Where Do I Put My Waterbottles When Backpacking?
Mar 17, 2022 at 9:28 am #3743465Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88-2Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
<p style=”text-align: left;”>This discussion is one of the most useful on here! Very interesting ideas. My system echos Jan Paul, tho I use 2 One Liter Smartwater bottles. My old shoulders can’t reach most side pockets (kudos to REI Flash 55 pack w easy to reach bottle pockets). The convenience of a 1.5 oz hose setup is worth it for increased hydration.</p>
As for an appropriate size removable bottle pocket, there are a few on Etsy and some of those craftsman will custom make small itemsMar 17, 2022 at 9:35 am #3743466Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88-2Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
This discussion is one of the most useful on here! Very interesting ideas. My system echos Jan Paul, tho I use 2 One Liter Smartwater bottles. My old shoulders can’t reach most side pockets of my GG Gorilla (kudos to REI Flash 55 pack w easy to reach bottle pockets). The convenience of a 1.5 oz hose setup is worth it for increased hydration.
As for an appropriate size removable bottle pocket, there are a few on Etsy and some of those craftsman will custom make small itemsMar 18, 2022 at 8:51 am #3743529Brian KBPL Member
I carry a combination of Dasani 1L and .7L bottles, and a Platypus 2L bladder depending on the specific trip and conditions. Dasani bottles are the lightest of the common water bottles that still fit the standard thread for a Sawyer. They are lighter than Smart or Life water bottles. (If you’re a gram weenie, you’d care about this. If you’re not, you probably don’t.) Likewise, the Platypus is the lowest-weight option for bulk carrying.
I carry a .7L Dasani bottle on the right shoulder strap of my packs. One pack has a built-in pocket for this, the other two have Chicken Tramper add-on pockets. I carry 1L Dasani bottles and the Platypus in side pockets.Mar 18, 2022 at 2:37 pm #3743548Scott NelsonBPL Member
@nlsscottLocale: Southern California and Sierras
I too, use a small bottle on my shoulder strap for electrolytes. And then I carry liter bottles in side pockets.
I want to vent about how poorly designed most side pockets are for using a Nalgene or Smartwater bottle. Many popular packs make the pocket too small if the pack body is packed full. The pack body curves out into the pocket space and it is then difficult to pull out and return the bottle to the pocket. I have taken to sewing on a wedge of fabric to the pocket and that means having to re-do the drawstring closure of the pocket. Seek Outside is the exception to this. They build their pockets anticipating that you will actually use them.
I have had to modify MLD, HMG, and Z packs packs. (I know, the ongoing quest for the perfect pack…) Z packs is the most recent. In their case, the pocket fabric is big enough for one bottle. The 1/4” elastic in the drawstring was too tight. I re-sewed the drawstring channel, added a grommet and put in shock-cord. The pocket will close when needed or stand open when you are trying to stuff the bottle back in.
I can only guess that the desire for small side pockets is so they do not snag when bushwhacking. To me, the ability to use the side pockets for water bottles is a major criteria in choosing and using a pack for backpacking.
There, I feel better.
ScottMar 22, 2022 at 7:10 pm #3743911Chad LorenzBPL Member
@chadlLocale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
Be cautious when using metal bottles in the bottom of your quilt as Andrew describes. I’ve delaminated baffles on a sleeping pad doing just that. Now I’m more careful to wrap them up, which also extends the useful heat a bit longer into the evening.Mar 23, 2022 at 1:16 am #3743934Michael P CBPL Member
Great ideas, everyone.
I prefer a reservoir, because I sip very often, stop rarely, and am not flexible enough to get bottles out of my side pockets. But I ever since my buddy’s reservoir came apart inside his pack, drenching everything, I’ve kept keep my 2L Platypus Hoser reservoir in the side pocket of my pack, outside the coated nylon. The pack is a Granite Gear with stretch pockets and compression cords, and there’s no chance it will fall out. I don’t do much bushwhacking, but if I did, I’d just wrap it in a layer of 1/8″ foam. I was in Canyonlands last spring, and needed to carry 2 gallons, so I just put 2 more large reservoirs, caps on tight, inside the pack.
One issue not discussed much here is carrying water back to your campsite. When I used a Steripen, I carried 1-gallon zip-lock bags. They weigh nothing, and you can carry them back to camp in your arms (hard) or in your emptied-out pack (easy). I like the idea of a bucket, too.Mar 23, 2022 at 9:21 am #3743954
Michael, the bucket is great – https://seatosummit.com.au/product/ultra-sil-folding-bucket-10-litre/
23gm/10 litres, stays vertical if you can hang it off a tree branch or prop a trekking pole up against a rock. Feels so delicate that you worry about tearing when full, but I’ve used one for about 10 years, no problems.
Sea to Summit also make heavier ‘kitchen sink’ bowls which are freestanding, I have an older one without handles so it’s too hard to carry for long distances.Mar 31, 2022 at 8:49 pm #3744967Stuart SBPL Member
I covered this issue previously. Water is normally the heaviest weight one carries in or on their pack. Side pack stored water is stupid. Why? You are expending energy thrusting the load side to side with each step you take generating fatigue. The amount you drink from a container has left the container on the other side of your pack with more water generating an imbalanced load which can generate discomfort and good luck in trying to return a bottle to the side pocket without taking off your pack. The best place for the heaviest load carried is the center vertical position of your pack with the lightest items on both sides. Your spine is the center of your torso rotation and prime structural member for loads. Therefore, just put your water container(s), in the center of your pack to reduce side to side thrusting and gain reduced fatigue, greater speed and greater endurance. Huck, Ich habe gesprochen.Apr 1, 2022 at 8:15 pm #3745046
Stuart, that makes sense. Never thought about in in side thrust/balance terms, but perhaps intuitively I only carry extra water there for long/dry segments of walks, and tend to drink them symmetrically at the same lunch stop time (a bottle of cold and a thermos of tea).
I’ve traditionally used the centre midline back bladder, but increasingly experimenting with having it on the front strap, counterbalanced by camera/phone/GPS/EPIRB on the other front strap. The shift in dense stuff to the front helps a straighter posture. But pulls on the shoulders more than the hips.
I tried a mate’s AARN pack with the big front pouches, but it felt like walking in a lifejacket – couldn’t quite enjoy that.
The Osprey Exos 58 is the only pack I use where you can get the side bottles in and out without dislocating your shoulder, and the pole stowage actually works, so you don’t have to put the pack down in the mud to get a drink when it’s raining.
It’s funny to think that women in Africa and India solved this question thousands of years ago, if you have to carry a 40kg pot of water from the river, balancing it on your head gives optimal walking efficiency, spinal loading, and leg stress – just tricky in dense bush!Apr 1, 2022 at 11:23 pm #3745063Stuart SBPL Member
Ian, when you put water bottles on your shoulder straps up front you also generate side to side thrusting although not as much as the distance of them located on the sides of the pack. You can buy a tubing kit for a water bottle that you can locate in the center of your pack. The kit provides a lid with tubing to the inside bottom of the bottle and at the top of the lid is tubing for over your shoulder up front with a bite valve for on the go drinking. It is my standard hydration system. If you have no exit point from inside your pack for the tubing then use a soldering iron to burn a hole in your pack for the tubing. You could use a glued grommet for the exit hole for the tubing exit or take a piece of polyurethane coated nylon and glue it to cover the area where the tubing exits the pack. Use Shoegoo for a quick waterproof adhesive. 1, 1.5 and 2 liter bottles are practical for this purpose, Smart Water type or equal. Water bladders are heavy, costly vs $1.50 and more per greater volume for water bottles, require maintenance and are wider than a water bottle generating thrusting. Bladders because of their greater storage capacity limits gear space and usually exceeds ones normal daily hydration use.Apr 17, 2022 at 7:12 am #3746693Bob KernerBPL Member
I haven’t seen this addressed, maybe I missed it:
Do most people drink on the fly or stop, remove pack to get to water, sit/rest/drink?
All the commentary about poorly designed side pockets makes me think people either dislocate their shoulders or they are forced to stop to access the water. I’m not a fan of bladders for the reasons most people mention. With my Osprey day pack, I have to take the pack off to get to the side pockets. I can barely reach the side pockets on my over-nighter pack. I use a shoulder strap on that but having the Smart Water bottle right next to my face is a little awkward.Apr 18, 2022 at 8:11 pm #3746917
Bob, the dehydration risk is real, whether you’re walking in the sun or reluctant to stop because it’s rainy/windy/cold and exposed. If the water is hard to get to, I drink less, then realise I have a headache etc. That made me use a bladder with ‘continuous hydration’, small frequent sips to keep the same input as output. The hose is easy to access. It’s strange to think it was as late as 1973 that the evidence came out for continuous hydration during exercise, before that you were told not to drink or you’d get a ‘stomach cramp’. That’s why you got orange quarters at 1/2 time in a soccer match. Then it was realised that keeping up oral water (+/- electrolytes) intake to replace insensible losses (breathing/sweating) was better, so now athletes are advised to drink small quantities as often as possible. The human body has fairly poor mechanisms for recognising dehydration, particularly during vigorous exercise.
A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in Far North Queensland, strolling 8km in 2hrs, with mostly level ground and maybe 200m total up/down for a lookout. It was 37C (yep, body temperature air!) with 100% humidity, so sweat just trickles off and doesn’t cool you. After an hour I had drunk over 2.5 litres and felt fine (well, hot and sweaty fine) but my wife had drunk 500mls and was heat exhausted. A sit down and forcing her to drink a litre made her feel better, but she wasn’t aware of thirst. That was a town/beach walk with 500ml bottles, I was drinking and refilling at every tap. Neither of us had any urine output, it was all sweat.
Years ago a kidney specialist told me you need to wee out 1,500mls of urine/day to keep your kidneys healthy, and breathing lightly is a minimum of 500mls water/day exhaled. So lying in a lifeboat or in a tent awaiting rescue, 2l/day is an absolute minimum. Cold/hot/dry air sucks more moisture from your airways, hot ambient temperature or severe exertion can make you sweat enormous amounts. I’ve sweated 2l/hr often, and it’s really hard to keep up the intake if you don’t do it deliberately and often.
The real worry is heat stroke, like the signs on the Grand Canyon South Rim warn. That can happen very quickly with exertion on a hot day (it can kill a marathon runner in under 2 hrs), and one of the lethal aspects is it turns off your thirst mechanism – you don’t realise you are thirsty – then you stop sweating as your core overheats.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.