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Camelback Do You Use One?


hunter-bob
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I don't care for Camelbak bladders because they impart a plastic taste to the water. I use a Platypus bladder and use it in a hydration system compatible Mountainsmith pack. Comes in handy for long hikes, particularly in hot weather. In the summer I'll freeze my Platypus and toss it in the pack before I head out. It melts slowly and I have ice cold water all day long.

 

And if I'm biking, I take the Platypus out of the daypack and insert it in an old basic Camelbak that I have (just a sleeve for the bladder and shoulder straps. No pockets). I threw the bladder it came with out because of the nasty taste it gave the water.

Edited by briansnat
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I don't care for Camelbak bladders because they impart a plastic taste to the water. I use a Platypus bladder and use it in a hydration system compatible Mountainsmith pack.

A platypus bladder leaves a better taste than a camel bladder? :mad: Don't those bladders start to rot in the hot weather? I think I would stick with something made of plastic or metal! :mad:

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I use a hydration pack whenever I go hiking. That also usually involves caching too. I drink a lot of h2o when I hike, and I like the hands free operation bladders provide. I won't buy another pack that isn't hydration compatible. I also took one on our honeymoon. I didn't do any hiking, but when the cruise ship docked in Mexico, I took ship water with me, no Montezumas revenge for me :mad:

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I use a camelback pack for carrying geocaching stuff. I'll include the bladder at any time the weather is warm or it's a longer hike. In my experience the plastic taste is less of an issue with the newer bladders. I also keep mine empty in the freezer when not in use - no mold problems....

 

The new ones have a very large port, so drying and cleaning them is a possibility (if you're into all that)

 

I only ever keep water in mine.

 

Cheers, AJK

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I kept putting off getting a hydration pack because while I like the idea of them, I keep thinking of more fun things to spend money on. Now, a strap on my current pack has broken, so since I am in the market for a pack, I might get one with a hydration system. If so, I will buy a Platypus bladder. Like Brian said, I have also been told by others that the camelback bladders make the water taste bad.

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I have a number of Camelbak products. More than you (or my wife) want to know.

 

Some will tell tales if the "plastic" taste. Well, you know what. It goes away. Really it does. Like about the second or third time you use it.

 

I prefer the military versions. MIL-SPEC means tough. They weigh a bit more, but they will last. I detest gear that don't hold up and leaves you hanging.

 

I have two main rigs ready for use.

 

THIS ONE is my lightweight rig. I have several pouches that I clip to the harness for my radio, GPSr, pistol, and other accessories. It allows me to move quickly and still have the minimal gear needed for the mission. I own one of these in desert-camo.

 

THIS ONE is the one my son took to Iraq. Carries a bit more gear, but not as much as the next. Also carries 3 liters of water. It is pretty much battle-proven, although a RPG hit on his Bradley blew holes in it and I had to send him a new bladder. Camelbak sent him two direct ti Iraq and didn't charge for it, a big +++ for Camelbak. I doubt the platapus would do any better!

 

THIS ONE is what I choose for extended missions, when I need to carry more gear, or for extended summer missions in the desert. If the main compartment is empty, you can install and use a second 3 liter bladder, giving you 6 liters of water on the trail. You can never have two much water in the desert, especially if you hike with a big black dog! If you overfil the bladder, it holds nearly a gallon in this rig! This rig is my most used one. Even with 16 pounds of water, a two pound pistol, and other gear it still rides comfortable.

 

IMHO, Camelbak was the first, and is still the best, although Spec-Ops brand is trying to catch up. Most of the other stuff, including the civilian camelbak gear, just isn't up to standard. But, it is light weight. If weight is all you care about, not wear, then those may be for you.

 

The above is my opinion after using and seeing much of this gear doth in combat and on the trails in the USA. Of course, YMMV. :mad:

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i could definately look for this on my own, but... maybe one of the camelbak gurus knows what connector i need to connect a Katadyn Hiker water filter to a camelbak. i've got a small mouth nalgene bottle that connects with the default parts that come with the filter (and there's no shame in dumping the water from the bottle the bladder), but... I think I'm missing a link in connecting the Hiker directly into the bladder... anyone know?

 

i carry just a small waist-band camelback (probably won't take fire from an RPG very well!) but, it's easy to wear while carrying another pack. and if it's not enough water for ya, just throw more bladders in your pack. and at least in new york state, water is frequent enough that if I'm carrying the water filter, sometimes i won't even need an extra bladder... just a couple more minutes.

 

anyhow, i carry a camelbak and a water filter when i go backpacking, fishing (no boat => more walking => less beer and more water :/ ), and usually cache trips are short enough that I just need the camelbak, but... i love having the camelback, mine has a little webbing on it that you can strap a GPSr to pretty well, and see it at a glance. i usually have my pda in the spare pocket too. keeps it from getting knocked on trees being in my cargo pocket, and in easy reach (for cache pages, topos, notes, whatever)

 

anyways... if you're used to having to lug around a water bottle that doesn't hold much water, you'll appreciate a camelbak.

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I got one prior to a day hike in the Canyon at Twin Falls. Normally we would go down with a fanny pack and 2L of liquid. Every time I'd run out and hike out thirsty. This last time it was 100+ degrees and I brought a 3L Camelbak with 2L in the pockets and used it all on the trip. I ran out on the hike back up to the rim. Much better. Next time I'll hike when it's about 20 degrees cooler or add a 6th Liter of water.

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I've been using camelbak bladders for years, and never had any problems or funny taste. I had an early platypus many years ago, and it developed cracks - but they've probably fixed that by now. I don't especially like the camelbak packs: I think they cost more than they're worth. You can find any number of packs with hydration sleves, and buy a camelbak bladder to put in it. I have a DaKine ski pack that I use in the winter with a camelbak fitted with a tube insulator.

 

The biggest problem I've had is mold growing in the tube. If you use it often enough, it doesn't grow, but if you use it only once a week or so, it does. It would probably be worth while to get one of those special brushes to clean the tube with. Diluted bleach will kill it off for a while, but it usually comes back.

Edited by kpgdenver
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CamelBak H.A.W.G. Mil-spec in olive drab. To the untrained eye, it looks old Army surplus so it doesn't draw nearly as much attention as desert camo or black.

 

Of course I carry the bladder, but also I carry our main gear for caching. Most of the time I carry a fully stocked ammo can in case a cache needs repaired up to and including the container is toast. That's not to mention the rest of the gear.

 

I fill the bladder with ice and then ice water before heading out. It cools my back on the trip. Never had a problem with mold or anything. Ever so often I notice the taste, but wet is wet.

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I have been using the same camelback bladder for a year now. I never noticed a funny taste, even when it was new.

Very important things to keep in mind when choosing any kind of hydration system: The average person needs to drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes, while hiking, exercising, etc. Proper hydration starts before you start your hike. Drink 17 to 20 oz of water 2 to 3 hours before, drink 7 to 10 oz of water 10 to 20 minutes before you start, and drink 7 to 10 oz of water every 10 to 20 minutes during activity if you sweat heavily, you may need to drink more.Source With this in mind, choose a system that will meet your hydration needs.

 

Remember you can mix and match systems. Most “outfitters” are making backpacks with “hydration sleeves” so you can use your own bladder. I just ordered this pack from L.L. Bean, and will just use the 100oz bladders I already have.

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Hi,

 

I use a bladder in the warm months, and nalgene bottle in the cold...the hose kept freezing when I would go out in the winter with the bladders. :mad:

 

I find I like the taste better with the nalgene bottles, but like the convenience of the bladder for drinking on the go and also for its compactability when empty.

 

They also make much better pillows than nalgene bottles do. :mad:

 

NFA

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I have an REI Alpine (3200ci) backpack with an insulated 3 liter camelback bladder. After running out of water with that and 2 32oz. nalgene bottles, I also received for my birthday a First Need water purifier and then outfitted it to attach directly to the bladder hose with a quick-disconnect for refilling on the go. The pump is in a pouch that hangs off the waist belt for easy access.

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Yup :( I use one. :mad: I have two, an older Camelbak Mule and a newer Mule. I use them caching, hiking, skiing and mountain biking. The first one the bladder had the plastic taste but that went away when I bought new bladders. I know have 4 bladders to use and keep them empty to dry on the special hangars. Have not had a problem with mold or taste. :mad:

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I have a Camelback MULE that I use for caching even when I don't need it for the water. I do fill it up with water for longer hikes, but the rest of the time I just keep it packed with a few necessities, supplies, trading items, travel bugs, etc.

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To me, the hydration bladders are more trouble than they're worth. I've ended up just throwing a bottle or 2 or 3 of water in the pack. Never a problem with taste, mold, or anything else. Doesn't take up room in my freezer or fridge, doesn't take time to get the water in, or out. Whether I decide to use my backpack or fanny pack, I can throw a bottle in and be ready to go. My bladder now sits lonely and deserted on a shelf.

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To me, the hydration bladders are more trouble than they're worth. I've ended up just throwing a bottle or 2 or 3 of water in the pack. Never a problem with taste, mold, or anything else.

 

When using bottles, I find myself putting off drinking because I don't feel like going through the effort of stopping, taking off the pack and digging through it for a bottle of water. BHS (before hydration sysems) I'd reach the end of my hike parched and this is asking for trouble on hot days.

 

Now I just fill up the Platypus the night before, toss it in the freezer and the next morning I hook it up and I'm out the door. While hiking, I always have a ready supply of ice cold water a sip away. Can't get much easier than that. Because its a Platypus, there is no off taste and I take 5 minutes to clean it every few weeks. Not a major time investment and I'm not filling up the landfill with empty Poland Spring bottles.

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Well, personally I only keep water in mine, to reduce the chance of anything going sticky - which is a good way to start.

 

I empty and rinse if after every session - and hang it up to dry using a modified coat hanger inserted in the bladder to keep it open.

 

Some people recommend then putting the dried bladder in the freezer or fridge to discourage growth of any moulds etc, but I've never tried it.

 

When it needs a wash - if for instance it's been a while since I last used it - I wash it out with hot water first, using an oversized bottle brush and then rinse. I then leave it to soak for half an hour or so in a mild 'Milton' solution - I don't know if you have 'Milton' in the states, it's a sterelising fluid made for cleaning babies bottles etc, made in the UK by Procter & Gamble. The label says it's active ingredients are: Sodium Hypochlorite 2% w/w, Sodium chloride 16.5% w/w if you want to find a analog.

 

It's good at cleaning the bladder used as per directions, but it can leave a taste in the bladder so I picked up a trick a few years ago that works wonders. Having rinsed the bag out from the Milton, I then fill it with plain water and add a cap full of minth breath-freshening mouthwash, swill it round and empty it. A final quick rinse and it's done - either hang to dry or fill and use!

 

This isn't neccessarily the best / most effecient way, but it works for me!

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Well, personally I only keep water in mine, to reduce the chance of anything going sticky - which is a good way to start.

this is a good tip -- yes, use water only. I used "fruit2O" (lightly fruit flavored water) in one bladder, one time, as I didn't have any other water in the car. anyways, that was about a month ago, and that bladder is still haunted with a slight berry taste, even though the fruit2O was only in it for 45 minutes :/

 

i've found a nalgene bottle is good for some adult beverages tho :mad: ...it doesn't hold the flavor in the plastic, and they really easily rinse clean.

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Camelbak bladders are such pieces of crap. I can't believe they market something that causes all your water to taste like plastic. I really like the design of the Camelbak packs though. So, I buy the Camelbak packs, and use a Platypus bladder in them. I currently use the Trail Blazer for all my caching needs. Works great.

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I just can't believe that it's safe to ingest plasticizers long-term, and that's what you're doing if you drink water that has a plastic taste. The plasticizers will leach out for literally years. Use what you like, but I choose not to use bladders.

 

Do you use glass?

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I can't believe the number of people complaining about plastic taste. I wonder what they are doing wrong? How can you screw up putting water in a bag? :P

 

I have no way of measuring it, but I bet the water out of an older camelbak "LEACHING' anything is less a hazzard than breathing in most urban areas. Do you wear a filter?

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I have no way of measuring it, but I bet the water out of an older camelbak "LEACHING' anything is less a hazzard than breathing in most urban areas. Do you wear a filter?

Duh...of course...

 

I actually wear 2 filters, in case one leaks.

 

I also wear a tin-foil helmet (and keep a spare in my pack) to protect me from gamma rays and aliens. :P

 

nfa

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I have the Camelbak "MULE". I love it. It is my first pac and I got it for riding my dirt bike. Nothing sucks more then being hot and dehydrated. I now take it on most of my hunts. I find that if you put 3 trays of ice cubes in it and the rest water you will have a NICE COLD drink of water when you need it. As for the taste of the water its fine. Just like any gear you need to take care of it and it will take care of you!

Edited by SGT D.
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We recently invested in two Camelbak MULEs for use while hiking around the Arizona desert in search of caches. They provide a ton of water, as well as space for REI's ultralight first aid kit, spare batteries, trail food, and some other important stuff. The other thing I like is strapping the 2-meter handheld into the mesh on the back, looping the speaker mic through the rings and down the shoulder strap opposite the tube. That leaves both my water and my HT within reach, just in case.

 

I also invested in better shoes for hiking the desert, as well as a lightweight pair of cargo shorts to haul around extra stuff. It's convenient to have a pocket to slip the GPSr into before climbing up a rock face. I also love the moisture wicking t-shirts and socks. After one recent five mile trek through the desert in 100 degree heat, my t-shirt and feet were bone dry.

 

Take care.

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I've been using Camelbacks since...well, since they appeared on the market. They're great for biking, but I've never hiked with one. If you rinse a new bladder a few times, the "taste" goes away. I only ever put water in mine after a few mold mishaps. You can recover a moldy one by filling it with a dilute bleach solution (including the hose, which after filling, you leave dangling in a cup/bowl of the solution) but it's far easier to carry the gatoraid in an easily-washable (cheaper-to-replace) water bottle. My current bladder is about 3 years old and ready to be replaced. Experience also shows that it pays to have an extra bite valve on-hand.

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I bought one about 1.5 years ago, and take it along everytime I hit the desert for some caching. It's been invaluable on while mtn biking, as I don't have to stop everytime I want a drink, and I've used every bit of the 100oz. my M.U.L.E. on several occasions. I carry trade items (when I remember to pack em), TBs, spare batteries, digicam, binocs, emergency signal mirror (aka hard drive platter), and spare pens. Come to think of it, I should really stuff a first aid kit+snake bite kit in while I'm at it.

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I have an REI Alpine (3200ci) backpack with an insulated 3 liter camelback bladder. After running out of water with that and 2 32oz. nalgene bottles, I also received for my birthday a First Need water purifier and then outfitted it to attach directly to the bladder hose with a quick-disconnect for refilling on the go. The pump is in a pouch that hangs off the waist belt for easy access.

Just noticed the incorrect size I listed for my Alpine... it is 2300ci and not 3200ci.

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Camelbaks (or any other brand you like) are great for 2 main reasons

 

1. The Hose sitting on your shoulder encourages proper hydration (easier than opening up a nalgene bottle or canteen)

 

2. You can use the bladder as a pillow at night. (just make sure the mouth piece is not under it)

 

My 2cents :(

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