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Need advice - Hydration Bladder

Shellseeker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
Started training with my pack, Gregory Jade 38L, today and realized I cannot reach my water bottles. My pack accommodates a hydration bladder and I am thinking of getting a 2L one. How difficult are they to keep clean? I will only be walking 9 days. Will a quick rinse be enough until I get home? Any brands you’d recommend? Thanks.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Personally, I prefer Platypus Big Zip hydration reservoirs.

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.

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 doing this to preempt those who misstate facts to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

1. Sanitation. Bottles have no advantage. Reservoirs stay 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 use that keeps things fresh. 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 either storage container.

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 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 not properly washed out prior to long term storage..

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 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 capacity and weight.

No, one does 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. So regardless of container used, water weight is related to the individual's decision about how much to carry, and NOT on a container's capacity.

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 disconnect 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 pack to do a quick and easy refill of the bladder.

The video shows the quick disconnect being used with a water filter as it might be used for wilderness backpacking. It is the way I have it set up when I am backpacking. However, on camino I leave off the filter altogether. Instead of the filter being added to the refill cap on the flexible water bottle, skip the filter and screw the refill adapter cap -- sans filter -- to the bottle after it is filled with water.

For refill bottles.... I use extremely lightweight collapsible bottles that can hold up to 2 liters. Empty, they roll down to a small bundle that are easily stashed in an outside pocket.

Many times, I will carry 1/2 liter in the bottle as a quick backup if the weather or the distance between water refills dictates. So if I decide to, say, carry 1.5 liters on a longer stretch between water resupply points, I will fill the reservoir with 1 liter, and then carry 1/2 liter in the bottle and keeping the bottle partially collapsed. That also assures me that I do not need to visualize the amount in the reservoir to be assured of adequate water. :)

The refill container in the video is just one option. The refill adapter can also fit on a variety of bottled water containers, if so desired.

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


 
Last edited by a moderator:

Darby67

Enólogo caminando
Camino(s) past & future
2018 CF Jan-Feb
2019 CF Jan-Mar
I agree with everything @davebugg has. I give my Osprey bladder a solid rinse every day, in particular the visible hose area and mouthpiece. A more heavy cleaning every week or so. I found it much easier to deal with as reaching a bottle on my bag is uncomfortable on the shoulders for me. In my last two walks I only recall having seen a couple/few of us that used them. In the winter a 1.5L was more than adequate and I shared that with my wife this go around and I really looked forward to her taking several large draws and feeling the pack getting lighter!

With 9 days I would say a good rinse every day and go for a solid cleaning when you get home. The most attention that would be important for me being the visible tube and mouthpiece.

The only other consideration is that depending on your pack and hydration pack configuration you may need to clean and refill your pack BEFORE you repack your pack.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
To add to @davebugg's reply, there is an issue that you cannot see how much is left in your bladder. There is a simple solution. I carry a 500 ml bottle in the top of my pack. Should I empty the water bladder, I then decant the bottle into the bladder, and I then have a bottle that I can refill easily at a font or other water source. It also gives me a container should water need to be treated (although I would use a larger bottle should that be required).

On the CF, I would adjust the amount that I carried in my water bladder so that I generally had no more than two litres of water (1.5 in the 2 li capacity bladder, 0.5 li in a bottle) but more recently I started the day with both the bladder and bottle full.

On cleaning, I give the water bladder a good rinse most days. Every few days I will part fill it with a solution containing a denture tablet. Give it a few minutes, and empty part of the solution through the drinking tube. Finally, give everything a good rinse.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
To add to @davebugg's reply, there is an issue that you cannot see how much is left in your bladder. There is a simple solution. I carry a 500 ml bottle in the top of my pack. Should I empty the water bladder, I then decant the bottle into the bladder, and I then have a bottle that I can refill easily at a font or other water source. It also gives me a container should water need to be treated (although I would use a larger bottle should that be required).

On the CF, I would adjust the amount that I carried in my water bladder so that I generally had no more than two litres of water (1.5 in the 2 li capacity bladder, 0.5 li in a bottle) but more recently I started the day with both the bladder and bottle full.

On cleaning, I give the water bladder a good rinse most days. Every few days I will part fill it with a solution containing a denture tablet. Give it a few minutes, and empty part of the solution through the drinking tube. Finally, give everything a good rinse.
Great advice, Doug. I had revisited my post and added that same advice. I do that same thing with keeping water in my collapsible bottle. it works well. And thumbs up on the denture tabs trick. They are basically the same thing as the much more expensive tabs the reservoir companies sell at a premium.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Great advice, Doug. I had revisited my post and added that same advice. I do that same thing with keeping water in my collapsible bottle. it works well. And thumbs up on the denture tabs trick. They are basically the same thing as the much more expensive tabs the reservoir companies sell at a premium.
I guess it depends upon the stage of life one is at. I am at that stage where I have denture tablets! Others might find they have easier access to baby feeding bottle cleaning tablets. As you say, these are basically the same as the premium priced products offered by OEMs.
 

RumAndChupacabras

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
Here's my newbie's 2 cents worth: I followed the 'advice' of my fiance, who'd done a Camino before me. That said, should have followed my heart (as we would all benefit from, in life)!!!
I wore/carried TWO collapsible one litre (2.2 pounds ea) water bags hanging from me for the Caminho Portugese. I'm busty (no further on that)...bang, bang, bang...bump, bump...sway, sway. ENOUGH! Since then, I bought a hydration bladder and no matter what anyone I know in real life (IRL) says from here on out, I'm going with my gut!
YOU know your body and um..."quirks", better than anyone. READ, LEARN but most importantly, do what YOU decide is best.
After that, you'll be quite "OK". ❤❤❤
May you be richly blessed y, BUEN CAMINO
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I never cleaned my water bladder at all on the Camino. I just keep refilling it with fresh water. As @davebugg said, as long as you are constantly using and replenishing it there's no need to clean it. I've neverhhad any issues with the water getting "funky". I clean and dry it well before storing it. I also carry a partially full bottle of "emergency water".
 

Rainey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
de Madrid May 2018
del Salvador May 2018
Just a reminder to replenish electrolytes when you're walking and drinking all that water!
Yes this is a good piece of advice. I carried a 500 ml bottle that I used for this purpose so as to not to affect the clean water drinking system I had (two 750 ml bottles with adaptable drinking tube system)
 

Rainey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
de Madrid May 2018
del Salvador May 2018
I used two 750 ml water bottles with a tube system that had convertible tops so I knew my water levels and I did not have to pull a bladder from my pack and refill I just attached the tube to the second bottle when needed. I also had a 500 ml bottle for electrolyte water (i could reach this easily)54593
 

Shellseeker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
Thanks everyone for your great and detailed advice. Just what I needed! I’m not only a newbie pilgrim, but a newbie backpacker. The bladder seems like a good solution for me, but I just ordered some cheapo clips to try first. I am not busty @rumandchpacabras ;-) so maybe that will work for my short Camino. Will try while training and keep you posted.
 

Dorpie

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
@davebugg or anyone else; have you come across any solution to an issue I have with pipe based water delivery systems that is on a hot day your first slug of water rather than being beautifully refreshing is instead half way to boiling. So annoying.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@davebugg or anyone else; have you come across any solution to an issue I have with pipe based water delivery systems that is on a hot day your first slug of water rather than being beautifully refreshing is instead half way to boiling. So annoying.
You can get insulated tubes that might help, but on hot days, once I have finished taking a drink from the tube, I will gently blow the water out of the tube and back into the bladder. The tube is then empty of water, and while it might heat up a bit in the sun, there is no water in it heating up as well.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
@Telboyo Sodium is only one essential electrolyte. There are six others.

Chloride: combined with Sodium this is basic table salt.
Potassium: bananas are an easy source. Other sources: milk, yogurt, baked potatoes (eat the skins), raisins, pistachios
Magnesium: raisins, almonds, cashews, avocado, yogurt, oatmeal
Calcium: Milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, dried figs, kale, brocoli, Bok choy
Phosphorous: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sardines, milk, cheese, pork, veal, lamb
(How can you come to Spain and not have the roast lamb? 😂)
Bicarbonate: Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, leafy greens, root vegetables (carrots, potatoes)

Remember most of us are probably deficient in these essentials if you are eating a high-processed diet. So when you guzzle 2 liters of water during the day, you're flushing a deficient system with that intake of water. The food sources I listed are not the only sources, just the ones I found that might be easy for pilgrims to carry or consume. It's important that you get all these into your diet. Drinking water without these essentials can be dangerous to your health and can kill you.

Symptoms of water overhydration:
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
@davebugg or anyone else; have you come across any solution to an issue I have with pipe based water delivery systems that is on a hot day your first slug of water rather than being beautifully refreshing is instead half way to boiling. So annoying.
Like being at the dentist - sip, swill and spit.
 

Dorpie

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Like being at the dentist - sip, swill and spit.
Problem with that is you end up wasting a hell of a lot of water as I try and drink relatively little relatively often. Soemthing like a foil covering would make quite a difference I think.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
But shop around - we pay less than half that price in the UK!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Vol Pilgm office 15
CF 16+17
Vol Pilgm House 18
Kerry&Ingles 19
Portuguese( ? 2020, 2021?)
Started training with my pack, Gregory Jade 38L, today and realized I cannot reach my water bottles. My pack accommodates a hydration bladder and I am thinking of getting a 2L one. How difficult are they to keep clean? I will only be walking 9 days. Will a quick rinse be enough until I get home? Any brands you’d recommend? Thanks.
I have used a Gregory 35L on two caminos, it has the same frustrating problem, can't reach the water bottle in an outside pocket while wearing it. This year I will be taking a water bladder that I have used for local walks. When full, 3L, it adds the weight needed for my conditioning walks preparing for the Ingles.
Don't forget to empty it before going through security!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I used two 750 ml water bottles with a tube system that had convertible tops so I knew my water levels and I did not have to pull a bladder from my pack and refill I just attached the tube to the second bottle when needed. I also had a 500 ml bottle for electrolyte water (i could reach this easily)View attachment 54593
If you prefer bottles, there is nothing wrong with that. However, the OP clearly stated that they do NOT want to use bottles.

You also might have missed reading the posts which talked about the fact that you do NOT need to take the bladder out of the pack to refill, or even need to take the pack off. You also have the ability to know when water is needing to be refilled with a bladder, just the same as with a bottle.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I used a tube and bottle system for my first Camino in August/September. My water got hot in the side pocket! So I ended up putting it inside my backpack, which made it not much different that a bladder. I switched to the hydration bladder for my second and third Caminos. The one I bought has a quick fill adapter so that I can fill it through the hose.


 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I've only ever backpacked with a bladder. You don't need to worry about cleaning them while you are walking. Just empty it out at the end of the day ands swish some fresh water. They don't get funky or anything. I can always tell when I'm running low with my 3 liter because I can feel the weight difference. Plus they are easy enough to just look at when you stop for a bathroom break. It's not rocket science.
 

Henry B

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
Buy a bladder.
There is no contest.
I walked 1st 3 days of CF using bottles but then fell in with a couple of Norwegian guys using bladders.
Eaee of use and cooler water. Easy to rinse out. Used for 30 days to SDC

Buen Camino
 

Shellseeker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
Buy a bladder.
There is no contest.
I walked 1st 3 days of CF using bottles but then fell in with a couple of Norwegian guys using bladders.
Eaee of use and cooler water. Easy to rinse out. Used for 30 days to SDC

Buen Camino
Thanks everyone for your input. I just ordered a 2L bladder. I think it is the best solution for me. Can’t wait to try it out!
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
Started training with my pack, Gregory Jade 38L, today and realized I cannot reach my water bottles. My pack accommodates a hydration bladder and I am thinking of getting a 2L one. How difficult are they to keep clean? I will only be walking 9 days. Will a quick rinse be enough until I get home? Any brands you’d recommend? Thanks.
I carried a 1.5L hydration bag in my daypack on the CF in 2016 and my wife carried bottles. I never ran out with a full 1.5L while walking between Ponferrada and SdC. My wife had to ask to get her bottles out to drink, or take her pack off, and got mildly dehydrated on occasion. Having the bladder to sip water as you go makes a real difference. I also carried a small reusable bottle in which to mix fruit electrolyte tabs. I choose the 1.5L size keeping in mind that every litre is 1kg of weight in the pack! We are returning this September to do the Portuguese Coastal route and we will both carry a bladder this time! Great advice and research in this thread. Thanks for all the contributions!
 

Frank Wortley

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Caminos - April/May 2013, March/April 2017 and (Sept/Oct 2018)
Personally, I prefer Platypus Big Zip hydration reservoirs.

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.

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 doing this to preempt those who misstate facts to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

1. Sanitation. Bottles have no advantage. Reservoirs stay 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 use that keeps things fresh. 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 either storage container.

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 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 not properly washed out prior to long term storage..

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 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 capacity and weight.

No, one does 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. So regardless of container used, water weight is related to the individual's decision about how much to carry, and NOT on a container's capacity.

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 disconnect 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 pack to do a quick and easy refill of the bladder.

The video shows the quick disconnect being used with a water filter as it might be used for wilderness backpacking. It is the way I have it set up when I am backpacking. However, on camino I leave off the filter altogether. Instead of the filter being added to the refill cap on the flexible water bottle, skip the filter and screw the refill adapter cap -- sans filter -- to the bottle after it is filled with water.

For refill bottles.... I use extremely lightweight collapsible bottles that can hold up to 2 liters. Empty, they roll down to a small bundle that are easily stashed in an outside pocket.

Many times, I will carry 1/2 liter in the bottle as a quick backup if the weather or the distance between water refills dictates. So if I decide to, say, carry 1.5 liters on a longer stretch between water resupply points, I will fill the reservoir with 1 liter, and then carry 1/2 liter in the bottle and keeping the bottle partially collapsed. That also assures me that I do not need to visualize the amount in the reservoir to be assured of adequate water. :)

The refill container in the video is just one option. The refill adapter can also fit on a variety of bottled water containers, if so desired.

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


I agree. I use a 2L bladder when treking. However on Camino (done 3) I simply attach a 1L bottle to my shoulder strap and on those few longer stretches between water supplies carry another bottle in my pack. Either way works

Frank
 

Shellseeker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
I have been training for a couple weeks now with my CamelBak Crux and I just love it! It’s so easy to grab a quick drink whenever I want and no need to bother hubby to grab my bottle for me. I throw in a few scoops of ice cubes to keep it nice and cool. Cleaning it is really easy too. Thanks everyone for your input.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I used a bladder on my first 2 Caminos and bottles on my third. I'll explain why.

But to the OPs question, I clean the tubes and bladder with denture sterilising tabs, as they seemed to accumulate a bit of dirt/gunk after a couple of weeks. It may have just been from the sun, so @dougfitz idea of blowing the tubes clear after use might solve that. The gunk was a bit like that which collects on the hoses of my fishpond pump out in the sun..........

To the broader question, which I know the OP was not asking, but has been raised..........

I loved my Water Bladder.
I could carry 2 litres with more in bottles.
It was in my pack and so seemed to keep the water cooler
I could sip on the water at will, which I think is important

Only twice I had a problem, I sucked the bladder dry on a long hot stretch.
But like Doug I always carried a 500 ml bottle as spare.
And another time I didn't see that the hose connection was leaking and I ran out of water.
That was a bit of a struggle as it was really hot and quite a way to go.

So I thought I would try bottles for my third Camino
The main reason being, that I wanted to be able to 'see' exactly how much water I had left and also to monitor consumption as I was going.
But I did not want bottles in the side pouches because I cannot reach them or see the bottles and water levels.
@David gave me the idea with some clips he saw being used.

So I now carry two bottles on the front straps of my pack up high.
I can vary the size of course but find 600-700 ml work well.
If required, I carry spares in the side pouches, or in my pack.

I use a drinking tube for the bottles. So I have the advantage of being able to sip at will.
I can also see exactly how much water is left and how much I am using.
For example I know to stay hydrated I should be drinking x litres on any given section and can make sure I do.

I can swap the bottles over, when one is empty with out even stopping. (as I have 2 up front)
Refilling is easy. I always found the bladder a bit of a pain to refill. (as it's in the pack)

Does the water get hot? Not really.
But in hot weather I'm using an Umbrella, so that keeps everything in the shade anyway.

I know like poles and boots and everything else, there are strong views both ways, but just thought I would share my experience of both.

Not a great fashion statement maybe but very practical.

 

MisterH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018 neither successful
Some people suggest limiting weight by reducing water carried. A few years ago I got heat exhaustion due to not drinking enought water. Now I i always try to carry extra water. That experience was not fun.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Some people suggest limiting weight by reducing water carried. A few years ago I got heat exhaustion due to not drinking enought water. Now I i always try to carry extra water. That experience was not fun.
I tend to as well. Though now after 3 Caminos I can plan my water consumption much more accurately. Typically 1 L per 10 kms. Weather dependant. But I always make sure I have 500 ml at least as extra. Just in case a planned water refill stop is closed, dry, not there.......

Used to use a bladder, now bottles, as depicted above.

Like you, I have run dry a couple of times in hot weather (on my first Camino)
Running dry in hot weather can be quite a fright, particularly if you still have quite a distance to go,
 
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André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I can't tell which is better for you, bottle or bladder. For me, a water bladder is perfect. I can have just a few sips of water about every 10 minutes. This way it keeps me from getting dehydrated all the time. And not just when taking breaks. If you're becoming thirsty, you're already in the process of getting dehydrated. Drinking a few sips regularly helps to prevent that.

I've used water bladders from both Decathlon and Platypus. Both suited me very well. When walking in hot conditions (which, like Robo, happened to me twice: once on the mesetas and once on the Via de la Plata), I carry two bladders. The bladders from Decathlon and Platypus can also be used to put in a freezer.

On the very hot days, I'd put one bladder in the freezer. In the morning I start drinking from the bladder containing fresh, cool water. The frozen one slowly defrosts during the day, allowing me to drink nice cold water all day long.
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
I carried a 1.5L hydration bag in my daypack on the CF in 2016 and my wife carried bottles. I never ran out with a full 1.5L while walking between Ponferrada and SdC. My wife had to ask to get her bottles out to drink, or take her pack off, and got mildly dehydrated on occasion. Having the bladder to sip water as you go makes a real difference. I also carried a small reusable bottle in which to mix fruit electrolyte tabs. I choose the 1.5L size keeping in mind that every litre is 1kg of weight in the pack! We are returning this September to do the Portuguese Coastal route and we will both carry a bladder this time! Great advice and research in this thread. Thanks for all the contributions!
Postscript on this September's Portuguese Coastal Camino: My wife used my older 1.5L Camelbak and I used a newer 2L Camelbak that was given to me. She filled hers and I only put 1.5L in mine, to limit weight. It was not overly hot this Sept/Oct on the Coastal route (max about 20C). We did not carry extra water nor did we use electrolyte tabs as there were more than adequate places to stop and buy energy drinks and water as needed. But we are both convinced that bladders are better than bottles!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2018
Camino Ingles, Caminos Muxia and Finisterre 2019
No help whilst on the Camino: I use a bladder at home and store it (empty) in my freezer between use.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
My wonderful backpack came with the built-in water bladder system, which I was happy to use.
1. I constantly failed to screw the top on correctly, getting everything slowly, but completely, soaked.
2. Turns out, I have a really hard time swallowing and walking at the same time! I know!!
3. Stopping to periodically take water bottles from the outside mesh pockets of my pack forced me to take rest stops whether I realized I needed them or not.
4. Stopping to refill water bottles was a nice time to socialize with fellow pilgrims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I can't tell which is better for you, bottle or bladder. For me, a water bladder is perfect. I can have just a few sips of water about every 10 minutes. This way it keeps me from getting dehydrated all the time. And not just when taking breaks. If you're becoming thirsty, you're already in the process of getting dehydrated. Drinking a few sips regularly helps to prevent that.
The 'myth' about using bottles v bladders.
Take a look in the photo a few posts above.
We have sipping tubes just like on a bladder! :cool::cool:
Not easy to see, but the 'bite valves' are tucked under the sternum straps.

Having used bladders twice...

The major benefit of bottles used like this?
I can SEE exactly how much is left!
Either to be ready to swap to a full bottle, or to make sure I'm drinking enough.

Bottles can even be swapped over without breaking stride.

When walking with Pat I made sure to keep an eye on her bottles too, making sure she was continually sipping... All so much easier.

Not a great 'look' but so practical. ;)

Obviously much easier than a bladder to refill as well.......
Any size bottles can be used, depending on the need at the time...
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Obviously much easier than a bladder to refill as well.......
Any size bottles can be used, depending on the need at the time...
It takes me about 30 seconds to fill a reservoir with up to a quart of water, without the need to remove my backpack. I don't know how much easier that can get :)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Obviously much easier than a bladder to refill as well.......
As soon as I see a word like 'obviously', my mind starts thinking that it isn't really that obvious at all. In this case, I also wonder what the fascination is with the 'ease' of refilling. I use a bladder, and refilling it takes a little time with my pack off for a refill. I might or might not remove it from my pack, depending on which pack I happen to be using. I have used a refill attachment that replaces my bite valve that allows it to be refilled without removing the pack at all, but I figured that on the camino I am not participating in some competition event where the speed of my pit stop might be really important. So it now stays at home.

As for whether you use a water bladder or one or more bottles, I really don't care. It's not like one has such overwhelming advantages over the other that it is clearly silly to use the other. Much more important, in my mind, is that you have enough water to stay hydrated. You probably won't drink enough anyhow, but that is another issue, but carrying enough for the stage you are on is important, more important than how you carry it.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Can't reach your water bottles? But that is GREAT!! Means you have to take off the pack, stretch, relax, look around, de-sweat ... marvellous!!
you know, you don't need to trickle water into yourself all the time - look at boxers and tennis players ... they don't ... and you don't - so shuck off the pack .. it isn't a march .. it is a stroll in beautiful countryside - take it easy, be kind to yourself (and others).

Buen Canmino!
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
I can't see how one is easier to fill than another or the need for constant sipping from a tube like a marathon running hamster.
Why would anyone want to use either when traditional goatskin botas, are easily available in Spain, and can be slung over the shoulder for easy access if needed and makes a nice souvenir of your journey. I've used mine in many countries. Also looks a lot better.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Can't reach your water bottles? But that is GREAT!! Means you have to take off the pack, stretch, relax, look around, de-sweat ... marvellous!!
you know, you don't need to trickle water into yourself all the time - look at boxers and tennis players ... they don't ... and you don't - so shuck off the pack .. it isn't a march .. it is a stroll in beautiful countryside - take it easy, be kind to yourself (and others).

Buen Canmino!
It comes under the heading of individual preference, I suppose. :)
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
Bladders are great, although on the Camino I use a one litre bottle in an outside pocket where it's easy to get.
Those using bladders might find the mouthpiece can pick up bits of dirt and other muck. One way to lessen this is to acquire one of those old fashioned 35mm film canisters and cut in the bottom of it a round hole the same size as the pipe from the bladder. Then remove the mouthpiece from the bladder pipe, slip the film canister on to the pipe, replace the mouthpiece. The film canister will then slide over the mouthpiece. You can put back the top of the film canister and the mouthpiece is protected from the dirt. I've not seen any manufacturer sell this. If you can't find an old fashioned film canister you can make a similar thing from a plastic canister you might come across.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Bladders are great, although on the Camino I use a one litre bottle in an outside pocket where it's easy to get.
Those using bladders might find the mouthpiece can pick up bits of dirt and other muck. One way to lessen this is to acquire one of those old fashioned 35mm film canisters and cut in the bottom of it a round hole the same size as the pipe from the bladder. Then remove the mouthpiece from the bladder pipe, slip the film canister on to the pipe, replace the mouthpiece. The film canister will then slide over the mouthpiece. You can put back the top of the film canister and the mouthpiece is protected from the dirt. I've not seen any manufacturer sell this. If you can't find an old fashioned film canister you can make a similar thing from a plastic canister you might come across.
Good tip..

MY technique is to just slightly compress the bite valve, and let the dribble of water wash any stray stuff away.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Cleaning a bladder, eventually, when you finally get home:
I got given this once when buying my hydration system20200207_075106.jpg
These are not on sale at Osprey, somehow but sb´s advice was to use denture tabs instead.
I use a mere thin detergent solution, expand bladder with a small, fresh tea towel and hang upside down until totally dry...

I chose bladder, downside is that in my case, everything has to come out ouf the rucksack for the bladder to go in !! when full the bladder is too fat to slide down in the Osprey compartment when packed ..
like Dougfitz I have a 500ml , insulated spare metal flask for when the bladder runs out...
In hot trips, I fill at night, put bladder in the fridge, when and only when there is plenty of space .
The coolness lasts for hours....
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Cleaning a bladder, eventually, when you finally get home: ...
If you are on a longer Camino, and especially in warm or hot weather, you should clean your water bladder regularly. I always wonder how many stories of 'bad tummy bug due to bad water" actually should be called "bad tummy bug due to rarely cleaned water bladder" ...

BC SY
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
If you are on a longer Camino, and especially in warm or hot weather, you should clean your water bladder regularly. I always wonder how many stories of 'bad tummy bug due to bad water" actually should be called "bad tummy bug due to rarely cleaned water bladder" ...

BC SY
Actually, no more so than water bottles.

In the same way that water pipes never need cleaning, so to for water bottles and reservoirs. It is the near continuous use that keeps them sanitary. While one can use a bit of bleach, or a disinfectant like an iodine tablet or Potable Aqua or Micropur, or even a denture sanitizing tablet, it isn't absolutely necessary.

At the end of the day, take bladder or bottle and do a quick rinse and refill with water. Sometimes I will add ice cubes if the water is otherwise safe and ice is available.

That presupposes that the water source is free of pathogens, and that only water is kept in bottles or bladders. . . and that includes no introduction of additives like electrolyte tabs, which often have a glucose base.

As you said, for storage, it is vital that reservoirs and bottle be sanitized and completely allowed to dry. I like to use the UV from the sun to both dry and help sanitize, if direct sunlight is available.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
. . . downside is that in my case, everything has to come out ouf the rucksack for the bladder to go in !! when full the bladder is too fat to slide down in the Osprey compartment when packed ..
Have you tried using a quick-disconnect refill device? When installed on the 'feed' tube of the reservoir, you can refill without the need to remove the bladder from your backpack. You may have already considered installing one. . .
 

VictorE

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis twice
Personally, I prefer Platypus Big Zip hydration reservoirs.

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.

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 doing this to preempt those who misstate facts to claim that using hydration reservoirs is the WRONG way to go.

1. Sanitation. Bottles have no advantage. Reservoirs stay 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 use that keeps things fresh. 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 either storage container.

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 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 not properly washed out prior to long term storage..

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 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 capacity and weight.

No, one does 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. So regardless of container used, water weight is related to the individual's decision about how much to carry, and NOT on a container's capacity.

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 disconnect 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 pack to do a quick and easy refill of the bladder.

The video shows the quick disconnect being used with a water filter as it might be used for wilderness backpacking. It is the way I have it set up when I am backpacking. However, on camino I leave off the filter altogether. Instead of the filter being added to the refill cap on the flexible water bottle, skip the filter and screw the refill adapter cap -- sans filter -- to the bottle after it is filled with water.

For refill bottles.... I use extremely lightweight collapsible bottles that can hold up to 2 liters. Empty, they roll down to a small bundle that are easily stashed in an outside pocket.

Many times, I will carry 1/2 liter in the bottle as a quick backup if the weather or the distance between water refills dictates. So if I decide to, say, carry 1.5 liters on a longer stretch between water resupply points, I will fill the reservoir with 1 liter, and then carry 1/2 liter in the bottle and keeping the bottle partially collapsed. That also assures me that I do not need to visualize the amount in the reservoir to be assured of adequate water. :)

The refill container in the video is just one option. The refill adapter can also fit on a variety of bottled water containers, if so desired.

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


Wow The best article I have read. You convinced me
 

DonCamino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 CN
2015 + 2016 VdlP
2017 CF + CN
2018 CP from Lisbon
2019 Salvador+Primitivo
My point of view after 7 caminos is the (ultra)light one.

First i used a 2 liter Camel bladder: 180 grams. Hard to clean and dry. And heavy.

Then i used the mentioned tube system delivered with different adapters. Almost 90 grams. And daily „fresh“ 1.5 liter bottles (avg. 30 grams for the plastic bottle) = 120 grams, saved 60 grams. Everything ok with the tube system. Nothing wrong with it. Can really recommend it. (I always bring and use my own, permanently used plastic bottle and refill it daily, till it breaks before i change my (light) bottle).

Then i replaced the tube system by one 0.5 / 0.6 liter bottle clipped to the front solution = that means 30 grams for one big bottle / 60 grams for 2, 17 grams for the 0.5 bottle, 5 grams for the bottle clip = 52 to 82 grams for the whole „water solution“. Meanwhile my favourite one. Hygienic and ultralight. And unbeaten in weight till now.

To reach 5 grams i replaced the carabiner by a piece of line, knotted on the backpack strap.

D3FBF8DA-061F-44FC-8FD1-E577558EB02C.jpeg

Perhaps a possibility for someone?!

Bon Caminos, Bom Caminhos for all of U

So long
DonCamino
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
My point of view after 7 caminos is the (ultra)light one.

First i used a 2 liter Camel bladder: 180 grams. Hard to clean and dry. And heavy.

Then i used the mentioned tube system delivered with different adapters. Almost 90 grams. And daily „fresh“ 1.5 liter bottles (avg. 30 grams for the plastic bottle) = 120 grams, saved 60 grams. Everything ok with the tube system. Nothing wrong with it. Can really recommend it. (I always bring and use my own, permanently used plastic bottle and refill it daily, till it breaks before i change my (light) bottle).

Then i replaced the tube system by one 0.5 / 0.6 liter bottle clipped to the front solution = that means 30 grams for one big bottle / 60 grams for 2, 17 grams for the 0.5 bottle, 5 grams for the bottle clip = 52 to 82 grams for the whole „water solution“. Meanwhile my favourite one. Hygienic and ultralight. And unbeaten in weight till now.

To reach 5 grams i replaced the carabiner by a piece of line, knotted on the backpack strap.

View attachment 76421

Perhaps a possibility for someone?!

Bon Caminos, Bom Caminhos for all of U

So long
DonCamino
I wouldn't use a water reservoir like the one you describe either. Fortunately, the one's I use have none of those issues. For me, bottles on my backpack harness drives me nuts, so if I ever went back to bottles, I would use the side pockets on the pack instead.

For those who have no issues with bottles and straps, your device looks very usable.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2020
For whatever backpack, I switched to Source bladders that have glass like technology including the tube and protected against bacteria growth, extremely practical ie no need to clean especially when used constantly, keep in fridge when not used and no plastic taste. The mouth piece has its own protector so no need pay extra. Even have an adaptor put in the place of the mouth piece to refill bladder from a water bottle or tap without having to take out of backpack. Other bladders used, was always doing daily emptying and drying for fear of bacteria developing.

Find a bladder most useful especially when walking with poles as can very quickly grab the tube off the magnetic holder on a chest strap and to replace with maybe only one or two interrupted pole movements and take sips to get that constant slow hydration. 2l seems to be for me a good compromise for a days walk and weight consideration. No bouncing swinging bottles in the sun on your chest to worry about which have tried.
 

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