Hydration backpacks (Camelbak)



alienator said:
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.

So you miss one or two of those intervals, how much have you consumed again? You've got no idea. No one has said that bottles keep you better hydrated, simply you have a more direct guide to exactly what you have or haven't consumed. Both the people who have pointed out this limitation have also noted they use hydration packs and bottles. It's simply not a matter of 'man hydration packs suck I'm not using one of them'.

I've been at plenty of enduro mtb events to see people who *thought* they were keeping plenty hydrated (almost always with packs) curl over and crawl at about the 12 hour mark.

--brett
 
vadiver said:
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.
Which then leads to the point of how do you tell how much you are drinking with a Camelbak? For cycling I don't think it makes much of a difference. The events and training are fairly short. With a 3 liter CB you can start with 3 liters and fill up around the three hour mark. Even if you make mistakes, so what? You are back in your crib, kicked back and recovering, so it does not matter if you are over or under hydrated.

For trail running events that I do it is not so easy. You hit a checkpoint and rip your CB off. By weight and squeezing you might guess there is one liter in it, but it might be one and a half. Having all sorts of extra gear stuffed i nthe CB makes it harder because the squeeze test does not work so well. You put in maybe a liter of fluid. You don't really know how much you put in because you are filling from a spigot on a five gallon container. You don't want to fill all the way because the next checkpoint is only five miles away and you don't want to carry the extra weight. Plus with a gear stuffed in a CB they don't really hold their rated amounts because the bladder is contricted from exapanding fully. Repeat this over ten checkpoints and you have a damned hard time telling how much fluid you have taken in.

When fluid intake matters I have found it a lot easier to use bottles. When refilling at a checkpoint I can easily get a very close approximation of the fluid I think I will need to consume before the next checkpoint, whether that is both bottles full, one full and one half full, or one full and the other 3/4ths full. Then its just a matter of drinking all the fluid before the next checkpoint, even if the last of it is downed as the checkpoint becomes visible.or as I wait in line to refill. The amount of fluid I get at the checkpoint is then adjusted for how long it took me to do the last section and whether the day is hotter or cooler than what I had planned on.
 
alienator said:
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.

I've seen pro athletes dehydrate, I've seen it happen with regular feed stations, I've seen it happen with vehicular support. Greg Welch went through a period where in training he dehydrated enough to require surgery after screwing internal organs. So these people shouldn't be out there is what you are telling me from your golden pedestal?

Mountaineering is about the most disingenuous example you can give. Because climbers dehydrate all the time. In fact many of the unfortunate events that happen start with dehydration on the mountain especially expedition style climbing.

--brett
 
alienator said:
I've used Cambelbacks and bottles for rides in the desert with temps from 100 -115 degrees F.
And I have used Camelbaks for 30+ hour running events. I have also used bottles. And between the two I will take bottles every time.

Christ, the way people project their own needs onto others is amazing. Perhaps people who are different than you might have different needs. Imagine that.
 
alienator said:
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.
And being dehydrated is pretty much the normal situation. You either cannot carry enough water or don't want to because of the weight. In some cases you stop to melt snow but that is a pain in the ass, so the you deal with being in a dehydrated state and recuperate at night. For short, fast and light stuff you just drive your body into the red zone and recover when the climb is done.
 
Bro Deal said:
For trail running events that I do it is not so easy. You hit a checkpoint and rip your CB off. By weight and squeezing you might guess there is one liter in it, but it might be one and a half. Having all sorts of extra gear stuffed i nthe CB makes it harder because the squeeze test does not work so well. You put in maybe a liter of fluid.
Firstly, the bladder in my CB is see through with 0.5lt graduations so it is really easy to see how much I've consummed and only takes a couple of seconds to unzip and look. Just as easy as looking at the bottle really unless the bottle is not see through which is the case with many. This seems like a very weak argument to me for using bottles over a CB.
Secondly, dont stuff extra gear in where it affects the bladder, my CB has a seperate compartment for extra gear.
Thirdly this is a cycling forum and the OP asked about bottles or CB for cycling.
With MTB riding, the rough trails can cause bottles for fall out of bottle holders and you are often going where drinking water is not available so you have to carry far more than will fit in the couple of bottles that will fit on the bike (my MTB only has 1 holder) so using a CB is definately preferable.
Road riding is more likely to have opportunities to refill and for rides up to about 3 hours I usually just use the 2 bottle holders on my road bike. For the occasional longer ride of 4-6 hours I may use the CB as well if not sure of refill spots but often these are organised events such as an MS ride and there are organised refill spots along the way so I usually stick with the bottles and not bother with the extra weight of the CB.
 
pod said:
Firstly, the bladder in my CB is see through with 0.5lt graduations so it is really easy to see how much I've consummed and only takes a couple of seconds to unzip and look. Just as easy as looking at the bottle really unless the bottle is not see through which is the case with many. This seems like a very weak argument to me for using bottles over a CB.

Just so I've got this right. It's 'just as easy' to stop, open your pack, and either look or semi remove the bladder and look at the volume as it is to simply pull your bottle while riding and gauge either visually or by feel how much you've got? Okay, sure.

As I've said time and time again hydration packs are good for lots of stuff, especially off road. In fact I use them exclusively off road (apart from the large volume) for the simple fact that at speed you spend more time with your hands on the bars using a pack then lifting bottles.

--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.
I do not figure how much I am consuming per hour while I am riding. What I do do however is.

Before I start my ride, I check the weather.
Estimate the length of time I will be gone given the length of time to ride.
Based on the weather and length of time, I calculate the estimated amount of fluid and type of fluid/food I will need. I over supply on each in the event that the ride is longer/harder than expected. I also check to see where water can be found if needed.

By keeping a log of all of my rides I have this down relatively well. Therefore, using this magical hour figure. I know about how much fluid I plan to take in, I visualize my back and where the bladder is in relation to the start and how it has been at the end of rides when, yes I do check how much water I consumed, and how the pack feels on my shoulders. Calculating all of this, I figure I am either cosuming more or less then expected. It is really not that hard. At the end of the ride I log the conditions and consumption. I weigh myself before and after to monitor weight loss. If I loose much more that 1kg I am not happy. With the excetpion of the one time I deliberatly passed my last water stop, I have not been even mildly dehydrated after a ride by doing this. Granted I have brought home a lot of fluids that was wasted weight, but I felt good in the evening.

I drink before I think I need to. If I ever feel that I waited too long, I kick myself and start paying more attention.

I set a timmer for marks and to remind me to eat. I have planned what I will eat and when. And take extra food just incase.
 
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
I understood what you said.

My point was, you consumed 3L of fluid plus you energy drink. On a 3.5 hour ride I would have had a 3L CB, plus two 1L bottles and know where a water stop was.

I would monitor my consumption and act acordinly.

If it was that extreme in very hot conditions I would not have set out planning on only consuming 3L plus an energy drink. That sounds more like PPPPPPP to me.
 
One reason you may not see many camel backs is due to the rather extreme price of them (at least around here).
Personnaly i have never used a genuine camel back but i have rode with a couple of similiar type packs with some gear stowed and i just find it unfortable with the weight on my back plus my back gets very sweaty. Bearing in mind that i seem to generally get hotter than most cyclists and it can get very hot around here getting sweaty may not be so important to others.
I find nothing wrong with 2 750 ml bidons but for a very long ride you will need a refill. Multiple bidons allows you to have water or gatorade or whatever.

Cheers

cw2864 said:
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-
 
Bro Deal said:
Which then leads to the point of how do you tell how much you are drinking with a Camelbak? For cycling I don't think it makes much of a difference. The events and training are fairly short. With a 3 liter CB you can start with 3 liters and fill up around the three hour mark. Even if you make mistakes, so what? You are back in your crib, kicked back and recovering, so it does not matter if you are over or under hydrated.

For trail running events that I do it is not so easy. You hit a checkpoint and rip your CB off. By weight and squeezing you might guess there is one liter in it, but it might be one and a half. Having all sorts of extra gear stuffed i nthe CB makes it harder because the squeeze test does not work so well. You put in maybe a liter of fluid. You don't really know how much you put in because you are filling from a spigot on a five gallon container. You don't want to fill all the way because the next checkpoint is only five miles away and you don't want to carry the extra weight. Plus with a gear stuffed in a CB they don't really hold their rated amounts because the bladder is contricted from exapanding fully. Repeat this over ten checkpoints and you have a damned hard time telling how much fluid you have taken in.

When fluid intake matters I have found it a lot easier to use bottles. When refilling at a checkpoint I can easily get a very close approximation of the fluid I think I will need to consume before the next checkpoint, whether that is both bottles full, one full and one half full, or one full and the other 3/4ths full. Then its just a matter of drinking all the fluid before the next checkpoint, even if the last of it is downed as the checkpoint becomes visible.or as I wait in line to refill. The amount of fluid I get at the checkpoint is then adjusted for how long it took me to do the last section and whether the day is hotter or cooler than what I had planned on.
Why do you care what volume of water you drink? You should drink before you think you need to. If that ends up being .75L/Hr. or 1.5L/Hr. who cares. If you set out thinking you need 1.0L/Hr. you are either carring too much weight or do not have enough water. Regardless it does not matter.

To calculate time to fill would be easy to do. If you have a 5G bucket and a spigot, you can figure out how much time it takes to fill your bottle. If your priority is time, calculate on a full bucket. If your priority is fluid, calculate on 750ML in the bucket. It will be the same amout every time redarless what you are filling.

What you are doing is forsaking water weight for safety. Given the event this is probably fine. For me, I always want to have plenty to drink. When competing I take this into account. I will always get rid of my least full bottle at a hand off station if one exists. To me, the extra weight 1L of water weighs is insignificant. Particularly if it means I can finish strong with out worring I am dehydrated.
 
sideshow_bob said:
Just so I've got this right. It's 'just as easy' to stop, open your pack, and either look or semi remove the bladder and look at the volume as it is to simply pull your bottle while riding and gauge either visually or by feel how much you've got? Okay, sure.

Don't just read selective bits, Bro is running, he's stopped to fill up, you have to open the pack to do that and at the same time it is very easy to flip the nearly empty bladder out and see how much is left. It sure is just as easy as pulling the bottles out of their holders (remember he's running not on a bike) to fill them up and have a look.

I think even Bro agrees that on a single bladder load of 2-3 lt consumed on a 2-3 hour ride you're not going to get seriously in trouble one way or the other. He's arguing that on a much longer event with multiple fill ups the error will cumulate as he says you can't tell how much is left/how much you drunk. I'm explaining how you can easily tell.

If the arguments were about which is more comfortable to carry or quick to fill then they would make some sense but the argument about not knowing how much you have drunk is nonsence.

Apologies for getting you and Bro mixed up earlier and misquoting you.
 
pod said:
Firstly, the bladder in my CB is see through with 0.5lt graduations so it is really easy to see how much I've consummed and only takes a couple of seconds to unzip and look.
Mine don't have this. My older ones have the bladder either zipped or velcroed into a compartment. There are no markings on the bladder. My newer ones have a wide mouthed opening with a handle, which makes them easier to fill than the older types, and the handle and mouth assembly is fixed into a hole with a strap. The upside is that the bladder is provided with more stability within the pack; the downside is that it is a pain to completely remove the bladder. In fact the bladder is so securely anchored to the pack, I don't think that it is meant to be removed except for cleaning or storage pre-event in a refrigerator. It is certainly not something I want to mess around with during an event.

I listed above which Camelbak models I own, but the last one I bought about two years ago. Maybe they have changed.
 
jerrek said:
One reason you may not see many camel backs is due to the rather extreme price of them (at least around here).
Personnaly i have never used a genuine camel back...
In my experience Camelbaks (the genuine ones) are the best hydration packs made. The bite valves are better than anyone else's and they have put a lot of thought into the features. The company does a good job of continuous improvement and every year's models seem to be better in some way over the previous years ones. Mitigating the price is that they last forever. Some of mine have hundreds upon hudreds of hours of use over a period of years.

I don't know about down under but in the U.S. you can typically pick up Camelbaks from places like Sierra Trading Post in the Fall for very deep discounts.
 
pod said:
I think even Bro agrees that on a single bladder load of 2-3 lt consumed on a 2-3 hour ride you're not going to get seriously in trouble one way or the other.
I said exactly that. Dave Scott once said that racing changes after eight hours. I think he is right. I find that I don't start paying for my mistakes until somewhere between 8 and 12 hours. At anything below five or six hours you can make mistakes but they don't accumulate enough to have a severe effect unless you are susceptible to problems. For example some people I know seem to have cramping in as little as four hours. I don't; in fact the only times I have cramping problems on a bike it is related to muscular endurance issues when going way beyond the distances I have been training at. I think a lot of this is diet related. The people who cramp a lot can usually solve the problem by taking a few Endurolyte capsules before they start cramping. I don't use electrolyte pills or capsules unless I am going beyond eight hours. It is just a matter of each person knowing what their body needs; you gain that knowledge by experience or experimentation.

pod said:
He's arguing that on a much longer event with multiple fill ups the error will cumulate as he says you can't tell how much is left/how much you drunk. I'm explaining how you can easily tell.
That is what I am arguing, but I don't find your method of tracking fluid usage very convincing. I have used Camelbaks a lot for ultra events but finally decided that they don't work for me as well as bottles. People have different ways of racing. Some people go strictly on feel. I preplan everything and modify the plan according to circumstance. This is complicated by the fact that my hydration plans are partly integrated with my caloric replacement and electrolyte supplementation plans. The times I have gotten into the most trouble were the times I winged things. I was a cyclist before I was an ultra runner and I thought I knew what bonking was all about; I found out I did not know jack **** about true suffering during competition.

This is not to say I don't like Camelbaks. I own half a dozen of them. They have their uses. For carrying a lot of water there is not a better solution. For solo long distance cycling, using a 3 liter Camelbak filled with water combined with two 0.75 bottles containing extra concentrated energy drink is a nice combination. I have also never been hot with them. I just get a little constriction and pressure under the shoulder straps, but you quickly get used to that.

I think you should use the right tool for the job. In the past I have used CB for road cycling, especially where I used to live. But now I find I don't usually need a Camelbak on the road except in special circumstances. I also have not been able to get them to work as well for me as bottles for ultra running.
 
pod said:
I think even Bro agrees that on a single bladder load of 2-3 lt consumed on a 2-3 hour ride you're not going to get seriously in trouble one way or the other. He's arguing that on a much longer event with multiple fill ups the error will cumulate as he says you can't tell how much is left/how much you drunk. I'm explaining how you can easily tell.
And I agree as well. On a short ride say 3-4 hours, if you miscalculate a little, you go home, put your feet up on the couch, hydrate and maybe pop some mild pain relief. It's not the end of the world. However it doesn't change the fact, and the only point I originally made if you go back to my first post. I simply said one downside of a hydration pack is you don't have a simple visual mechanism to see how much you have or haven't consumed. I'll help you here is the post:

http://www.cyclingforums.com/showpost.php?p=3123664&postcount=16

Now if you want to argue the sky isn't blue and that you know exactly how much fluid you are taking from a hydration pack, presumably by feel then go right ahead.

The other perspecitve is non-recreational riding which isn't the question the original poster asked. I recall published studies vary a bit but a median figure is lose a pound of body weight (in fluid loss) and performance decreases by 5%. Racing anything past say an hour and a half and 500mL deficit is a real possibility. In fact it's about the magnitude of the original example I used of shorting fluid by around 250ml an hour. Not really very much is it?

--brett
 
sideshow_bob said:
So you miss one or two of those intervals, how much have you consumed again? You've got no idea. No one has said that bottles keep you better hydrated, simply you have a more direct guide to exactly what you have or haven't consumed. Both the people who have pointed out this limitation have also noted they use hydration packs and bottles. It's simply not a matter of 'man hydration packs suck I'm not using one of them'.

I've been at plenty of enduro mtb events to see people who *thought* they were keeping plenty hydrated (almost always with packs) curl over and crawl at about the 12 hour mark.

--brett

Good for. I'm sure everyone is proud of you. Would you like an "Atta Boy" for going to 12 hour events?

Your statements do in fact imply that if someone used bottles, they'd be less likely to dehydrate. The fact of the matter is that people who use their brains don't run into the problem. I guess we know where you fit in.

And as far as missing one or two drinks at the 10 or 15 minute intervals....well, bub, if you can't count to 2, you shouldn't even be riding a bicycle. How lame can you get?

Do you also need a readout on your handlebars to tell you what gear you're in? At home, do you have a monitor somewhere that flashes "Eat" when it's time to eat? What else do you need easy rationalizations for?
 
alienator said:
Your statements do in fact imply that if someone used bottles, they'd be less likely to dehydrate. The fact of the matter is that people who use their brains don't run into the problem. I guess we know where you fit in.

And as far as missing one or two drinks at the 10 or 15 minute intervals....well, bub, if you can't count to 2, you shouldn't even be riding a bicycle. How lame can you get?

stick to numbers alienator clearly you're having mucho difficulty grasping simple literacy and comprehension. my posts imply nothing of the sort, you're simply deluded. i've stated in very clear terms on a number of occassions that using a hydration pack you have no simple visual guide in determining how much or little fluid you've taken. it's basically a yes or no answer. now you want to come up with a genius rebuttal to that statement (and stick only to that statement) then go right ahead. maybe post some of your equations.

it's still less lame than the ******** attitude you bring to ever thread you decide to grace with your presence.

--brett
 
sideshow_bob said:
I've seen pro athletes dehydrate, I've seen it happen with regular feed stations, I've seen it happen with vehicular support. Greg Welch went through a period where in training he dehydrated enough to require surgery after screwing internal organs. So these people shouldn't be out there is what you are telling me from your golden pedestal?
<snip>
--brett
If you are going to use Well the Pros ..... argument. We should all be using banned substances, after all many pro cyclists have admitted to using bannend substances. How many more do, and have not admitted it?

Should they be out there or not, in thinking more about this, I would say yes, they should not be out there for their own good.

If they cannot pay enough attention to preserve thier body/life should they be out there at all? Many athletes/people have died due to heat stroke, some of them even pro. We like to blame everyone but the person who suffered from coaches to parents. The fact is, any adult should know when to drink. If they want to weigh "making the team", "winning the race" over their life/health, good for them. IMHO, they are making the wrong choice.
 
sideshow_bob said:
And I agree as well. On a short ride say 3-4 hours, if you miscalculate a little, you go home, put your feet up on the couch, hydrate and maybe pop some mild pain relief. It's not the end of the world. However it doesn't change the fact, and the only point I originally made if you go back to my first post. I simply said one downside of a hydration pack is you don't have a simple visual mechanism to see how much you have or haven't consumed. I'll help you here is the post:

http://www.cyclingforums.com/showpost.php?p=3123664&postcount=16

Now if you want to argue the sky isn't blue and that you know exactly how much fluid you are taking from a hydration pack, presumably by feel then go right ahead.

The other perspecitve is non-recreational riding which isn't the question the original poster asked. I recall published studies vary a bit but a median figure is lose a pound of body weight (in fluid loss) and performance decreases by 5%. Racing anything past say an hour and a half and 500mL deficit is a real possibility. In fact it's about the magnitude of the original example I used of shorting fluid by around 250ml an hour. Not really very much is it?

--brett
I do not know why you seem to be stuck on my ability to know how much fluid I have left. I have never thought about it in tearms of how much I have consumed although I guess it could be used that way.

Answer this for me: Why the volume of fluid consumed during an "event" matters?

A aid to tell how much fluid remains is much more important than how much has been consumed. (again, if you start with 5 LT and have 2LT left I guess you can back figure and say you consumed 3LT). This can be done by weight as well as visual. There are many containers that are opaque. If I use one on a regular basis I can tell how much is in them. This can be a can of soda, paint, ice melt, etc.

The other question that I have for you since you think it is important to know the volume of fluid you have consumed at a particular point in time is: How do you know the amount of fluid you have lost to that point?

In the ideal world, we would replace exactly the amount of fluid we lost at the time we lost it. That way we would never be over or under hydrated. However we are not living with that luxury. So when I ride on a 90F with 80rh I drink less fluid than I do on a 100F 80rh day.

Unless you know how much you have lost, who cares how much you have replaced?

Back to your example of deficit drinking. Why woulld you be at a deficit of 250ml/hr by drinking out of a pack vs. a bottle? When you are competing do you see your bottle and think, I need a drink, what triger do you use to drink?
 

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