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Carrying Water - Water System Options (video)

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Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
For me a combination of a pouch on my shoulder straps for a bottle and some water in the side pockets of the pack (depending on how much i have to carry) works well. If my bottle in the front empties, i can switch or refill it. I tried a similar thing to your clips, but found the pouch more comfortable (and weight is more or less the same).
While i use bladders for day hikes at home, for a camino keeping it "sanitary" seems to much hassle for me. And the weight to volume ratio on those 0.75l "single use" bottles is just superb (i use them for a couple of days).
Have to say, i am blessed that i don't have to carry that much water. Drink a lot before leaving albergue, like 0.5 to 0.75l. Than for the first 10k its another 0.5 or even less. For the next 10k another 0.5 to 1.0. So even if for some reason there is no water to be had for 20k, i can start with just about 1.5l and likely have to spare.
Only section i carried 3l was the Via Trajana in the Meseta, and i have to say, i was glad i had it.

(i do quite long day hikes at home. 35-50k. Usually there is no way to easily get water. So i try to adapt to having to use less, cause carrying 5l with me would not be that nice)

And i have to say, very nice video again Rob!

edit: picture

1614292287829.png
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
While i use bladders for day hikes at home, for a camino keeping it "sanitary" seems to much hassle for me.
So long as you are replenishing the water in the bladder daily with fresh water there's really nothing else you need to do to keep it sanitary. I don't normally clean mine while I'm on the Camino, and I haven't had any problems. Perhaps @davebugg will be along to explain why cleaning isn't necessary until you are ready to store it.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Great video - your production standard continues to get better and better.

I’m an ‘autumn through to spring’ walker in Spain, so hydration is perhaps less of an issue for me. That said:

I set out fully hydrated - and I do mean, fully. I’ll drink at least a litre of water between waking up and setting out.

I keep a 500ml bottle in each side pocket of my sack. I don’t find it difficult to swing my pack off while walking, but also I can wait a while before having a drink. I don’t feel a need to ‘sip’ constantly.

I carry a litre in reserve in my sack - right at the top under the lid.

I use ‘single use’ plastic bottles and re-use them for 20+ days.

I’ve got a couple of bladders and tubes, but don’t get on with them. I think keeping them clean for a fortnight or more is a challenge, also I agree that the lack of visibility of supply is an issue, also the risk of damage and loss of the contents of the single container.

I’d give it considerably more thought if I walked in summer.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
So long as you are replenishing the water in the bladder daily with fresh water there's really nothing else you need to do to keep it sanitary. I don't normally clean mine while I'm on the Camino, and I haven't had any problems. Perhaps @davebugg will be along to explain why cleaning isn't necessary until you are ready to store it.
My bladder and tube go in the freezer for a couple of days every few weeks. I only use them for day walks and long (very slow) runs. Never for Camino or multi-day walks.
 
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So long as you are replenishing the water in the bladder daily with fresh water there's really nothing else you need to do to keep it sanitary. I don't normally clean mine while I'm on the Camino, and I haven't had any problems. Perhaps @davebugg will be along to explain why cleaning isn't necessary until you are ready to store it.

I have found with a bladder I sometimes get a black mold inside the tube, but that would be the same for my bottle system too. I'm working on a way of being able to clean them every couple of weeks. For anyone who is into shooting, rather like a 'pull through'...
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I have found with a bladder I sometimes get a black mold inside the tube, but that would be the same for my bottle system too. I'm working on a way of being able to clean them every couple of weeks. For anyone who is into shooting, rather like a 'pull through'.
Have a look at a ‘boresnake’ - you can get them down to 0.177”. Maybe a 0.22” would be suitable for a water tube?

I’d get my micrometer out and check, but it’s in one of my outbuildings, I’m in bed and it’s cold and raining.
 
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Have a look at a ‘boresnake’ - you can get them down to 0.177”. Maybe a 0.22” would be suitable for a water tube?

I’d get my micrometer out and check, but it’s in one of my outbuildings, I’m in bed and it’s cold and raining.
Will check it out.
I carry 2 spare shoe laces (doubles as small washing line), so was thinking I could use those somehow.
But a bit like pushing a piece of spaghetti through a garden hose!

Also thought of a length of wire coat hanger.

a WIP..........
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I also use water bottles. And like @henrythedog I too fully hydrate before leaving in the morning....at least a liter of water, plus tea or coffee and perhaps juice. I usually have to make a bathroom stop within an hour...and when we leave early that means I am mooning 🙂 for a minute in the dark! The amount of 1/2liter bottles I carry depends upon the stage and water availability, but I always arrive anywhere with a half liter of water in reserve. I carry water in the side pockets of the backpack, sometimes, jacket or pantspockets. It depends as well on the time of year and what I am wearing. In the past, I would buy bottled water and change the bottles every few days.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I use water bottles also. And like @henrythedog I too fully hydrate before leaving in the morning....at least a liter of water, plus tea or coffee and perhaps juice. I usually have to make a bathroom stop within an hour...and when we leave early that means I am mooning 🙂 for a minute in the dark! The amount of 1/2liter of bottles I carry depends upon the stage and water availability, but I always arrive anywhere with a half liter of water in reserve. I carry water in the side pockets of the backpack, sometimes, jacket or pantspockets. It depends as well on the time of year and what I am wearing. In the past, I would buy bottled water and change the bottles every few days.

Yes, having a good drink before leaving is important I think. Forgot that in the video!
 
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gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CFx2, CPx1
Great video Robo.
First thing every morning I drink at least 1/2 litre at the sink b4 ablutions. First thing every day.
I use 750ml bottle in pouch on my right strap, no tubes. I top it up whenever possible.
Brolly on left strap (decreases water usage), second bottle in pack side pocket.
Bottles get a good shaking rinse at least every day.
Regards
Gerard
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Rob, I know you understand that my post below is not a critique about what you or anyone else prefers as a water carrying system or what handles best or what feels more 'natural' in usage. I want folks to use what makes sense to them, and seems the best choice. Those factors for choosing are all subjective issues which no one can dispute.

I simply will not tell someone that bottles are bad, reservoirs are the best. I am limited to telling people WHY I might prefer one over the other, and they can legitimately do likewise.

This post is written to dispel myths which are commonly used to try and claim that reservoirs are either less sanitary to use, or are less easy to use than bottles. This is quite different than how someone 'perceives' usability as was mentioned above regarding the subjective value to the individual.

I'm NOT writing this post to suggest that I and others who prefer reservoirs are making the best and most superior choice; I am posting this to preempt those who misstate facts - or who have insufficient facts -to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

1. Sanitation. With water carry, bottles have no advantage. Reservoirs stay just as sanitary. They do not require cleaning every day, nor do they need to be dried.

As with plumbing, it is the change of water and water flow through frequent use which keeps bottles, reservoirs, and tubing fresh and sanitary. With normal use, both bladders and bottles are constantly refilled and emptied That keeps them sanitary UNLESS contaminated water is introduced, or other fluids with sugars (juices, energy drinks, soda pop, etc) are put into a bottle or a reservoir.

While working for the local public health district, I did a review of the literature, which I again did in 2016. Comparisons of bacterial contamination levels between bottles and hydration bladders were indistinguishable -- both had equally low rates of bacterial contamination. And both were at about equal risk for developing significant levels of bacteria and mold if not cleaned and dried properly prior to storage. In the last few years, the hydration reservoirs have become more modular in nature and have wider openings to access the water compartments, making it much easier to clean and prepare for storage than previous generations of the product.

One example study, from 2009:
https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(09)70419-3/fulltext

When it is time to store bottles or bladders away for the season, they can be sanitized if desired with a bit of bleach added to the final rinse water during cleaning. It is not necessary, but there is no harm in doing so. Then they can be rinsed out and be allowed to dry.

Molds and other nasty things occur if either container is stored with water over a period of time, or have contained other fluids which might have sugars and then are not properly washed out prior to long term storage. Mold may also form in the shorter term when fluids with sugars are exposed to warmth and sun.

Also, not all discolorations are harmful molds. Most times, it may be an algae growth from leaving stagnant water exposed to light.

2. Ease of Use. I find it personally easier to raise the mouth tube on my shoulder strap to drink from. I do not like to reach around to a side pocket, or even need to take off my pack to do so. I definitely do NOT like stuff hanging on my shoulder straps like bottles of water.

Again, this is personal preference, not an issue of something being 'better'. Access water bottles is not an issue of usability for bottle users.

3. Weight. Here is where two major claims are made, one is correct and the other is not.

A typical empty 2 liter reservoir weighs around 4 to 6 ounces. The equivalent in bottles around 1.5 to 3 ounces. Depending on bottle material used, though, bottles can weigh up to 8 ounces.

So while it is correct that bottles can weigh less, it is not a significant issue of consideration with overall backpack weight.

The other issue is reservoir water capacity and total weight.

You do not have to fill a reservoir to the tippy top. I will carry as much water as I need to carry from water source to water source. If the next water source is 32 kilometers distant under a hot sun, I will carry up to 4 liters. If the next water source is a few kilometers distant in cool weather, I might carry a half liter.

4. Refills. This is actually a subheading under 'ease of use', but it is frequently pointed to as why bottles are better than reservoirs.

I can refill my reservoir without even removing my backpack. One does not need to pull a reservoir out of the pack. It is a matter of using a quick disconnect system which is a simple and cheap add on accessory.

For those interested in adding a Quick Connect adapter to your hydration reservoir/bladder, I've added a link below. With the quick disconnect added, I don't even need to remove my backpack or daypack to do a quick and easy refill of the bladder.

NOTE: The video shows the quick disconnect being used with a water filter as used when wilderness backpacking. However, on camino I leave off the filter altogether. The refill cap is simply attached to my collapsible water bottle, after it is filled with water from a fountain or faucet.

For refill bottles.... I use an extremely lightweight collapsible bottle that can hold up to 1.5 liters. Empty, it rolls down to a small bundle that are easily stashed in an outside pocket.

Many times, I will carry 1/2 liter in the collapsible bottle as a quick backup as the weather or the distance between water refills dictates. So, if I decide to, say, carry 1 liters of water between water resupply points, I will fill the reservoir with 1/2 liter, and then carry 1/2 liter in the bottle, keeping the bottle partially collapsed and tucked into a side pocket.

By doing the above I do not need to see the water bladder itself in order to be assured of adequate water or to avoid accidentally running out of water.

The collapsible bottle I use is just one container option. The refill adapter with the Quick Connect kit can also fit on a variety of empty bottled water containers.

So those are the major issues that always seem to come up. There are other myths, but those are the major ones.

 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I have found with a bladder I sometimes get a black mold inside the tube, but that would be the same for my bottle system too. I'm working on a way of being able to clean them every couple of weeks. For anyone who is into shooting, rather like a 'pull through'...
There are specific brushes made for the drinking tubes by all the water reservoir manufacturers. There are also brushes that are used for aquarium tubing. This is the one I have on hand.

1614300254457.png

That black stuff may be algae, rather than mold. I have found that keeping the reservoir and water tube out of sunlight as they are drying has prevented this from occurring. If you do find it, a flush of the tube with a solution of 1:5 bleach-water solution using a syringe will do well just prior to storage.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
There are specific brushes made for the drinking tubes by all the water reservoir manufacturers. There are also brushes that are used for aquarium tubing. This is the one I have on hand.

View attachment 94362

That black stuff may be algae, rather than mold. I have found that keeping the reservoir and water tube out of sunlight as they are drying has prevented this from occurring. If you do find it, a flush of the tube with a solution of 1:5 bleach-water solution using a syringe will do well just prior to storage.

Thanks @davebugg . I have one of those brushes, though I was a bit reluctant to add extra weight to the pack for 'on camino' use. Hence trying to rig something using shoe laces or similar.

But it really hasn't been much of a problem. The denture tablets soaking method helps, every couple of weeks.


.
 
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(May 2015)
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(May 2016)
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Rob, I know you understand that my post below is not a critique about what you or anyone else prefers as a water carrying system or what handles best or what feels more 'natural' in usage. I want folks to use what makes sense to them, and seems the best choice. Those factors for choosing are all subjective issues which no one can dispute.

I simply will not tell someone that bottles are bad, reservoirs are the best. I am limited to telling people WHY I might prefer one over the other, and they can legitimately do likewise.

This post is written to dispel myths which are commonly used to try and claim that reservoirs are either less sanitary to use, or are less easy to use than bottles. This is quite different than how someone 'perceives' usability as was mentioned above regarding the subjective value to the individual.

I'm NOT writing this post to suggest that I and others who prefer reservoirs are making the best and most superior choice; I am posting this to preempt those who misstate facts - or who have insufficient facts -to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

1. Sanitation. With water carry, bottles have no advantage. Reservoirs stay just as sanitary. They do not require cleaning every day, nor do they need to be dried.

As with plumbing, it is the change of water and water flow through frequent use which keeps bottles, reservoirs, and tubing fresh and sanitary. With normal use, both bladders and bottles are constantly refilled and emptied That keeps them sanitary UNLESS contaminated water is introduced, or other fluids with sugars (juices, energy drinks, soda pop, etc) are put into a bottle or a reservoir.

While working for the local public health district, I did a review of the literature, which I again did in 2016. Comparisons of bacterial contamination levels between bottles and hydration bladders were indistinguishable -- both had equally low rates of bacterial contamination. And both were at about equal risk for developing significant levels of bacteria and mold if not cleaned and dried properly prior to storage. In the last few years, the hydration reservoirs have become more modular in nature and have wider openings to access the water compartments, making it much easier to clean and prepare for storage than previous generations of the product.

One example study, from 2009:
https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(09)70419-3/fulltext

When it is time to store bottles or bladders away for the season, they can be sanitized if desired with a bit of bleach added to the final rinse water during cleaning. It is not necessary, but there is no harm in doing so. Then they can be rinsed out and be allowed to dry.

Molds and other nasty things occur if either container is stored with water over a period of time, or have contained other fluids which might have sugars and then are not properly washed out prior to long term storage. Mold may also form in the shorter term when fluids with sugars are exposed to warmth and sun.

Also, not all discolorations are harmful molds. Most times, it may be an algae growth from leaving stagnant water exposed to light.

2. Ease of Use. I find it personally easier to raise the mouth tube on my shoulder strap to drink from. I do not like to reach around to a side pocket, or even need to take off my pack to do so. I definitely do NOT like stuff hanging on my shoulder straps like bottles of water.

Again, this is personal preference, not an issue of something being 'better'. Access water bottles is not an issue of usability for bottle users.

3. Weight. Here is where two major claims are made, one is correct and the other is not.

A typical empty 2 liter reservoir weighs around 4 to 6 ounces. The equivalent in bottles around 1.5 to 3 ounces. Depending on bottle material used, though, bottles can weigh up to 8 ounces.

So while it is correct that bottles can weigh less, it is not a significant issue of consideration with overall backpack weight.

The other issue is reservoir water capacity and total weight.

You do not have to fill a reservoir to the tippy top. I will carry as much water as I need to carry from water source to water source. If the next water source is 32 kilometers distant under a hot sun, I will carry up to 4 liters. If the next water source is a few kilometers distant in cool weather, I might carry a half liter.

4. Refills. This is actually a subheading under 'ease of use', but it is frequently pointed to as why bottles are better than reservoirs.

I can refill my reservoir without even removing my backpack. One does not need to pull a reservoir out of the pack. It is a matter of using a quick disconnect system which is a simple and cheap add on accessory.

For those interested in adding a Quick Connect adapter to your hydration reservoir/bladder, I've added a link below. With the quick disconnect added, I don't even need to remove my backpack or daypack to do a quick and easy refill of the bladder.

NOTE: The video shows the quick disconnect being used with a water filter as used when wilderness backpacking. However, on camino I leave off the filter altogether. The refill cap is simply attached to my collapsible water bottle, after it is filled with water from a fountain or faucet.

For refill bottles.... I use an extremely lightweight collapsible bottle that can hold up to 1.5 liters. Empty, it rolls down to a small bundle that are easily stashed in an outside pocket.

Many times, I will carry 1/2 liter in the collapsible bottle as a quick backup as the weather or the distance between water refills dictates. So, if I decide to, say, carry 1 liters of water between water resupply points, I will fill the reservoir with 1/2 liter, and then carry 1/2 liter in the bottle, keeping the bottle partially collapsed and tucked into a side pocket.

By doing the above I do not need to see the water bladder itself in order to be assured of adequate water or to avoid accidentally running out of water.

The collapsible bottle I use is just one container option. The refill adapter with the Quick Connect kit can also fit on a variety of empty bottled water containers.

So those are the major issues that always seem to come up. There are other myths, but those are the major ones.


All good advice @davebugg .
And like footwear, packs and poles..........

There are a heap of options out there!
Go with what works for you best. ;)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
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(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I absolutely must have a my Platypus and tube when I walk. My history of dehydration has taught me if I cannot quickly grab that tube and slurp up the water, it just won't happen until too late....

I'd agree 100%. Regardless if it's a bladder, bottle system or 'water trailer'.........
Being able to just sip as you walk is great.
It makes me keep up my hydration better, and make me more aware of my consumption.
(If I can see the levels somehow)
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Thanks @davebugg . I have one of those brushes, though I was a bit reluctant to add extra weight to the pack for 'on camino' use. Hence trying to rig something using shoe laces or similar.

But it really hasn't been much of a problem. The denture tablets soaking method helps, every couple of weeks.


.
😊 I mentioned it more as an “at home” accessory. I never find the need to use it while backpacking or pilgrimage.

With a shoelace, perhaps tie a knot in the lace before dragging thru the tube?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
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(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I'm NOT writing this post to suggest that I and others who prefer reservoirs are making the best and most superior choice; I am posting this to preempt those who misstate facts - or who have insufficient facts -to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

Hopefully I did not misstate any facts ;)
Totally with you re choices.
Here are three I have tried.
There are likely more.
This works best for 'me'.............and why

Healthy debate,

I think bladders are great.
I just don't have the right mindset, discipline or whatever, to monitor the contents.
Maybe I use them incorrectly?

I just prefer to 'see' my water levels.
(a bottle in a side pouch would do the same thing I guess)

I'll put it down to my ADD :eek:

Happy to delete the thread if you believe the video is misleading or has incorrectly stated things as facts.

Certainly have no axe to grind on any water carrying method.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
No, no, no!!!! Do not delete a thing; your video is terrific, nor did you mistate anything. :) In fact, if I ever decide to go back to using water bottles, your video has given me some tips that I would use.

I had thought that rather than a separate thread, that my post might be a complimentary expansion on the topic as a whole. My thought was that my doing a separate thread could be wrongly interpreted as being a counter-argument against water bottles.

I wanted my post to be viewed as something specifically directed toward those who think "I love the idea of using a bladder, but they are_____________". The fill-in-the-blank being something that isn't necessarily true or can be easily dealt with. It wasn't intended to sway those who like using bottles, or to argue against using bottles. It was to help those who already like the idea of using a reservoir.

Rob, the video was a great depiction of the various choices. PLUS, it capably outlined how you evolved your system for water carrying to what you use today. There are a ton of folks who share your preference for bottles, and the video will add insights to how functional your system is for bottle users.

The need to monitor water levels is important. I agree with you that a reservoir in the backpack makes it difficult to do. In fact, being able to monitor water levels not only keeps you from accidentally running out of water, but it also made me carry more water than I needed to carry "Just In Case", which means carrying much more weight than needed.

That is why IF someone uses a reservoir, using the collapsible, reservoir refill bottle to carry a set amount of water, will eliminate suddenly running out of water. If I decide to carry 2 liters of water, I will put .5 to 1 liter of that amount into the refill bottle that sits in a side pocket.

Like you, someone who uses bottles gets a direct look at that amount of water left.

Rob, this is your thread. If it seems to you that my post contrarian and interferes with the instructional value of your video, I am more than happy to remove it, and save it for posting at some other time.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
On my first Camino, I bought a nice new bottle with me, dropped it on the ground on the second day. It split and broke, and I reverted to plan B. Buy a bottle at a bar, and hang on to it.
So now I buy a one time use bottle upon arriving in Spain, and use it for a month. They are surprisingly hardy, super light and clear.
 
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CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
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(May 2016)
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VdlP (2022?)
No, no, no!!!! Do not delete a thing; your video is terrific, nor did you mistate anything. :) In fact, if I ever decide to go back to using water bottles, your video has given me some tips that I would use.

I had thought that rather than a separate thread, that my post might be a complimentary expansion on the topic as a whole. My thought was that my doing a separate thread could be wrongly interpreted as being a counter-argument against water bottles.

I wanted my post to be viewed as something specifically directed toward those who think "I love the idea of using a bladder, but they are_____________". The fill-in-the-blank being something that isn't necessarily true or can be easily dealt with. It wasn't intended to sway those who like using bottles, or to argue against using bottles. It was to help those who already like the idea of using a reservoir.

Rob, the video was a great depiction of the various choices. PLUS, it capably outlined how you evolved your system for water carrying to what you use today. There are a ton of folks who share your preference for bottles, and the video will add insights to how functional your system is for bottle users.

The need to monitor water levels is important. I agree with you that a reservoir in the backpack makes it difficult to do. In fact, being able to monitor water levels not only keeps you from accidentally running out of water, but it also made me carry more water than I needed to carry "Just In Case", which means carrying much more weight than needed.

That is why IF someone uses a reservoir, using the collapsible, reservoir refill bottle to carry a set amount of water, will eliminate suddenly running out of water. If I decide to carry 2 liters of water, I will put .5 to 1 liter of that amount into the refill bottle that sits in a side pocket.

Like you, someone who uses bottles gets a direct look at that amount of water left.

Rob, this is your thread. If it seems to you that my post contrarian and interferes with the instructional value of your video, I am more than happy to remove it, and save it for posting at some other time.

All good @davebugg :)
Just wanted to make sure I was not giving bad or biased advice ;)

I was quite intentionally inviting debate on the topic.......
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
edit: rereading words, they seem a bit to harsh to me. That is not my intention. I'll write something up again when i have had another coffee or two.
 
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OZAJ

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
Ease of access seems to be a big issue for lots of people. I have no problem with taking off my pack and pulling out a coolish bottle.

I have used a bladder once. Unfortunately the lid cracked.

I generally take four 500ml bottles stored in my pack. The water remains surprisingly cool for quite a while, even on the VdlP. I have only run out of water once, and that was walking from Canterbury to Dover!!
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
edit: rereading words, they seem a bit to harsh to me. That is not my intention. I'll write something up again when i have had another coffee or two.

I do appreciate your concern, but I did not consider what was said as being particularly harsh; you spoke plainly, and I can appreciate that. I have a feeling that if we meet in person, we would get along quite well. :)
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
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Ease of access seems to be a big issue for lots of people. I have no problem with taking off my pack and pulling out a coolish bottle.

I have used a bladder once. Unfortunately the lid cracked.

I generally take four 500ml bottles stored in my pack. The water remains surprisingly cool for quite a while, even on the VdlP. I have only run out of water once, and that was walking from Canterbury to Dover!!

Often the simplest approach is the best :)

Have you seen Chris's video that I linked to above?
Really good.
30 km section on 40 degrees C.
He describes wonderfully how he dreads the sun climbing higher mid morning and draining his energy..........

He carried a lot of water, quite understandably.
(just in bottles as you do)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Rob, I know you understand that my post below is not a critique about what you or anyone else prefers as a water carrying system or what handles best or what feels more 'natural' in usage. I want folks to use what makes sense to them, and seems the best choice. Those factors for choosing are all subjective issues which no one can dispute.

I simply will not tell someone that bottles are bad, reservoirs are the best. I am limited to telling people WHY I might prefer one over the other, and they can legitimately do likewise.

This post is written to dispel myths which are commonly used to try and claim that reservoirs are either less sanitary to use, or are less easy to use than bottles. This is quite different than how someone 'perceives' usability as was mentioned above regarding the subjective value to the individual.

I'm NOT writing this post to suggest that I and others who prefer reservoirs are making the best and most superior choice; I am posting this to preempt those who misstate facts - or who have insufficient facts -to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

1. Sanitation. With water carry, bottles have no advantage. Reservoirs stay just as sanitary. They do not require cleaning every day, nor do they need to be dried.

As with plumbing, it is the change of water and water flow through frequent use which keeps bottles, reservoirs, and tubing fresh and sanitary. With normal use, both bladders and bottles are constantly refilled and emptied That keeps them sanitary UNLESS contaminated water is introduced, or other fluids with sugars (juices, energy drinks, soda pop, etc) are put into a bottle or a reservoir.

While working for the local public health district, I did a review of the literature, which I again did in 2016. Comparisons of bacterial contamination levels between bottles and hydration bladders were indistinguishable -- both had equally low rates of bacterial contamination. And both were at about equal risk for developing significant levels of bacteria and mold if not cleaned and dried properly prior to storage. In the last few years, the hydration reservoirs have become more modular in nature and have wider openings to access the water compartments, making it much easier to clean and prepare for storage than previous generations of the product.

One example study, from 2009:
https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(09)70419-3/fulltext

When it is time to store bottles or bladders away for the season, they can be sanitized if desired with a bit of bleach added to the final rinse water during cleaning. It is not necessary, but there is no harm in doing so. Then they can be rinsed out and be allowed to dry.

Molds and other nasty things occur if either container is stored with water over a period of time, or have contained other fluids which might have sugars and then are not properly washed out prior to long term storage. Mold may also form in the shorter term when fluids with sugars are exposed to warmth and sun.

Also, not all discolorations are harmful molds. Most times, it may be an algae growth from leaving stagnant water exposed to light.

2. Ease of Use. I find it personally easier to raise the mouth tube on my shoulder strap to drink from. I do not like to reach around to a side pocket, or even need to take off my pack to do so. I definitely do NOT like stuff hanging on my shoulder straps like bottles of water.

Again, this is personal preference, not an issue of something being 'better'. Access water bottles is not an issue of usability for bottle users.

3. Weight. Here is where two major claims are made, one is correct and the other is not.

A typical empty 2 liter reservoir weighs around 4 to 6 ounces. The equivalent in bottles around 1.5 to 3 ounces. Depending on bottle material used, though, bottles can weigh up to 8 ounces.

So while it is correct that bottles can weigh less, it is not a significant issue of consideration with overall backpack weight.

The other issue is reservoir water capacity and total weight.

You do not have to fill a reservoir to the tippy top. I will carry as much water as I need to carry from water source to water source. If the next water source is 32 kilometers distant under a hot sun, I will carry up to 4 liters. If the next water source is a few kilometers distant in cool weather, I might carry a half liter.

4. Refills. This is actually a subheading under 'ease of use', but it is frequently pointed to as why bottles are better than reservoirs.

I can refill my reservoir without even removing my backpack. One does not need to pull a reservoir out of the pack. It is a matter of using a quick disconnect system which is a simple and cheap add on accessory.

For those interested in adding a Quick Connect adapter to your hydration reservoir/bladder, I've added a link below. With the quick disconnect added, I don't even need to remove my backpack or daypack to do a quick and easy refill of the bladder.

NOTE: The video shows the quick disconnect being used with a water filter as used when wilderness backpacking. However, on camino I leave off the filter altogether. The refill cap is simply attached to my collapsible water bottle, after it is filled with water from a fountain or faucet.

For refill bottles.... I use an extremely lightweight collapsible bottle that can hold up to 1.5 liters. Empty, it rolls down to a small bundle that are easily stashed in an outside pocket.

Many times, I will carry 1/2 liter in the collapsible bottle as a quick backup as the weather or the distance between water refills dictates. So, if I decide to, say, carry 1 liters of water between water resupply points, I will fill the reservoir with 1/2 liter, and then carry 1/2 liter in the bottle, keeping the bottle partially collapsed and tucked into a side pocket.

By doing the above I do not need to see the water bladder itself in order to be assured of adequate water or to avoid accidentally running out of water.

The collapsible bottle I use is just one container option. The refill adapter with the Quick Connect kit can also fit on a variety of empty bottled water containers.

So those are the major issues that always seem to come up. There are other myths, but those are the major ones.


Very Informative posts David. Years ago, before bottled water was popular in lite plastic containers, I carried sturdy Nalgene water bottles. Now, on caminos, I just buy half liter bottles. I use them for a few days, rinsing them in between then rotating new ones into the mix.
However, I am not sure whether the EU ban on single use plastic will impact this system...maybe they will recycle? ..or I will carry the Nagalene bottles.
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
As a side question, what about those of use that require electrolyte topping off. If found that if I don't also drink electrolyte replacement fluids during long and/or very hot walks, I get leg cramps that definitely take the joy out of the night. Is there a two bladder solution? or it would seem the best approach would be to use the bladder for water and then a small bottle for the electrolytes.
 
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RRat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
I'm sure this will create a lot of debate :)
What 'system' do you prefer? Do you have others to share?

I purchased bottle of water at the beginning. Refilled at every opportunity. Drank the water when I was thirsty. Heard about how desolate the Meseta was so purchased a second bottle. Easy.
 
Last edited:

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I'm sure this will create a lot of debate :)
What 'system' do you prefer? Do you have others to share?

Had a problem with the tube attached to bottles. The adapter that was supposed to fit a Zig aluminium bottle was not even close to the correct thread and the manufacturer was less than helpful when I contacted them, in fact, quite rude and dislikeable. Prefer my hiking bottle from Lidl. Built in carabiner and pop up drinking spout at the press of a button. Carry spare plastic bottle in pack side pockets. I will refill that maybe 4 times and then look for a recycling bin to get rid and buy new bottle. I did have a holster for carrying any old shape of bottle that I could sling round my neck but unfortunately the left it on a table in a café in Portomarin.
 

Jacki

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2017)
Awesome advice here and really enjoyed your video Robo - subscribed to your channel for further tips for when I can finally set out on my journey 🙏🏻

Wondering where your links are for the hipster clips and the clip on accessory tube? Love that idea as I can never reach my bottles on the side pouches of my back pack either without dislocating my shoulder lol.
 
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Awesome advice here and really enjoyed your video Robo - subscribed to your channel for further tips for when I can finally set out on my journey 🙏🏻

Wondering where your links are for the hipster clips and the clip on accessory tube? Love that idea as I can never reach my bottles on the side pouches of my back pack either without dislocating my shoulder lol.

I added some links below the video in the description box, but here they are.

Here are some handy links. (no commercial interest)
Hipsta Clips. https://www.hipsta.com.au/
Drinking Tube: https://amzn.to/2ZIkNgP
Though I prefer this style of bite valve. Bite Valve: https://amzn.to/3smlgBy
 

Meg Worland

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
Finisterre 2016
Camino Frances (Apr-May 2019)
For me a combination of a pouch on my shoulder straps for a bottle and some water in the side pockets of the pack (depending on how much i have to carry) works well. If my bottle in the front empties, i can switch or refill it. I tried a similar thing to your clips, but found the pouch more comfortable (and weight is more or less the same).
While i use bladders for day hikes at home, for a camino keeping it "sanitary" seems to much hassle for me. And the weight to volume ratio on those 0.75l "single use" bottles is just superb (i use them for a couple of days).
Have to say, i am blessed that i don't have to carry that much water. Drink a lot before leaving albergue, like 0.5 to 0.75l. Than for the first 10k its another 0.5 or even less. For the next 10k another 0.5 to 1.0. So even if for some reason there is no water to be had for 20k, i can start with just about 1.5l and likely have to spare.
Only section i carried 3l was the Via Trajana in the Meseta, and i have to say, i was glad i had it.

(i do quite long day hikes at home. 35-50k. Usually there is no way to easily get water. So i try to adapt to having to use less, cause carrying 5l with me would not be that nice)

And i have to say, very nice video again Rob!

edit: picture

View attachment 94356
Love the idea of a shoulder strap pouch keeping the bottle within easy reach. Could you tell me the brand name or did it come as an added extra for your particular brand of backpack?

I met a man at the beginning of my 2014 Camino who had a single-use 1 litre bottle wrapped in silver duct tape for insulation. He said it also gave extra strength to the bottle walls. Would like to have met him at the end of the journey to see whether this met his expectations.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Love the idea of a shoulder strap pouch keeping the bottle within easy reach. Could you tell me the brand name or did it come as an added extra for your particular brand of backpack?

I met a man at the beginning of my 2014 Camino who had a single-use 1 litre bottle wrapped in silver duct tape for insulation. He said it also gave extra strength to the bottle walls. Would like to have met him at the end of the journey to see whether this met his expectations.

Anhalter will be able to share what his bottle sleeve/pouch is, but it looks similar to the one Zpacks makes. https://zpacks.com/products/water-bottle-sleeve

1614467788283.png
 

DevereUx

Devereaux
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
Early on I used a water bottle/"sucking tube" system until I lost the insert after cleaning it in Lorgono and dumped the contraption. (I drink electrolyte replacement due to heavy sweating. So, cleaning was needed.) Finally, I just kept the Powerade bottle filled 1/2 with water, 1/2 with Powerade and stuffed it in my chest strap. Fresh one in the pack side pocket and one in the chest strap. Worked like a charm. Lightweight, easy to refill and easy to access. That blue stuff was a lifesaver on the Meseta, but hard to find in Galicia.
 
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Roby

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May/June 2018
Great video.
I'm using something similar to your system.

I use a 1 liter aluminum bottle
1L boca.jpg

on which I place this tube

usnik.jpg
and I keep it in this holder which helps maintain the temperature.
držač.jpg


I keep it all in my side pocket or even in my backpack itself.

When a water tube is used, you can drink on the go, you are never lazy to drink water, like when you have to find a water bottle or even take off your backpack.
Every once in a while I take a sip or two on the walk, I think everyone should get a tube like that when going on long trips.

I recently bought a water bag but I haven’t tried it yet so I don’t know if it will turn out better or worse than the bottle. I don’t worry about being able to run out of water because I know how long two liters of water can take me so I will refill the bag in time. I often take a break near the water source and pour cold and fresh water, so there is a small chance that I will be left without it, but you are right that this should be kept in mind.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Hi, Roby and thank you for your post. If I ever go back to bottles, that is the same type of set up I would use. Since I prefer not to have pockets and stuff on my shoulder harness, I would also keep it in a side pocket.

I recently bought a water bag but I haven’t tried it yet so I don’t know if it will turn out better or worse than the bottle.

One thing to keep in mind when you do evaluate the bladder system, is that, as with most things, there are hydro reservoir/bladder systems that are poorly designed and made and would be a misery to use, and there are those brands and models that are done up right.

I think that in the case of Bottle vs Bladder, it is hard to get a bottle that does not function as intended. I have seen bargain reservoir systems (and in a few cases some that are more costly) use bad materials and design in the tube connectors, openings to fill with water, and even the material used for the tubing and bag itself.

If most hydro-reservoir systems were made as poorly as some that I have seen, including a few from Camelback, Platypus and Osprey, I would have stuck with bottles myself. Fortunately, it is easy to find properly working systems.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have been quite happy with my Source Ultimate Hydration System.

 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
This shoulder strap holder and bottle also looks like a great idea.
2 things to add from someone that uses something similar:

- you need a point (like a daisy chain or something like a D-ring) on your shoulder strap to attach it to
- there are significantly lighter options (treadlitegear for UK/EU, Zpacks for US) for comparable prices

edit: the system itself is good, at least i like it.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I added some links below the video in the description box, but here they are.

Here are some handy links. (no commercial interest)
Hipsta Clips. https://www.hipsta.com.au/
Drinking Tube: https://amzn.to/2ZIkNgP
Though I prefer this style of bite valve. Bite Valve: https://amzn.to/3smlgBy
Robo

Inspired by your description, a couple of ‘hipsta clips’ arrivedtoday from Oz.

The clever part is the metal spring-clip, but the plastic attachment clip seems fragile. How robust do you find them to be?

I’m considering extracting the metal clip and zip-tie’ing it to my rucksack shoulder strap
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Robo

Inspired by your description, a couple of ‘hipsta clips’ arrivedtoday from Oz.

The clever part is the metal spring-clip, but the plastic attachment clip seems fragile. How robust do you find them to be?

I’m considering extracting the metal clip and zip-tie’ing it to my rucksack shoulder strap

I haven't had a problem with them. Pat and I use 2 each.

I know what you mean, the plastic clip does not 'seem' strong. I'm careful attaching it, so as not to bend the plastic clip too much, but once on, they stay on. They've been on our packs for 3+ years.
 

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