladder.

4:00:15 PM
You can avoid mould growing by storing the bladder in the freezer.
One Day Hero
4:03:36 PM
On 28/03/2014 richiec wrote:
>For multi pitch routes we brought a metolius multi loop big wall gear sling,
>holds a 2 litre bladder.
That's an interesting looking.......thing. Have you climbed any big walls with it yet?
5:02:33 PM
On 28/03/2014 One Day Hero wrote:
>On 28/03/2014 richiec wrote:
>>For multi pitch routes we brought a metolius multi loop big wall gear
>>holds a 2 litre bladder.
>That's an interesting looking.......thing. Have you climbed any big walls
>with it yet?

Nothing bigger than 3 pitches, but on a hot day before a long walk down very handy.

6:54:37 PM
You are all soft(!), & should take a lesson from dalai in his 'serious' climbing years...
~> I heard he got by on thirsty climbing days, simply by sucking the moisture from a can of spam!

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There are 25 messages in this topic.


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