Nov 28, 2008 at 5:31 am #1232248
I'm planning on running the 6633 Ultra Marathon in March – expecting temps in the -40 range
Question, do any of you have experience / ideas on drinking systems that would not freeze up. I suppose a camelback is probably the only realistic way to go – but was hoping not to wear a pack (and keep all gear in a sled) Any thoughts? And, if using a camelback – any good suggestions for insulating it and the hose?
dougNov 28, 2008 at 7:16 am #1460931
Negative 40 is pretty freeekin' cold.
Just so you know, I work in the winter teaching camping in the Northern Rockies for NOLS – and I've slept out in negative 40.
About the water.
Do NOT be tempted to use any kind of hose. IT WILL FREEZE! I don't care what the advertisements say – IT WILL FREEZE. (trust me, you ain't goin' on a cute little ski tour for the afternoon)
When (not if) it freezes, it is a huge hassle to thaw out, requiring a stove, and a lot of time..
You want to go light? Do NOT take a thermos (unless you really like it, and are willing to take the un-needed weight)
The ONLY option is a well insulated water bottle.
The OR style water bottle holders are heavy and over designed – and ONLY fit the very heavy nalgene bottles.
Wide mouth soda bottles are a good solution (7up usually comes in one of these, search your grocery store). Wide mouth soft sided nalgenes are good too.
You'll probably need make your own water bottle insulator. Bubble wrap is the lightest. How are you with scissors and tape? Are you the arts & crafts type? If so, you'll do fine. Another insulation material is an old scrap of sleeping pad.
Do NOT use those aluminum fuel bottles in winter, the metal conducts cold differently than a soda bottle, and they are prone to freezing really fast.
good luck!Nov 28, 2008 at 7:38 am #1460933
@clt1953Locale: northern minnesota
douglas, i agree with mike. i went snow shoeing last winter and had the brillant idea i was going to use my camelback…wrong….the tube froze within 15 min.,not good. i was wondering about a pot cozy(the kind for one pot cooking,soft material type) to cover a platupus, no hose, of course….and then wear it next to the body…might work.Nov 28, 2008 at 8:55 am #1460939
No need to try and "wear" water. Make it HOT in the morning, and store it in something insulated.
That pot cozy stuff is awesome, and you can get it in rolls at the hardware store. Similar to bubble wrap.Nov 28, 2008 at 12:04 pm #1460960
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I go along with what Mike! said, but would add one extra thought. I carry water in the snow in PET soft drink bottles, and I carry them inside my pack against my back, a little way down from the top. This way the warmth from my back keeps them 'warm' – enough to not freeze.
CheersNov 29, 2008 at 8:31 am #1461077
Thanks for all the advice.
I am quite keen on trying to make my own insulating system, and far prefer a bottle system to a hose system- any thoughts on how thick the insulation needs to be – say if I'm using bubble wrap, how many layers would you suggest. I guess I could always test this out in the freezer.
dougNov 29, 2008 at 8:54 am #1461079
About the water bottle insulation – bubble wrap comes in so many sizes and thicknesses that there is no good answer. Are you skilled at arts and crafts stuff?
The thicker the insulation, the longer it'll take for warm water to turn into a brick of ice.
QUESTION: Do you have much winter camping experience? Cuz, keeping your bottle from freezing is a really basic requirement for safely spending time out in the cold. You say you expect negative 40 tempertures, and you better be skilled enough to have liquid water.Nov 29, 2008 at 10:02 am #1461084
I've a fair amount of winter experience (up in the Adirondacks) but this isn't quite the Yukon.
Usually I just keep my bottles wrapped in my down jacket in my back pack (and in sleeping bag at night) But, I'm hoping to try and make something that is a bit more accessible for the run (and possibly even not have to wear a back pack) Ideally some insulated bottles that I could attach to a waist belt would be great (but this may ultimately be a pipe dream in those temperatures)
I'll plan on keeping a thermos in the sled (since I have a sled I can afford a bit of extra weight) or possibly insulated bottles in a polystyrene cooler? as backup And of course I'll have a stove in case things really hit the fan. But hopefully I can avoid having to melt snow during the race and keep my supplies in somewhat of a liquid form.
dNov 29, 2008 at 10:05 am #1461086
I tend to wear my water…just a preference and perhaps not the best option, but still an option. I fill a 2 liter widemouth platy with nice hot water, and simply store it inside the front of my jacket while i hike. It's sort of compressed between my jacket and chest/stomach and is mostly supported by my hip belt. It tends to warm me up and is literally impossible to freeze, unless you freeze too! To take a sip, I just unzip a bit and take a drink. I tried wearing it as a necklace after someone on here suggested it, bit it ended up being more comfortable to just place it in my jacket. As for a cozy, I remember someone made a very simple one out of 1/4" sleeping pad by cutting it to size, folding and using duct tape to keep the shape. You could try that.
HTHNov 29, 2008 at 11:40 am #1461089
i would think that this wouldn't help all that much for the same reason an air mattress doesn't keep you warm; air can circulate inside of the bubbles acting as a heat exchanger. i'd stick with a neoprene or an old sleeping pad, but i don't know, i've been wrong about things before.
has anyone done tests on bubble wrap?Dec 1, 2008 at 7:23 am #1461350
Thanks for all your experiences – I'll definitely give the Platy in jacket front a try.
Re bubble wrap vs foam pad insulation – I'm running a little experiment right now to see which works best.
Standard Gatorade bottles filled with hot tap water placed in the freezer. One insulated in standard foam mat material, one insulated with bubble wrap (with the 1 inch blisters) so it gives the same thickness as the mat. Bottles are just covered with a single layer of insulation. There is an uninsualted bottle as a control. I am not going to try anything with sleeping bag material as this would be too problematic with insulation getting compressed or wet and so not too practical in real terms.
I'll let you know results (I didn't bother to measure the actual temperature of the water or the freezer since this is just a relative comparison)
dougDec 1, 2008 at 12:10 pm #1461408
Douglas, I'd be interested in your results. Please post them when you are complete…along with some pics of how they are wrapped. Thanks!Dec 2, 2008 at 5:24 am #1461553
The results of my little informal test
Hot water from faucet (unsure of exact temp, but standard household hot water) In regular household freezer – temp approx 0 F.
Regular Gatorade bottle 20 oz
No insulation: Frozen solid in 6 hours
Bubble wrap (1 inch blister) insulation : Frozen solid in 18 hours
3/8 inch sleeping pad insulation: Frozen solid in 23 hours
Steve sorry don't have pics of setup – but it was very basic: I just formed a tube out of respective insulation in which the bottle fitted tightly. The insulation was a single layer and just joined at the seam with duct tape. To seal the end of the tubes I made a round plug out of the 3/8 sleeping pad that fitted nice and snug.
I was quite suprised that just a little insulation made a significant difference here.
I will verify these results today by repeating the test (with just room temperature water)
Just for curiosity I will add one bottle with 2 layers of slepping pad for insulation
ADDENDUM : WEIGHTS…
BUBBLE WRAP + FOAM END PLUGS = 0.6 OZ
3/8 FOAM PAD + FOAM END PLUGS = 1.3 OZ
20 OZ GATORADE BOTTLE = 1.6 OZ
DougDec 2, 2008 at 7:18 am #1461571
Thanks for posting that. You explanations are great, so no need for photos (I was curious how you wrapped them). Let us know how the double wrapped bottles go. I think I will be adding this to my winter setup…low weight increase for keeping water warm.
Thanks Douglas!Dec 17, 2008 at 3:22 pm #1465027
One of my thoughts related to a winter drinking system:
I've recently been curious about lowering the freezing point of water by dissolving salt or sugar into the water. From google, I found there are known formulas that correlate the amount of substance dissolved in a given volume of water for a reduction in freezing temperature.
I'd be curious if anyone has done the calculations to see if it is worthwhile, from an ultralight perspective, to carry some sugar packets, for example. You might argue that the sugar packets are helpful for energy anyway.
I would be careful of adding too much salt, much like the danger of drinking seawater.
I wonder what the freezing point of Gatorade is…
Excuse me if this has already been discussed, I'm new to the forum.Dec 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm #1465048
Buck, the first aid guru at Backpacker mag, did an article on this. He basically rejected the idea.Dec 17, 2008 at 8:28 pm #1465081
Brad, welcome aboard!
Good thought process. I've heard similar, and it may be possible…however, for me, lowering the freezing point by 1 or 2 degrees means little when your dealing with extremely low temps. Keeping water in liquid form is simple at just below zero (Celsius), it becomes a challenge when the temps REALLY dip.Dec 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm #1465085
Food grade – NOT ANTIFREEZE – version of propylene glycol might be pretty effective if dangerous.
Some piquant sentences from wikipedia:
It is also used in food, medicines, and cosmetics, often as a binding agent. Propylene glycol is "generally recognized as safe" by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food. However, propylene glycol-based antifreeze should not be considered safe for consumption. In the event of accidental ingestion, emergency medical services should be contacted immediately.
Propylene Glycol oxidizes when exposed to air and heat. When this occurs, organic acids are formed viz. Glycolic acid, Glyoxalic acid, Formic acid, Carbonic acid & Oxalic acid. If not properly inhibited, this fluid can be very corrosive…"Dec 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm #1465195
Wasn't so sure about alcohol but This Link about "Ultimate Designer Party Ice Cubes" shows a guy freezing cubes with different alcohol content.
But people used to make apple jack by freezing the water out of the cider. So there might be a trick to it.
Edit: Spoiler alert:: save you the time:::
-20C/-4F for 24 hours slush-form was 20% alcohol. That is like 50% whiskey and 50% water. Using open cubes in your freezer may get different result than closed containers.Dec 22, 2008 at 3:46 pm #1465955
tkkn cBPL Member
@tkkncLocale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
My unscientific test this weekend, showed that bite valve on a hydration systems starts to freeze and have issues at 15 degrees F.Dec 22, 2008 at 4:00 pm #1465960
I've seen too many people "try" to use a hose in winter. It simply doesn't work – especailly over multi-day camping.
It freezes, and then it's a hassle.
Just rely on the ol' tried and true bottle inside the back-pack.Dec 22, 2008 at 4:24 pm #1465968
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
One guy I know slips an activated 12 hour chemical handwarmer into his bladder sleeve. Says it keeps the water luke warm the whole day. I'm going to give it a try my next time out. Sounds promising.Dec 30, 2008 at 8:43 am #1467151
Living in Yellowknife, NWT, we get PLENTY of cold weather. What I do for multi-day winter trips, where speed is critical (such as your race):
I'm assuming you have to melt all your own water for the race – that they dont provide you with water…
Melt all your water for the day in the morning. Different for everyone, but I normally do about 4-5 litres. This provides me with enough water for the day, as well as the evening, allowing me to get away with not having to melt much in the evening when I am starving and just want to eat. I use the wide-mouthed softsided 1 litre nalgene cantenes for water storage. These are all stored together in one of the insulated medical boxes (the white foam ones used for blood and such). This container is then put in my sled (which I assume you will be using for this race). During the day, I have a small chest bag, which I use to store essentials, including one of the nalgene cantenes. My chest keeps in warm, and I have easy access to it.
Additional positives to this system – you can use the medical box for other items you want to keep warm as well, such as batteries.
Hope this helps a bit.Dec 31, 2008 at 5:14 am #1467283
Nicholas, Thanks for your input here – knowing that your method has been tried and tested in the kind of temperatures I'm expecting is very reassuring. I had been leaning that way myself. Since I will be using a sled this does give some leeway in terms of bulk and weight that couldn't normally be entertained with a backpack
I've played around with various additives to the water to prevent it freezing and most general sugar additives don't really make that much of a difference at osmotically tolerable concentrations. The other side of the coin is that if you could find a safe product that would prevent water freezing at minus 20, then ingesting this super cooled liquid would be quite physiologically distressing, if not deadly. One would probably be better off just eating snowDec 31, 2008 at 11:07 am #1467325
@beepLocale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
…another hint for those carrying water bottles in severely cold weather, whether protected by insulation or not…
Store the bottles UPSIDE DOWN in your pack. Since any ice that forms will be at the "top", having the "mouth" of the bottle at the bottom will preserve your ability to drink from a partly frozen bottle.
A hint for extending the usability of bladders with drinking tube…after sipping, blow air through the bite valve to push the water back into the bladder. This will leave only air in the drinking tube (which won't freeze)and a couple of vigorous sucks will pull the water from the bladder to your mouth. Then blow air to clear the tube again.
In my experience the winter insulation kits (neoprene drinking tube cover, etc.) for bladder systems do help avoid freezeup, but don't work well below the mid-20's Fahrenheit.
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