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Dory
03-17-2006, 08:37 AM
I'm about to embark on my first winter trip this weekend. I've found that I don't drink nearly enough when I carry a water bottle.
So I have this grand idea, that i'll wear my hydration pack over my first layer of clothes and run the tube down my arm to my wrist. In theory with my additional layers and body heat I won't have to worry about it freezing.

Bad idea, good idea, alternate suggestions?

bobandgeri
03-17-2006, 08:47 AM
If you drink often and are good about it, simply blowing air back into the tube to clear it seems to work for many. But would suggest bringing a nalgene in your pack just in case. You could also put hot/warm water in your camelback to start. Also depends on the temp - we have had good luck with anything above 20 degrees.

kmorgan
03-17-2006, 08:57 AM
If you drink often and are good about it, simply blowing air back into the tube to clear it seems to work for many. But would suggest bringing a nalgene in your pack just in case. You could also put hot/warm water in your camelback to start. Also depends on the temp - we have had good luck with anything above 20 degrees.

I've done the blowing air back into the bladder thing, however the water that remains on the inside of the tube (due to surface tension) will drip down and, if cold enough, accumulate and freeze in the mouthpiece. Just something to be aware of.

Kevin

Chip
03-17-2006, 09:34 AM
I've done the blowing air back into the bladder thing, however the water that remains on the inside of the tube (due to surface tension) will drip down and, if cold enough, accumulate and freeze in the mouthpiece. Just something to be aware of.

Kevin
Ditto, I've quit the bladder configuration attempts in the winter. I carry 2 nalgene's in my pack and hang a third one from an insulated, covered cozy (like this one from EMS) (http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_detail_square.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=8455 24441774407&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302848954&bmUID=1142606087411) from my sternum strap. This method is convenient and I switch out the empty bottle at food breaks.

Tom Rankin
03-17-2006, 10:07 AM
Ditto, I've quit the bladder configuration attempts in the winter. I carry 2 nalgene's in my pack and hang a third one from an insulated, covered cozy (like this one from EMS) (http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_detail_square.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=8455 24441774407&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302848954&bmUID=1142606087411) from my sternum strap. This method is convenient and I switch out the empty bottle at food breaks.

For really cold days, I put boiling water in a nalgene bottle, add gatorade, seal, and place in a 'cozy'. This one get used last. The next nalgene bottle gets filled with hot water/gatorade, then placed in another cozy. I strap this one to my waist and drink it first.

I also bring a thermos of tea, which usually stays very hot all day. A trick that helps for this is to immerse the thermos in very hot water for several minutes, dump it out and then add the just boiled tea.

Explorer Editor
03-17-2006, 10:10 AM
Blowing back into the bladder works only if you remember to do it often--perhaps every fifteen minutes if it's cold. I usually forget and end up biting and twisting the hose near the mouthpiece to break the ice jam.

Has anybody tried the newer bladder packs with the hose running inside the front strap? How well do they work?

Chip
03-17-2006, 10:21 AM
Has anybody tried the newer bladder packs with the hose running inside the front strap? How well do they work?
Yes Sir. Osprey Switch 40 on Lafayette loop Pesidents Day. Drip-back after blow-back still froze above the mouthpiece. I had to take the whole freakin deal apart behind a rock in 40mph winds and 10 degree temps to empty the bladder into the nalgene I had. I'm happy I had the nalgene.

Tom - I do the same with the hot water and powdered gator-aid mix. The 2 bottles in my pack are together in an insulated, soft sided "lunch box" (which was $20 cheaper than buying 2 more EMS cozies).

Dory
03-17-2006, 10:42 AM
Hmmm, so even next to baselayer under other layers it's still going to freeze?
Ug :(
I just find that to stop hiking and twist off the water bottle top and drink..I just don't do it often enough, I think I'm lazy!

Ok, well, it may be time to dig out my son's Jimmy Neutron lunch box and stop by the local rock shop for a cozy...

lx93
03-17-2006, 11:13 AM
I did the thing of putting hot water in while bagging Mt. Phelps in the ADK on a 15F (at the Loj) December day.

I drank about 2(?) liters by the time I got to 3500(?) feet (because I wanted to drink it before it froze up), and found myself somewhat queazy for the next 48 hours. When I was drinking it, it was still fairly hot- has this ever happened to anyone else?

Kevin
03-17-2006, 11:39 AM
I have found that my winter Camelback set up is fine in most conditions to about 20 degrees or so... Anything lower and it gets comprimised, mainly the hose freezes and then your screwed, it happened to me. The solution that worked to fix it was to run the hose through a pit zip so it was close to my body and heat, and when I drank from it, I had the end of the hose through the front of my shell, and made sure I did the blow back technique to clear the hose from the majority of fluid.

The last winter hike I went on I used the bottle/cozy set up instead of the bladder system, like Chip and Tom mentioned. It was the system that I used to use before getting the winter Camelback system, and honestly it works very very well. Sometimes the low tech solution is the best.

Which works the best? In very cold weather, I am going to stick to the bottle/cozy set up. If I am going to be in weather that never really dips below 30degrees, I'll use the winter bladder set up.

Even if you use the bladder, I would make sure you have a spare Nalgene/soda bottle handy. I wish I had done that on Greylock a few weeks back, I was worried that if I did not thaw out the hose, I would have been screwed. I may have to think about picking up a collapsable Nalgene container for something like that... rolled up it weighs very little and takes up little space.

Also the tip of starting with hot water/drinks in whatever you use; bladder or bottle, is a smart thing to do. When your beat and cold, a warm drink can go a long way to boast your morale. I used to carry a thermos as well, when ducking behind a boulder in heavy winds and taking out that themos, enjoying some hot chocolate or tea with milk and sugar, you don't seem to mind the wind then.

Catch you later...
Kevin

C.Tracy
03-17-2006, 01:31 PM
I used my camel back once, and the bladder in my winter pack a few times this winter and found that when it froze up ,it was right in the mouth piece section. I found that if I tucked it under my outer layer as it comes over my shoulder (essentially tucking it under my jacket) that it would not freeze up. I give off ALLOT of heat when I hike, and normally drink over 100oz of Gatorade during a 8 to 12 hour venture, so the valve is used quite often in my case. One of the days I used it was the day we did Couchsachraga, and the temperature when we started was -13 degees Farenhite. The "tube tuck" worked that day. I believe your idea will work, but that is just my opinion based on what has work for me personally. Good Luck

Rick
03-17-2006, 01:32 PM
Hmmm, so even next to baselayer under other layers it's still going to freeze?
Ug :(
Dory, I (like most others) used to wear the older style 2-layer Goretex parkas that had the mesh or taffeta nylon liners with the taffeta nylon sleeve liners.

One reason I switched over to 3 ply goretex was that on winter outings of several days, I would accumulate sweat from my wrists and hands, up my sleeves via capillary action, .

Over the course of a cold day(s), the sweat would freeze, more sweat would build up and freeze, pretty soon I would be walking around with chunks of ice trapped between the goretex outer sleeve and the nylon inner sleeve. the only way to get it out was to thaw the jacket and let it dry, or cut through the nylon and break off the chunks. :eek:

so anyway, my roundabout way of saying that if it is a bitterly cold day, then yes, your tube can freeze even under your outer layers and near your base layer on your extremities as well as on your body.

jbreen
03-17-2006, 07:54 PM
My camelback with the insulated hose will always freeze below 20 degrees right at the mouthpiece as C. Tracey stated. I usually carry hot lemonade which if I can get a bit through the tube, quickly melts the ice. But this is second to a Nalgen.

Rick: my alternative to the mesh lining on gore-tex was to cut it out of the back area. When I let the shell freeze a quick shake would release the ice.

Jim

likeitsteep
03-19-2006, 12:39 PM
i hiked saturday 3/18/06 in the catskills in some pretty cold weather. it probably dipped below 20 at some point. i filled my bladder with hot water. it's a winter bladder by the way. neoprene covered tube with rubber mouthpiece cover. i had no problems whatsoever and the water never even got cold. the key is to always blow back the water after every sip. i had problems on greylock a couple of weeks ago, but wasn't compulsively blowing the water back. on slide mt., i didn't forget once. seemed to make all the difference.

Woody
03-19-2006, 01:53 PM
My experience with using a bladder in the winter has also been that it freezes up in the tube and mouthpiece fairly easily when temps get into the low 20's and especially if the wind is howling. If the temperatures will stay in the high 20's and it is sunny out and the wind is not blowing hard, a hydration bladder with an insulated hose and mouthpiece may work out ok. I would still recommend putting a wide mouth nalgene bottle in your pack just in case your hose freezes up. At least you can then pour the water from the hydration bladder into the bottle. A nice thermos of something warm to drink is a treat on a cold hike as well.

snoshoovt
03-20-2006, 06:59 PM
For many years I've been using a system which works great, though I don't think I've ever seen anybody else using this. I carry lots of water in a bulletproof MSR Dromedary bag in my pack, next to my back where it stays unfrozen. Slung around my shoulder I carry a 1 qt. "Bota", a hard plastic wine flask thing with strap (Bota of Denver, google should do it, about 15 bucks). Down to the teens, the Bota stays outside, since its position under my arm keeps it slightly warmed, in colder temps, it's inside my outer layer so it stays warm inside next to my body. I drink constantly, and the Bota is always available, just needing to be lifted up for a swig. When empty, I replenish it from the big Dromedary. Foolproof, and most important, freeze proof. -John

focusonbalance
03-24-2006, 03:55 PM
Wow, I'm reading from everyone that 20* is the point of freezeup. I don't know what I do differenlty, but I have not had any problems with my bladder system in single digits. Of course there will be some residule water left in the tube, but not enough to block the whole hose. I basically start out with room temp water in my bladder with a neoprene wrapped tube with the camelback mouthpiece cover, if it is in the teens and below I will just tuck the mouthpiece in my shirt colar and of course make sure to blow out the hose after drinking as well as each time I take off my pack, because, when I reach in my bag, or mostly when I sit on it, I will push water into the hose. That was the time when I froze my tube. Even then, the solution was simple, I just had a friend tuck the tube down my back between my pack, in a very short while it was fine. I do keep a nalgene just in case of issue, nothing is perfect. Try it out and see what works for you, just keep a backup.

LenDawg
03-24-2006, 04:18 PM
Dory, I don't drink nearly enough water either, which is one of my frustrations with winter hiking. I love my camelback because there is no excuse with not geting enough water. Still, sometimes you just have to force yourself to stop and take out the nalgene for a drink!

If you do try your new method, let us know how it works.

DougPaul
03-24-2006, 05:17 PM
Dory, I don't drink nearly enough water either, which is one of my frustrations with winter hiking. I love my camelback because there is no excuse with not geting enough water. Still, sometimes you just have to force yourself to stop and take out the nalgene for a drink!
I carry an insulated .5 liter Naglene on my belt. (More water in my pack.) Makes it very easy to drink with only a short pause.

A 1 liter bottle on my belt would be a nuisance, but .5 is ok, and if it gets in my way, it can be stowed in the pack.

Doug

LenDawg
03-24-2006, 06:38 PM
I carry an insulated .5 liter Naglene on my belt. (More water in my pack.) Makes it very easy to drink with only a short pause.

A 1 liter bottle on my pack would be a nuisance, but .5 is ok, and if it gets in my way, it can be stowed in the pack.

Doug


Thanks DougPaul... I'll definitely try this next winter!

Chip
03-24-2006, 07:07 PM
A 1 liter bottle on my pack would be a nuisance, Doug
I don't think so. I carry a 1 liter in an insulated carrier on my sternum strap all the time. http://www.parazz.com/hires/69300320034_13281.jpg
A half liter would require twice as many "change-outs" and I don't have an insulated carrier for one anyway.
Do they even make the insulated carriers in half liter size ?

Edited: okay it appears they make .5, .7 and 1 liter insulated carriers. (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=39167306&memberId=12500226)

DougPaul
03-24-2006, 09:17 PM
A 1 liter bottle on my pack would be a nuisance.

I don't think so. I carry a 1 liter in an insulated carrier on my sternum strap all the time.
If it doesn't bother you, that is fine. Others might reasonably differ.

I carry mine on my belt, not my sternum strap. Whatever works for each user is fine.


A half liter would require twice as many "change-outs"
A disadvantage of a half-liter bottle on the outside. I would use a 1 liter bottle if it didn't annoy me. A readily available half liter is still better than having to stop and take one's pack off to drink.

Doug

Woody
03-25-2006, 01:34 AM
I usually carry my insulated Nalgene in my pack, but I have also carried a liter on my packs waist belt. I don't mind droping my pack for a couple of minutes every hour to take a few good gulps of water.

There may be occasions when a hydration pack will work with temps below 20 degrees, but I would rather not risk having frozen water. Add a fair bit of wind to temps below 20 degrees and you will at least be sucking slush if you can get any fluid at all.

focusonbalance
03-25-2006, 09:38 AM
Maybe you guys are always freezing your lines because you are not drinking often enough, or maybe my water doesn't freeze (or get slushed) because I use a filtration unit at my home that changes the water somehowdoubt it because I've used other water before. Whatever the reason, I do understand that you guys are having issues, but I also understand that I don't. Lot's of folks who have hiked with me can attest to this. It's great that you are giving your advice that works, but if other advice that works has been given, keep the poo pooing down to a minimum please :o . I always say go out and try it yourself and see what works and what doesn't. Of course if the hike is tough, put off experimenting for an easier one. Anyhow, happy hiking.

focusonbalance
03-25-2006, 09:40 AM
Campmor has the .5 liter size insulators for $4.99, closeouts I believe.

CaptCaper
03-25-2006, 09:17 PM
Maybe you guys are always freezing your lines because you are not drinking often enough, or maybe my water doesn't freeze (or get slushed) because I use a filtration unit at my home that changes the water somehowdoubt it because I've used other water before. Whatever the reason, I do understand that you guys are having issues, but I also understand that I don't. Lot's of folks who have hiked with me can attest to this. It's great that you are giving your advice that works, but if other advice that works has been given, keep the poo pooing down to a minimum please :o . I always say go out and try it yourself and see what works and what doesn't. Of course if the hike is tough, put off experimenting for an easier one. Anyhow, happy hiking.
My family and I don't have any problems either with freezeing. We use the insulated bag and hose and always hold the hose up to let it drain back down in then we tuck the mouth piece down into my collar under my chin where it lays on the top of my chest.
We've done this for 3 years now and have been in temps down to 0 for sure. You have to be careful though as it can freeze up quick this way if you take the pack off and lay it down or if one crawls on his hands and knees for the water can work out of the bag into the hose.

dexhiker
03-26-2006, 08:43 AM
I use nothing but my hydration bladder in 3 season hiking but avoid using it in winter. I should add that I winter hike primarily in the NH White Mountains. I've hiked in winter with people who do use a bladder but I have enough to think about with winter hiking (e.g. heat management, navigation, checking other people in my group) than to add one more thing that requires special care or adds risk to my trip. I winter hike with two nalgene liter bottles, one in my pack filled with boiling water in an insulated carrier, the other with tang added to boiling water which is attached to my sternum pack strap in an insulated carrier. It is easy to get to and with the frequent layer change stops there are enough opportunities to stay well hydrated. In any season the important thing is to have your water accessible. The success of a hydration bladder in winter is dependent on the air temperature and knowing what range of temperature you are like to encounter during the day. I'm sure it can be successfully used in teens and 20's with appropriate care but the risk of freezing increases significantly in single digits and below zero conditions. One of my goals in winter hiking is to reduce risk as much as possible and to not use equipment that adds risk. A multi-day winter backpack poses even more challenges for a hydration bladder.

focusonbalance
03-26-2006, 09:21 AM
IMO not staying hydrated is a huge risk, and as Dory posted, "I've found that I don't drink nearly enough when I carry a water bottle".

I believe it's always advisable to carry a thermos with hot sugary liquid. And a nalgene in case/ for <0.

I'd like to hear how her plan to use the hose down the sleeve works out, go for it and please keep us posted. It sounds like a great idea.

Dory
03-27-2006, 04:45 PM
I don't even have a nice camelback or anything insulated :eek:
I took an old fleece pullover I had and sewed a carrying bag for my platypus with 2 shoulder straps. I also sewed an insulator for my hose.
I put on my base layer, put on my platypus carrier, and then the rest of my layers.
Initially I ran the hose down my arm, under my layers, but found that my mouthpiece leaked if I bumped it, so I quickly let it come across my chest and out my neck area.
I wore this setup for 3 days, sometimes carrying my full pack and sometimes a day pack on 3/19-3/21. My water was room temperature to warm. (The warm water felt awesome!)
I drank and drank, as I do in the summer. I usually sip about every 5 minutes. I forgot all about blowing back (my first winter trip...give me a break :) ) but am happy to report that I had no problems at all! I love this setup, I was able to keep very hydrated, I'll most likely stick with it in the future.

Thanks for all the interest and advice!
Dory

p.s. I did carry an empty nalgene with sock for insulation as an emergency backup, in the event my hose froze so I could pour the water over.

Sheomet
03-28-2006, 11:45 PM
I wore my camelbak snodawg (has the insulated tube and rubber cover over the mouthpiece) snowmobiling this winter in temps as low as -10 at 70mph and had absolutely no freezing problems, I do what the others said and blow into it.