Hydration backpacks (Camelbak)

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by cw2864, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. cw2864

    cw2864 New Member

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    I am gearing up to do reasonable distance riding (120-175km) and was considering using a Camelbak or equivalent- any comments on the use of these for cycling? I've heard that cyclists tend to stay hydrated better when using these, but I don't see many road bikers using them-
     
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  2. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Lack of acceptance by road users is probably more image related. At the same time, there's less necessity for a camelback given the available and secure bottle holder locations. Further, it's uncomfortable and hot to carry something on the body as well as raising the cg.
     
  3. sideshow_bob

    sideshow_bob New Member

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    it's partially an image thing. functionally they are really good, i use them offroad and commuting (without fail). when you are offroad and in the middle of nowhere it's not like you can pull off at the nearest service station and refill water bottles, so the 2-3lt capacity is very useful. you also tend to carry more tools/spares and it's a useful storage place for them.

    are they very hot to wear? not noticably for me anyway. one the road however i tend to carry bottles in fear of the fashion police ;-p actually if i ride with 750's i can usually do about 3 hours (~100k) before i need to fillup. by that time a step off the bike and a stretch is welcome.

    finally if it's really hot, i tend to like squirting water into the top of my helmet, or squirting sweat out of the inside of my glasses. of course with a hydration pack you lose this little creature comfort.

    --brett
     
  4. Phill P

    Phill P New Member

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    I've used a camelback for a couple fo years now, really handy. No having to reach down awkwardly for a bottle, can carry a lot of water. The ability to carry 3ltrs is the only thing that is going to keep you better hydrated on long rides or hot days.
    Other good thing is I can put all my tubes, tools, wallet, phone, food, and jacket in the bag.
    I don't find it gets hot. They are padded nicely to let sweat drain and a bit of air flow, and keeps the sun off your back. As far as the cd....its on your back as the air seperates and goes turbulant, not increasing frontal area. I saw Lance use one under his skin suit in a Tour TT, just had a short bit of tube sticking out. He could drink while still having both arms on the bars, and no lump of bottle on the down tube.
    Pros use bottles because they are easy to swap during a race. They carry a small bottle of water and small bottle of sports drink to save weight, chuck it when finished, and the team car gives them another one. Can't do that with a camel back so easily (not as disposable and you'd have to hand out entire packs)

    On the mountain bike front, I had a friend do a bad fall and he landed square on his back and burst the camel back bladder and cracked one vertibrae. Would hate to think what might have happened if he landed straight on his back!
     
  5. aviper4u

    aviper4u New Member

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    as said above they cause a little extra heat and really only good for long distance, so may or may not work well for you.

    personally dont like them but i know alot motorcyclists that use them.
     
  6. Tapeworm

    Tapeworm New Member

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    When training for long distance triathlons I used a camelbak and found them to be good in the fact that 1) you don't have to leave the aero position to drink and 2) you can carry up to 3 litres in the camelbak, plus bidons (hey it's HOT down here).

    One downside is refilling which can be slow, not that I was able to do this on my ride. No water available. At least none that I would trust to be clean!

    I know some consider it to cause drag but, as one poster mentioned, you can wear it under the jersey. Unsure if this make a difference or not but I have seen some of the pro's use this method.

    Oh and if you have never used one before the cleaning is really, really important after use especially if you have used Gatorade and the like. Once I forgot to do this and after two weeks it was, well, kinda furry in there... hmmmmm, mould!

    Of course now I am a dedicated roadie I would never been seen dead using, ugh, a camelbak. Would make me look all...lumpy... or like a commuter. Ewww.
     
  7. cw2864

    cw2864 New Member

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    Thanks all- I'll give this a bit of thought. I read that for longer distance you should try and drink a bottle about every 30 minutes (I'm riding in hot and humid Singapore) and I usually carry 3 bottles (2 hanging behind the seatpost) which probably results in as much aerodynamic inefficiency as a Camelbak anyway. But the fashion police...this might put my BMC to shame!
     
  8. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Changi to Tuas should take you an hour and a half, a stop over and bottle refill and you'll be able to ride back... ;)

    I don't see the rationale for carrying 3kg of water at the start of a ride unless no refills are possible along the way. And for somewhere humid like Singapore, I can't imagine more gears on the body can be comfortable.
     
  9. Phill P

    Phill P New Member

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    Put ice in your camel back.....will help keep you cool. Big heat sink.

    I can't imagine riding any where far in Singapore, do laps of the island perhapes? :p Not to mention traffic, I can't imagine finding a nice quiet road. I feel swimming in a pool would be a good sport in Singapore!!! (I'm from very dry Christchurch New Zealand).

    I'd rather carry 3kg of water at the start of a ride than run out. When you weight 98kg plus the bike, 3kg of water isn't a big deal!
     
  10. cw2864

    cw2864 New Member

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    I usually do from the west (Holland) to the East (Changi) and back again and beyong towards Tuas and back again...or West (Holland) to East (Changi) to North (Mandai) and back again. So the kms do rack up- there are places to stop and get water along the way, but not usually at convenient intervals- so along came the thought for a hydration pack.
     
  11. pod

    pod New Member

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    The camel back is a no brainer on a hot long ride. Mine is fairly well insulated and I fill it with ice then the water and the water stays nice and cold for a good 4 hours (by which time it has run out anyway). The water in my bottle is warm after about half an hour and in a hot climate cool water is very pleasant.
     
  12. dekindy

    dekindy New Member

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    I find myself drinking much more frequently and keep myself better hydrated witht the camelbak. The hose makes it much easier to drink a larger volume of water than out of a bottle. At least that is my experience. I find also that if I am trying to keep up in a training ride I am not skilled enough to get the bottle out and maintain speed. The Camelbak makes it easy.

    I have not tried putting ice in mine yet but plan to next summer.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Do the integration: there is so little impact on CG, that you'd need electronic instrumentation to detect changes in bike performance.

    It is not necessarily uncomfortable to wear a Camelback, especially some of the newer designs. When it's really hot here--like 100-115 degrees F--a Camelback is not uncomfortable on long rides.

    It is true that a lot of riders will look down on you for wearing a Camelback. I see a lot of riders with Camelbacks here in Tucson. I don't wear one anymore, but have worn them in the past.
     
  14. Slugster438

    Slugster438 New Member

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    Drinking bladders do work better overall, you take more smaller drinks much more frequently. Your mouth never really gets dry, and overall it does work better. I was a long-time holdout, but am firmly converted.

    I ride a recumbent bike however and the bladders go into the seat-back bag. I don't know anything about the backpacks, as I don't own any.

    As to what road-bike riders will use, well, , , -lets not get into all that. ;)
    ~
     
  15. MrSnarkyPants

    MrSnarkyPants New Member

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    Maybe it's just because I'm a newbie, but I could care less about how people think I look. I do care about being comfortable, and that includes being hydrated. I carry a Camelbak and a bottle, using the bottle as a backup if the Camelbak runs out.
     
  16. sideshow_bob

    sideshow_bob New Member

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    The frequent (convenient) sipping is great. However the downside is you really have no idea how much fluid you are taking with a bladder. With bottles it's easy to say "I'm going to drink a 750ml bottle an hour" and you've got a visual guide to doing that. With a camelbak, you can drink frequently and you may well be keeping yourself hydrated, but the reality is most people drink less than is required and you've got no guide as to how much or how little you are actually drinking.

    --brett
     
  17. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Surly that can be learnt and adjusted. As long as you don't overhydrate yourself, isn't it ok? A sip of a mouth full of water can be pretty consistent in volume. Any variations in quantity taken can be easily adjusted by body's homeostatic mechanisms. I really can't see the difference from a physiological point of view of drinking 750ml vs 900ml an hour. You may end up with a bit more in your bladder with that 900ml load and that's about it. Or are you concerned about the 150g weight difference to your cycling performance?
     
  18. thomas_cho

    thomas_cho New Member

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    I simply cannot understand why one would get looked down upon when using a Camelbak.

    What is the rationale behind this?

    I use a Camelbak ocassionally, and they are quite comfortable to use. Only thing is to have to remember to drain and rinse it out. So in the light of that I just find bottles more convinient to use, although I did recently nurture a mould culture in one.
     
  19. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    I suspect that many people suffer from the need to conform. But that's a separate discussion delving into human psychology and pig headedness. ;)
     
  20. sideshow_bob

    sideshow_bob New Member

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    huh? how are you going to learn (presumably by feel, as there is *no visual aid*) how much you are drinking per hour from a bladder? my point is most people don't have a problem with over hydration, they drink less than required by the body. and yes a 'sip' might be a constant volume but then you need to count your sips, or time them at X minute intervals which is simply impractical at best. so the problem isn't 750ml vs 900ml in an hour, it's 750ml vs <500ml.

    for me personally by sipping (bottle or bladder) i probably average about 500ml an hour typically regardless of the temperature, unless it's above about 35C when my intake naturally goes way up. so yes at the end of an hour i'm typically saying 'whoops haven't drunk enough finish the bottle', especially when i'm road racing. there is simply no way to do this with a bladder.

    am i worried about the weight? you're kidding right? you should tag along with mike next time we do the RNP and see just how much i could care about the weight i'm carrying.

    --brett
     
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