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Efficient distribution: 12L of water weight


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Home Forums General Forums Food, Hydration, and Nutrition Efficient distribution: 12L of water weight

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #3738432
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    I’m planning a 2 night backcountry hike through Big Bend NP (near Texas/Mexico border) in March. I’m bringing 12L water because I don’t expect to find a suitable water source in the desert and we’ll be in a remote area. What’s the most efficient way to carry that much water?  Last year I had two 1gallon plastic containers in addition to my 3L hydration pack.  The 2 containers slid to the bottom of my pack  which made it feel like it wasn’t an efficient place to carry that much weight.  This made me wonder where and how it’s best to distribute the water weight to efficiently carry it.

    #3738437
    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member

    @rex

    For water carrying placement, best to experiment with your pack, your full water bottles, and your footwear. During day hikes on similar terrain, or at least on steep rocky trails.

    Sometimes I’ve trained for big hikes by carrying a bunch of full 1 liter water bottles to match my starting weight. When I switched packs once, noticed a big comfort difference carrying the same load the same way.

    Different people swear by putting dense weight high, low, central, or outboard.

    In short, see what works for you.

    For big water carries, I prefer large, soft bottles like the CNOC Vecto, or the Platy. Similar soft bottles are available from HydraPak, MSR, Sea-to-Summit, and probably others.

    With soft bottles you can squeeze out air as you remove water, to prevent sloshing. And they fold or roll up nicely when empty. Stiffer, so-called “collapsible” water carriers are a PITA in my experience.

    If you prefer the water high inside or outside your pack, probably need straps or mini-carabiners to keep it there. Bottles with lash points might be a good idea.

    Maybe extra hydration bladders compatible with your system? I have no experience with those.

    Starting with more than 25 pounds of water and containers could be a first-class sufferfest. At least you’ll drink yourself to lightness. Hope you have fun.

    — Rex

    PS – Be careful around poky things. On one desert trip we drained a water bladder by laying it on top of an unseen patch of thorns. Luckily we muddled through.

    #3738438
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    Thanks for reminder about thorns.  Last year’s hike was a continuous exercise in avoiding prickly vegetation.

    I like the soft collapsible bladders.  I’ll probably just experiment with placement within the pack.  I was hoping to find some one with experience carrying water on their shoulder straps, around the neck as a collar or perhaps across the chest.  I imagined there would be a ratio of water weight from front to back that would make the load feel easier.

    #3738440
    Alex H
    BPL Member

    @abhitt

    Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW

    I hike a lot in Big Bend and have had to carry water loads like that many times but generally can figure out a natural water source or a cache point.  That said, I am a fan of 2 liter platys (they actually hold 2.5 qts.) as my bulk containers because they are lens shaped and so nest well with each other in the pack.  I always pack them next to my back, just near or above the small of my back and center of gravity, on top of my sleeping bag and maybe food bag, depending.  That makes a good shelf for them not to shift down.  I sometimes will lay one flat on top of three standing vertically.  4 platys and two quart bottles is three gallons (12 l/qt.)

    I fill my drinking water bottle out of them, which allows me to monitor my water better than a hydration bladder.  If I want to balance weight I will sometimes carry two hard sided water bottles one in each side pocket.  I never carry a soft sided container on the outside in the desert, too many ways to poke a hole in them, same reason not to use gallon or single big containers like a 10l Dromedary, if you spring a leak then you end up losing a lot of water and are in real trouble.  As Rex says one of the beauties of the soft sided is you can squeeze the air out to they don’t slosh as you walk.

    If you have Big Bend specific questions PM me and/or I highly recommend checking out Big Bend Chat.

    #3738442
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    My main-use pack has a very strong and robust suspension, so I have a bit more liberty in my weight placement than I did with lighter packs…but the heavy always goes close to my back.  It’s just a matter of leverage, for me: the less I allow weight to pull on my shoulders (in any direction) the more comfortable I am.

    I like the taller Smart Water bottles: they’re light and free, and I’m kind of cheap at times.  I also just prefer drinking from a bottle…so I keep one somewhere that’s accessible and I store the rest of them inside the bag, close to my spine.  Works pretty well.

    #3738443
    JCH
    BPL Member

    @pastyj-2-2

    “first-class sufferfest” – awesome term, and perhaps the understatement of the year.

    I think I would experiment with trying to carry some of it on my chest.  Not sure exactly how to approach that, but seems like balancing the load will be crucial.

    #3738457
    PaulW
    BPL Member

    @peweg8

    Locale: Western Colorado

    Along with what’s already been said, I try to balance weight between my front and back I have a couple of Aarn compact balance pockets that I modified to fit some existing packs and along with a couple of waist belt holsters, I can carry 5 liters up front in relative comfort. As others have said, you’ll want to do some experimenting. Have a great trip!

    #3738466
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    Definitely experiment with what feels right for you and your pack. Every body and every pack is different.

    I carry water up high and next to my back, where it will be over my hips when assuming the slight forward lean when hiking. The lower you put it in your pack, the more forward you need to lean to get the weight over your hips.. thus the potential to want/need to ‘balance’ the load by having pack strap bottles in front so you don’t have to lean forward so much. There is a reason that tribal women who have to walk long distances for household water carry it on their head… up high and over their hips…. :)

     

    #3738528
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    @Alex thanks for sharing the link to Big Bend Chat and all the insight on carring water weight.

    @DWR now you’ve inspired me to carry my water in a vase on my head.  Perfect center of gravity and if it rains then I’ll be in position to refill.  Seriously, centering the load high seems like the most logical method and I’m open to trying a portion of it on my chest.  @PaulW suggested Aarn pockets for forward carrying positions.  I think someone else mentioned caching water so we’re reconsidering our return route to allow us to drop a small amount on the way in.

     

    #3738548
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    Just curious – what hike are you planning on doing in Big Bend…..remember caching water at two places for the Outer Mountain loop – so that we just had to carry 5 liters…

    #3738560
    DJ
    BPL Member

    @dj

    Locale: Honey Island Swamp

    @Murali C it’s a backcountry desert hike from one of the Paint Gap campsites out to Little Christmas Mountain via Onion Flat and back via SlickRock Canyon and Croton Peak.  A large loop.

    #3738566
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    The only time I drop water to the middle of my pack is when going off trail.. like talus hopping… better then to have the weight lower to reduce side to side shifting of the pack… But if the weight is up high when you encounter a section of balance challenges, tightening the load lifters helps to reduce the side to side shifting by snugging the pack more firmly to your back… if your pack has load lifters…

    #3738625
    Alex H
    BPL Member

    @abhitt

    Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW

    DJ, I have sent you a PM with some Big Bend information.

    #3745051
    momofarm
    BPL Member

    @momofarm

    I’m working on a tool (piece of software) to figure out center of gravity in backpack.

    And hopefully, this could help figure out weight distribution problem. but its in very early stage.

    If interested, please PM me

    #3746910
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    For desert hiking I like the 4 liter MSR dromedaries.  I set out with 3 of them and 2 one liter bottles hiking the GC West Tonto trail from S Bass trailhead.

    The dromedaries are tough and I like that they mate to the MSR filter I carry when water sources might be sketchy.

    Never a failure, even when used and abused on Scout Outings.

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