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Camelback Packs

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Different people can taste different things. Really, not to impugne anyone's "sense of taste," it's a known biological fact. It's why some people like the taste of cilantro and others would rather lick their cat's patootie. It's quite possible that the CamelBak does have a plasticky taste for some people, but not for others. Just one of those things.


Still, I'd try the bleach rinse to clean it out. Just get it well rinsed out afterwards (it won't kill you if you don't get out every little bit, but it certainly won't taste any better than the plastic!).


On a not-so-related note I recently picked up an MSR MIOX water purifier, which is very cool but does give the water a bit of a chlorine taste. Still, it's better than iodine and a heck of a lot easier to use than a pump filter.

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My Platypus brand bladder was definitely NOT tasteless. Maybe I'm just more sensitive than others to the taste.


I mentioned this in another thread, but I'll repeat it here.


I read several places to mix water and your favorite alcoholic beverage together and let it sit in the bladder. I don't remember the ratio or the time. There was discussion of 'isomers' that the alcohol somehow removed, dissolved, or modified. I found some leftover Jack Daniels and gave it a try. Several months later I could still taste the Jack. So I DON'T recommend the alcohol approach.


To get that flavor out I decided to mix some Gatorade and let it sit in the bladder. It got the Jack taste out, but left a Gatorade taste (an improvement in my opinion). After a few days even the Gatorade taste was gone. Now, no flavors or plastic taste!



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I'll try the bleach rinse and if anyone has any other tricks/hints for keeping these bladders "fresh", please pass it along.

To keep the bladder "fresh" try this (it works great for me):


After cleaning (I tend to just rinse it out with water), keep the empty bladder in a large ziplock in the freezer. This will keep it "fresh" and prevent mildew.

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what do you all do about the water being so warm in your camelbacks (/other hydration systems)? at least when I've gone on trips... i've thought about freezing a spare bladder before I left, but, then I'm afraid I'll be stuck with extreme thirst and a block of ice! (sometimes I take a frozen steak before i leave for camp, and by the time i'm ready for dinner, it's usually thawed enough... sure beats a packet of soup!)


i don't notice a plastic taste in any of my bladders (and even some are cheapos!).. i do rinse 'em out really good, when new, and after every time out. if they get remotely nasty, i rinse 'em with water and a touch of vinegar.


(edited for typo)

Edited by protocoldroid
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(sometimes I take a frozen steak before i leave for camp....)

That's a good idea. I'll bring some steaks to my campout event and let them thaw in the cooler. Should be ready to cook by Saturday night. :P


if camping can make gritty coffee and gorp taste so darn good... you can imagine how good the steak is ;) ...you're going to have some happy cachers!


from plastic tasting water, to mouth watering steaks, look at what a tangent i take the conversation in :0

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Don't laugh but I've been using those fizzy denture cleaning tabs to keep mine clean. I saw that Camelback sells something similar for about a buck a tab and you can get something like 40 for 3 bucks at Walgreens. They're antibacterial and remove stains too. I'd let one of my bladders get real grungy and it seemed to do the trick without any chemical 'aftertaste'. My teeth have been getting loose, but I'm sure that's unrelated.

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The "plastic taste" is often small amounts (very small) of the chemicals that helped make the plastic to begin with. That's why almost everything meant to hold food says "wash with a warm soap mixture..." when you first buy it. If that's not enough, then a mild bleach solution as described above might help. The final thing to try is to sit it around full of water for a few hours and let anything still soaking out of the plastic to osmose into the water and then dump the water and wash. Finally, one last thing that I've seen recommended (and we use in our lab sometimes for things) is to drop in a piece of activated carbon (aka a charcoal briquette...NOT the lighter-fluid-soaked variety!!). You can protect the sides of the bottle using newspaper to surround the charcoal. Let that sit closed for a few days and then pull out the charcoal/newspaper and wash with soapy water.


Finally, as for care, you want to make sure it's as dry as possible when you store it. Any excess water is a source for mold/mildew (maybe a bacteria if you or your water source was particularly dirty). If it can be stored inside-out, then all the better as "trapped" air will be kicked out when you reverse it back again.


Of course, while they are bulkier, a good Nalgene bottle will almost *never* impart a plastic flavor because of the type of plastic it is made from.

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I learned to really appreciate the plastic taste when I lived in a house with only well water, I couldn't stand the taste of the water at all, but in the camelback most of the sulfur & iron flavors were covered up. Now I live in an area with heavily processed tap water, you can't really tell the difference between the water & the plastic taste of the camelback. This may be why some people don't notice the taste, they are so accustomed to the treatments & additives to their water.


On the topic of cooling your water, I've always filled the bladder with as many ice cubes as it can possibly hold, then top it off with water. You get instant cold water for drinking right away, and over time the ice will melt about as fast as you need to drink it. This seems to work out well for my while bicycling anyway, even in long summer rides in extreme heat. I'd worry that actually freezing the plastic bladder itself might do some damage, especially if you try to fil lit completely.

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I remember reading something somewhere that it's very important to always wash your water bottles, there's some kind of weird bacteria thing...

YUP. It is referred to as Biofilm, also known as "slime in the ice machine". It is a natural occurrence with water, if it is not properly sanitized. Here is something that will make you lose your appetite. The next time you are at your office, and it is time to replace the 5-gallon water jug on the cooler, when the jug is off, look inside the chiller area. I would not be surprised if you see a green film in there.

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I hate Camelbak bladders. From the very beginning, after a lemon rinse, a baking soda soak, and a bleach soak, it still tasted like a**. I cant believe they are still selling them even though they seem to always get that taste. I have had 2, and they both were terrible, and one of them was the newer one with that "pure fresh" tube or whatever they are called. I am for Platypus bladders all the way. Plus, I think they have a lifetime warranty. I finally bought a Platypus bladder for my Camelbak bag. I love Camelbak backpacks.

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Mine still has little bit of a plastic taste, but it doesn't bother me.


For cooling I fill it with icecubes and then ice water. I like the cooling effect it has on my back. Thing is it doesn't last a full day's caching before it gets luke warm. Still, wet is wet.


On the other end of the spectrum, if you use frozen waterbottles and cache in subfreezing weather you will be thristy! That's what we did on Bradley's Bottom and ended up having to put the bottles inside our jackets to get them to thaw. It actually felt good because our core temps were up from the exertion.


For the record my pack is a military grade HAWG. At times I've been left wishing for a larger pack, but most of the time it carries everything I need. If need be, I can put 2(!) regular ammo cans to pack in for placement--if I take everything else out. I like the hydration system much better than bottles because I don't have to stop. I might buy an additional bladder to keep in the cooler to swap out later in the day.

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