Homer's Travels: A Question For The Hikers: Hydration

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Question For The Hikers: Hydration

Okay people, I have another question.  How do you carry your water?  I know it's a simple question and I can guess what at least one of you will answer, but I'm having an issue and I hope you can offer a solution.

  1. Bottles.  Two one liter bottles would fit in the bottle holders on my backpack nicely.  Bottles have the advantage that you know how much water you have left.  Bottles are a little heavier than bladder-type reservoir (Miss McCracken ... behave yourself) but the difference is minimal (5 ounces or less).
  2. Water Bladder Reservoir.  My backpack has a pocket for holding a water reservoir along with an exit port for the drinking tube.  The reservoir is lighter but there is no easy way to check to see how much water you have left.  You can buy inline water meters but I'm not sure how well they work and that seems a little geeky.
My personal preference so far has been the water reservoir.  I've used it for the last three hikes.  I am having a problem though.  When I get back from my hikes, on the inside of my backpack near the bottom, there is moisture.  For now I'm only carrying weights so there isn't a problem but If I were carrying clothes, they would be soaked.  Yes, it's that wet.

At first I thought I had a leaky bladder that the reservoir was leaking.  After the first hike I filled the reservoir and left it on the kitchen counter over night.  It did not leak but the bottom of my pack was wet after the second hike.  Next I filled the reservoir and left it hanging in the vertical position similar to when it is in the backpack.  Again, no leak.

I am now convinced that my issue is condensation even though the water is at ambient temperature and it hasn't really been humid on my hikes so far this year.  There was no evidence of condensation when the reservoirs were on the counter or hanging.  Not sure what I should do.  Maybe a pack liner?  A plastic bag around the reservoir?  Would either of these things help?

So, what do you think?  Bottles or reservoir?  What should I do about the the moisture in the pack?  I'm stumped.


  1. By water reservoir, you mean this : http://www.camelbak.com/. I'm used to carrying 2 bottles of water though.

  2. I prefer the bladder (yeah, I said it), mainly because I like to carry a lot of water with me. Currently I use the 3 Liter Camelback. I also like the fact that it centers the weight on your back and doesn't shift around ask I hike.

    If I know I'm going to out for a while, I'll supplement that with nalgene bottles, which I'll often put Gatorade into.

    As far as your leakage, I'd suggest putting a gallon ziplock around the bottom. If I've got books or anything like that with me on a hike, I put those in a drybag, just in case I've got a nalgene with a loose top...

  3. Godefroy: Yep, bladder, reservoir, camelbak. Thanks for the input.

    GH: What a coincidence. Today I put the bladder in a plastic bag (a large one I bought in case I needed to cross a creek with my camera). The result ... a dry backpack. A dry bag would be useful to carry as well. Something to add to my packing list.