Hydration backpacks (Camelbak)



sideshow_bob said:
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.
--brett

Well I think you can learn to regularly take sips and consume the fluid in a bladder without counting sips or checking how full a bottle is. I suspect the problem you mentioned, of consuming too little fluids, is a fact related to the difficulty of drinking from a bottle whilst riding that is solved by the camel back. You put the amount required in the thing and drink it on the ride just as you might put the required number of bottles on the bike and drink them during the ride. Not difficult at all either way, you train yourself to regularly drink and with experience get a good feel for the correct rate.
 
I will back Bob up. I have used Camelbak's extensively for cycling, trail running, hiking, climbing, etc. I own a MULE, HAWG, Blowfish, Rogue, Syren, and Unibottle. I only use CamelBak's for cycling in certain special cases now, and I stopped using them for ultra running competition for exactly the reason Bob mentions: It is impossible to gauge how much fluid you are consuming.

A 150 ml/hour deficit does not have a huge effect during the lengths of most cycling events since those are typically less than six hours, but for ultra endurance events it is significant. Over 20 hours it is three liters or roughly six pounds. At 150 pounds that is 4% of body weight. That produces a noticable derease in power. Plus a 150 ml/hour deficit is quite small; it is easy to have a deficit of 500 ml/hour. Having a checkpoint weigh you at 8% down from your starting weight is not a good thing.

I will disagree with Bob a little on his assertion that over hydration is not typically a problem. In my experience dilutional hyponatremia is more common than dehydration, and I think Camelbak's contribute heavily to this.
 
Using water while riding is like using air while scuba diving. You never want to run low. As you run low on either, you try to consume less. That is a recipie for disaster. Air and diving is obvious. Water and riding may not be. But you will notice that as your water bottles empty, if you do not know when your next fill up is, your sips get smaller and you will go into deficit.

I use only bottles on my daily rides 45 - 90 mins. My goal is to project how much water I will need based on temp., humidity, length, and effort expected. I then want to finish with at least 50% more water than projected. For example: If I think I will need 1 bottle, I take two and plan to finish with at least half a bottle left, ( I usually end up with the full bottle).

On my weekend rides of 3 - 6 hours I do the same thing. At this point I use a 3L CB. I use the pack for all the stuff I will need on the ride (tools, spares, food, phone, etc.) I still carry bottles. Depending on the type of ride I am doing they may just be water or they may be sport drink. I only put water in my CB so clean up is easy. When I get back I evaluate how much water I have left and how much I consumed. My goal is to always have more water left at the end of a ride, at least one full bottle.

Sometimes it is necessary to plan on water stops/refills. When I do this I either plan on stoping at a govenrment facility or pay for additional water. I do not believe it is the business owners responsibility to be open for me to plan to stop and get free watter and use their restroom.

After being dehidrated twice while riding, once a long time ago when CBs did not exist and thinking two bottles would be sufficient for the ride, the other this summer when I stopped by another rider who wanted to talk and I stood in the sun for 20 minutes longer than planned, 20 min. from the end of my ride. The time this past summer, I had just passed the last water stop and did not fill up, I will not do that again. I would rather carry the extra water weight, than not have it when needed.

If I had a team car to provide me bottles when I needed them, I would not wear the CB. Since I do not, I wear it. I do not think it is that hot or uncomfrotable even full. I can tell how much water I have consumed by the weight on my back and how the bulge feels. I am generally pretty accurate until the last 500 ML. At that point I am starting to use my bottles more.

I do not care what the rule of thumb is for how much to drink per hour. 80% of the time the RoT is wrong. I drink regularly, before I think I need to. If at the end of the ride I do not need to use the rest room for hours, I did not drink enough. If I stand in the rest room for 10 minutes, I drank too much. I also weigh myself before and after rides. If I loose more than 1KG I did not drink enough. I will then note this in my log and modify my consumption on the next ride. I rarely do not drink enough.

As far as the fasion police go. I would rather them laugh at me for having the CB than run low on water but look cool while dehidrating.
 
I had a Carribee 2ltr hydration pack given to me about a month ago
and can honestly say im very impressed you can allsorts in to these
i never get hot when wearing it an to be honest after about 10k riding i dont realise it there.Who cares what the fashion police think im comfortable and sticking with it :D
 
I know what all of us camelbak users need to do. We should carry empty water bottles and when we drink we can measure the water into the bottle and then drink it. This way we won't over hydrate or under hydrate.:cool:

All joking aside I'm pretty new to cycling but I use a camelbak and it is pretty easy to gauge your consumption. However I have been using camelbaks for several years prior to cycling so keep that in mind.

Bro Deal said:
I will disagree with Bob a little on his assertion that over hydration is not typically a problem. In my experience dilutional hyponatremia is more common than dehydration, and I think Camelbak's contribute heavily to this.
I would agree with this completely. I have seen lots of backpackers drain their camelbak without realizing it until it was to late. I personally believe it is because they are so easy to use that this happens.

Finally if you are worried about what other people will think then I would be more than happy to remind you what all those people think when they drive past you pedaling along in your spandex with your freshly shaved legs.:D
 
bighead_9901 said:
All joking aside I'm pretty new to cycling but I use a camelbak and it is pretty easy to gauge your consumption. However I have been using camelbaks for several years prior to cycling so keep that in mind.

I've used a Camelbak for probably 4 years now. I've been through one Mule, now have a Cloudwalker and a Hawg. I commute (70km round trip) around 3 times a week exclusively using the Cloudwalker, and do probably one to two trail rides a month, again exclusively using the Hawg.

So it's hardly like I'm inexperienced using a hydration pack. So maybe define 'easy to gauge your consumption'? While yes you can tell the difference between a bulging 3lt bladder and a near empty bladder no problems, is anyone here seriously going to say they can tell the difference on their back by say 2.5lt and 2lt, or 1.5lt when that volume differential has been made over say an hour? Especially when you've got other gear stashed in the pack like pump, energy bars, tools etc? Please!

I'm not anti-bladders. In my first post, I pointed out a lot of reasons why they are good. Being able to guage your fluid intake with any accuracy, isn't one of them.

--brett
 
sideshow_bob said:
<snip> So maybe define 'easy to gauge your consumption'? While yes you can tell the difference between a bulging 3lt bladder and a near empty bladder no problems, is anyone here seriously going to say they can tell the difference on their back by say 2.5lt and 2lt, or 1.5lt when that volume differential has been made over say an hour? Especially when you've got other gear stashed in the pack like pump, energy bars, tools etc? Please!<Snip>
--brett
I am pretty accurate in my gauging consumption. I know about how much water I get per sip. It is comparable to the amount of fluid I get per squirt of a bottle.

I am also pretty good at telling how much water is left in the bladder until about the last 500ml. I do this by combining a combination of things, weight, how it feels on my back, how long I have been riding, how hot it is etc. Can I tell you that I have exactly 2.5 lt of water in the bladder, no. Can I tell you I have more than 2 lt left, yes.

If you drink X lt of water per hour out of a bottle, why would you not drink the same amount out of a CB? Do "only"bottlers segment the bottle in 6 segments and every 10 min. drink to the next segment? Or do they change how much they squirt as the bottle is emptied or the hour approaches?

If you hydrate properly during activity it does not matter if that water comes from a bottle, fountain, or CB. If you do not hydrate properly during activity it does not matter if that water comes from a bottle, fountain, or CB. In all of the activities I have ever done I have been instructed to drink a little bit, often. Playing basketball, I watch people not consume anything for an hour then down a 16oz sport drink, and go play for another hour. Others of us go to the drinking fountain often and get a bit of water. All of us are still consuming about 16 oz of fluid each hour. It is just that one person can tell us he drank one bottle in an hour.
 
sideshow_bob said:
I'm not anti-bladders. In my first post, I pointed out a lot of reasons why they are good. Being able to guage your fluid intake with any accuracy, isn't one of them.

--brett
Yes but you went on to give a ridiculous example of a 20 hour Ultra marathon with a 150ml deficit per hour adding up to 3 lt. My CB only holds 2 lt and in 20 hrs I'd have to fill it up multiple times and could well gauge if I was on schedule or not and make adjustments well before I got seriously into deficit. Do you have a 20 lt CB? In a more realistic secenario of a 3 to 4 hour ride I can judge my intake adequately and usually finish the fluids (water and sports drink carried in a separate bottle) just before or just after I finish the ride.
 
sideshow_bob said:
So maybe define 'easy to gauge your consumption'? While yes you can tell the difference between a bulging 3lt bladder and a near empty bladder no problems, is anyone here seriously going to say they can tell the difference on their back by say 2.5lt and 2lt, or 1.5lt when that volume differential has been made over say an hour? Especially when you've got other gear stashed in the pack like pump, energy bars, tools etc? Please!
Wow, Sideshow_Bob you sure are fired up about this. I do have to admit your right that I can't take a camelbak and strap it on my back and tell you if it has 1.5 or 2lt in it. However, if it is a camelbak that I have filled for a ride then I can pretty accurately tell you how much I have drank. I don't carry tools, a pump or other things in my camelbak because I have those in a seatbag.

I have only been riding a few months but I can tell you that I haven't underhydrated using a camelbak. I have never returned from a ride with extra water left over aside from a small reserve I always add in addition to my planned requirements. I take frequent small drinks from my camelbak throughout my ride and yes I can pretty accurately gauge that amount. The reserve I carry is an extra .75lt and at the end of my rides I usually have about .5 lt left which means over a two to three hour ride I have consumed an extra .25lt throughout the ride.

As I stated earlier I have used them for several years in situations where my life depended on my ability to find water and accurately gauge my consumption. One trick I use is to remove all the air from the bladder prior to drinking. This really helps with determining how much water you have left as you drink if you are carrying the camelbak inside another pack and is also useful if you are just wearing it. If you don't believe me just give it a try.

The biggest danger/problem I see from camelbaks is someone drinking all their water too early and not having a refill point available and finding themselves in a bad situation.

I would definately reccommend them to people but I would also reccommend that they are careful the first few times they use it. I have seen several cases of Heat Exhaustion and I also watched one person die from Heat Stroke while we were waiting for a rescue bird. (By the way all of these individuals were lost backpackers/hikers and most had camelbaks but didn't know how to ration water in an emergency situation.)
 
pedal punisher said:
I had a Carribee 2ltr hydration pack given to me about a month ago and can honestly say im very impressed you can allsorts in to these i never get hot when wearing it an to be honest after about 10k riding i dont realise it there.
Do you really need 2L of water for a 10k ride? :confused:
 
pod said:
Yes but you went on to give a ridiculous example of a 20 hour Ultra marathon with a 150ml deficit per hour adding up to 3 lt.
umm ... no mate that was another poster
 
bighead_9901 said:
However, if it is a camelbak that I have filled for a ride then I can pretty accurately tell you how much I have drank.
I actually think this would be an interesting experiment. Riders go out for an hour come back and have their pack weighed, and repeated over say 3-4 hours. It'd be very interesting to see how many riders gauge of how much they have drunk actually correlates to an actual measured number.

From my own experience in doing lots of 2-4 hour trail riding, I've seen pretty much every person in my riding group, myself included (and all pretty seasoned riders) underhydrate using a hydration pack and getting low end dehydration effects like headaches in the hours after the ride.

I got low end dehydration yesterday on a pretty brutal 3.5hr road ride using bottles, and going through 4 full 750's on the ride and a bottle of energy drink mid ride. The issue is that there is a difference between what the body actually requires especially when it's hot and what most athletes think is enough. You similarly read about professional athletes suffering from this. Greg Welch who won the Hawaii ironman went through a period of training where he ended up dehydrated enough on such a regular basis that he ended up with significant internal damage to I believe his colon. At the time of the training he felt perfectly hydrated.

--brett
 
sideshow_bob said:
I actually think this would be an interesting experiment. Riders go out for an hour come back and have their pack weighed, and repeated over say 3-4 hours. It'd be very interesting to see how many riders gauge of how much they have drunk actually correlates to an actual measured number.

From my own experience in doing lots of 2-4 hour trail riding, I've seen pretty much every person in my riding group, myself included (and all pretty seasoned riders) underhydrate using a hydration pack and getting low end dehydration effects like headaches in the hours after the ride.

I got low end dehydration yesterday on a pretty brutal 3.5hr road ride using bottles, and going through 4 full 750's on the ride and a bottle of energy drink mid ride. The issue is that there is a difference between what the body actually requires especially when it's hot and what most athletes think is enough. You similarly read about professional athletes suffering from this. Greg Welch who won the Hawaii ironman went through a period of training where he ended up dehydrated enough on such a regular basis that he ended up with significant internal damage to I believe his colon. At the time of the training he felt perfectly hydrated.

--brett
From what you posted here, it appears it does not matter if you use a hydration pack or a bottle, YOU still dehydrate your self.

When riding with my pack the only time I have dehydrated myself was the one time I stoped and talked to some one at the end of the ride. That ride was 100 miles, I used a 3Lt CB and two 1 Lt bottles. I refiled about 3 Lts along the way (combined in both a bottle and CB). As I rode past the last place for water I concidered stoping but since I only had about another 20 minutes left I decided against it. As I stood talking in the hot sun I continued to drink. I was about 5 min past the water hole and 15 min. too my vehicle where I had a lot of fluids to consume. I made the error and rode the 15 min. The last 5 with no water.

If you drank 3 lt of water out of a bottle yesterday and one energy drink and still got dehydrated, how would taking a 3 lt CB have been any different? You still could have carried the 4 750s, and at worst carried and extra 3 Lt of unnecessary water.

The issue of hydrating during activity is not HOW you consume the water it is how MUCH you consume and how. Grabbing a bottle or a hose should not make a difference.
 
sideshow_bob said:
I'm not anti-bladders. In my first post, I pointed out a lot of reasons why they are good. Being able to guage your fluid intake with any accuracy, isn't one of them.

--brett

Not being able to guage fluid intake is not the container's problem. That is an individual's problem. If you need to look at a bottle to guage your intake, maybe you ought to work a bit more on keeping track of fluid intake. Others, apparently, are able to do it much better than you.

I've got to say that "not being able to guage fluid intake" is one of the most stupid reasons for not wearing a Camelback or summat.

If you can't guage fluid intake, then don't partake in activities wherein fluid intake is a concern: after all, it's apparent that you are a threat to your own well-being.
 
People claiming they know how much fluid they are consuming per hour with a Camelbak is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. What do you do? Figure that and average gulp is 50 ml and then keep a running count for the hour? I bet you think you can feel rolling resistance too.

Camelbaks are good for a lot of things, but monitoring how much fluid you are taking in is not one of them.
 
vadiver said:
From what you posted here, it appears it does not matter if you use a hydration pack or a bottle, YOU still dehydrate your self.

like i said it was an extreme ride, in very hot conditions and i forced myself to drink a lot of fluid, and it still wasn't enough. my bad. during the ride i felt pretty okay. it was after the ride that i developed a bit of a headache.

--brett
 
alienator said:
Not being able to guage fluid intake is not the container's problem. That is an individual's problem. If you need to look at a bottle to guage your intake, maybe you ought to work a bit more on keeping track of fluid intake.

a) I've said a bottle gives a clear visual aid. Doesn't matter what you argue or claim, a hydration pack doesn't do this.

b) What others are claiming is that by feel they can accurately gauge how much they are drinking. Sure. Like I said it would be a very interesting experiment to run as actual vs rider perception.

--brett
 
Bro Deal said:
People claiming they know how much fluid they are consuming per hour with a Camelbak is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. What do you do? Figure that and average gulp is 50 ml and then keep a running count for the hour? I bet you think you can feel rolling resistance too.

Camelbaks are good for a lot of things, but monitoring how much fluid you are taking in is not one of them.

Who said you have to know exactly how much you've consumed? You don't. You can keep easy tabs on your rate though: have a watch; when 10-15 minutes go by, drink. Simple.

Believing that somehow bottles allow you to stay hydrated better than something else is, well, stupid. That's just a justification for what ever trips your fancy.

I've used Cambelbacks and bottles for rides in the desert with temps from 100 -115 degrees F. With both, I stayed hydrated (judging by total weight loss for a given ride) without problem.

Christ, the lengths people go to in order to justify not doing something is freakin' amazing. Camelback is just one of a few different systems for staying hydrated. It's no worse than anything else.
 
sideshow_bob said:
like i said it was an extreme ride, in very hot conditions and i forced myself to drink a lot of fluid, and it still wasn't enough. my bad. during the ride i felt pretty okay. it was after the ride that i developed a bit of a headache.

--brett

What you drank from has nothing to do with your hydration, unless you just did not take enough water with you. I've used, as stated above, both bottles and Camelbacks (not together) in extreme high temps without any issues. You don't have to keep track of the volume you drink. Keeping track of the rate at which you drink is all that matters. If someone isn't capable of remembering to drink every 10 or 15 minutes, then they have other issues that they should deal with.
 
sideshow_bob said:
a) I've said a bottle gives a clear visual aid. Doesn't matter what you argue or claim, a hydration pack doesn't do this.

b) What others are claiming is that by feel they can accurately gauge how much they are drinking. Sure. Like I said it would be a very interesting experiment to run as actual vs rider perception.

--brett


You need a visual aid to drink? If that's the case, then you really are a threat to yourself. A serious threat. If you can't remember that you have to drink, then you shouldn't put yourself in a position where dehydration is an issue. FWIW, there are all sorts of endeavors in which not being able to "visualize" the water is the normal state. For example, there is mountaineering. When it's cold, the water bottles are inside your jacket, where they can't be seen. Further, the high altitudes in mountaineering make dehydration more likely; yet, somehow, miraculously, climbers still remember to drink. Imagine that.

Not being able to visualize what you've had to drink is one of the most pathetic excuses I've ever heard for becoming dehydrated.
 

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