Why Drink Bladders?
Since Adequate hydration makes all the difference between a comfortable and uncomfortable hiking experience, hydration bladders have;
- Volume: You can carry sufficient water for your hydration requirements(per/hr) between water sources.
- Balance: A Drink Bladder empties from the bottom, so carried in the correct position centred against your back, it does not alter your pack balance as it empties.
- Ease of use: The delivery hose is right there in easy reach any time, without needing to dismount your pack each time you wish to drink. (I regularly observe dehydrated “bottle drinkers.” )
- Temperature Control: Your water stays cool, particularly when using insulation kits.
My favourite Drink Bladders are from CambelBak
My first was the “Antidote,” which has now been superseded by the much improved CamelBak Crux.
The features I like best in the Crux;
- The quick link hose connection system.(ease of refill, cleaning, accessories, replacements.)
- So far no leaks around the hose connection.
- Rotary hose taps are easy to operate in all conditions. The CamelBak Crux, has the best hose tap I have seen so far.
- The blue colour of CamelBak drink bladders seems to be the best so far at inhibiting “stuff” growing inside.
- The large top opening makes it synch to fill and clean, with the incorporated handle being very comfortable during filling.
- The Crux has a partitioned bladder, which seems to stop the water sloshing. (more noticeable with running)
- In my Day pack the hose is the right length, but thanks to the “quick link” connectors its easy to build an extension.
- A Life time warranty.
How to carry Drink Bladders;
Most modern hiking packs, are designed to accommodate a drinking bladder (in the correct position against the centre of your back) and have a hose port in the top or side of the pack. If you have and older pack, you can get one added professionally, or do it your self as I did with my old style MacPac Cascade Pack hack.
The problems I had with other brands/Models of Drink Bladder;
- Clear plastic Drink Bladders seemed very willing to growing “green aquatic life” inside.
- Unlike CamelBak quick connect bladders, you must remove the hose from its position in order fill the bladder.
- Bladder failures/ leaks, where so common with other brands that i started carrying a spare on big trips.
- The push pull taps, are harder to operate over time, / cold weather, and are impossible to clean.
- The CambelBak antidote rotary tap is pretty flimsy and prone to bending / hooking on things. The CambelBak Crux has a far more robust rotary tap.
FAQ – All Drink bladders
My Drink bladder has a nasty plastic taste, how can I clean it out?
Some of the reasons include;
- You have previously used flavour in your water.
- The bladder has been hanging around your house after a trip wet.
- You haven’t cleaned your Drink Bladder and its growing “aquatic life” in the tube.
- The bladder is made from cheaper brand plastics.
The best taste killing method I have found is;
- Fill the Drink Bladder with clean water.
- Add household bleach (at the bottle dilution) or 2 tbsp Baking soda.
- Open the tap, remove the soft bite block and let the water fill the hose and leave over night.
- Empty, rinse with clean water and hang up to air dry. (the residual bleach taste will clear after a short time- not dangerous as its used in water purification also.)
- If the taste is unchanged, consider upgrading to a better brand of Drink Bladder like CamelBak, which i have never had a taste issue with.
How should I clean my Drink Bladder after a trip?
- Empty (some people recommend soapy water – I never done this.)
- Drain all the water from the hose, remove soft bite, hang to air dry via the hose with tap open.
- If your using it regularly, then just rinse with fresh water and leave empty between uses.
Where should I carry a Drink Bladder in my pack?
Back packs are designed to carry all the heavy items Low and close to your back.(the location of all bladder sleeves in modern packs.)
There is something growing in my Drink Bladder hose, how do I clean it?
You can get neat little Drink Bladder cleaning brush set from most outdoor stores. (Generic or specifically for your bladder brand)
Use the brushes along with water bleach/ baking soda as mentioned earlier.) If are cleaning there are stains left in tube they are fine.