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#188573 - 11/18/09 08:03 PM Advice on hydration equipment options
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Help me out here everyone. I am a little stupified by the options available for hydration. I used to think all I needed was a good canteen. Now it seems there are more, possibly better, options out there. Hydration packs. Nalgene bottles. To add to the confusion I read that boy scouts recommends a nalgene bottle because of the wide mouth and compatibility with commercial water filter systems. Since my son is also in the boy scouts I want something he can use later on (he is only a wolf now). So my question is:

What do you use/recommend and why? Thanks in advance for your help. smile
Uh ... does anyone have a match?

#188578 - 11/18/09 08:44 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: Mark_F]
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
I use both. It's a technique I learned while preparing for backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch in NM.

I have several platypus hydration bags and Nalgene bottles. When backpacking I have a 3 liter hydration bag that opens on top for filling (newer models have carrying handles that I recommend). Camelback has an extra wide mouth for ease of filling. I also carry two 2 liter platypus bags in case I need to carry extra water for dry campsites. Most of the time they are empty. Empty they take up little room and weight. I would consider replacing them with a 2 liter bag with carrying handle.

Then I have a standard Nalgene bottle that I reserve for crew cooking water. It stashes in a side mesh pocket. The nalgene is good for hooking directly to many filtering systems. It's also good for cooking as it has markings on the side for measuring amounts, useful for preparing dehydrated food.

In the other side pocket I have a large Gatorade bottle. It's cheap and disposable. I use this and only this bottle for smellable liquids, such as powdered Gatordae. It's easy then to make sure it goes up in the bear bag. I also wrap several turns of duct tape on this bottle. It's an easy holding device for the tape that's always in reach in an emergency and it also goes up in the bear bag as Philmont considers it a smeallable item.

For weekend trips and summer camp I have a 1 liter platypus that I stick in my day pack. Every scout at summer camp should bring a day pack with a water contained and small first aid kit. They'll also use it for their merit badge materials and swim gear if they need to change without returning to the campsite.

One of the complaints with hydration packs and Scouts is that it's difficult to monitor their intake to make sure they're not dehydrated. High adventure aged boys can be taught to make sure they stay hydrated. PLus everyone in the crew should be on rthe look out for signs of dehydration.

For younger scouts, especially at summer camp, we automatically assume they'll be dehydrated. Most boys are not used to being out all day in the summer in the woods. They don't stop to think about drinking water. So we constantly remind them, especially at lunch and dinner meals.

I would suggest a Nalgene for your son and perhaps a hydration system for you to start off with. Then as your son learns more and does more in Scouting, get him his own hydration system. It can be used as a subtle reward for his participation and growth as a Scout.

The more camp outs you go on, the more gear you tend to collect as the campout become more serious affairs and not just car camping outings where Scouts lug the bedroom pillows into their tents. Our ouys that are 14/15 and older tend to view using minimalist backpacking gear as a badge of maturity demonstrating their level of experience.

BTW, our troop issues new scouts a Nalgene bottle with the troop insignia on it prior to their first campout.
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

#188580 - 11/18/09 08:52 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: billvann]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 863
Loc: Colorado
Water bladders are convenient but not very rugged.

Friend of mine had his water bladder burst while climbing Grand Teton. He had a serious thirst when he got down to liquid water.

Nalgenes are hard to kill.

#188586 - 11/18/09 10:15 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: unimogbert]
jasond Offline

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 52
Loc: North Carolina
I really like SIGG water bottles, you can't cook in them but the ysure are durable and come in many different sizes and colors.

#188589 - 11/18/09 10:59 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: jasond]
ZechariahStover Offline

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 21
Loc: Connecticut
I've used a USGI canteen for years just because it was given me. It is very rugged and extremely thick and heavy. The one thing that I really like about it is that I have the SS cup/pot that fits on the bottom of it and that I can cook in.

For a lighter weight system I plan to go with a Nalgene and one of the SS cups that fits on the bottom of one like this:
The cup will be smaller but I am ok with that because of the drastic decrease in overall weight.
I will probably also get a hydration bag to carry extra water on longer hikes. The main benefit that I see with them is that they are so compact when empty.

#188591 - 11/18/09 11:14 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: Mark_F]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

My current hydration system consists the following.

Water Bottle - Tantonka Stainless Steel Water bottle - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tatonka-Stainless-Steel-Bottle-1000/dp/B000G4XI3G

Drinking tube - Smartube - http://www.bluedesert.co.il/smart_tube.html

Water Bottle insulation - Sigg Neoprene water bottle cover - http://www.amazon.com/Sigg-Neoprene-Water-Bottle-1-0-Liters/dp/B000RI6BTO/ref=pd_sim_sg_1_img

Water purification system - Steripen Classic - http://www.steripen.com/steripen_products.html#classic

This setup may require a pre filter depending on the type of country you are in. i.e. some ceramic or glass fibre filter with activated carbon or even just a millbank bag although the water I will usually come across is generally clear from fresh running mountain streams. Generally this setup gives me good flexibility and is quite lightweight and fast to ensure that the water is ok to drink.

#188592 - 11/18/09 11:46 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
I like Nalgene .. it's light, tough, and the water still tastes good after it's been in the bottle a long time.

Most water bags have a tendency to break - unless you can stow them somewhere that protects them from impact.

Metal water bottles migh be OK - but they're too heavy for me if I'm carrying a backpack.

In an pinch - always remember that your basic large-size plastic soda bottle will hold a LOT of water. The plastic they use to make those bottles is incredibly tough and tear-resistant. Of course, if possible wash it out first - so you can remove the after-taste of the soda. And I don't like the narrow neck of those soda bottles. But Hey, let's not be picky if we're talkin' a real emergency here ... then those bottles are tough, hold a lot of water, and get the job done.


#188595 - 11/18/09 11:58 PM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: southern Cal
I find hydration systems rather fiddley and intricate. It is way to easy for them to leak, drip, and otherwise fail. I have lots of Nalgenes, platypus containers (platypi?), and recycled gatorade/soda bottles. I prefer the wider mouths of the Gatorade varieties. I really like the way a platypus will flatten out when empty and save space.

The most important characteristic of any "hydration system" is capacity - make sure you can carry enough water for conditions. I routinely ran through more than a gallon a day in desert conditions and still produced rather dark urine. Cooler, more humid situations decrease the need for water considerably.

I much prefer boiling as a water purification technique - positive and simple. I occasionally use a Katadyn Hiker filter and it is usually worthwhile to carry Aquapure tablets as a backup.

Some of your foods are canteens in disguise. I believe an apple is something like 85% water.

Finally, don't obsess over impure water. I have partaken of some pretty nasty sources - most memorably, drinking from a high mountain pothole and spying coyote poop in the water two feet away. There were no after effects. Nothing in the water is going to do as much harm as dehydration. If you can get back to town, the blessings of medical science can cure your malady, but you must win your way to civilization first.
Geezer in Chief

#188597 - 11/19/09 12:00 AM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: Pete]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
I can't stand the water bags. Too hard to monitor intake, freeze up on you in cold weather, prone to breaking, can't be screwed into a filter.

Not super big fan of Nalgene either, to be honest. Usually though, I have 2 in my pack. Yup, they work with many filters, but you can always just hold the filter and squirt the water in.

I also have a USGI on my pack's hip band. This way I can monitor how much I'm drinking, it's right at hand, I like the size/shape, and I can refill from the Nalgenes. Admittedly, a bit difficult cuz of the small mouth.

But the 2+1 bottle combo has worked for 20 years for me. The camelback bags sit in the bottom of my closet... though I like some of their bags (not their prices though)

#188603 - 11/19/09 01:15 AM Re: Advice on hydration equipment options [Re: Mark_F]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Maybe be ready to be flexible on this - I've noticed that Scouts will all adopt the hydration bladder if they have one, and sip from the tube all day on the trail. And why not - a hydrated Scout is a happy Scout.

For the Nalgene bottles, there's also a 1 liter soft-sided variant put out by Nalgene and by Platypus that I mostly like - except they tend to slide out of the pack pockets unless you strap them down. Also in this line are larger 3-4 liter soft-sided nalgenes that are great to have when you get to a campsite and want to filter a bunch of water. With the soft-sided bottles you get best of both worlds, clear sided container that weigh less empty. I don't put much stock in the water filter compatibility - not very hard to get water in a nalgene bottle, or soft-sided bottle, or a hydration bladder.

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