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Thread: Water bladders - who uses them, and how?

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    Water bladders - who uses them, and how?

    Got a big walk coming up and in the past it's been a hassle using a water bottle. I was thinking about trying out a water bladder instead this time.

    I got a relatively cheap one from Amazon, which appears to function as expected. However...
    • The attachment holes at the top don't match up to the bits on my bag so I've had to fashion a workaround
    • The flow-rate is mediocre so it's a bit of a drag slugging away for not much of a drink
    • Most fundamentally though - it's a massive ball-ache to refill. How are you supposed to slide a full water bladder back into a full rucksack?


    I'm contemplating either reverting to using a bottle, or finding a smaller bladder that I could put in the lid pocket of my rucksack - but this carries the risk of having it leak from there, down through the entire contents of the pack!

    So I'm intrigued - does anyone have more success with these things?

  2. #2
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Tried em binned em, Faff to clean and store (freezer) and
    Cheap plastic throw away bottles the norm for me.
    Or u could try and find a bottle that fits your bladder and keep in rucksak outter side pocket if you have them.

  3. #3
    Mini Goon
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    Thanks Diddi
    Quote Originally Posted by Diddi View Post
    u could try and find a bottle that fits your bladder and keep in rucksak outter side pocket if you have them.
    Has anyone had any success putting a hole in a bottle lid, threading the bladder hose through, and then sealing the gap? - That seems like it could be a simple solution to the poblem, but I'd like to figure out a simple and robust solution to that aspect if possible.

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  5. #5
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    Used for ages, my main rucksacks have distinct compartments for them, which makes things a little bit easier.

    Rather like them as it makes it much easier to stay hydrated over long days when not stopping often (the way I normally walk!).

  6. #6
    Mini Goon
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    That looks just the ticket! Thanks a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Carpenter View Post
    Used for ages, my main rucksacks have distinct compartments for them, which makes things a little bit easier.

    Rather like them as it makes it much easier to stay hydrated over long days when not stopping often (the way I normally walk!).
    Yeah, when I tried it out, I really liked being able to drink on the go, without faffing with a bottle. I definitely felt like I was staying better hydrated. It's just the refilling.

    Since posting I had a bit more of a look around, and I'm not certain what my rucksack has is really the best design. It's basically a pouch/pocket inside the main compartment, so everything else in the main compartment pushes against the pocket, and makes it very hard to put the bladder back in after refilling. Other rucksacks seem to have a separate compartment which is not squashed by the contents of the main section.

    I think I'm going to see if I can butcher the bladder I have to fashion something like the Convertube and if that fails I'll be buying one instead.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Bladder goes upside down by the way..
    But im guessing you knew that
    Last edited by Diddi; 13-09-2017 at 02:24 PM.

  8. #8
    Mini Goon
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    I'm not keen. I don't see the need for them personally. I don't mind stopping and getting a bottle out when I need a drink. It's not like I have to drink water every 10 minutes. They never seem to taste right and are a hassle to clean properly.

    I've used them a fair bit when mountain biking but even there I've stopped now.
    Last edited by Noz; 15-09-2017 at 06:53 AM.

  9. #9
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    +1 in favour. Not had one leak/split. Never in a race but like to drink without breaking stride. Use a wide-mouthed model to fill easiest/fastest from streams - it can save pinkies from holding bottles under horribly cold water. BTW the Sawyer bladders (at least ones I had before) are made from a stiffer plastic and have a spout that makes cold-weather filling an irritation so I find more flexible ones far better. Worth having the proper cleaning kit for bladders but if you want to save a few £££ push a bit of wire through the tube, loop a small bit of cloth on the end, dip it in whatever cleaning solution/soapy water you're using and pull it back through. Rinse afterwards.

    Anyone interested in mating tube with bottles might look at aquarium tube and fittings.

  10. #10
    Übermensch
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    I made my own from a a 500ml coke bottle.

    I purchased the mouthpiece, fitted it into a length of plastic tubing and drilled a hole in the bottle top to make a tight push-in fit. Before fitting the mouth piece I drilled a hole into the cap of a plastic bottle of Flash to protect the mouth piece from dirt. Cut the tubing that fits into the bottle at an angle of 45° to prevent a seal forming between the tube and the bottom of the bottle. Also, shave the tubing a quarter of an inch of so from the mouth piece so that the cap from the Flash bottle will slide up to expose the mouth piece and then lock. This makes it much easier to suck the mouth piece.

    I have three rucksacks in regular use. Two of them have exterior elasticated bottle-holders and the bottle fits into the outside pocket of the third. You may have to fit a miniature karabiner to the shoulder strap of your rucksack(s) to clip the tubing into place.

    Total cost approximately £1.00 plus the price of the mouthpiece.

    Mine is at least ten years old and still going strong but I replace the tubing every year or so once it becomes discoloured.

    Hugh

  11. #11
    Übermensch Taz's Avatar
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    Sounds good Hugh, any pics?

    I use both as my bottles can be hard to get to when the rucksack is fully loaded. I prefer bottles as I find them easier to drink from and less faff to fill. Thankfully both my backpacking bags have exterior bladder compartments, although Ive not had any leaks, you never know and its just much easier to get to.

  12. #12
    Initiate
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    i use them - i've got a couple from Source, the manufacturer in the link up-thread. i'm very happy with them, i prefer the availability to using a normal water bottle, and i've never had a problem with leaks.

    with daysacks they go in the slide-in compartments down the back, and because daysacks never get so full as to be straining the seams, pulling it out to refill is not a problem (that said, its a two litre bottle, how often does it need to be refilled?). with my rucksacks, which are much more likely to be rammed with crap, they go on the outside - i had elasticated meshpockets sewn on, they take my water bladder and waterproofs. this place do them for £21...

    https://dixiescorner.co.uk/mesh-pouch-on-side-178-p.asp




  13. #13
    Mini Goon
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    I don't like sucking on a tube, having a tube thing waving around by my shoulder, cleaning them or squeezing them into the back pocket of my pack or carrying an extra thing in addition to a disposable plastic bottle. However, I do carry a 2l bladder for collection of dirty water to filter through the sawyer but only because it weighs the same and takes up less room than a spare 2l coke bottle. One of the top priorities on my next pack will be angled side pockets so that I can grab my water bottle on the move. It's beyond me why all pack manufacturers don't do this, in fact hardly any of them do.

    Using a bladder to collect water to filter through the sawyer can be annoying if the bladder exit pipe faces up, as it generally does, as the filter system doesn't provide the same suction pressure as a person taking a drink, so the water doesn't flow freely. I noticed that there is a new bladder coming out with an open top for filling, a simple cap at the bottom and a handle at the top that will accept a cord to suspend it which will be ideal for this purpose. The CNOC Vecto, 80g.

  14. #14
    Widdler
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    I've had two leak on me, so I keep them in dry bags now. I much prefer the convenience of drinking on the go, without stopping to get a bottle out (especially on warm days or strenuous walks), but they are a pain to keep clean between trips. I don't have a problem with the flow-rate on a Platypus.

    A bridge between a bladder and bottle in a bag is to have a bottle in easily-reachable side-mesh.

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